(319) 472-6200

We have come to the end of another week of quarantine, but pleased to report we remain healthy. Telehealth visits and phone calls continue between your loved ones and their doctors and specialists.  Physician visits that are unable to happen at this time will be rescheduled after the pandemic disaster period.  We continue to have adequate staff and personal protective equipment to meet all of our day to day needs.

One question on the minds of many families involves temporary or agency staffing.  To answer that question, we do use temporary staffing agencies/travel nurses.   However, these staff members have been here on long term assignments and are not currently traveling to other facilities.  We actively monitor this to decrease additional exposure to our residents.

I have again attached the flyer “Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event” as a resource for anyone struggling during these difficult times.

While everyone is a little stir crazy, we are still managing to have some fun.  Here’s an update from our Activity Department:

The days are going really well under the circumstance. People are staying busy, happy and healthy.

That is the best news I can pass along for the week.

Monday evening the Easter Bunny came by and waved at us all through the windows (see photo). He hopped around the N&R outside and dropped off tubes of Reese’s pieces to us all.

He was supposed to be here Sunday afternoon but was just too tired after his busy night to make it. Also, it was raining really hard.

We continue to do the BINGO numbers daily. That is a hit. We have ordered new BINGO cards that are paper and you punch out the number. It will give the resident more involvement and we can dispose of these at the end of the week instead of sanitizing them. 

We made birthday cards for residents that have April Birthdays. We have some really crafty, artistic people here. These cards are very pretty.

Today is popcorn day, it not only tastes good but the smell is marvelous. Normally we get some people from around the hospital following their noses and ending up in N&R for a bag of popcorn. Now we are just tormenting them since they cannot come in.  Our staff and residents love it.  Even if you do not like popcorn, it is one of those treats that everyone remembers. It can spark many memories, even from childhood.

Tom Pigenot (the bubble man) called today and he plans to come do some bubbles for us next week when the weather cooperates.

Speaking of decent weather, hopefully we will be able to get out for more of that wonderful fresh air and sunshine.

Thank you to those of you sending cards and letters to your loved one. That is such a treat to the residents. Also, many people have Facetimed with their family member and called and talked to them on the phone.

If you would like to Skype or Facetime call the desk 472-6280 and ask for Activities, Jen or Lori to schedule a time.

We look forward to another good week.  Keep smiling and stay healthy.

Residents continue to eat in their rooms, but as shown in the picture, dietary continues to work hard in the kitchen to bring tasty food to the residents. Here is an update from our Dietitian:

Dietary is busy putting the final touches on our Spring and Summer menu cycle that will be starting on April 26th. More fresh fruits and vegetables will be on the menu, along with everyone’s favorites. Dietary cannot wait for everything to return to normal so you can visit your loved ones and hopefully let us cook a meal for you

Attached you will find pictures of housekeeping. They continue to work hard to clean and sanitize and keep us well!

Michele Schoonover, CEO has an organizational update for the group.  She is doing a great job leading us all on this crazy journey!:

We continue to manage the COVID pandemic one day at a time, some days better than others.

The Incident Command team is meeting at least 2 times a week.  The governor’s press conferences, AHA, IHA, White House webinars and phone call ins are now part of our work life.

Data on patient tracking, hospital capacity, PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies, and ventilator availability is collected daily for both N&R and hospital.  While we have been reporting for the last three weeks, this became a became a mandatory reporting order on April 3rd.  The information is being used for tracking and planning purposes on a state and regional level.  The governor also shares this information in her press conferences.  (FYI, VGH is in region 6).  The Regional Medical Coordination Centers or RMCC have been in existence since the mid 2000’s and were developed as part of emergency response planning post 9/11. While this pandemic is different than anything we have ever seen previously and the global impact has been wide spread, emergency planning is something we are familiar with.

On April 9th, IDPH issued a PPE shortage order and we are tasked with making plans to decrease demand for PPE.  We had already banned elective surgeries, and nonessential medical services.  We have restricted visitors, limited outside access to the facility and screen all patients and staff.  We are now working towards expanding telehealth, virtual visits and other engineering controls (i.e., screening patients in their car) to maintain a clean environment to protect patients and staff from exposure in the main clinic. COVID-19 testing will be conducted in a drive up fashion through the ER to further reduce exposure to the virus in the facility.  Through the generosity and support of the community, we have been able to maintain PPE supplies, and have been especially appreciative of the homemade gowns and masks we have received.

We are also coordinating with regional partners to develop transfer and surge capacity between urban and CAH facilities.  This continues to be an ongoing project with daily contact and exchange of information and capabilities.  Currently, the bed availability in the region out paces demand. (60-70%).

And finally, we finished our VGNR Together Strong Family Tree.  It symbolizes our commitment to you, your loved ones, and each other to get through this together.

Thank you for your caring, understanding, and support during these times.  We all miss you and welcome the time when we can all be together again!  Until then-stay well!

Jessica Henkle, BS, RN-BC, NHA

Director of Long Term Care Services

Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab

Phone (319) 472-6347

*For more information on Virginia Gay Hospital’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Need to Know web page.