During the pandemic, every state is affected differently – some are in lockdown per Executive Orders while others are maintaining social distancing and limit their exposure on their own terms, but what about our residents? Our staff are observed coming and going from the building, so how do you explain to residents the importance of sheltering in place? Maintaining some level of activity programming and assisting with staying in touch with families are a must but here are a few suggestions that might help:
- Talk with residents about the associated risks of leaving the community
- Educate the resident on the necessity of using PPE if they do leave the community and discuss isolation procedures upon return
- If a resident is non-compliant with the use of PPE and isolation, they may need to be discharged home with family or to the hospital for further care
- Remind the resident that if they choose to leave your building, they are not only placing themselves at risk, but the other residents in the community as well
- Offer alternative methods of communicating with family members and friends; video chat options, telephone calls, handwritten letters, window visits etc.
- Try to anticipate resident needs that may trigger exit seeking; for example, do they need essential care products that can be provided by the building or have family drop them off
- Discourage physician appointments; offer Telehealth options with their physicians, phone calls and rescheduling of non-emergent appointments.
None of this is easy and no one has all the answers to some difficult questions. It is a lot like parenting, you learn as you go and pray it works! Your residents don’t expect you to “know all” but they need to know that you care about them and encouraging safe practices will benefit everyone! Stay safe, be well!