How Oaklawn is trying to brighten the holidays at in-patient facility

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The holidays will be different for almost every American in 2020. And some families won’t be able to see loved ones who are living in long-term care facilities. Likewise, Oaklawn’s Children Campus in Mishawaka is closed to visitors currently.

“You know, this year, I think has been frustrating for everybody. We want kids to see their families, and we want families to see their kids. But with 85 kids and staffing, it’s just safer this way to make sure that there are no spread issues and those kinds of things,” said Kari Tarman, Director of the Oaklawn Foundation.

Until Covid-19 issues, Tarman said families were allowed to visit the facility for a brief time. To ease loneliness during the holidays, Oaklawn is allowing children to have Disney+ access along with Christmas decorations in their rooms.

Generally, most children have access to videochat with their families, said Oaklawn. Extra staff will be on hand to ensure patients can have virtual calls.

Oaklawn also provides housing to 400 people between Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties. Staff recently went door-to-door to check on residents and give them cookies along with gift cards to let them know they aren’t forgotten.

“We want to remind both of our youth and our adult clients that they’re not alone. We’ve kept in-person services going through the whole pandemic, just to make sure that everyone has the support they need. And the holiday programs aren’t any different,” Tarman explained.

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