How the Little Nursing Home is Beating the Coronavirus Odds.
Long-term care facilities like ours, have struggled during this pandemic crisis. We are proud to say that we are beating the odds. Little Nursing Home has successfully protected our residents, with just one, now recovered, infected patient to date.
In New Jersey, over 5000 residents of long-term care facilities have passed from the virus, with nearly 30,000 Coronavirus cases in NJ’s long-term-care facilities so far. The small size of our facility, only 26 beds, has certainly helped with our response to the pandemic.
Jonathan Dolan of the Health Care Association of New Jersey said “Nursing homes were given a very challenging task and the Little Nursing Home has gone above and beyond to keep its residents safe from the virus despite these universal challenges”.
HOW DID WE DO IT?
Our strategy was simple; to be proactive and not wait for government mandates.
When the state ordered nursing homes closed to visitors on March 15th, we were already two weeks into that practice. We did not enjoy doing it, but it was a crucial step to keeping our cherished residents safe, and thankfully, family members understood.
At the time we required staff members to wear surgical masks, then a few days later, KN95 masks, again, ahead of the curve. We chose to be over-prepared, with extra masks than be under-protected and risk infections
Our family opened The Little Nursing Home in 1960, and we feel our generational experience was a large contributor to us getting ahead of the virus and controlling the spread. Early on, we knew this was unlike anything we had seen in our entire careers. We knew this was a big deal and chose to be proactive. As things became more serious, we became even more proactive.
The one resident who did test positive was isolated in a rear addition of the building, to recover safely away from the rest of the residents. The nurses caring for the patient wore a surgical mask over their KN95 mask, a face shield, two pairs of gloves, a bonnet, and a gown. It may have been difficult to breathe, but caution and safety are important.
We have done everything possible to remain stocked up on protection for our staff and residents. It is a continuous battle to get a fair price for personal protective equipment, but we endure. No one likes to get ripped off, but sometimes you just bite the bullet to do the right thing by your people.
Providing more than sufficient equipment has boosted staff morale. Our team has really stepped up, and we feel having the needed protective equipment is a part of their determination to beat this thing.
Every morning staff members get temperature checks and symptom questionnaires before entering the building. These questionnaires were the key to pinpointing the only staff member who tested positive for the virus. She had no fever and only one symptom: the loss of taste and smell.
After reporting the symptom, she was tested and self-quarantined. Two and a half weeks later she was healthy and back at work, helping our residents like a champ. Despite our successes, we’ve not let our guard down. Infection is still a real concern, especially for the vulnerable population and even after this pandemic is over, our staff will continue to wear masks.
Wishing you and yours the best of health
Brian & Michael Cumiskey
The Little Nursing Home