COVID has affected our entire world in ways we never thought imaginable. Things that Pine Village, and all nursing homes across the United States, have been mandated to do by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have been awe shocking. The national media focus on Kirkland, Washington, where COVID first appeared in long-term care has made us aware of the toll it can really have. I actually was able to hear the Kirkland administrator speak recently, and my heart just goes out to her and her team. They did the absolute best they could with the information and supplies they had. Since then, all recommendations from CMS have come from Kirkland’s experience.
On March 13, a no visitor policy was CMS mandated, with no end date in sight. As we gathered our thoughts and the team at Pine Village, we made the sobering calls to families to let them know that they would not be able to enter our building for an unforeseen amount of time. This means residents would not and have not hugged their spouse, child, grandchild or great grandchild for 13 weeks and counting. The only exception is end of life situations, and even then it is limited to two immediate family members.
Since then, massive regulation changes have continued in long-term care. At the writing of this article, all staff have several requirements before they can enter work: take their temperature, complete a questionnaire form about any symptoms they may be having and where they have been, utilize hand sanitizer, and don a face mask. How we eat meals, take part in activities, and communicate all look different since COVID.
To say I’m proud of the Pine Village team is an understatement. It is hard to truly describe how COVID has flipped us all upside down. Not only are the staff gracefully handling the changes at Pine Village, but they also are dealing with numerous changes at home – home schooling, spouses laid off, daycares closing (thank you to Cradles to Crayons for staying open!), and how to obtain groceries without coming into contact with COVID (thank you Moundridge Food Market for delivering!), just to name a few.
The Pine Village team is the best of the best! They have gracefully adapted to all the changes, while working hard to keep the residents spirits up, as well as morale. They have worked hard to keep residents connected to their families through FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Portal, Google Duo and more. And the residents & families – they too have handled all these changes with so much grace and understanding, thank you!
Other changes that campus has seen are the closure of the beauty shop, and the Wellness Center is closed to community members. Housekeeping has increased disinfecting, and dining doesn’t look like it used to.
Pine Village has remained COVID free and that continues to be our prayer. We do, however, have a plan in place when someone tests positive. Additionally, all staff have been cross trained so that we have the ability to help in any department. We also have worked very hard to secure personal protective equipment (PPE), which has seen a nation-wide shortage. And a huge thank you to all those who donated their time, talent and energy to sew cloth face masks – I honestly cannot express how invaluable those masks are and how much we appreciate them!
As our State slowly begins to reopen, it will still be a while until Pine Village starts to reopen. Long-term care is in the final phase of Governor Kelly and President Trump’s plans; additionally we must follow federal guidelines, not state.
As we continue forward in these uncharted waters, we pray for our residents, our community, our nation, and you. May we all stay healthy and safe. I would encourage you to stay in contact with your loved ones, get outside for exercise, and find comfort in knowing that God is in control. We will and are getting through this together.