Keeping the residents safe, active and social are the three biggest goals for the staff at Woodland Care Center.
With new health protocols putting group activities and visitation to the center on hold, residents and staff are getting creative to stay active. Some residents have been spending more time in the garden while others are starting to experience video calling for the first time.
“A lot of our residents hadn’t used Facetime before,” Woodland Care Center Administrator Justin Settlemier said. “We had one resident that used it nine times in one day to call her family because she thought it was so cool.”
According to Settlemier, the center began implementing new health protocols early on in the pandemic. Visitation hours and vendor visits began to diminish in conjunction with new health policies for the staff.
“We have a pretty airtight infection control program, which includes training for staff and vendors,” Settlemier said, explaining how the center has a staff member that has been entirely dedicated to infection control. “She’s been taking the lead on all of this … She’s really helped us follow the guidelines and keep everyone safe.”
Along with having Stephanie Smith take the lead on infection control, Settlemier said the center has added a new staff member to the team to act as an “infection security guard” at the door. The new staff member ensures all occupants are wearing masks and following health guidelines as well as taking temperatures.
Settlemier said the facility is following the health department and disease experts for the most up-to-date information regarding health guidelines and coronavirus. The center is working with local health providers such as PeaceHealth to keep the population safe and update their protocols as needed.
In another effort to lower the risk of infection at the center, Settlemier said the center has been giving the staff as much information as possible and has handed out information pamphlets and told staff to quarantine themselves if they experience any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. According to Settlemier, the center tests each employee that has a symptom of the virus and “gets the results in a couple of days” before they can return to work.
For the future, Settlemier said the biggest key to health and safety at the care center is being able to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) when it is needed. According to Settlemier, finding and maintaining a supply of PPE equipment was a challenge for the center in the beginning of the pandemic. However, now the center has a partnership with local health organizations and the health department to ensure the supply of necessary equipment such as masks, face shields and gloves remains as steady as possible.
Along with incorporating new guidelines for staff, residents are also feeling the impact of the pandemic as group activities and group dining have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Many of the residents in the building are missing out on crucial social interactions with family and friends. While some residents may be using Facetime for the first time, others are out in the garden. Settlemier explained that the center had a “strong and robust” activities program prior to the pandemic that has currently been put on hold.
While group activities and group dining may be out for now, many activities are taking a new shape. Bingo, a favorite among residents at the home, now takes place in the hallways with the numbers being read over the intercom. Residents are able to visit friends in the center one-on-one as long as they maintain social distance and wear masks.
Settlemier explained that he hopes the public can follow the health guidelines as well so the center can get back on track to allowing visitors again.
“The governor's orders to mask up has really been a relief to us because as cases rise in the community, it impacts us as well and increases our likelihood of transmission,” he said. “And we hope for the public to follow those guidelines to help us out, too.”
For more information on Woodland Care Center visit woodlandcarecenter.com/