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An Inside Look at Remaining COVID Free in a Residential Care Facility

Denver, CO
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Caring for people with cognition deficits - dementia, strokes, traumatic brain injuries in a residential assisted living is challenging during normal times but add in the complications of COVID 19 and it has been one wild year for sure!  Following is a quick glimpse of what it has taken to remain COVID Free.

Normal times meant an enjoyable setting with activities, visits from family and friends, outings, exercise classes, live music, pet visits, family dining, etc. This care model addresses the needs of Memory Care with a secure setting, 2 caregivers taking care of 8 residents all day, special open concept residential home modified to meet the resident’s special needs, modifications to activities, adjustments to food service, medical oversite, etc.  We had to adjust their old normal to include the changes brought about by COVID 19.

Residents:

  • Daily temperature screenings and constant watching for symptoms of COVID
  • Reduced visitation - through a closed window using a phone or in the outside area. Residents miss loved ones, cannot remember why visits changed and do not realize the visitor with a mask is family.
  • Everyone wearing masks
  • Social distancing for meals and activities
  • Quarantining when necessary
  • Constant cleaning by staff, hand cleaning and sanitizing
  • COVID testing and the slow wait for results
  • Constant media attention about COVID and the terrible things happening in health care settings causing both residents and staff to become scared and depressed, wondering if they are going to die or cause someone else to become infected.

Staff:

  • Daily temperature screenings and constant watching for symptoms of COVID
  • If any symptoms were discovered or there was possible exposure outside of the facility, there was a COVID test done and quarantining until symptoms passed and negative test results were received
  • Wearing masks, screening residents, visitors (most were not allowed for 1st 6 months), conducting video meetings for residents and families and providers not allowed in
  • Managing residents and trying to maintain normal in this residential setting where social distancing is challenging because people want to move around and be near each other.
  • Flexible with schedule so they worked when available, not in a watch mode and rested when the other staff was back on shift. We had to carry extra staff throughout to make this process work for all.
  • Giving an extra dose of love and kindness to make up for the lack of family contact

So here we are today, a little burned out and exhausted, but happy we have remained COVID free for everyone’s sake.  We have all been vaccinated and have encouraged our regular visitors to do the same. Indoor visitation is being allowed, hugs and hand holding can happen again, weather is warming up so we can get outside, walk, get our gardens going, eat our meals, have some fun and find our new normal. The vigilance continues until this pandemic is over. 

Editor's Note: This article was submitted by Russ Udelhofen, Administrator of Jaxpointe Assisted Living Memory Care Homes. He may be reached at 303-420-5590 or email at info@jaxpointe.com

Click here to learn more:  https://www.seniorsbluebook.com/senior-housing/jaxpointe-at-allison-ct-memory-care-home-wheat-ridge-co

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Colorado - Denver Metro