Trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 has become a priority worldwide, from governments and schools to health care systems like Sanford Health and long-term care facilities, including those within the Good Samaritan Society.
Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The novel coronavirus has already spread rapidly in Seattle-area nursing homes.
“Nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19,” says the CDC website.
So the Good Samaritan Society decided March 10 to temporarily restrict visitors in all locations, except for residents who are receiving end-of-life care.
“While it was not an easy decision to restrict visitors, it was a decision that was proactively made to ensure the health and safety of residents,” said Good Samaritan Society Regional Vice President Heather Krzmarzick.
It followed recommendations from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
Preventing risk of infection
Visits from family are treasured by residents as well as their loved ones. But a visitor could unknowingly bring the virus into the facility. It could infect their loved one and then spread to other residents and employees.
Good Samaritan Society staff members consider residents as family, too. They are working to protect residents and reassure them during the unknowns of this challenging time. And they’re taking consistent precautions just as they do during influenza season.
Families can still connect with their loved ones through technology, such as phone calls, Skype, Facebook and FaceTime.
“Our dedicated teams within the Good Samaritan Society are working hard to care for the residents, including their psychological well-being, to connect with family through technology,” Krzmarzick said. “Our families can feel confident that our team members are having meaningful connections with their loved ones, just as they do every day, but especially during this time, to help compensate for the visitor restriction. The residents are our top priority.”