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‘Seeing is believing’: Photos of loved ones on Facebook strengthen community during pandemic

Married couple at Harmony River smile for Facebook photo
Couple smiles for Harmony River Facebook page
The mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In our continuing series, “We Will,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values and working together toward a better, brighter future for the older adults we serve.

Each of our 50 PHS communities has a unique story to tell, and Harmony River in Hutchinson, MN, is no different. Within this relatively small, tightly knit community, Covid has transformed life as many once knew it — with the potential to strain or strengthen relationships.

From day one, staff at Harmony River knew exactly which direction they wanted to go.  So, they sprang into action: a reflection of the PHS value of Ready & Engaged People.
 

'An open book with our actively involved family base'

Pam Radunz, who is Resident Services Director with 22 years of service, reflected on the day that Covid restrictions first went into effect: “March 16 was the day we shut our doors, which was pretty traumatic for all of us,” she said. “We’re very much into communication and being an open book with our actively involved family base.”

That’s when Pam, Campus Administrator Luke Krueger and other Harmony River leaders put their heads together right away to form a communication plan. Pam explained, “We felt it necessary to show what’s going on because family couldn’t be in here to see it for themselves. So Luke set this out-of-the-blue goal for our team to post 10 photos a day to the Harmony River Facebook page.” 

Luke added, “Families need to see their loved ones and know that they’re safe and doing well. It’s a way for them to stay connected.” He noted that while many families can reach their loved one by phone, it’s seeing that’s believing. “When they see their loved ones enjoying themselves and having smiles on their faces and getting their nails done,” he said, “that’s when they will say, ‘Thank you so much. I know they’re okay because I see their picture.’”
 
Harmony River Facebook photos
 

300+ days x 10 photos = teamwork

Coming up soon on 365 days of posting 10 or more photos, Luke and Pam agree that it’s a reflection of tremendous teamwork. The nursing assistants bring excitement and ownership, saying, “Yes, this is my neighborhood, and these are my residents. I will make sure that their families see them.”
comments on Harmony River Facebook page

As the eyes and ears for the families, staff are working together and successfully communicating about life at Harmony River through its Facebook page. Dozens of ‘likes’ and comments appear daily.  A Facebook follower named Beverly recently commented, “It is wonderful to see the beautiful place and staff where our loved ones stay and are being well cared for! I feel connected to my loved ones with the photos of how they live and how they are doing! Keep doing an excellent job of a great experience for all!”

We at PHS are grateful for the team at Harmony River and every Ready & Engaged employee. Together we will help residents, loved ones and communities stay connected during Covid.

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to join our team at www.preshomes.org/careers. Rated #1 employer in Minnesota by Forbes!

Further reading from Harmony River, plus more in the We Will series:
Grandpa gets the first look
Make Your Mark: Lori Martin, a healing presence
Love of God, family and diversity inspire Nursing Assistant Samuel Mutuku
Virtual grief support groups

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