Nursing homes making adjustments during crisis

MONICA PRYTS | Allied NewsGrove Manor in Grove City is one of the local nursing homes that is restricting visitors in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Local nursing and personal care homes are restricting visitors and focusing on other preventative measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grove Manor in Grove City, which offers nursing, rehabilitative and personal care, suspended visitation around March 16 – before the Centers for Disease Control mandated it.

“We kind of took that preemptive precaution,” said Jeff Black, Grove Manor’s chief business officer and corporate compliance officer.

No visitors are allowed in the facilities unless it’s medically necessary, or they are visiting loved ones at the end of their life.

Residents who must leave to visit a doctor wash their hands before and after they return, and they wear gloves and masks, Black said, adding that they’re also instructed to change their clothes after the appointment.

Friends and family can connect with resident through phone calls and video chats.

“We’re working with technology,” he said.

The staff members are going the extra mile – checking in with residents and reaching out to their loved ones when necessary.

“They’re doing an awesome job,” Black said.

Staff members are doing activities with residents one-on-one, and they’re staying with their regular units, which brings consistency to the situation.

Everyone is coming together, and that includes housekeepers and the dietary and pastoral staff, he said.

Orchard Manor, a nursing and personal care home in Grove City, has also put visiting hours on hold except for end-of-life events, said Amber Morian-Gowetski, administrator.

A letter with more details was sent to residents’ family members, who can also stay updated via social media and there is a dedicated phone number. 

Staff members have received a refresher on virus prevention, and residents have learned about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Employees and residents are being monitored, and end-of-life visitors are being screened.

Activities are held in residents’ rooms, and the staff is helping them set up video chats and phone calls.

“Their social time is important, too,” Morian Gowetski said.

Loved ones can also email cards to residents, and they are printed out at Orchard Manor. The staff has been great at keeping spirits up.

“I’m so impressed,” she said.

Quality Life Services, which operates nursing homes in locations including Grove City and East Lackawannock Township, has said that visitation is limited to employees, contractors and consultants.

Those individuals are being screened before entering the properties, and the staff encourages family and friends to connect with residents through telephone, email, text, video chat and social media.

QLS’s sister organization, Don’t Stop Dreamin’, has offered to provide Apple iPads to every location so that residents may share the device for video chat with family members.

Group activities for residents inside and outside of the facilities have also been restricted.

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