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Nursing home workers keeping spirits, safety up

Employees have been getting creative in order to keep spirits up, but that doesn't mean they're letting up on safety precautions.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — It's been more than four months since residents at Clarks Summit Senior Living have been able to hug their loved ones.

On Wednesday, sunglasses were on, the funky straws were out, and the root beer floats were flowing at Clarks Summit Senior Living.

The employees are dedicated to making sure their residents can still enjoy some summertime fun -- even if that means dressing up like a flamingo for the day, just to make someone laugh.

"So happy, especially when we have little props for them, whether it be tiaras, or leis, or sunglasses and it does, it's something to look forward to in the afternoons," said Christine Pagnani.

It's no secret that nursing homes in Lackawanna County have been particularly plagued by the coronavirus.

Clarks Summit Senior Living has so far been spared with zero infections in the facility, but the last four months have still been filled with obstacles.

Christine Pagnani has worked here for five years. She says everything they do had to change.

"100 percent different than how we've been doing because it's social, everybody likes the social part of it. We have people in and out here whether we have home health nurses, we have doctors in here, we have family members and friends. That all had to stop," Pagnani explained.

The same goes for Allied Services in Scranton which has been particularly hard hit by the virus in our area.

At both facilities, employees have had to improvise.

"The one thing that we found that was a very positive thing through this was Facetime," said Gretchen Kohut, an employee at Allied Services transitional rehab unit.

"We do have visitation through the patio windows. We've been celebrating birthdays, we've celebrated anniversaries," said Sue Chapin, a worker at Clarks Summit Senior Living.

"Sometimes they just start crying and it makes you want to cry also that they can't see their family and friends," Kohut added.

Even though Lackawanna County is going green, folks here say that doesn't mean the challenges stop.

"We're still worried, we're still fighting, and we can't let our guard down at this point," said Pagnani.

Even in the green phase, visitor limitations must remain in place for at least 28 days after the county enters the green phase.

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