This week, Kendal at Ithaca is celebrating the staff with an observance of “Heroes”. The Board of Trustees has authorized a “Hero bonus” for all staff members who worked during the March payperiods. The minimum amount is $25 with a cap of $500. March is when we found ourselves in an aggressive ramp up mode. Many found themselves doing anything but their usual job. Sometimes the COVID-19 Task Group was meeting twice a day to review what happened overnight and then during the day. Jobs were assigned and off we went to do them.
New modes of communication were developed. Filming Laurie Mante’s, our Executive Director’s, updates in the TV studio worked until the ‘six foot’ rule came into effect. The studio was too small for that. She conducted a Q&A about the COVID virus with Dr. Skezas, Kendal’s Medical Director, in the living room, where there was plenty of space. Being mindful that not all residents use TV1340 or email proved challenging. We were using far too many trees copying things endlessly. The low vision residents needed yet another solution.
The procurement of PPE supplies and other equipment became a complicated game of chess with tight deadlines – like ordering within minutes of finding a supplier with product – and the buying power of Kendal Corporate proved most helpful. The Tompkins County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management also helped. Everything needed to be inventoried and then secured. Daily supplies were deployed where needed.
The need to screen all persons entering the community resulted in contracting with a private agency for personnel to do this. Residents are screened at one entrance from 8 AM to 8 PM while employees are screened at a different entrance from 6 AM to 6 PM. Everyone’s temperature is taken. If it’s too high, they are not allowed into the building. Then, protocols for either testing or self-isolation apply.
We are most grateful to the residents who have been cheerfully manufacturing cloth face masks, some with pockets for inserting a procedure mask as extra protection. It’s delightful to see the many different fabrics, many left over from quilts lovingly made over the years. There was some concern that the patterns were too feminine and the ‘guys’ wouldn’t want to wear them. But, more scraps to the rescue and we now have some more manly prints.
So, this week we begin celebrating the wonderful staff who have persevered and continue to provide care and services for our residents. Thank you, Heroes !