On Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from the Westhampton Care Center. My uncle’s roommate was running a fever — their beds are 5 feet apart.
Alarmed, I wanted to know how soon the room would be sterilized after the roommate was moved into quarantine? I was told that the protocol is not to move anybody, as the assumption is that if one person tests positive for COVID-19, the other person in the room has already been exposed.
There is a severe lack of bed space in the center. My understanding is that there is an idiotic state directive that if there are free beds, nursing homes/rehabs are required to take patients being discharged from the hospital — even COVID-19 patients. This leaves no possibility of fully quarantining existing residents who either have the virus or who are suspected to have it, other than trying to contain the situation within specific units in the facility.
I commend each and every person working at the center. They are professional, dedicated, brave and working against impossible odds. There are also too few staff members at the center to deal with this terrible virus.
The situation takes not only a terrific physical toll on everyone but a psychological one as well. Nurses and aides are exhausted, yet they still do their job as best they can. There is one person per shift cleaning 30 rooms — it’s an impossible task.
And, through it all, staff remain kind and cheerful and come up with creative ideas such as FaceTime calls and window visits to keep residents and family members in touch.
I believe that during a pandemic, the like of which we have never seen, nursing home employees working on the front lines should be compensated by getting double pay. That would be a good use of the government’s money.
Our fearless leader in the White House tells us that we have enough tests and equipment, and everything is going to be just fine. I very much want to believe him, but I don’t. When the virus returns full force, and it will, we need better and more sensible protocols in place.
This is the time to have new directives that make sense so that in the future we can protect those that need it most and help them survive the virus.
I only hope my uncle does.
Anna Klebnikov Brinsmade
To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.
We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.
One fine body…