Will County Coronavirus Updates

Will County Covid-19 response

In-Person & Exterior Visitation Guidelines

Updated In-Person & Exterior Visitation Guidelines


IDPH Covid Updates

Reopening Chart

Sunny Hill Nursing Home Reopening Chart

Drop-off Instructions

Drop off box imageLid opens from the top. Place items in a plastic bag with the resident/recipients name on it and place item on lever and drop into the locked receiving box. Please refrain from placing any food or drinks in this box. These items MUST continue to be dropped out front, call receptionist and have them picked up and directed to your loved one. Any questions please call 815-727-8710.

Thank you, 
Maggie McDowell – Administrator


Creating Connections

Creating Connections flyer

From Sunny Hill Administrator Maggie McDowell

Maggie McDowell, Sunny Hill Administrator

Dear Residents, Family Members and Community Friends,

A year in reflection, and where to begin. 2020 a year that as with every New year started out with so much promise and optimism. Little did anyone know what lay ahead, how events that will forever be studied and imbedded in history, began to unfold in front of our eyes and we were all part of the unfortunate cast. 

In March the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a worldwide pandemic and a Public Health Emergency (PHE) and since then life as we knew it changed forever. Kirkland Nursing Home in Washington, DC, heralded the plight of all nursing homes into the spotlight and concurrently it felt like someone flipped a switch and everything was different, Coronavirus, no indoor visitation, wearing masks, screening, social distancing, telemedicine, PUI - Person Under Investigation, isolation precautions and if this myriad of life altering events wasn’t enough a whole new vocabulary emerged too. 

We were all in a state of disbelief and longed for things to return to “normal” the normal and familiar life we knew pre Covid-19, but the realization quickly revealed itself. Covid-19 or SARS Cov-2, a respiratory type illness is not a transient phenomenon but something that has continued to prevail and claim the lives of 361K Americans and 1.8 M lives globally. 

Despite many challenges we have all learned so much in a short span of time. We started to speak a whole new language including Phases of Reopening, Phases of Mitigation, Testing and Response Strategy and a whole host of new processes and procedures came barreling down the pipeline. 
In the mean-time Sunny Hill staff continued to care for and support our residents and their families and we have all pulled together to navigate this storm. New focus areas have emerged requiring attention. IDPH has developed and outlined guidance regarding a new program to facilitate “Essential Caregiver” involvement in resident and person centered care. These “Essential Caregivers” are not considered visitors but individuals essential to residents well-being. In light of Covid-19 duration and residents being unable to experience life as they knew it with obvious adverse effects IDPH took a deeper dive into effects and implications and devised some guidelines for facilities. Sunny Hill is in the process of adopting, developing and implementing these guidelines and initiatives. Additional information will be shared at a future date.  
Sunny Hill kicks off the New Year on a very positive note with our first Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic for residents and staff occurring on January 5th, in the Main Dining Room starting at 9:00am – 6:00pm. Sunny Hill has partnered with Walgreens to administer vaccinations with subsequent follow up clinics occurring on January 26th and February 16th, 2021. Based on some raw data it appears that approximately 70% or so of residents have consented to receive the Pfizer vaccine. 
Sadly, we also remain mindful of the many friends and family members that we have lost this last year, and our deepest sympathies are extended to their loved ones. We were also able to welcome many new friends into our lives, and want to express our gratitude to those that entrust us to care for them. We will continue to celebrate each other and the gifts we bring to our extended family relationships. 
Thank you to our family members, visitors, volunteers and community friends for their support and friendship as it has truly meant so much during these difficult times for all. We appreciate the love and support extended and displayed in so many different ways. 
May health and wellness be with you and your families throughout 2021. Please stay physically distant but socially connected.                                                   

Maggie McDowell. Administrator 

A Message from Yatin Shah, MD – Founder of Primary Care Joliet, Sunny Hill Medical Director

Yatin Shah, MD – Founder of Primary Care Joliet, Sunny Hill Medical Director  COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 and is thought to spread person to person. Social distancing and hand hygiene are the mainstays of limiting the spread of infection. Please continue to practice these behaviors to protect yourself and your loved ones. Thank you to all frontline workers that are risking their lives to protect the health of others. 

