Health

‘Some of them are very scared’: A Wellesley nursing home worker shares how residents are coping during the coronavirus pandemic

"They will tell everyone, 'I saw my kids! I was standing by the window. They came."

Helping hands, care for the elderly concept; Shutterstock ID 241609876; PO: oped Shutterstock

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This story was told by Edelyne Bontemps, a full-time Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Elizabeth Seton Residence Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation in Wellesley, and has been transcribed and edited from a conversation with Kristi Palma.

My name is Edelyne Bontemps. I’m a CNA at Elizabeth Seton in Wellesley. Right now, thank God, we don’t have any cases yet and we want to keep it that way. That’s why, as a CNA, we have to be careful. Here, [the residents] count on us, like our families count on us too. As a CNA and a mother, I have to really be careful. I have to make sure home is safe and here is safe too. Social distancing is the best thing to do now. And washing our hands.

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Some of them are very scared so I sit down and talk to them. They ask me a lot of questions about what is going on. Sometimes we find something else to tell them so they can laugh and be relaxed. It is very good, not just for them but for us too.

There’s no visitors. The administrators thought about that early, to stop the visitors. I think that’s why we’re still safe, there’s no cases here. Families can call and they stay at the window, someplace that they can see them. It’s so hard for [the families], for those who used to come every day and now you can’t come too close. They come, some with a note, something big that they can read. [The residents] are so happy about that. They will tell everyone, ‘I saw my kids! I was standing by the window. They came.’ They will talk about that for the whole week.

It’s very hard for [the families], but we want them to know that we’re going to do our best to keep [residents] safe. We’ve been doing what we always do. We take care of them. We’re here for them.

I pray a lot. That strength that I’ve got, I got it from God. He’s the only one, now, who gives you that strength. For some of them sometimes, we pray together.

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