On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic (by W.H.O.). The U.S. changed in a blink of an eye. What, we have to stay at home? How will my children do remote learning? Will my business make it through this unexpected virus? Do we have the virus in Payson?

On the campus of Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation there were daily meetings, several times a day, signage posted at all entrances RCH was in modified visitation mode. Testing and tracking body temperatures (fevers), respiratory conditions, loss of taste or smell, body aches and oh so much more recorded and tracked.

Many learned this virus also could be asymptomatic – a condition producing or showing no symptoms. Are you kidding me?

As Rim Country Health (RCH) expanded its precautionary measures to a complete lockdown, we along with the Payson/Rim Country community tried to make sense of this new reality. It did, and still includes these respectful requests: to mask up, social distance six feet, wash your hands, stay at home if you don’t feel well and if it worsens get to a doctor or hospital and the list goes on.

Who of you were early adopters, and adapters, of new ways to shop? Pick up, delivery, do without. Not to mention what may, or may not, be available upon arrival at local stores.

Many of our local businesses scaled back, some didn’t bounce back. Community members struggled to make sense as the virus rules continued. Many also struggled with bills, sitters, home schooling, not seeing family members and friends, new routines ...

Some went to work every day. A big shout out to our essential workers for their tireless efforts, willingness, patience and courage.

Thanks to Gila County Health & Emergency Management for continuing to keep Gila County residents informed.

It was a tough year for everyone, including Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation over the summer. The RCH team rallied together and continues to operate under the Whatever It Takes mode, each and every day, even stronger than pre-COVID times.

RCH was so grateful for CVS teams that arrived on our campus in January and February 2021 to administer the first and second dose vaccinations to residents and team members.

So glad the community is responding by making appointments to receive their vaccines, too.

While RCH continues to follow the guidelines for skilled nursing facilities from the CDC, county, state, feds and CMS, we managed to create alternatives for family members and authorize personnel to remain in touch with their loved ones.

The RCH team is not only skilled and experienced, but is the most compassionate, caring and loving team when it comes to their residents and short-term stay patients (recuperating and having rehabilitation therapy).

So, here we are in March of 2021.

As the team reflects upon the past year, they certainly have a positive outlook for 2021.

Read how RCH team members managed through this unexpected pandemic and that they see hope in what 2021 brings.

Q: In the past year, what was the one thing, at RCH, you are most proud of?

The majority of the team’s response was that teamwork was what they were most proud of.

“We pulled together and we pulled through.”

“The team remained committed and compassionate.”

“We maintained infection control.”

“We were compliant and took the necessary precautions to protect our residents.”

“We got through the toughest time and our owners and administrator did the best for all of us.”

“Proud of our administrator!”

Q: What specifically got you through 2020?

The two predominant responses were: “Faith/God/Family.”

“The feeling of support – from management, co-workers, caring/positive attitudes.”

Q: Did you discover a new way to approach the “lockdown” period on the RCH campus?

“We were more engaged with the residents. Spent more time, listened to their needs, comforted them more.”

Q: What was the best idea that was implemented on the RCH campus?

The clear majority was the alternative methods of “visitation.” The window visits were popular among residents and their family/friends, along with Facetime. Added comments included window art, more employees assisting in activities to lift spirits, exercise “therapies” with residents and being transparent with the community.

Q: What moment will you never forget?

Due to the mandated lockdown, RCH nurses made every effort to be with residents who had a higher probability of not surviving the virus.

“Sharing time, siting a little longer, praying with and just being a comforting presence for our residents at the end stage of their lives.”

“Learning that there were no additional active cases.”

Staff members who experienced a hospital stay were also concerned and afraid they may not make it back to family, friends and work.

“Seeing all ‘the love’ via social media (RCH FB page).”

“Getting the vaccine on the campus.”

“It makes my heart smile knowing we are a great team!”

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