It has been sobering to witness the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and its debilitating effect on our society. Businesses have closed and social contact has been limited if not completely eliminated. In the world of senior care, we’ve made radical changes to our day-to-day operation to ensure the safety and security of our staff and residents.
All of you who love the Manor and are members of the Manor family can be very proud of your own place and part in this effort. Our staff, families, board members, and volunteers have all been diligent, steadfast, and cooperative. Teamwork has been the key to success, and we’re proud of each and every member of our team.
It has been nearly four months since it all began and has escalated dramatically week by week. Our COVID-19 Task Force was organized on March 3rd and our first report was issued that same day. At that point, not one single case of the virus had been reported in all of Tennessee, but we knew that preparations needed to be made. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies had already been ordered, and not a day too soon. Vast shortages became widespread, yet Stones River Manor was well-stocked, even to the point we could share supplies with some of our healthcare partners.
By March 10th, one week later, we had fully implemented a 7-step protocol including restricted visitation, enhanced monitoring of staff and residents for signs of infection, thorough deep cleaning and sterilization procedures daily, increased staff training, additional masks, gloves, wipes, gowns, and other protective apparatus, plus additional food rations, paper supplies, and dietary necessities.
Group activities, worship services, and communal dining were all discontinued by mid-March. We instructed all employees to maintain strict adherence to social distancing procedures, both here and away from the Manor, to avoid public exposure as much as possible and, above all, to stay at home if they had any fever or other symptoms of illness.
Throughout the ongoing weeks of the pandemic we’ve maintained constant communications with the Tennessee Department of Health, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Center for Disease Control (CMS), and numerous other agencies and associations, all working together to make sure we not only have the latest information but also the tools at our disposal to keep our residents safe.
At the beginning of April we implemented a staff preservation schedule designed to further inhibit the possibility of spreading the virus should one or more of our teammates become infected. This schedule remained in effect through the months of April and May. Testing for the virus was conducted and no resident or staff member was found to be infected. Two of our staff members did return positive test results but had no symptoms and two rounds of retesting confirmed them to be negative and free of the COVID-19 virus.
By mid-May, in compliance with Governor Lee’s executive order, we were able to restore services from our beauty and barber shops, albeit with tight restrictions and careful sanitization procedures. This has been completely successful and a welcome return for our residents.
By the beginning of June, businesses were reopening and Tennessee was ranked number one in the nation for per capita testing. More testing found more spread of the virus, however, so as the numbers continue to go up our efforts to combat the virus will continue in full force. We’re preparing for the days when communal dining, group activities, worship services, and family visits can resume, and we’ll be continually providing you with updates on our progress.
Just this week, we’ve reduced the isolation days from 14 to 5 for residents returning from doctor visits, provided all safety protocols are followed and they limit their trip to and from the doctor with no other stops or public contact. New resident move-ins and off-campus trips other than doctor visits will still, for now, require 14 days of isolation upon return.
In addition to our weekly newsletters, we’ve implemented a voice, text, and email messaging system to further help reach everyone with important information. We’ll also be updating our website regularly with all of the latest information and changes to protocol. If you’re not currently on our contact list, please contact our front desk so we can get you added.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for your hard work and cooperation as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times. Our COVID-19 Task Force, our management team, and our entire staff of dedicated employees have exhibited the highest level of professionalism in carrying out their daily assignments under much stress and hardship. Despite the difficulties, they’ve constantly encouraged one another and gone above and beyond the call of duty to motivate and uplift each other and our residents that we all love.
To all of you, our friends and families, we’re grateful for your encouragement and your ongoing support.
Respectfully, Stones River Manor, Inc.
Kirkland A. Mason Chief Executive Officer