State of the Community
By Sarah Griggs, Executive Director
There have been many challenges over the last several months – some big, some small. However, I am so proud of my team when facing each and every one of them.
A couple of the biggest challenges came in the very beginning when CMS issued their guidelines in mid-March. My team approached each challenge by thinking outside the box, asking themselves what they can do to stay in compliance with CMS, but also help residents and families adapt to the new situation along with having the best quality of life as possible.
Restricting visitation was probably the most impactful to our residents and families. Several residents and family members were used to daily and weekly visits that had to cease with no advance warning. With this challenge, we needed to increase our psychosocial support for not only our residents, but our families as well. We embraced adapting to different forms of communication.
With the addition of iPads throughout the departments, all staff have been empowered to establish communication between residents and their loved ones at any time. Window visits have also been popular amongst all levels of care. In addition, we have been blessed to discover in healthcare, that we have the perfect set up for “fence visits.” Families and residents have been able to visit outside within certain guidelines that have allowed them to still see and speak to each other, while remaining safe.
My team has also increased written communication updates via email to family members. As an example, we opened the beauty salon at the end of July. We tried to snap quick pics of the residents as they finished their services and sent those pics to families via email or text.
My team approached communal dining and activities in the same way. Small social distancing group dining and activities by floor or hallways has kept residents active and connected.
While this has been a difficult adjustment for everyone, my team has remained positive. There have been numerous times that I have seen the staff continue to place the resident’s safety first. They are going above and beyond, always thinking of the safety of the residents and co-workers.
In many ways, the Presbyterian Manor team is a family to each other as well as the residents. With any family unit, there is a core value that keeps the family strong and united during challenging times. Over the last several months, that is what we have seen. This family has circled the wagons to protect the family.
Everyone is ready to re-open, however the biggest challenge that I see is overcoming the “fear.” Everyone wants to get back to normal, or at least a new normal, but there is this underlying “fear.” Our approach is to take it one-step at a time to help both residents and staff feel comfortable. The re-opening plan is extensive and there are many pieces to it. When the leadership team reviewed the plan, we decided to take a slow approach and only “re-open” a few things at a time. By slowly easing into the different pieces, both residents and staff have been able to adjust easier to either readapting to a routine that has not been in place for several months or a “new normal.”
More than anything, the thing we are all looking forward to most when our community reopens is seeing our residents reunite with their loved ones!