ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A man in his 50s is the third resident to die from COVID-19 infection at the Frontier Health & Rehabilitation home in St. Charles.
Workers there shared a glimpse of life on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus there.
More than 20 residents and employees have been infected. Staff is stretched thin and, in certain cases, working 14 to 16-hour shifts.
In spite of the risk, people are leaving their safe spaces elsewhere and coming here to help.
“It’s the little things that really warm our hearts,” said head nurse Daphne Bollinger, RN.
She has been there through it all.
Administrator James Dennis has come from another facility in Monett in southwest Missouri, which has zero cases of COVID-19, to a place with an outbreak that may be among the largest in the state.
He’s a trained chaplain, therapist, and nurse’s assistant. He’s been filling multiple roles.
“It’s what we’re called to do. The way I was raised is give what you have. Right now, what this facility needs is me; to be here, whether it be to joke with the staff a little bit, to joke with the residents a little bit, to hold a hand.”
“It’s really hard,” Bollinger said. “These are not my family members by blood but they’re counting on me to be taken care of. I care very deeply for them. I shoulder that responsibility gladly because I want to be able to provide the care they need. In that way, they are like family to me.”
So, things like handmade, donated masks, donated meals, letters, cards, and posters showing support, those little things she mentioned, mean more than anyone could know because they have a lot more on the line than anyone could know.
Dennis is away from home and his 21 and 16-year-old children for at least 30 days. His wife works in health care back home and could face quarantine. Bollinger’s husband is volunteering at Frontier.