Normally National Skilled Nursing Care Week (held last week, May 9-15) is a time for celebration at New Hampshire nursing homes, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was also a time for reflection and remembrance.

As a longtime registered nurse, I never imagined a more trying time. Applewood Rehabilitation Center thanks our residents and staff, our residents’ family members, HHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette and her team, and Gov. Sununu for support of nursing home care during the pandemic. We would not have gotten far without this support.

From facilities being shut by the federal government to visitation and group activities in March 2020, making our annual Senior Olympics an online experience, to our now achieving the nation’s highest staff vaccination rate, it has been an incredibly challenging journey.

In the next state budget, we now need legislators to support nursing home care, and our staff heroes, as we look to recover and move forward, stronger.