Local nursing homes share their experiences in taking care of some of the most vulnerable population during current COVID-19 pandemic

Good Samaritan Society - Waukon ...
Good Samaritan Society - Waukon ...
Northgate Care Center ...
Northgate Care Center ...
Thornton Manor ...
Thornton Manor ...

Due to ongoing measures and concerns relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic, The Standard recently reached out to the three nursing homes located within the local area to find out how residents and staff are navigating through this difficult time, how residents are staying connected with their families and if there are any requests they would like to share with the public. The questions that were provided to the three care facilities - Good Samaritan Society-Waukon, Northgate Care Center in Waukon and Thornton Manor in Lansing - and the responses received from administrators of each facility appear below, beginning beneath each facility’s respective photo.
As of Monday, April 20, across the state of Iowa there are reports of 10 long-term care facilities that have recorded outbreaks of the COVID-19 disease. An outbreak threshold set by the State of Iowa is three or more confirmed positive cases reported within a facility. Those outbreaks have occurred in six different counties, with three of those counties having two or three facilities reporting such outbreaks. The 339 positive cases reported from those 10 long-term care facility outbreaks in Iowa account for more than 10 percent of the state’s 3,159 confirmed cases reported as of that same Monday, April 20 timeframe. The State of Iowa also reports that, as of Monday, April 20, 48% of Iowa’s 79 reported deaths from COVID-19 have been residents of long-term care facilities.

SHARP CONTRAST LOCALLY
Despite further statewide numbers that show 189 confirmed positive cases and 33 deaths from COVID-19 having occurred in the elderly population of 81 years of age or older, Allamakee County currently paints a much different picture. As of Monday, April 20, the county has reported no COVID-19 cases or deaths within that elderly population range.

County officials give credit for that low local impact within the highest age range to the prevention measures taken by local long-term care facilities. Visitor restrictions and stringent mitigation measures among employees entering and exiting the building began with the onset of the earlier influenza season and were ramped up considerably as the extent and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in late February and early March.
 

Good Samaritan Society - Waukon ...

Cathy Taylor, Executive Director, Good Samaritan Society - Waukon

What communication methods are families encouraged or welcome to use with residents during this time?
Good Samaritan Society has set up what is called “Send a Note,” which is web based and families/friends can send emails to residents along with a picture and they are printed and delivered within 48 hours. We also had iPads delivered to the facility for FaceTime and WebEx. Families are also calling to let us know that they will be at a window and we assist their loved one to the window and they talk through the phone while they are able to see each other.

Are there any types of donations or special requests that would be appreciated by residents and staff?
We have received so many amazing donations of PPE (personal protective equipment) - including homemade cloth masks, safety glasses, N95 masks and face shields, flowers from both Waukon Greenhouse and Sycamore Floral, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and a variety of treats. PPE supplies continue to be a challenge and if anyone has access to PPE supplies, please feel free to reach out to us. Residents are loving the flowers, special treats, etc.

What types of activities are residents enjoying?
Bingo, “Friends of Residents”, music, outdoor time.

How are residents and staff doing during this difficult time?
We are staying strong. Having theme days throughout the week, spreading love through extra treats, “Hearts of Hope” decorating and just continuing open communication.

Is there anything that you would like to share with the public?
Thank you for your continued support and prayers, and the love that you are showing to the residents and staff.
 

Northgate Care Center ...

Lou Ann Wikan, LNHA, Administrator, Northgate Care Center - Waukon

What communication methods are families encouraged or welcome to use with residents during this time?
Northgate Care Center is owned and operated by ABCM Corporation. If family members visit their website at www.abcmcorp.com, then you can send your family member a special greeting card. Families are also engaging with their loved ones by phone, email, visiting face to face through the glass entry doors, some family members have called and expressed a desire to decorate outside the resident windows with springtime decorations. JaDecc’S, our local U.S. Cellular dealer, has provided us with an iPad so that our residents can Facetime or video chat with their family members. It is always uplifting to see residents relax and smile after we assist them to make contact with their loved ones.

