Prioritizing Health and Accurate Information During Covid-19November 3, 2021
To say that the months following the onset of Covid-19 was a challenge for senior care would be an immense understatement. It is hard to capture in words the mountain that was, is and will be, providing exceptional care to our senior population, amidst the opposition that is the pandemic. For Oaks Senior Living, this season was not perceived as a setback, but rather an opportunity for us to reinforce our tenants of faith, knowledge, compassion and love while elevating the standard of care present across all our communities.
During an extensive conversation with our very own Beth Cayce, Chief Clinical Officer and founder of CaraVita, she explained the nature of the Oaks approach to senior care during the Covid-19 pandemic and how resident/employee health and dissemination of accurate information have become chief in importance company wide.
Creating a plan of action in response to the introduction of Covid required adaptability and access to up to date information in order to form practical steps for each community to abide by. This ensured that the health and safety of residents and team members alike remained top priority. Implementations such as Global Plasma Ionization Air Systems and mandatory handwashing stations strategically installed in each community helped create a safe environment even as the virus changed over time.
Senior health, however, goes far beyond the physical. According to Beth, “the social isolation caused by the pandemic was doing just as much harm as the virus itself.” For some resident’s, months had gone by since they were able to see their loved ones. The impact that social separation to this degree has on an individual can be detrimental. In order to combat this impact in a safe manner, we had to educate our staff to form creative ways for socialization to occur. Initiatives like creating plexiglass booths that allow for safe forms of physical touch, or outdoor events, like having a reunion with loved ones while abiding by safety protocols became the norm. Continuing oversite and ever evolving best safe practices from our management teams have helped each community adapt to the changing regulations and sustain safe social environments.
In addition to serving the residents through this Covid season, the Oak’s necessity to serve our employees, became increasingly important. Specifically, providing employees with the right information to position them to navigate the world of Covid as affectively as possible. Beth recounted the significance of disseminating accurate information when saying, “We wanted to educate our employees as much as possible, knowing there was a lot of misinformation available. One of the biggest things we have tackled is getting accurate and vetted information out to our employees so they can make sound decisions.” By creating informative videos, practical operation guides, and even hosting guest speakers from various health care spaces, including epidemiologists from Emory University, our employees were provided with extensive information on the virus and vaccine so that each decision made was well informed.
A unique initiative that Oaks Senior Living began in order to honor both the health and safety of residents as well as the provision of information to staff is a vaccination raffle at each community. The raffle was comprised of 3 rounds over the course of a two month and a half period. For the first round, if an employee has one vaccination shot their names were placed in a raffle to win a cash prize and paid time off. The second round was for fully vaccinated employees. The third round was for communities that have a vaccination rate of 85% or higher. With each round, the prize progressively increased in value. “After conversation with employees about what is meaningful to them, we decided that the time and means to travel to see loved ones was a fit prize.”
The raffle has acted as an incentive as we have provided information to employees about the vaccine and its determinate on overall community safety. It reflects the Oaks desire to maintain safe community environments while simultaneously keeping our staff saturated with timely and accurate information about the beneficial impact of the vaccine. Beth described the raffle as so, “We wanted to pair good information about the vaccine and vaccination rates with an incentive that would be positive for the residents.”
Ultimately, the vaccine raffle is just one of the many ways that Oaks Senior Living is combatting Covid-19 and placing resident health and safety as paramount. For more information on our Covid initiatives or general information on Oaks Senior Living visit https://www.oaksseniorliving.com/.