Good Shepherd & Welty Home Curtail Visitation to Better Protect Residents
Good Shepherd Nursing Home and the Welty Home are restricting visits to better protect their residents from COVID-19, the corona virus. This is effective Friday, March 13th.
Administrator Donald R. Kirsch announced this policy on the strength of directives from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Health Care Association (ACHA). Good Shepherd and Welty Home will no longer admit any outside visitors, except in rare circumstances such as end-of-life situations or when a visitor is medically necessary for a resident.
“This is a heartbreaking decision, but Good Shepherd and Welty Home are caring for 243 residents with an average age of 88,” Mr. Kirsch said. “The health and safety of our residents is our top priority.”
Corona virus mortality rates for senior citizens are very high, ACHA President Mark Parkinson said. He noted that the death rate may well exceed the 15 percent reported in China for people 80 and older.
Good Shepherd and Welty Home staff shared the new policy with their residents and reached out to each resident’s family. “We have informed each resident’s medical power of attorney of our decision via personal phone call, and requested that they inform the remainder of the resident’s family members of this decision,” Mr. Kirsch said.
Families will be offered the opportunity to visit with their loved ones virtually, using video chat programs like FaceTime and Skype. “We have the necessary equipment in house for residents who do not have their own cell phones, tablets or laptops and wish to stay in touch with family,” he said. “We will do our best to keep residents connected with their loved ones.” The best time to reach residents via video chat is between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., when there are more nursing supervisors available to facilitate the calls.
As always, families may call the supervising Registered Nurses to receive medical updates. In addition, consistent with current practice, Good Shepherd and Welty Home will contact a resident’s medical power of attorney if there is a change in the resident’s health.
Mr. Kirsch said Good Shepherd and Welty will continue ongoing infection control prevention education for and with staff. Additionally, medical staff will screen all employees as they enter the building daily to monitor their temperature and overall wellness.
The visitation restriction also applies to all volunteers and contractors. Medical vendors who need to enter the facilities will be assisted with the donning of protective equipment.
“Although nothing is foolproof, we want to do everything we can to mitigate the onset of this virus,” Mr. Kirsch said.
Visitation will be reinstated once this threat has passed.