Are there any types of donations or special requests that would be appreciated by residents and staff?
Donations are always welcomed and especially needed with the COVID-19 precautions as we do not share supplies between residents.  Additional hand sanitizer and homemade masks are always a great donation during this pandemic. Jigsaw puzzles - especially the large, 300-piece size, large print word find and crossword puzzle books, nail polish, coloring books, large print storybooks. All donations can be left in our front entry way or in a bin outside the Administrative office area.

What types of activities are residents enjoying?
ABCM Corporation locations have also restricted all group activities, internal and external, for the foreseeable future, to help reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus. We understand that limiting visitors, along with canceling group activities and communal dining, is a disruption in the day-to-day norm that our residents and tenants have come to expect and enjoy; we are exploring new ways to communicate with loved ones, as well as providing increased one-on-one internal activities for our residents and tenants.
Our Activity Departments, Assisted Living Managers, and other team members have already come up with some unique ways to engage resident and tenants with their loved ones and in activities specific to their personal likes and enjoyment. We will continue to do so to ensure the well-being of our residents and tenants during this time of restrictions.
At Northgate Care Center, we offer 1:1 exercise, Spiritual and Rosary tapes, audio books, sing-a-longs in resident rooms, massages, manicures, popcorn time, internet games, Decorah eagle cam, jigsaw puzzles, coloring pages, word search, crossword puzzles, and personal resident visits. Our Activity Assistant plays the piano several times a week. We use our resident computer to provide our residents with online church services and Catholic mass, polka music, and music from the recent Waukon High School Pop’s Concert choir and band program, as well as other You-Tube entertainment. A staff member who has completed her beautician training at Capri College is providing our residents with special haircuts and new hairstyles.

How are residents and staff doing during this difficult time?
Staff and residents understand that these are difficult circumstances and are supportive of each other! We are all trying to stay positive and upbeat! We have educated our staff and keep them informed of the new COVID-19 protocols in order to help combat stress. We have treated the staff with special treats like Subway sandwiches and donuts, etc.

Is there anything that you would like to share with the public?
We are grateful for the wonderful and supportive community that we live in. The residents have appreciated receiving donated flowers from the Waukon Greenhouse and Sycamore Floral. Robey Memorial Library has been helpful in assisting our residents in getting large print books. Families have become creative in their efforts to stay connected to their loved ones. All of this support and care helps to bolster our efforts to do the best we can in helping each other make it through this difficult time.
 

Thornton Manor ...

Sam Kuhn, Administrator, Thornton Manor - Lansing

What communication methods are families encouraged or welcome to use with residents during this time?
We are utilizing FaceTime and Skype through our iPad and laptops, as well as portable phones to resident rooms, and having families talk with residents from outside their window or our living room area with a portable phone. Email access is also available through our website, www.thorntonmanorlansing.com.

Are there any types of donations or special requests that would be appreciated by residents and staff?
Any PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies including gloves, face shields, masks would be most welcome. Recreation Therapy requests would include Relaxation/Essential oils or lotions for residents.

What types of activities are residents enjoying?
We have restructured our activity programming to meet social distancing guidelines and the Recreation Therapy Department is providing one-to-one activities in rooms along with activities in the hallways including BINGO, dice and card games, piano music, sing-a-longs and trivia, to name a few. Rosary and religious services via television are also popular these days. Fridays bring Happy Hour and special treats down each hall in addition to our daily coffee socials.

How are residents and staff doing during this difficult time?
Residents as well as staff are adjusting to our “new” norm and staff are doing an incredible job keeping our residents and tenants upbeat and informed of any changes necessary to stay safe.

Is there anything that you would like to share with the public?
We appreciate all the outpouring of support and encouragement, gifts, calls, and donations from various local businesses as well as families. We are also grateful for the people who have created facemasks, gowns and donated supplies to our facility. Allamakee County Emergency Management has also secured gowns, masks and supplies for us. We are blessed to live in such a great community! We are all in this together.
 

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)