BY D’ARCY EGAN
Riverview Healthcare Campus in Oak Harbor has diligently worked to stymie a virus that has taken some nursing homes by surprise. The battle plan is working, but never-ending, said Director Kendra German, whose facility has not had a positive test for COVID-19.
German and her staff have been lauded for meeting all regulations set by the Ohio Department of Health, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Centers of Medicare/Medicaid Services.
“It is a team effort that none of our residents have tested positive, and that last week received top grades for Infection Control and COVID-19 Policies and Protocols,” said German. “COVID-19 is a very sneaky virus, and our excellent staff realize it is an evolving virus.
“Researchers are constantly learning something new about COVID-19. We must take what they’re learning and adjust what we’re doing in our building to utilize the different information we’re given,” said German.
“The COVID-19 symptoms can be tricky. They can be different for each individual. Some people are asymptomatic (no signs of the virus) with no fever, or perhaps just a mild cold. The symptoms continue to evolve, though, and we realize that.”
German’s staff meets constantly to share information, to absorb emails and information, and to stay ahead of the virus. But they also need to do the basics, from washing their hands to wearing face coverings and cleaning surfaces that could be contaminated.
“The staff knows they have to be smart when they are out and about in the community, as well,” German said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job of keeping the virus out of the building.”
Helping them to do their job is the renovated Riverview Healthcare Campus. The spacious, attractive, state of the art facility had undergone a $10 million renovation by the county the last couple of years. The extra room allowed it to become a health care facility that also offers nursing home and assisted living care, as well as day care for seniors.
Nursing home residents are quarantined, and must visit with relatives using virtual technology, such as smart phones, iPads and Zoom for face-to-face interaction. Residents in assisted living were recently allowed to visit with relatives in areas outside of the building.
“Quality nursing homes are critical for the community,” said German. “We service the most vulnerable in the community, especially now. The virus is a very scary thing and difficult to handle. Everyone at Riverview is doing their very best to handle the challenges.”
With the nurse home closed to visitors, she said, many of the elderly men and women miss the hugs and touches provided by family and friends.
The staff works to brighten their day with a lot of personal attention and developing social events. They organize bingo games, with residents in their doorways announcing when they have a winning card. There are games, trivia contests and even a happy hour on Friday.
“Since the nursing home can’t safely have group activities, every Friday at 3 p.m. we have two rolling carts bringing them their favorite adult beverages, from a cold beer to a mixed drink, or two,” said German, with a laugh. “We’re a family at Riverview, and we want happy residents.”