Operations at AHN Grove City are going as well as can be expected in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s taken a lot of management and creativity,” said JoAnne Clobus, strategic communications advisor for the Pine Township hospital.

While she wasn’t able to disclose how many COVID patients the hospital currently has, she did say that there are more than 300 people being treated for the virus among all AHN hospitals.

AHN Grove City is not in danger of running out of beds like some other hospitals in the region.

They are treating patients with COVID-19 and patients with other medical needs, and there have been fewer flu cases compared to previous years, Clobus said.

COVID-19 tests continue to be conducted in the parking lot, and the hospital has once again banned visitors.

In the very early stages of the pandemic this spring, visitors were not allowed. During the summer months, COVID-19 patients were permitted to select one person to visit them during their hospital stay, Clobus said.

Now, the hospital is able to help patients contact their loved ones; iPads are available.

The hospital has a steady supply of personal protective equipment for employees, and all clinical staff members will soon be getting P100 masks, which provide full coverage with vents and respirators.

Being part of a large health system like AHN means that the hospital hasn’t had trouble accessing supplies and resources or the funds needed to provide them.

AHN Grove City is stable right now with staffing. Certain employees are able to work in multiple departments, which is helpful when a staff member becomes sick or needs to quarantine.

It is important to provide as much support as possible to the staff during this time. Clinical staff gets free meals, and AHN has an employee assistance program, which provides counseling and other services; many employers offer these programs.

“If you feel like you need help, please get help,” Clobus said.

In a few weeks, the hospital will offer a new program for employees. A nurse on staff will be leading 15-minute sessions called “Wellness Wednesdays” with relaxation techniques, guided imagery and other decompression exercises.

The hospital also has an “escape room” of sorts for employees with things like comfortable seating, salt lamps, adult coloring books and warm beverages.

“We’re taking care of the caregivers,” Clobus said, adding that some employees continue to work from home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

She has noticed a change for the better in some people, calling the pandemic a “wake-up call.” More folks are not taking their health for granted, even putting more time and energy into quitting smoker or eating healthier.

She has also seen others practice more care and compassion, stepping up in ways that are kind and thoughtful.

Members of the Grove City community have been wonderful to AHN employees from the start of the pandemic, Clobus said, noting gifts of food and other tokens of appreciation.

The easiest way for people to help support the hospital is to wear a face mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing. Some people still aren’t taking it seriously, though.

“The best thing they can do for us is respect what we’re doing and follow the guidelines...the virus is making the rules,” Clobus said.

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