COVID-19 Q&A: Nursing leader on caregiver, resident safety

Good Samaritan Society makes phased reopening plans for residents and visitors

Rochelle Rindels and Courtney Collen sit facing each other in lounge chairs during a Facebook Live broadcast at the Good Samaritan Society National Campus.

The nearly century-old Good Samaritan Society, one of the nation’s largest non-profit providers for senior care services, has a long history of providing care to older adults.

That care looks different than a typical hospital stay or acute care setting, according to Rochelle Rindels, vice president of nursing and clinical services for the Good Samaritan Society.

Watch: Facebook Live with Rochelle Rindels on Good Samaritan Society Facebook page and the Sanford Health Facebook page

“In the long-term care setting, these are our residents’ homes. As a nurse or caregiver in long-term care, you are a part of their family,” Rindels said. “You hear about their history, growing up, getting to know those more intimate details and build that strong connection which is so valuable.”

Caregivers at the Sioux Falls Village weighed in on that relationship-driven care, calling it “rewarding.” And they’re grateful for an opportunity to fill in as family while visitor restrictions are in place.

“I love (the residents) just as much as I love my family and I’ll say that over and over,” nurse manager Brittany Brees said. “It’s a rewarding job and I hope they know that since they can’t be here, we’ll fill in that spot until they can.”

Safety and visitor restrictions

“We know they’re among the most vulnerable populations, so physical and emotional safety is always top of mind for our caregivers,” Rindels said. “From the beginning of COVID-19, late February, we’ve been following CDC guidance.”

While Sanford Health announced plans to lift some visitor restrictions, Good Samaritan Society leaders won’t be as quick to make a similar move just yet. However, conversations are underway about a phased approach for reopening specific areas of service depending on the state. The governing and certification body for long-term care released new guidelines for that phased approach for reopening nursing homes.

“We’ll look at what the community spread is happening in our communities,” Rindels explains. “In an effort of safety, we’ll probably be one of the last entities to formally reopen.”

Likely first steps would include lifting internal restrictions and allow for more socialization, meals together, and activities.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Expert Q&A, News, Senior Services

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