At a glance, things to remember…re visitation

Exterior Visitation

  • Combined State of Illinois guidelines as well as facility specific guidelines
  • In person, exterior visitation involving PUI status residents or residents with active Covid-19 infection, either laboratory confirmed or symptomatic are not allowed to participate in outdoor visits
  • Visitation will occur five days a week – Mon – Fri from 10:00am-3:00pm, with no visits between 11:30am – 1:00pm to allow for resident meals. Visitation occurring outside of designated times will be arranged on a case by case basis
  • Prescheduled visits will be in the Lower Level patio – Courtyard area
  • Entry/exit via gate only. Important to ensure that this gate is closed properly at all times as this presents a safety risk
  • Parking is available by the Therapy area
  • No parking on the grass or street
  • Visits will be 30 minutes in duration or as tolerated by resident
  • Need to exercise appropriate caution and care due to elevated environmental temperatures
  • Visitor must be prescreened 24 hours in advance of visit. Receptionist will call
  • Visitor will be screened on arrival with a temperature check
  • Any visitor with positive symptoms will not be able to visit
  • Resident will be screened prior to visit
  • Handwashing using ABHR must occur
  • Visitor and resident must wear a face mask at all times
  • Social distancing of 6 ft must be observed at all times
  • CRA/other will bring resident to patio area for visit
  • Life Engagement staff will monitor, screen visitors and clean visiting areas between visits
  • Visits will be cancelled during inclement weather
  • Window and virtual visits will continue
  • Do not bring pets or any outside food or drink for the resident
  • Drop off any items prior to visit per current protocol
  • Ensure physical distancing guidelines, failure to do so will result in your loved one being placed on PUI status for 14 days and a Covid-19 test completed if symptomatic

These approaches and expectations are critical to maintaining ongoing resident, family and staff safety. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Coping with Stress due to Covid 19

The last few months have brought dramatic changes to all our lives, from how we do our shopping to how we connect with our family members and friends.  Each of us is likely to experience different degrees of stress as a result of the impact of COVID -19 on our lives.  Here are some ideas based on several articles as well as my own experience working with Sunny Hill residents to help you identify and cope with the symptoms of stress you or your family members may be facing.

Identify the signs and symptoms of stress

The symptoms of stress can be physical as well as emotional and can include:

  • Sadness (including feeling grief over what has been taken from you due to COVID -19)
  • Anger/Irritability
  • Worry/racing thoughts/trouble concentrating/loss of energy
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical symptoms including headache, teeth clenching and muscle aches
  • Increased use of alcohol and tobacco

Acknowledging that what you are feeling is stress and talking about your experiences and emotions helps to validate that these emotions are real and allows you to take the steps to manage them.  Note that if any of these symptoms are persistent or interfering with your daily functioning (eg. ability to work, study)  please contact your health professional.

Identify what you can control and let go of what you can't

While we can't control the choices of other people we can control the choices we make to maintain our safety, such as practicing good hygiene, wearing masks and social distancing.  Educate yourself on the latest about the virus through reputable sources.  If thoughts about the future and what might happen become overwhelming steps to ground yourself in the present can be helpful.  These may include deep breathing, distracting yourself by engaging in an activity like coloring, and reminding yourself that you have overcome difficult times in the past.  The three coping strategies listed below are all helpful to manage stress and ones that I also review with residents here at Sunny Hill.

Engage in Self Care

Taking time every day for yourself allows you to recharge your emotional and physical batteries to best be able to manage stress successfully.  Strategies may include:

  • Physical activity - Walking, exercise, yoga, playing with a pet
  • Meditation, prayer or engaging in another kind of spiritual devotion, journaling what you are grateful for
  • Crafts, puzzles, reading, games (alone or with family)
  • Learning a new hobby or skill
  • Maintaining a daily routine 
Moderate your Media Consumption

Watching news reports for hours every day can be emotionally draining,  so try to limit your media time over the course of the day and note if your stress symptoms increase while watching and step away from the television, radio or computer!

Maintain  Social Connections while Social Distancing

While we may not be able to get together in person staying in touch with family and friends remains important to our emotional well being.  Strategies may include:

  • Phone calls or video chats
  • Window visits 
  • Writing letters or cards 
  • Sending along or bringing some pictures or reminiscing can be great ways to spend a visit or additions to a card  and can spark conversations within the facility as well!  

Karen Nekolny Smith, Psy.D.                                                                                                                                   
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Pioneer Network

Pioneer Network Logo

Pioneer Network advocates and facilitates deep system change and transformation in our culture of aging.

To achieve this, we:

• Create communication, networking and learning opportunities

• Build and support relationships and community

• Identify and promote transformations in practice, services, public policy and research

• Develop and provide access to resources and leadership

Click the link for Pioneer Network Resources: https://www.pioneernetwork.net/resource-library/