GROVE - Just imagine you have responsibility for two groups of the most vulnerable adults, with many of them able to do very little to take care of themselves…and then the COVID-19 pandemic hits.

What do you do?

You do what new mother and Regional Director of Grandwood Nursing Homes Roxanne Fanning has done, you use your many years of experience to lead your staff to take care of the residents in your charge in Grove and Bartlesville.

The two facilities under Fanning’s leadership have not had one infection of the virus, while other similar facilities across the country have been ravaged.

About the middle of March, when the information and warnings began to filter out, she immediately instituted a full lock down, allowing only essential medical personnel and staff to enter.

When they entered, each person was disinfected, signed in and was monitored.

The residents were limited to their rooms, if they ventured into the common areas (like to get their mail), they had to wear face masks and had their temperature taken daily.

Staff were sanitized upon arriving for work, were required to wear masks at all times and had their temperature checked three times during their shifts.

Fanning had both facilities following Centers for Medicare Service (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Governor Stitt’s directives faithfully.

Even though the rest of Oklahoma is re-opening and as phase 3 will commence on June 1, assisted living centers and nursing homes will not be allowed to open up.

There is some discussion that reopening could happen August 1, but nothing is definite.

This period has been tough on the residents and their families, since it has been literally weeks since families have been together.

On April 28th and 29th a parade was arranged for the residents where families were able to drive by, honk and wave, though no one was allowed out of their vehicles to visit in person.

It was great weather and a huge hit with the residents and families.

Fanning said that she and her staff all feel their residents are family, especially since they realistically spend more time there than at home.

So it is no surprise that Fanning and her staff are concerned about the mental health of the residents and families.

They are seeing more cases of the “blues” and dealing with more depression.

This is more than just a job and paycheck for Fanning, “it is a calling.”

The parade was so touching, as families came by, that it brought tears to her and some of the staff as it was unfolding.

She and her brother were raised by her grandparents, plus “grandma and aunt both worked in a nursing home.”

Fanning accompanied her grandmother to work many times and began working her own job at 15 years old.

She especially remembers a dear sweet resident named Alma who became her special close friend.

As soon as Fanning graduated from high school she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then passed her national and state boards to become an administrator in a nursing home.

She ended up leading an assisted living facility, which oddly enough, doesn’t require such licensing.

Fanning loves what she is doing and who she is doing it with, “It’s the relationships, all about relationships.”

“Every staff member is a hero and I am honored to be in the trenches with them.”

She continues “The resident aides, nurses, kitchen staff, everyone here is special, they’re worth so much more than they’re paid.”

Grandwood is a facility where residents “age in place” so many residents reside there until their final days.

When asked about that aspect of the position, Fanning responded by saying “It’s an honor to take care of them when they’re passing, going to be with Jesus.”

In some cases, hospice will come in and both organizations work hand in hand to make everything go as smoothly as possible for the family and resident.

While the position can be very demanding and stressful, Fanning credits her home office with great support and direction as they have maneuvered through the pandemic.

Fanning has enjoyed success in a tough field, one not many people are cut out for, let alone be “called” to.

While the coronavirus has raged it y through many senior citizen facilities, the residents and families watched over by Fanning and her staff rest easy, knowing their loved one is in great and loving hands.

Fanning and her staff are indeed the quiet and almost invisible heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No COVID-19 cases in Grandwood Assisted Living. Why?

• Physical age of residents made them the most vulnerable to the virus.

• Instituted an early shutdown of visitor, except essential medical personnel and staff.

• All entering must have temperature taken and disinfected (staff temperature taken 3X per shift).

• Residents were sheltered-in-place in their rooms with every meal brought to their rooms.

• When residents left their room and went into the commons area, they had to wear a mask.

• Any resident leaving the building for doctor’s appointments were quarantined in their rooms for 14 days.