FHCA has named Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center the Grand Prize Winner of its 2021 Long Term Care Photo Contest. The winning photo, “Buddies Reunited,” was captured by photographer Dana Fortson, the center’s Director of Community Relations. Based in Live Oak, Fla., Suwannee Health and Rehab was impacted early by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, operations had to cease quicker than most long term care facilities in Florida, and residents and their families had to adjust to the abrupt stop in visitation. A small community with a big heart, the team at Suwannee worked through those challenges while still remaining focused on enriching their residents’ lives to the best of their ability. Once the center was able to schedule window visits, it boosted staff morale and warmed their hearts. Suwannee’s residents had gone months with limited outside interaction from friends and families, so the window visits were uplifting for everyone.
Fortson has been a member of the Suwannee team for eight years. The photo she captured is of Mr. W., a Suwannee resident whose children are unable to visit often because they do not live close by. Pictured with Mr. W. is Chasen, the son of another dedicated Suwannee staff member. After daycare ended, Chason made a regular routine out of coming by to wave to the residents, including Mr. W., who always stopped by the window for his daily greeting from little Chason.
Fortson shared that she wanted to capture the essence of family and friends when taking this photo. “If 2020 taught us anything, it is the word ‘essential’, but I look at it in not only in terms of healthcare workers but in its totality,” said Fortson. “We are essential pieces to someone. In skilled nursing facilities, our family members, friends, and community are essential to what we do and the care we provide. We depend on them to increase our resident’s socialization and promote their independence, and I felt as though this picture captured that message.”
FHCA rewarded Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center with $500 to contribute toward staff and resident activities. Fortson will also receive a $50 Visa gift card for capturing this image.
FHCA’s Long Term Care Photo Contest is open annually to those who live, work, or volunteer in an FHCA member care center or those who work with an FHCA business partner. Nearly 100 photos were entered into this year’s contest, which focused on the bright spots during COVID and how staff and residents stayed resilient throughout the pandemic with activities, virtual visits, community support, drive-by parades and more.
The winning photos will be displayed during FHCA’s 2021 Annual Conference & Trade Show, July 25-29 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando. Read more about this year’s Long Term Care Photo Contest, winners and view all the entries by clicking here.