WHAT METHODIST RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES IS DOING TO PROTECT OUR RESIDENTS AND STAFF AS TEXAS RE-OPENS
THE BATTLE CONTINUES
In early March of 2020, everything changed. A new virus meant that new barriers were put in place. Windows between mothers and daughters. Glass doors between sons and fathers. Rubber gloves now impede a warm touch while face masks conceal a kind smile. New regulations keep family and friends away from sharing in playful banter, exchanging meaningful memories or simply giving the healing gift of touch. While some of this can happen with the use of a tablet or smart phone, there are many complications when it comes to seniors who may have hearing issues, trouble with technology or a dementia diagnosis. These challenges aside, there is simply nothing that can replace the power of presence. The absence of these critical loved ones in our buildings has created a painful gap in the overall well-being of our residents. We know it…we feel it…and yet…here we are.
Meanwhile, we have staff that are bravely coming to work every day, strapping on their full wardrobe of personal protective equipment (PPE) and doing their best to stand in that gap. They have become hairdressers, nail technicians, comedians, prayer partners, confidants, caregivers and friends all rolled into one. They squeeze out every drop of love and attention that they have while also knowing that it won’t be enough. They have learned to smile with their eyes, project with their voices and breathe deeply behind their protective masks.
Families are tired, caregivers are tired, and our residents are tired. While we don’t know what the future may hold, we are convinced of the truths that are found in scripture. Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
We are convinced that better days are ahead. Therefore, we will continue to fight this invisible virus until one by one, the barriers that were built by the virus are torn down. We pray that you will join us in the resolve to implement excellent prevention measures in our daily lives to ultimately protect the most vulnerable. When positive cases surge in the city and surrounding areas, the probability of exposure in our buildings dramatically climbs. We must all do our part.
Here is how you can help reduce the spread in your area:
Wash- wash your hands with soap and water frequently
Cover-always wear a face mask when around others
Distance- maintain at least 6 feet between you and others
Stay Home- please stay home if you are experiencing any type of illness
Avoid- avoid large gatherings or public spaces that are prone to crowds
HOW MRC IS FIGHTING…
…to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings:
• Staff are screened multiple time each day.
• Staff are isolated during the work day to only their assigned area in the building.
• All staff wear approved and recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as facemasks and gloves.
• MRC recently distributed masks to staff to share with their family to be worn when in public.
• Continued education and resourcing for the most superior prevention methods.
• Staff and/or residents may be proactively tested for COVID-19 when there are indicators that direct exposure may have occurred.
…when a positive case is reported in our building:
• Our team does thorough contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been placed at increased risk based on the nature of their direct exposure. Those who are impacted are then notified and given personal protocol to follow to eliminate additional spread which may include self-quarantine for a period of time.
• We engage our Medical Directors, who are very involved in advising our teams, to build customized care plans for positive testing residents that will help mitigate the spread in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
• Any positive testing staff members are placed on paid leave until they are safe to return to work.
• We notify public health as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC.
• We sanitize all surfaces according to CDC recommendations and continue to sanitize to these standards on a regular basis.
• All residents are closely monitored for symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19 multiple times per day.
• Staff and/or residents may be tested for COVID-19 when there are indicators that direct exposure may have occurred or to monitor the well-being of an individual who formerly tested positive.
• Each MRC community has a staff contingency plan that is supported by our expert teams across the state. In the event of a staffing shortage due to rapid spread of the virus, we can pull in teams from our sister communities so that the care and attention that our residents have grown to expect is not changed.
The kindness, support and encouragement that we get from our residents and their families is what sustains us during these difficult days, weeks and months. We hope that we also sustain them with our commitment to the values that are at the center of all that we do, integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence. It is in this spirit that we humbly care for our residents like they are our family.
We are in this together. We are strong. We are the MRC family.
Your MRC Team