This article originally appeared in the August 2020 edition of the Golden View newspaper.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a need for continued innovation in many industries and long term care is no exception. Communities serving the most vulnerable populations have had to find innovative ways to meet the needs of residents including medical needs and social-emotional needs.
“None of us could have predicted what our world is facing today,” said Gretchen Brown, President and CEO of Stonehill, “The staff at Stonehill has done an incredible job of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The team at Stonehill jumped into action as soon as visitors were restricted on March 13 and as new recommendations regarding limiting the virus were put in place. New screening, protective equipment, and social distancing procedures were enacted for every department. Stonehill moved quickly to embrace a dramatic increase in telehealth visits with medical providers. With the help of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and a grant from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services CMP Reinvestment program, Stonehill was able to purchase iPads that could be used for both telehealth visits and virtual visits with loved ones.
The Activities department, which previously had organized nearly 100 activities and programs each week, has also had to think outside the box to meet the need for social distancing. Stonehill dedicated an internal television channel to broadcast live daily Mass, virtual announcements to keep residents informed, and even virtual activities like bingo, spiritual sharing, and sing-alongs. Another fun treat was the addition of a chicken coop made possible through a generous community donation. Residents have been loving outdoor visits to see and feed the chickens, Speckles and Ginger.
The pandemic also called for new ways to provide dining services to residents. A special fundraiser helped provide new dining tray tables for resident rooms.
Stonehill Communities prides itself on innovating and adapting to meet the changing needs of the community, and will continue to do so far beyond the scope of COVID-19.