Greetings from the front line,
It has been about seven weeks since we first began communicating with you about the impact of COVID-19 at Deutsches Altenheim. We are all feeling the effects of this pandemic in our lives. For me, this has been the single largest professional challenge I’ve faced.
Our staff at Deutsches Altenheim have been resilient from the beginning. In the first weeks after the pandemic reached Boston, nearly every day brought new guidelines, along with the need to adjust protocols and reeducate staff. Of late, the guidelines have remained more consistent, a welcome relief as it enables staff to settle into a familiar rhythm of patient care and precautions. Also, the greater availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) alleviates some of the anxiety of our frontline staff, who put their own health at risk. (Though adequate PPE for nursing homes is still a concern.)
Increased access to testing equipment and decreased time to receive results have enabled us to more readily distinguish residents who are positive for COVID-19 from those who are no longer positive (have had two consecutive negative test results), and for whom strict precautions can be lifted. The ebb and flow of the units changes regularly, depending on the number of positive and negative cases.
In late March, when communal activities were halted and residents’ movements about the campus were curtailed, members of the Activities Department began daily, one-on-one visits with residents, responding to their interest of the moment: chat time, arts and crafts, even a movie. Those who want them are also supplied with puzzles, word-search books, crafts and other items to keep them busy in their leisure. Between meal nourishment is also offered during these visits to keep residents hydrated. Residents have been wonderfully understanding throughout and eagerly await the ease on restrictions.
Last week I reported that we would offer Edelweiss Village residents the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately, the test kits have not yet arrived. As of today, however, all residents of Edelweiss Village remain asymptomatic.
Before I go, I would like to acknowledge the continued generosity of so many who have donated items of every kind to support our staff and residents and, in particular, to give a shout out to Walmart, which donated tablets for nursing homes to connect residents and their loved ones via Skype. Mass. Senior Care Association and the Attorney General’s office oversaw the distribution of the tablets across the state.
Be well and stay healthy,
Michael B. Lincoln
Chief Executive Officer
Download the update: May 1 Update