Local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior retirement communities are pulling out all the stops to ensure that their residents stay safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s not about ‘I,’ it’s about the bigger picture. This really has affected the elderly,” said RoseStone Retirement Community Owner Kim Kemp. “We’re doing our best to try and keep a positive life for them.”
RoseStone, located at 4089 Hwy. 218 Bypass in Paris, is currently on lockdown, and is taking lots of precautionary measures.
No visitors are permitted in the building, and 6-foot socially distanced outdoor areas are set up for families to visit.
Residents are only making necessary doctor’s visits. Kemp said employees call the doctor’s offices from outside so their residents don’t need to sit in waiting rooms.
“We try to get them in the back door as much as possible,” she said.
Kemp said there have been no COVID-19 cases at the facility so far.
All staff members and their families have been asked to quarantine themselves in order to keep residents safe, and general screenings of employees including temperature tests are conducted at the start of each shift.
The facility is disinfected often, and hand sanitizer stations are set up throughout RoseStone for employees and residents to keep clean and safe.
Kemp said the facility has been able to continue indoor residential activities.
She said these activities are incredibly important to the residents, and if they follow all COVID-19 protocol, there shouldn’t be a problem.
“I keep (the resident activities) for their mental well-being,” Kemp said. “We can only do it if everyone follows the guidelines.”
Across the county, at The Farms of Puryear, Administrator Zach Bell is making sure his residents are safe, too.
“We’re keeping all the unnecessary staff members out of the building,” he said. “They’re working from home.”
Staff at The Farms, located at 220 College St., are being screened at the beginning of their shifts as well.
“We have had some positive cases,” Bell said. “I can’t disclose much more than that, but they’re doing well.”
Bell said those cases were confirmed about a week ago.
Hand sanitizer stations are set up throughout The Farms, and residents and employees alike are encouraged to wash their hands often.
All staff are wearing masks to work, and visitation has been indefinitely suspended. No outside visitors or vendors are permitted in the facility.
Deliveries to The Farms are also being dropped off outside and disinfected before they are brought in.
All group activities at The Farms are currently suspended. Staff members are making time, however, to have one-on-one activities with the residents.
Bell said these activities depend on the resident’s interests, and there was one woman there who loved to play rummy.
According to a New York Times article from May 11, COVID-19 has infected more than 153,000 residents at about 7,700 long-term care facilities nationwide.
About a third of all COVID-19 related deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.