BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) -Those living in nursing homes and their families have suffered like thousands of others in Louisiana throughout the pandemic.
Some of them have only been able to see a loved one through a window.
But now with the Moderna vaccine on its way, there is a new sign of hope, just in time for Christmas.
Behind a plexiglass bubble of sorts, right in front of Capital Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, sits 77-year-old Wayne Hoffman.
“I love everybody in this place,” he said.
If Hoffman could have just one wish for Christmas, he knows what it would be.
“That’s what I hope to do, see my family,” said Hoffman.
He’s been a resident at the facility for 6 years now, but his family stays in Houston.
“They come over here or used to come over here, about every month and a half. But now we haven’t been able to leave, you may understand,” he said.
But like many nursing home residents, family hugs and kisses during the holidays, just can’t happen this year. But Hoffman is more hopeful than ever.
“When we all get the vaccine, we’ll be able to leave and have more freedom in this place, freedom to come and go. And I think that will be a great move for this place and for all the residents,” he said.
“I feel like with this vaccine coming, they feel better about what’s to come. And they see some light at the end of this tunnel,” said Todd Ford, Capital Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
Within days nursing homes and long-term care facilities statewide expect to receive tens of thousands of doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The Louisiana Department of Health anticipates receiving 79,500 doses of newly authorized Moderna vaccine.
“Of those, 35,900 will go to nursing home/long-term care facility residents and staff via our federal partnership program, and 43,600 doses will be shipped to Morris & Dickson for sub-distribution to Tier 2 hospitals and first responders (fire fighters/EMS),” says a tweet by LDH.
And with the promising vaccine news, morale is certainly higher than it was just a few months ago for nursing home residents.
“They want the vaccine, and they want it because they see that if we get it, it’s much greater than if we don’t. And I think that Walgreen’s will be coming in and will be doing three different sessions with our staff and our residents, those that chose to take the vaccine,” said Ford.
“All things considered, resident morale is good,” said Brett Arceneaux, with Ascension Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
At Ascension Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Gonzales, Christmas activities like pictures with residents and their families behind a plexiglass border, are lightening the mood, ahead of the vaccine arriving.
“Hopefully we can get the residents and the employees vaccinated and try to return to life as normal,” said Arceneaux.
And that normal, is what people like Wayne Hoffman are craving going into the new year.
“But I’m sure that everybody wants to see the end of this pandemic, that’s right,” said Hoffman.
A spokesperson with the Department of Health tells WAFB that around 42 to 43% of the COVID-19 deaths across the state, have been nursing home residents.
That is why they are in that first priority to get the vaccine.
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