CARTHAGE, TEXAS (KLTV) - Among the East Texas nursing homes hit hardest by COVID-19 is Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center in Carthage.
Despite several confirmed cases and the death of five residents and one employee, staff members are finding unique ways to keep residents smiling and connected to their loved ones.
A part of that connection is allowing residents and community members to see who these staffers are beneath their personal protective equipment.
“You know we’re all walking around in full PPE,” said Shona Guenther, director of marketing and admissions. “And it’s sad when the residents don’t realize who you are. You start talking and they do eventually recognize your voice, but I started thinking nobody even knows what we look like under all of this.”
Guenther said that was the thought behind a series of photos showing Briarcliff staff members holding signs saying, “Underneath all this PPE, I’m still...” and had them add in their own personal details.
Guenther’s sign said she’s a wife, mom, Mimi, sister, daughter, aunt and friend. She also added she really misses hugs right now.
“It’s been really neat," Guenther said. "I’ve even got to know some of our staff better, because of what they put on their signs.”
Other personal notes include one staff member, Sara, saying she hasn’t seen her two daughters in over a month. Another employee’s sign said she is a mom, daughter, aunt, sister, and a sassy pants. And one woman’s sign reads, “I’m still here.”