Caring House Opens Doors to Visitors

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


Family and friends are once again welcome to visit their loved ones at The Caring House Skilled Nursing Facility – Gila River Health Care, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the facility to close its doors to visitors for the health and safety of residents and staff over a year ago.


Visitation to The Caring House (TCH) resumed on Mar. 22 with new requirements. Currently, visitation is limited to 45 minutes and the facility is only allowing two visitors at a time with no physical contact between the visitors and residents. 


“We try to make it as safe as we can,” said Ron Preston, TCH Administrator. “We’ll take small steps before we open it up to normal.” When visitations first resumed, they were conducted outdoors. Due to warmer weather, visitors are now welcome indoors after completing a health screening by TCH staff upon entering the building.


A designated area has been set up in the lobby and a plexiglass barrier has been installed for the safety of the residents. When visitations were suspended, TCH offered a “cruiser program” to residents, which allowed them to be driven to visit any part of the Community from a safe distance during the pandemic.


Brenda Robertson, former District 5 Representative and a Culture teacher in the Community, will once again be able to spend time with her daughter, Wahlean “Bobbie” J. Riggs. While they talked on the phone every day, it had been over a year since they have been able to see each other in-person. 


“We couldn’t visit like we would like to, becasuse we used to visit quite a bit before the pandemic,” said Robertson. Robertson said although she couldn’t visit with loved ones keeping busy with exercise, playing bingo and the game of horseshoes with other residents and staff members.


During the visit with her daughter, Robertson shared a video on her iPad several songs she performed with one of the staff members. “She’s kind of a leader here,” said Preston. He shared stories about Robertson socializing with other residents and often shares her bingo winnings. To schedule a visit, call TCH at (520) 562-7400.