(319) 472-6200

 Happy Friday to Everyone!

As of 4/30/2020 at 8:30 am, there are 24 long term care facilities in Iowa reporting COVID outbreaks. We extend our sympathies for those facilities affected by this virus, and remain thankful that we are safe and healthy. Even though the State of Iowa is lifting restrictions in some counties, Benton County remains restricted, and there has been no discussion of lifting restrictions for long term care facilities. It will likely be quite some time before we will be allowed to have face to face visitors in the building. Continue to reach out to your loved ones by phone calls, video chats, emails, and letters. If you need any assistance, contact our Activities Department-they will assist to get you connected.

We continue to have PPE and staffing to meet our daily needs. As Iowa lifts restrictions, we continue to prepare for the possibility that staff and residents may become exposed. There are designated rooms available for isolation, and staff has done additional training on how to apply and remove PPE in a situation where you need to reuse PPE.

We have instituted consistent staffing assignments and looked at ways to decrease the number of times different staff members have contact with different residents. Everyone continues to screen, take their temperature at the beginning and end of their shift, and wear masks and face shields during the interaction, but if we were to have a staff member that was ill, this decreases the number of residents and staff that were exposed to an ill staff member.

We have also planned for emergency staffing. We have hired six staff members that are currently training in the new Temporary C.N.A curriculum designed by the American Health Care Association, where they complete an online course and skills training with an RN here in our building. This allows them to work temporarily as a C.N.A during the disaster period. There is also a provision that allows student nurses to complete medication pass if they have met certain criteria in their education. There are two staff members that are training in this capacity.

Our Incident Command Team has identified staff members in other departments at Virginia Gay that could assist with clinical and non-clinical tasks in an emergency situation. We have partnerships with six temporary/travel staffing agencies as well asour state contact for Emergency Management. We want to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.

Stay safe!

Jessica Henkle, BS, RN-BC, NHA

Director of Long Term Care Services

Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab

Phone (319) 472-6347


This newsletter is going out to the primary resident contacts. Please pass updates along to other family members. If there are family members that are not receiving updates and would like to, please forward their email addresses and we will add them to the list.


For those that would like to video chat-you need to have FaceTime on your electronic device or have a Skype account set up. You also need to have a device that has a camera and a microphone-i.e. smart phone, iPad or tablet, lap top etc. I have attached instructions on using Skype for anyone that needs assistance with downloading the software and getting started.


In the business office, we are continuously learning how we can best assist in serving our patients during this time by updating our practices to support telehealth services. Even if we have limited contact with patients, we are still sporting our masks to help keep everyone as safe as possible.


Great job for a deficiency free COVID survey!  A special shout out to Lisa, Toby, and Val who did the staff phone interviews!


All the residents and the Activity Team say, “Hello!”

Everyone is still looking forward to their daily Bingo numbers. Last Friday we had two winners. That was a first. We also had a Happy Hour with our Bingo numbers. We took around our little mobile bar (which is a box with the bottles in it, a bowl of ice and mixes on a cart) we had a choice of beer, wine coolers, CC &7 or a sweet drink with coconut rum and pineapple. Sounds like the Friday Mobile Happy Hour might have to become a regular event during this time. It was a hit!

Along with Bingo we have painted, we have done word puzzles, we had more S’mores, we listened to music, we’ve talked on the phone, and we have Facetimed. That being said, we wanted to remind those of you that have not done this, that we do have Facetime and Skype available if you have either of these available to you (if you do not know, please check with your cell phone carrier for assistance.) Please contact Jen or Lori to set up a time. 472-6377 or 472-6280.  Mon-Fri. 10am to 3pm to have a visit.

We are all so worried about our hair, so our dear friend Donna Higgins from Mt. Auburn, made us some cute scarves to cover up our “Iso hair.” Iso hair, don’t care. I was corrected, they are “kerchiefs”

Also this week, we were given beautiful hand drawn, colored, or painted pictures of cats donated to us from Better Together Animal Rescue Inc. in Vinton. Residents each received a beautiful picture and a handwritten card. Everyone was impressed with the wonderful talent these pictures displayed. I am told to say, “Thank you” for these. Thank you all very much.

Of all the things we have done this week, the most important is that we all have remained healthy and we keep smiling.

Celebrating birthdays this month, we have Angie Wacha on May 6, Toby Brown on the May 12, Wilson Chustz on the May 18, and Lisa Weineke on the May 23. We wish them all a very happy birthday this month and look forward to celebrating them on their special day!

*For more information on Virginia Gay Hospital’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Need to Know web page.