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Assisted Living Facilities Take Precautions DurIng Coronavirus Pandemic

By Garrett Krohne

With essential businesses being the only places that are able to still operate, it means the healthcare industry, while taking the proper precautions, are still up and running. In Nashville, it spells unchartered waters for the workers at Friendship Manor as well as Washington County Hospital.

Since the development of the ailment, both places have taken several steps in an attempt to keep their patients, as well as the community as safe as possible. Before the government began closing restaurants and bars, Washington County Hospital had already begun adjusting their functions.

“They’re being monitored. The first week was rough because they were confused why they couldn’t see their families or go to the cafeteria, but they are doing really well,” Stitch said.

Although access to the facility is restricted, she explained many people come and see their loved ones through the window.

Not only are the patients having to endure the bizarre set of circumstances, the employees have to as well.

“It’s a little stressful for everybody, but we’re fighting through it. I’m hoping this gets lifted May 1st” Stitch said.

She noted workers must be screened and fill out a questionnaire before they start their shifts as well as get their temperature checked. Such questions include whether the employee has experienced a cough, if they have traveled, or know anybody who has tested positive.

As for the family members, Stitch was pleased with how people have handled not being able to see their loved ones.

“It’s been great, I thought we’d have some blowback, but there’s been none,” Stitch said.

She explained people are taking advantage of Facetiming and phone calls and the resources provided by the facility are receiving a lot of usage. As of now, there has been nobody at Friendship Manor test positive or show symptoms of the virus.

“We check their vitals every day,” Stitch said.

Stitch is hoping the regulations are lifted May 1st, but she mentioned she would rather be shut down than for more people to be put at risk.

Washington County Hospital is also offering similar services. Staycie Hodge, Director of Nursing, says patients are able to use their phones to facetime and call at their leisure. They do have one tablet, which Hodge says is cleaned between every room and his seeing a lot of usage.

“Not every family facetimes, so it can be kind of difficult,” Hodge said.

She also noted many staff members allow patients to use their phones as well.

Much like the situation at Friendship Manor, Hodge describes the employees as stressed.

“We’re stressed, but we’re handling changes well. We’ve seen a lot of camaraderie and teamwork to meet requirements. They’ve done great,” Hodge said.

Although the employees are handling the situation to the best of their abilities, she added some of the patients are having a difficult time.

“Some of them are lonely, they’re missing family, and our staff members are doing their best to help with that,” Hodge said.

All of the residents’ vitals are checked and documented everyday. Employees are also required to be screened before every shift. Halfway between each shift, they get their temperatures checked again, and if it is greater than 100 they are sent home and tested. Hodge said there have only been two employees sent home, but both results came back negative, and they were able to return to work a couple days later.

The Director of Nursing also had high praise for the family members who are unable to come and visit.

“They’ve been understanding, they know we are just following recommendations,” Hodge said.

Hodge noted the staff has spent a lot of time with education and preparation in case of an overflow. They have had two education classes so far where they practice codes and intubation, and they will sit through two more on Wednesday.

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