With the onset of the pandemic in the United States came revisions to visitation policies for nursing homes and long-term care facilities that limit exposure to their medically vulnerable residents. Policies restricting non-essential personnel mean that services such as haircuts, hair styling and pedicures also have been stopped. Enter the multi-talented TLC staff members with backgrounds in cosmetology to help out by providing these personal care services.
“While our facility’s hair stylist Martha is away following visitor restrictions, our very own staff are filling in for her in the salon, making our residents feel great. We are so blessed to have three licensed cosmetologists who work for The Living Center and Fitzgibbon Hospital who have graciously agreed to help us out,” said Stacey Steffens, Administrator at The Living Center.
Julie Clemons has been a licensed cosmetologist and has owned her own salon, Permanent Solutions, for 35 years. She has worked part-time for the Fitzgibbon organization for seven years, most recently as an Activities Assistant at The Living Center.
“It is so great, and I love the creative part of what we do with our residents. To be able to provide this service to them, it helps them maintain a routine,” said Clemons. “And really, it makes everyone so happy to be able to have their hair done.”
For Vicki Purvis, also an Activities Assistant at The Living Center, combining her work as a cosmetologist with her love for her residents is a welcome opportunity. Purvis has worked in the Salon at JC Penny for 10 years. But with the statewide shutdown of non-essential services, she had the opportunity to continue providing services at the Living Center.
“I have done a lot of haircuts. I try to get the residents in every week. It makes them feel better,” said Purvis. “It gives me a chance to work with them one-on-one, and I get to know them better.”
Jessica Scarborough is the receptionist at Fitzgibbon Rehabilitation Services, but she earned her cosmetology license following high school many years ago after attending Cosmetology School. The license allows her to perform a wide range of cosmetology services in addition to cutting and styling hair.
“I enjoy boosting our residents’ self-esteem. Many of them are sad that their families cannot visit, so this is a way I can help,” said Scarborough. “I was nervous at first, because it had been a while since I worked in cosmetology, but it all came right back as soon as I started doing it.”
The limiting of visitors and non-essential staff from entering The Living Center provides for a challenging time for residents and staff alike. In addition to these policies, mainstays at TLC such as communal dining and gathering for activities has also largely been restructured. But the opportunity to receive some pampering by staff definitely has a positive effect.
“Many of the opportunities for residents to socialize have been changed or cancelled, causing many residents to stay in their rooms. The ability to come down to our parlor and receive some pampering provides some much-needed social interaction for them at a time when many really don’t know or understand what is happening outside of our facility,” said Steffens. “It provides some degree of normalcy at a time when what we are facing is anything but normal. It is pleasure for them to have their day brightened in such a way.”