Our Approach to Care during Crisis
Woodstone Senior Living’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents, staff, and their loved ones. We know that the daily news is concerning, so we want you to know what steps we’ve taken early on and continue to implement to reduce the risk of exposure in our facilities. Our continual conversations with state officials and other care facilities reinforce our belief that this field is one of the most cognizant, compassionate, progressive, and flexible of industries preparing for this pandemic. It’s important to remember that while we’ve never seen the likes of a virus like COVID-19, congregate living staff are well educated and prepared to prevent the spread of all kinds of viruses and diseases. Many precautions and alternatives were already in place, allowing us a solid starting point to offer additional safety measures and staff training to continue providing the best care possible.
Our work is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and this hasn’t changed even in this season of rapid transformation and new protocols. Relationships between our staff, residents, and their families will always take center stage. It is these relationships, paired with compassion that are driving our caring approach to new health and safety requirements. Transparency is important to us, as we answer your questions and ease your concerns during this unprecedented time.
Making the Best Choice to Transition Right Now
Assisted living facilities are still the best option for many people when considering a myriad of factors, and transitioning to a care community is a safer choice now, more than ever. As isolation at home has hit an all-time high and people pull back from visits and check-ins, vulnerable situations can arise. We continue to accept new residents and have been able to safely navigate the process to reassure them and their loved ones throughout the transition. We will arrange virtual, live tours of our facilities at any time and can safely leave materials for you for pickup in our entryway. When the time comes to move-in, we are able to streamline the process to mitigate risk of COVID-19 exposure. Our team is incredibly creative and sensitive to needs during this transition, and we’re ready to make it a positive, safe experience for all. We’re here if your loved one is living alone or you’re concerned they are unable to receive adequate care or attention.
Heightened Communication and Reassurance
At the forefront of our discussions are the residents who have families and friends who love them and want them to be healthy, safe, and comfortable. We are all sailing uncharted waters, but find it best to value expert guidance from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Leading Age of Minnesota, and Wisconsin Assisted Living Association so that our entire team can devote time and attention to our residents. Each week our staff attends calls with these agencies, as well as our leadership team. Our staff connects virtually as a group each week at our in-service meetings so we can ask questions, share information, and navigate quickly in order to fast-track changes and provide the best in resident care. Through our charting system, directors are able push information out to staff instantaneously.
Our community directors excel at providing weekly updates to staff and families of residents. A comprehensive email is shared with all loved ones who want to receive frequent correspondence, and it includes news, precautions we are taking, ways to stay connected with residents, and ideas people have to bring joy and interaction with residents while maintaining a safe distance. While COVID-19 is not in our facilities, we’re committed to honesty and transparency by providing that information to interested parties right away should that happen.
Preventative Safety Measures
Woodstone recognized the need to implement additional safety measures before it was required by federal guidelines. This has proved to be incredibly helpful as we’ve been able to keep COVID-19 at bay at all three of our locations. We shifted communal practices like meals and gatherings right away, but found a way to continue providing much loved activities and services to residents through one-on-one attention. Meals, spa services, and arts & crafts activities have all been adjusted to fit a safer model of resident-distancing in their rooms. Walks and outside time is still encouraged, but it looks a little different than in the past and includes a face mask and a little more space; 6 feet to be exact.
Residents are assessed at every shift change for any symptoms, as well as O2 levels and presence of fever. As we’ve adjusted away from communal activities, our one-on-one interactions are at an all-time high. The increased interactions and individual attention help our staff continually reassess needs and preventative care on a continual basis.
No outside visitors are permitted unless deemed medically necessary. This helps lessen the risk of exposure considerably. Anyone arriving at our facilities is screened, including staff. Upon arrival staff change into a pair of shoes that do not leave the building. They are screened and sent home immediately if any health concerns are present. Once they pass the screening process, they follow a hand sanitizing process and use complete personal protective equipment which includes face shield, goggles, mask, gloves, gown, and shoe covers.
Highest Standards of Cleanliness
Our normally high standards of sanitation throughout our facilities continues, and we’ve intensified cleaning protocols for staff. We’ve added an additional dedicated cleaning shift each day. Every shift begins with wiping down common touch areas and sanitizing multiple times each day. Packages that arrive are sanitized thoroughly before being passed along to recipients.
Making Life Engaging for Residents
Woodstone is known for resident-focused and personalized activities. During this time of required distancing, we’re innovating other ways to engage and pass time comfortably. We welcome new ideas from family, staff, and community members every day; many of which we’ve tried and have worked well.
One of the most critical activities involves keeping residents and families connected by video calls. Our staff facilitates these calls and removes any technology barriers which makes these calls easy, frequent, and a popular activity. Who can you give a video call to today?
While windows need to stay closed, window visits are encouraged. Families can spend time with loved ones safely through windows and talk via phone. Community members can provide unscheduled walk-by visits past our windows, and creativity is welcome. Anything visual can work well such as kids, pets, costumes, balloons, etc. If you give a call ahead, we have some residents who would welcome the prior notice to be ready. Our staff have pushed innovation to be able to provide things like distanced-bingo, parade-style car visits, and more.
Staff members have taken the lead on creating individually packaged crafts that residents are given the option to DIY or complete as a staff-guided activity. Since there are no communal activities right now, staff are finding unique activities for residents like providing a guide to local televised programming dedicated to books read aloud and televised Faith services. Residents who play the piano are using their talents for everyone to enjoy, and staff are taking it upon themselves to wash and curl hair for residents in their rooms or in the salon on a one-on-one basis.
Positively Moving Forward Each and Every Day
We’ve felt a tremendous outpour of support from our local communities from handmade cards and artwork delivered to residents, to homemade masks and face shields from the Robotics team. Flowers are delivered frequently to residents, and meals and treats are graciously provided to staff.
Most of all, it’s rewarding to hear from families how reassured they feel that we’re providing the most compassionate care possible under the circumstances. We appreciate the trust placed in us, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to provide encouraging updates.