Troy Chamber President, Tara Tomcsik-Husak interviews Manda Ayoub, Chief Operating Officer of Pomeroy Senior Living.
TARA: How had Covid19 affected the Senior Living industry and the industry as a whole?
MANDA: As in many industries, COVID-19 has required Senior Living communities to work at a whole new pace and intensity in order to meet all the required State and Federal guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID. We have had to be creative in bed management as we have setup dedicated isolation units to care for COVID+ patients. We have collaborated extensively with local, regional and state partners to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) and coordinate the transition of patients from hospitals to our facilities, as well as from other facilities who are no longer accepting their residents back into their communities.
TARA: Are you still accepting new residents at this time?
MANDA: Yes! We understand seniors need a safe place to live and this is never ending, even during a pandemic. We have been welcoming new residents from other communities as well who were not accepting them back after a hospital or rehab visit. We do keep all new residents in quarantine for 14 days per CDC guidelines to ensure their safety and that of our community.
TARA: So you are also accepting patients who have tested positive for COVID?
MANDA: Yes, we accept COVID positive patients from the hospitals in our skilled nursing facilities in Rochester Hills and Sterling Heights. As I mentioned previously, we have set-up dedicated isolation units specific for providing care to COVID patients with dedicated staff who only provide care on these units.
TARA: You mentioned safety standards have increased, for obvious reasons. What safety standards have you put in place to protect your residents, staff, and current Covid19 patients?
MANDA: Every day, every employee must pass a screening survey and temperature check. Our residents are monitored daily in our independent living, assisted living & memory care. The clinical staff in our skilled nursing communities assess our non-COVID patients twice daily for potential changes in conditions.
TARA: Your Caregiving Team is on the front line of this every day, has staffing been an issue? How has this effected their normal routine?
MANDA: Although we have phenomenal staff, we do have staffing issues as a result of daycare issues and having to quarantine employees due to the exposure and recovery from COVID. The hours for a caregiver remain the same, but now they have additional safety requirements. They are only permitted to enter through one main entrance of the building, where they are screened with a survey and temperature check.
Once they pass the screen, they will put on their PPE and continue to provide the same outstanding care they have always provided. Being completely transparent, some of our caregivers do come to work with more anxiety these days, but our managers have done an outstanding job of recognizing their employees, addressing their fears and thanking them for continuing to come to work each day to help care for our seniors. #Healthcareheroes are everywhere and we are very lucky to have such a great staff that truly cares for our residents.
TARA: In what ways can the community help the residents and Staff at Pomeroy Senior Living, during this time? Do you have any needs for donations for your staff or residents? Does your team have enough supplies to keep them safe?
MANDA: At this time, we have adequate supplies for all of our staff. Our leadership did an amazing job starting an Incident Command center very early on and proactively placed orders with our vendors in preparation. With that being said, we will gladly accept donations from any community member as we continue to fight this pandemic! We are welcoming any donations of PPE such as face shields and homemade masks at all of our locations. We also welcome letters of support & appreciation for our residents, our staff (our own healthcare heroes) and leadership who haven’t had a day off yet! Kind words of encouragement go a long way. We even have a page for anyone to leave a note of encouragement and gratitude for our staff: https://www.pomeroyrochester.com/thank-you-staff/
TARA: Speaking of masks, I heard one of your residents has taken on an initiative of her own to help others. It seems like those living in your communities have had a positive outlook.
MANDA: Yes, one our IL residents – Arlene took it upon herself to begin making masks in her apartment. We have had several residents recover from COVID and ‘graduate from quarantine’ including a 92-year old. These success stories help boost the morale among our staff and encourage everyone there’s hope we will beat this.
Pomeroy Resident: Arlene making safety masks in her apartment.
TARA: I think we are all struggling with feeling like we are isolated from our family and friends. Social isolation and loneliness pose real health risks, especially in the senior population. How are you keeping your residents engaged with activities and with their families’ while being quarantined?
MANDA: Our Activity Directors are amazing! They have been very creative in their interactions with the staff that maintain social distancing but are still great fun – such as hallway bingo, hallway bowling, baseball game for opening day and spirit week. We even had a man on stilts visit our residents. They have posted some picture to our Facebook sites; Facebook.com/ Pomeroy Living Rochester, Pomeroy Living Northville, Pomeroy Living Sterling, Pomeroy Living Orion.
We also have iPads available for residents to communicate via Skype and FaceTime with their loved ones. When it’s nice outside, residents and families are very creative in respecting the boundaries of social distancing and using windows and balconies to communicate.
TARA: What advice/tips can you give to families who have family members in your communities?
MANDA: Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay Positive. Keep communicating via phone, Facetime, and letters. Don’t stress, we are doing everything we can to keep your loved ones safe.
To feature your company in the Blog Series: The Effects of COVID-19 on Industry, please contact Troy Chamber President, Tara Tomcsik-Husak.
>> Email Tara Tomcsik-Husak