Shortly after COVID19 was found in the United States, nursing homes around the country sprung into action to keep their residents safe. As members of the group most at risk for complications from COVID19, their safety and well being was at stake as the virus spread. The staff at Grandview Manor have gone above and beyond since March to implement strict protocols to protect both staff and residents from COVID19.
“Though we understand that we cannot 100% prevent an exposure, there are several precautions and actions we have taken to protect our residents and staff from COVID-19,” said Hannah Strum of Grandview Manor. “Immediately, we began performing health screenings on all of our staff members and closed to the public, per Governor Cooper’s orders. We suspended all group activities and stopped having congregate meals in our dining rooms. We searched nationwide for medical-grade PPE and applied for donations from foundations and the state so that we could build a supply for our staff members. We also reached out to the community and requested homemade masks when other masks were unavailable; we were overwhelmed by the amount of donations we received.”
Grandview Manor has around 45 staff members and provides care for 65-70 residents. Doing everything possible to limit exposure and keep them all as safe as possible has been a top priority.
“We have made physical improvements and changes to our building such as adding hot water tanks,” said Strum. “This allowed us to increase our handwashing stations and create an “isolation” section, should it be needed. This also allowed us to dedicate a bathroom and shower room just to our staff members so that they can change their clothes and wash off.”
As COVID19 changes and more information becomes available, the staff at Grandview update their protocols to line up with new details available from the Centers for Disease Control.
“We continue to make improvements to our infection control procedures, by purchasing chemicals that are classified by the EPA as COVID-19 disinfectants (which are not easy to find), and also placing hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility,” said Strum. “Our most recent purchase, an Electrostatic Sprayer, allows us to provide a special level of cleanliness to help stop the spread of germs. We were fortunate enough to be able to locate and purchase an Electrostatic Sprayer that will allow us to clean and disinfect like never before.”
This special sprayer provides an electrical charge to the sanitizing and cleaning solutions, which allows for a more thorough and deeper cleaning of surfaces. These machines greatly assist in killing all types of germs and viruses; including influenza, norovirus, and COVID-19, to name a few.
“We are excited about this machine, as we believe it has provided us the ability to further protect our staff and residents as much as we possibly can,” said Strum.
Aside from the Electrostatic Sprayer, which is used constantly throughout the facility, Strum said timely testing and tracing is also a large part of their defense against COVID19.
“After working diligently on this for several months, we have obtained the ability to frequently test all of our residents and staff for COVID-19,” said Strum. “Our facility physician, Dr. David Castor, is able to test all members of our facility every couple of weeks, as well as anyone who may need to be tested in-between. This will help us to identify anyone who may be an asymptomatic carrier, in hopes of reducing the risk of exposure and spread as best as we can.”
While the staff at Grandview have taken several different actions to reduce the spread of COVID19 and limit exposure for staff and residents, Strum believes that it hasn’t been just one tool being effective, but rather the culmination of several efforts.
“We honestly don’t think we can pinpoint one action as being the most effective,” said Strum. “We think it has been the collaborative effects of all of the precautions we have taken as a facility, as well as the precautions taken by our staff, that has allowed us to keep our residents as safe as possible.”
When COVID19 first began to spread across the country, Grandview took the precautions and measures they already had in placed and built on those procedures.
“We have always maintained a high standard of cleanliness, we increased these standards when COVID-19 became a reality,” said Strum. “Our daily cleaning routines now entail cleaning with different agents and cleaning surfaces more frequently. Our maintenance staff is also using our Electrostatic Sprayer throughout the facility every other day. Our staff and residents have also seen a change in their daily routines. To name just a few, our staff members now change into their work clothes at the facility, undergo significant health screenings, and are limited on what they are allowed to bring into the building. Our residents have individualized activities in their rooms, outside socially distanced visits with their loved ones, and have their temperatures and symptoms monitored every day. We realize there is no way to fully prevent an exposure to COVID-19, but we are hoping to lessen our chances with some of the alterations made to our daily routines.”