The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every segment of every community. From individuals and households to educational facilities, commercial industries, and the healthcare sector, the ramifications of this global outbreak have been intense and unprecedented.
Perhaps the most impacted among the nation’s population are the 1.4 million residents at more than 15,000 long-term care facilities across the U.S. Pegged as the most vulnerable to experience severe complications from contracting COVID-19, these individuals have been locked down for months, to protect them from the virus.
While few would deny the true heroes of the coronavirus pandemic are the doctors and nurses manning the frontlines in healthcare facilities around the world, the men and women staffing nursing homes have earned hero status as well. From the faithful kitchen and laundry staffers to the therapists, CNAs, nurses, and administrators, these essential workers have been tasked with the well-being of our elderly during a world-wide health crisis.
Despite concern for personal health and that of their families, senior living and long-term care facility staff have not only risen to the challenge of these difficult times; many are going above and beyond the call of their routine, daily duties. With visits from family and friends forbidden, nursing home employees have had to assume the dual roles of caregiver and supportive “others” in the lives of their residents. Even as nursing facility teams strive to stay abreast of the continually changing mandates and guidelines from the federal and state governing authorities, they are committed to the health and safety as well as the emotional and social needs of their clients.
These difficult times have called for out-of-the-box thinking and resourcefulness at the highest level. The caring, dedicated staffers are willing to meet challenges on behalf of patients they know and love. Rather than add another item to the list of restrictions, one nursing home pulled out all the stops to continue a favorite patient experience. Because a local ice cream van was no longer permitted to visit the facility, staff created a station replicating the time-honored tradition complete with a snappy jingle. They reported the endeavor a success as the makeshift ice cream station brought smiles and allowed residents a piece of normalcy during these uncertain times. Another community created fun videos where residents and staff sang and danced. They posted these on social media for family and friends to see.
We salute and applaud the dedicated teams tending to the needs of our most vulnerable population during this crucial time. Thank you for your caring hearts and hands and the passion with which you are meeting the ongoing needs of senior living and long-term care residents nationwide. You are truly #healthcareheroes.