While many of us have been at home during the state shutdown, others have been in the front lines every day, involved in healthcare, or caring for the elderly, or responding to emergencies.
Every day at Delhi Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, employees have been adjusting to state mandates, which continue to be refined as the COVID-19 virus lingers and the state begins a region-by-region, phased-in reopening.
Mary Pettinelli, Director of Marketing and Community Relations, said there are about 125 employees at this point, including new employees hired from among furloughed staff in the community.
Health screening for both staff and residents has been increased, and Pettinelli said visitor restrictions have been in place, along with modification of meal services and the elimination of activities that involve group gatherings. But she said the staff has worked hard to keep residents and their families feeling connected.
“We are routinely sending updates via mail for families as well as calling to ensure an open line of communication. We have been fortunate with technology to be able to FaceTime, Skype, FaceBook Video as well as window visits that have helped residents through this time without their families. Our activities department has families scheduled on routine video calls and it has helped in ways we didn’t know we would experience. Families from all over the country are now able to speak with their loved ones. We even had a family member graciously donate an iPad for all of our residents to use to communicate with their families.”
She said some of the connections have included staff.
“We have made sure to spend time celebrating with our already planned resident-staff activities such as Spirit Week and National Nursing Home Week. Last Friday we had a Parade of Love; we invited families to come to our front parking circle so they could see their families. We really all felt a lot of emotion. We didn’t know how much we missed our residents’ families and our feelings about their separation all came flooding in. We had a wonderful turnout; the weather was cooperative and we all agreed we’ll have to do it again!”
There’s been some love for the staff, too. The NAM Knights of America MC Southern Tier Chapter donated pizzas from Cuginos, and goodies from Bagels N’Cream.
Pettinelli said the facility’s leadership has been key to keeping staff morale up. “We have exceptional leaders that are competent, capable, and are great communicators to ensure all of our staff feel confident in providing care to our residents.”
Pettinelli said the New York State Department of Health and CMS have waived barriers to entry.
“We are here for families in the community looking for respite stays, rehabilitation services, as well as LTC placement. Please feel free to reach out to our admissions team for any help during this difficult time.”
She said the pandemic has offered facility leadership, and its staff, some valuable insights.
“We believe we will come away from this with many lessons, including the empathy we feel for our residents.”