WARSAW — Following an outbreak of Coronavirus cases that occurred at a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., nursing home facilities around the country began bans on visitation.
The precautions are being taken because the residents at these facilities are among the most vulnerable.
Early last month, the federal government recommended that family and friends of residents of any type of senior living community should keep their distance because some people can have COVID-19 and not have symptoms. Others may be contagious days before symptoms begin to show.
Local nursing homes are taking steps to ensure safety among staff and residents while encouraging alternate forms of communication between residents and family members.
Julie Steele, executive director for Miller’s Health Systems, Inc., discussed how the pandemic has affected day-to-day operations at Miller’s Merry Manor and the lives of the residents.
“It goes without saying that the visitation restrictions are difficult for patients and their families, but they have been very supportive through the changes,” Steele said. “They know that ultimately the goal is to keep them healthy.”
Steele said in-room activities have been increased as well.
“We have purchased Chromebooks for our buildings and are encouraging families to schedule video chats with their family members,” Steele said. “We also encourage them to use their own phones and tablets for FaceTime, Facebook Messenger and phone calls.”
Steele said the families of Miller’s nursing home residents have been supportive.
“They’re very resourceful about finding new ways to support their loved ones,” Steele said.
She said Miller’s employees have done an exceptional job of responding to the recent changes.
Family members have been spotted at nursing homes around the county “visiting” with residents through windows, some holding up signs to communicate.
A spokesperson for Lake City Place in Warsaw, an Enlivant Assisted Living Community, released the following statement:
“The safety, health and comfort of our residents and employees remain our top priority. We are carefully following the rapidly evolving COVID-19 guidance from the CDC, as well as local and state health agencies. You can see the measures we have in place here: https://www.enlivant.com/covid19. Our team is dedicated to meeting the needs of our residents and is working tirelessly to ensure their personal well-being, including maintaining communication with loved ones, physical activity and meaningful personal activities.”
Paddock Springs, Warsaw, a Trilogy Living Community, displays the following information on their website: The health and well-being of our residents and employees is always our first priority.
Therefore, we are taking extra precautions over the coming weeks and months to ensure that our campuses remain guarded against the spread of viral infections. We are following guidance from the CDC, CMS, and state officials and have adopted a policy to restrict visitors to our campuses. Per this guidance, we are able to make exceptions for end of life care. We understand that this is a big ask for our residents and families. As a healthcare provider, it is our obligation to do everything we can to protect those we serve.
Additionally, we are providing our employees, residents, visitors and vendors with ongoing education regarding proper hygiene practices. This includes heightened awareness about the importance of hand-washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and the frequent sanitizing of all surfaces.
We understand that we care for our country’s most vulnerable population, and we are committed to ensuring their health and happiness. Every member of our campus team is dedicated to this mission, and we will always operate with our residents’ best interests at heart.