By: Carmen Ensinger, Greene Prairie Press

White Hall Nursing and Rehab residents are getting the opportunity to have their 15 minutes of fame thanks to the SJP Show which showcases a different resident each day on a video interview.

The SJP Show is the brainchild of Director of Admissions and Marketing Scott Phares who took over the position at WHNR just three weeks ago.

Phares, who is also a musician, said the SJP Show originally started out as a podcast to showcase various other artists and create content.

“When the virus hit us an we were quarantined, we were looking for things to keep the residents entertained and also give their families a connection to them,” Phares said.  “I decided it would be fun to interview some of the residents and adapted it into a video format.”

Phares said there has been no problem getting subjects for the interviews.

“I have done eight interviews already and have around 20 to 25 mores who are willing to do the interview,” he said. “In fact, those who are waiting for their interview are chomping at the bit to get in front of the camera.”

The subject matter to be discussed is wide open.

“We just kind of talk about their lives, tell their story or talk about things they did when they were younger,” Phares said. “Everything from where they went to school to special memories.  Some of them talked about the difference between going to a country school and a town school.  We just talk about their lives in general and whatever they want to share with everyone.”

The residents are loving it.

“Since our first interview went up last week, we have had over 2,000 views,” Phares said.  “I told the lady who did the first interview that she was basically a small town movie star now and she was so excited she almost fell out of her chair.”

Family members have also been very receptive to the idea.

“Because they are not able to see their loved ones right now because they can;t come into the facility, this gives them an option to see their relative,” Phares said. “In some cases, the stories they hear are stories they are hearing for the first time.”

As they enter week three of the “quarantine” Phares said the residents are in surprisingly good spirits.

“We are doing our best to keep them occupied and entertained and keep their mind off of the whole situation,” Phares said.  “We have an entire week of different themed days such as Hillbilly Day and Spirit Day.  We also have activities such as a bowling tournament down the halls and a basketball tournament. ”

As much as they would like to keep everything as normal as possible, there are some concessions which must be made.

“One of the things that has changed is they way they dine in the dining room,” Phares said. We can’t have a full dining room because the guidelines set for by the Centers for Disease Control mandate at least 6 foot between each resident.  That means we have people eating doe the halls instead of the way they are used to.”

Last week Phares put his musical background to good use playing a concert in the hall and has another one planned for this week.

“I’m kind of taking everything I do outside of my work in healthcare and trying to adapt it for her to help entertain the residents and take their minds off of being isolated, because I know a lot of them miss their families and going out and doing things like going to church or out to eat,” Phares said.  “We are just trying to do our best to keep their minds busy and their bodies active.”

With President Trump extending the stay at home mandate another 30 days until the end of April, this is only the beginning.

“This situation has allowed me and some other staff members to really rise to the occasion of making the most of what we have, and I feel like we are doing that,” Phares said.  “We have another while month to try to get creative and try to find things to do for our residents and keep both their minds and our minds in a positive direction and stay as safe as we can but have as much fun as possible while we are doing it.”