VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It’s a big year for Beth Sholom Village in Virginia Beach. The rehabilitation and senior living facility is celebrating 40 years in our community, the end of a major renovation, and no outbreaks during this coronavirus pandemic.

Beth Sholom Village takes the health of its residents and patients very seriously. So, when COVID-19 hit and workers learned seniors were high risk, the facility made some big policy changes.

“When somebody comes into our building for the very first time no matter whether they are coming from home, from the hospital, another facility, they go on what we created as an isolation unit,” explained Marcia Brodie, Marketing Director for Beth Sholom.

She said she feels like coming to work every day is one of the safest places she can be. “Every single staff member, I think we maybe have 320, is tested every single week. Tuesdays are our testing day.”

Marcia went on to say, “We’ve not allowed visitors in since March. So, a lot of people have not seen their loved one face-to-face.”

The only exception to that rule, Marcia said, is when a patient is nearing end of life.

Beth Sholom staff members also got very creative to make sure their residents could stay in touch with family.

“We did a lot of window visits. So, a family member is on the outside, the resident is on the inside. We have a staff member typically who facilitates with a cell phone. We’re not allowed to open the window, but they talk through the phone or an iPad.”

About a month and a half ago, the Beth Sholom team added a new plan to keep families connected. “We had a team build a plexiglass booth that we put outside and the person is put into the booth, they’re wheeled in, and it’s 3-sided, and a family member can drive up and we put a speaker in the family member’s car and a speaker in the booth and you have a visit. It’s not ideal, but a lot of families have taken advantage of it because they can lay eyes on somebody which is really important.”

Because of the precautions, Marcia said there have been no outbreaks, just a few isolated cases. “I think we’re going on a month and a half, two months, that we have not had anything.”

Marcia said they make sure residents have plenty to do, from socially distanced games, to art, and now that renovations throughout the facility are complete, those at Beth Sholom really have something to smile about.

“All rooms were updated. All hallways were updated. Our dining room was redone. Beautiful colors, really open and airy. All of our common areas were redone, so it’s really very welcoming.”

Marcia said residents’ rooms got a big upgrade.

“Every room now has its own shower along with the bathroom. I love our bathrooms. They are beautiful. They look almost spa-like with beautiful tile. We have showers where you can wheel in a shower chair. Huge difference there.”

There are unique additions everywhere you turn.

Marcia said in one area there is a huge glass birdcage, “There are always about 10 finches in there, so, people love to go and sit and watch that.”

The completion of the renovation was perfect timing for residents and patients who had to remain socially distant during the pandemic. Beth Sholom is starting to allow face-to-face visits, but masks must be worn, there must be at least six feet of social distancing, and visitors must test negative for coronavirus before visiting.

To take a virtual tour of Beth Sholom Village, click here.

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