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NHC Drive-By Celebratory Parade

Updated: May 18

By: Atlanta Northcutt --- Reporter for the Southern Standard

A pandemic can’t stop the spread of love, laughter, support and encouragement being shown to all residents of NHC during a special parade for patients currently isolated in the facility. NHC patients were treated to a community parade on Friday afternoon with waves and kisses being given by both the parade participants, residents and healthcare workers alike. “For our patients to have something to look forward to and know they are supported is amazing, and it’s not just for our patients but our partners, too,” says NHC wellness coordinator, Amanda Sain. “This is a very challenging time in healthcare so it created a great morale for the entire center. With all of our restrictions and limiting of visitors, this is the next best thing I could think of, even if no hugs being available to be given at this point.” Sain and staff put together the parade in a week to bring hope, smiles and a feeling of togetherness to the residents of NHC during this hard time. “With the restrictions of COVID, we wanted to give these individuals something to look forward to,” says Sain. “We came up with the idea of the parade, and on such short notice, we’ve had an overwhelming response from the community.” During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, nursing homes have not allowed visitors to enter or leave the building for patients’ safety, which has been hard on family members, friends and those confined to the nursing homes. “It’s been close to 45 days since any of our patients have been able to have face-to-face interaction with loved ones besides through a window, which I know has been hard on the patients, families, friends and staff members,” says administrator of NHC McMinnville, Ben Holland. “We’ve tried to make the best of a situation we don’t much control over, but for us to be able to do something like this, where we can get a big group of people together, is wonderful.” Helen Savage, the wife of Billy Savage, and their daughter, Melissa Mullins, visited with their husband and father in his room through a screen window. Helen and Billy have been married for almost 54 years. “People need to remember those in the nursing homes and hospitals by writing cards and making phone calls,” says Mullins. “These individuals are isolated anyways, and the quarantine and social distancing makes the feeling of loneliness worse. They just need to know they are important and loved. The parade will definitely be encouraging for these patients.” A line of vehicles, some decorated with balloons, signs, flags and inspirational messages made a loop around NHC to show community support for both residents and staff by families and those who care within the community. Betty Harris is the sister of NHC employee, Dianne Wood, and the daughter of two of the residents at NHC. The sisters showed up to the parade in a vehicle decorated with loving messages on the front and sides of the car, along with balloons and tassels. “My parents are always happy to see us,” says Harris. “It’s been two months now since we’ve actually had a face-to-face visit, so it’s been hard on all of us. This parade is a fantastic way to show how much they are loved, missed and how we’re still waiting to come back in to visit them.” The parade took place at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, beginning at Lowe’s and circling the NHC building to allow all patients to be able to view the celebration from their windows. “This parade provides great encouragement and boosts the morale for all of the patients,” says LaDonna Ledford, a nurse practitioner and mental health service worker at NHC for TeamHealth. “The fact so many people came together, along with the length of this parade, represents just a speck of how much this community supports the individuals in this facility.” A slew of cars, trucks and even tractors filled with people of all ages waved from windows, sunroofs, provided smiles, laughter and claps of joy. Many vehicles were decorated and had signs with their loved ones’ names and caring words posted on the sides of cars. “We didn’t have a lot of notice to plan this, but for the patients’ families, and even the many residents of Warren County who just hopped right in, shows how amazing our community is,” says Sain. “This shows our patients just how much they are cared for, especially during these challenging times when their actual family members can’t be there. I hope this shows how we, at NHC, are also a part of these residents’ families during this time.” “I was amazed by the parade, and thought it was fantastic,” adds Holland “Seeing the patients’ excitement made everyone feel wonderful.”

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