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For Skilled Nursing Care Week, a reminder: We’re grateful for all you do

No healthcare organization has it easy during the coronavirus pandemic. But senior-living communities are in a particularly difficult position.

These organizations are responsible for some of the country’s most vulnerable people: older Americans, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions. With such a population, a bad flu season can be enough to spark a small crisis. COVID-19 is considerably more dangerous.

That’s why, for Skilled Nursing Care Week, we at NRC Health want to recognize leaders in the senior-living industry for protecting their residents and family members. Working under tremendous strain, these thoughtful leaders and their teams have made difficult decisions against an unprecedented crisis—and saved many lives in the process.

Not only that, senior-living teams have also taken extra steps to protect their residents’ psychological health. Somehow, in a time of crisis, they’ve found ways to make life in a senior-living community feel safe, connected, and fulfilling.

This essential segment of the healthcare industry is putting forth a heroic effort for the well-being of those they serve. And that effort has not gone unnoticed.

Here’s what some real residents and their family members are saying about the senior-living heroes in their lives.

Keeping connected

Almost immediately after the crisis began, CMS advised restricting visitors to senior-living communities. This was an essential step, but also a painful one, as isolation can be taxing for residents and their family members alike.

Here are a few comments from family members, expressing gratitude for the communities that managed to keep up a sense of connection.

“I can’t say enough good things about the management. […] The nurses have been so wonderful during this crisis. They are accessible and responsive. They are doing an amazingly fantastic job in such difficult circumstances. Everyone is stretched and exhausted, but managed to remain so helpful and cheerful through it all.”

“When I’ve had questions or concerns about my parents, I’m always impressed by the entire care team. I feel like the whole team knows my parents. It seems that I’m often approached by someone who gives me some information about my dad or mom, before I even have the chance to inquire.”

“The staff went to the trouble of hooking us up to my sister via face-to-face video communication. Doing so alleviated some of the anxiety we face from not being with her in the room. We thank the staff for setting this up for us.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff has done a very good job of taking care of my mom, and also keeping us updated and informed as to what’s going on in the facility. So we really appreciate that.”

Rising to the occasion

The pandemic has frayed our nerves and worn us out. You might expect for that to take its toll on the dispositions of senior-living staff.

Not according to these family members, who remark here on the positivity and professionalism they’ve seen from their loved ones’ caretakers.

“I thank God I found this community for my dear friend exactly a year ago. It gives me such comfort that I know she is safe during these perilous times.”

“I’m very impressed with the way that the staff is handling this crisis. Everybody seems to be working very, very hard, long hours, and they’re not taking it on, and every resident gets good care.”

“Both of my parents were recently in for stays at this facility, and the staff has been professional, supportive, and extremely helpful during this emotional and stressful time.”

Very special staff

Finally, there’s no denying that every senior-living community’s greatest asset is its people. These are the ones who inform the culture of care, and keep these communities feeling like home. It takes a special kind of person to do this work; and here, family members recognize that.

“[Mom’s nurse] was a godsend. She was so wonderful and so kind to my mother. [The CNA] was fantastic as well. Both were so nice and so helpful to me. I can’t wait until this pandemic is in the rearview mirror so that I can visit and thank everyone personally for the care they have shown to my mom.”

“The care that the nurses and caretakers give is so comforting. The social directors are always trying to get the neighbors engaged and try to have things that keep them smiling and bring some happiness into their lives. […] I feel the staff treats our loved ones with respect and dignity, which is important to me. They truly are our angels on earth.”

“I marvel at how seriously the team members take on their responsibilities with residents. All anyone would have to do is walk down the halls and into the dining facility and other community spaces to feel the sense of care, concern, and kindness that every resident receives. When I’m not able to visit, I’m confident that my parents are well cared for, because [the staff] are so actively attentive to every facet of my parents’ well-being.

This Skilled Nursing Care Week, say thank you

Respect and dignitywonderful and kindactive and attentive. These are qualities that all of us want from our caregivers, and one that senior-living staff embody in their work, every single day.

Now more than ever, these vital members of our healthcare system need to hear how much we value what they do. As the above comments have reminded us, these workers ensure that our loved ones enjoy a life that’s not just safe and comfortable, but also cheerful and fulfilling.

It’s not easy work, to be sure. And the ones who do it deserve our gratitude.

This Skilled Nursing Care Week, we at NRC Health salute our heroes in senior living.