How is this all affecting Long Term Care and those involved?
Written by: Teepa Snow - from an internal memo to the PAC Team 3/12/2020
I just read a post on line about two emergency room doctors with serious symptoms of COVID-19. One MD they talked to reported that doctors in emergency settings are at higher risk because they have to do tasks that require intimacy. I certainly agree that it is true and they deserve support and safety.
What I find curious and so under-valued is the number of care staff who are in the same position in residential and home care situations throughout the world with almost no recognition that they are also on the very front lines and deserve support and attention.
Additionally, what of those who will contract the virus and will not make it to the other side of the disease;
- Do we have a clear plan for when we will move to comfort care, and transition care rather than trying to survive the condition that will not allow for survival?
- Are we preparing those who will be there with the tools and awareness they need to support some thru the end of their life without isolating them until the bitter end?
- Do we have guidelines for families on when each person involved will have to make the decision to be all in, or stay out?
- Do we have plans for places and spaces for letting go of life rather than continuing to fight an impossible battle that is not worth the price of waging war against an intruder living deep within the body of a loved one?
- Do we have any reasonable plan for this?
The simple answer is no... but I am working through all of these questions and more to offer ideas and support because it is coming. And having a plan of action helps make change less unpredictable, less risky, less dangerous for everyone.
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Here is a post from Doris Gelbman’s Elderlaw facebook page. Thought I’d pass it along…
Copied from a friend - sooo true!! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ What Covid19 is doing to us in Long Term Care
In the past 48 hours, the Long Term Care world has been shook by new rules that are intended to keep our seniors safe, but have a ton of unintended consequences for our little residents.
We have implemented a whole bunch of NOs for our residents:
no visitors, no outings, no dining room, no bingo, no church services, no group therapy, no smoking in groups and no beauty shop.... just to name a few.
They are confused, frightened and don’t completely understand these rules that change by the minute. My heart breaks for them.
Let’s slow down and think about how one provides an average of 450 meals per day all individually to resident rooms with the same staff we have.
Let’s think about our staff who have had a million different instructions that change daily and nope- there’s no time for errors because you are held to a standard of perfection.
Oh and did I say most of their kids are out of school and have no place to go?
I’ve spoken to a million people today and you know what I’ve heard ALL day long?
YES we can have conference calls
YES we can comply with these rules
YES we will write new policies
YES we will make sure we deliver hot meals to our residents timely
YES we will take our residents out to smoke 1 or 2 at a time while keeping them 6 feet apart
YES we will figure out how to maintain social distancing for our residents with dementia
YES we will improvise our activities to keep our residents happy
YES we will complete every last stinking audit, form, skills check off and in-service
YES we will train residents on social distancing and hand-washing
YES we will do all this NOW
YES we will make sure our residents get to Face-Time with their families
YES we will capture tender moments to share with their families
YES YES YES YES
Seriously - I am overwhelmed at how resilient and incredible and dedicated the people who work in our industry are! We make magic happen with limited resources and live to tell!
I have MAD respect for every person who works in the LTC world!
I love the people I work with more than I can EVER explain!
It’s easy to doubt yourself and wonder if you’ve done enough, thought about everything, followed every sentence in the rules, ensured the safety and well-being of your people, given the right guidance.
But I just had a sweet little resident write me a few words of encouragement
“ We understand. I love you and thank you for doing the best you can to keep us safe”
I love the message and the theme of this post... From where I sit, stand, work, I would add that we will also need to have a plan of action and the just right training for the people living with brain changes of dementia. Those who are not able to take in the new rules and new ways of doing things. We will offer those who are caring and working and trying ways to provide what those residents and clients need as well. They will need intimate care, they will need touch and close proximity for day-today survival. We will need to improvise, build new teams of care support that limit contact with some while providing more contact for some of the most vulnerable.
For those who will not make it to the other side of this infection. Those who are so vulnerable and will not have the reserve to recover - How will we help them thru their last hours of life ... we surely must do more than don our masks, gloves, and gowns. Strategies to protect those who will be present and will care is vital... Ways to connect and to learn the art of letting someone go home with our support and the awareness they have blessed our lives is a true gift worth giving.
Although here at PAC we are limited in our ability to be in-person with others, we are working on getting some resources up and out to support the work that must be done for the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of all!
I am so glad we have so many partners in our efforts to change the culture for better support and care!