Happy fall! Outside, the air is getting cooler and the days shorter. The foliage around us is transitioning and so are we on the Deutsches Altenheim campus.
Due to the seasonal drop in temperatures, the MA Dept. of Public Health (DPH) revised its guidelines for visitation on our campus. As of Monday, October 5, visits will be moved indoors at both German Centre and Edelweiss Village. Advance scheduling is still required and will be limited by the number of socially-distanced visits we can host at one time (varies by location). Visitors will continue to undergo a temperature and symptom screening before entering the building and access will be restricted to the visit location only.
In other visitation developments, currently, all of our visit scheduling is done manually via telephone calls and emails. I’m excited to share that before month’s end, we will have access to an online system for scheduling visits. This is one of the benefits we have derived from our affiliation with Legacy Lifecare. Stay tuned for more about this transition.
After two weeks of testing all COVID-naïve (previously negative) German Centre staff and residents, I am happy to report that no positive cases were identified. Excellent news, indeed! Ongoing testing of German Centre staff will continue monthly per DPH regulations. Out of an abundance of caution, all Senior Place and Edelweiss Village staff will also be tested regularly.
Around the Campus
Remember when we all hoped that COVID-19 would be over in 2-3-months and we could return to “normal?” Certainly, 7 months ago we never imagined the toll the virus would take on us all. As we settle into an understanding that COVID-19 is likely to impact us well into 2021, it’s important to know how the programs and services at Deutsches Altenheim can help the community.
In recent weeks, Senior Place, our adult day health program, re-opened to the delight of many clamoring for support, engagement and companionship. At both German Centre and Edelweiss Village, a slight increase in the number of new patients and residents is a welcome sign that life goes on in a pandemic world. The reality is, some nursing home, rehab and assisted living residents have medical or other needs beyond what can be provided at home. That’s where we can help.
German Centre’s Transitional Care Unit (TCU) has seen the greatest number of new patients. Most often, patients come to the TCU following surgery, a stroke, or a medical condition, such as a heart attack, urinary tract infection or pneumonia. These patients arrive weak and unable to adequately care for themselves.
Solid care and therapy during the post-hospital period can be as important as the hospital stay itself in terms of overall recovery success. TCU Patients are evaluated and treated by a tightly-coordinated team of professionals, as determined by each patient’s individual needs. Twenty-four hour care and support on the TCU includes a variety of services, including therapy, wound care, medication management, pain management, personal care services, and nursing care. All of these services make a big impact and reduce the risk of complications and promote faster, more complete recovery and rehabilitation.
Since the onset of COVID-19, scrutiny of infection control procedures has never been tighter. The healthcare industry has learned much from COVID-19. The entire Deutsches Altenheim campus follows stringent protocols to reduce the risk of infection. And regulatory agencies regularly and strictly monitor our compliance.
All staff receive regular COVID-19 infection control training. We follow robust protocols for PPE usage to comply with regulations. Surfaces are sanitized regularly to reduce the spread of germs. We’re pleased to say that no in-house resident or patient has been infected with COVID-19 since May 6. It could be said that individuals are safer inside our buildings as germs are likely to flow more freely outside in the community.
A Final Thought
October 3, 2020 is a special day for Germany. It is the 30th anniversary of German unity, commemorating the signing of the Two Plus Four Agreement in 1990. The painting pictured here is entitled Grünes Band, by German artist Wilhelm Neusser, currently a Massachusetts resident. The Consulate General of Germany in Boston commissioned this work to celebrate 30 years of German reunification. It portrays the border that stretched for 866 miles separating East and West Germany. Once heavily secured with barbed-wire fences, mines and ditches, hundreds of people were killed in this so-called “restricted zone.” After reunification, it was transformed into Germany’s “Green Belt,” a unique nature reserve, turning a monument of repression into a symbol of renewal and hope.
Stay safe and be well,
Michael B. Lincoln
Download the UPDATE: October 2 Update