The holidays will look a lot different at Good Samaritan Society locations this year because of continued safety measures and restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. However, Society President and CEO Randy Bury says there is hope.
During a Nov. 19 interview, Bury said that a COVID-19 vaccine will bring some relief to communities across the country soon.
“Hang in there just a little bit longer with us. We are told that that vaccine, the first one, is literally just weeks away from deployment out into our facilities for both our staff and our residents. That is really the answer. The answer to all of this is, let’s get vaccinated,” Bury said.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Society’s leader can’t say enough how much he appreciates the health care heroes working on the front lines at more than 300 locations nationwide.
“We say thank you a thousand times and it still seems inadequate. They’re carrying the heaviest burden,” Bury said.
Who gets COVID-19 vaccine first
Bury says a safe and effective vaccine will be ready for staff and residents shortly. The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply because of its rigorous approval process, he says.
“They’ll be among the first to get the vaccine,” Bury said.
He says the vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible.
“I’d get it tomorrow if it was available,” Bury said.
In the meantime, it is important for everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have to double down on the masks and hand washing and social distancing — all of those things because we’re so close. The race is not over,” Bury said.
Asking for holiday help
Current visitor restrictions at Society locations are meant to keep residents safe. Bury says being isolated from family members can be mentally challenging.
“You can’t underestimate the impact of that. That is real,” Bury said. “You can’t replace a family member’s hug.”
Staff members are going above and beyond to try and fill that gap.
The Society is encouraging community members to come up with creative ways to connect with residents during the holidays. That could be window caroling, building snowmen outside resident windows or donating a meal to health care workers.
“Those kinds of things show the folks in those facilities that even though there is this isolation right now, they’re not alone. Other people care about them, think about them and will invest their time in trying to make it a little better for them,” Bury said.
Bury says he anticipates guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about how the Society can adjust restrictions after the vaccine has been made available.
Until then, he’ll be thinking about our residents and staff members this holiday season.
“I truly can’t thank our staff enough. They are making incredible sacrifices during this time. They care for our residents as if they are their own family. During the holidays, this will be especially true,” Bury said.
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