April 16 Update

While this may be a long email, I hope that you feel confident in understanding the full picture of what is happening here.

First and foremost, I’m happy to inform you that we do not have any signs of COVID-19 at Emmanuel Home itself, or within our staff and their homes.

Here are some of the protocols in place to try to keep it that way:

  1. No visitors are allowed in the building.  Any person (staff or resident) that must leave/enter the building is screened (including a temperature check) every day.
  2. We have added had 24/7 front door security for close to a month now, ensuring that these protocols are followed.
  3. Deliveries of essential goods, such as groceries & personal items, are to be dropped off at the door.
  4. The message to staff is clear: The fight to keep COVID-19 at bay doesn’t stop at the doors of Emmanuel Home.  It includes our own households as well!  I’m thankful for their continued vigilance in this manner.
    1. Staff may not work at any other site while working at Emmanuel Home, and MUST report if there are any signs of symptoms in themselves or their household.   If symptoms show up, they must stay home and self-isolate.
    2. Staff are required to wear masks when working in any situation where physical distancing is not possible (ie. Delivering meals, health care, etc)
  1. AHS has stepped up in providing masks for all continuing care sites, and Emmanuel Home is part of that system.  We received our first shipment yesterday, and we are told that we can expect to be re-stocked every two weeks, while supplies are available.
  1. Residents are able to socialize with each other, as long as the 6 ft physical distancing rule is adhered to.

As the situation continues to evolve, and changes/directives are implemented in the general public, Emmanuel Home has been ahead of the curve in almost all of these areas.  Rest assured that most of the directives you hear in the news and from Dr. Hinshaw have already been in place for a couple of weeks, or more, here.

However, there are certainly still some challenges that I want to highlight:

  1. The emotional toll that this fight is taking on our residents is real.  Please pray against loneliness, depression, and anxiety as they feel the distance from you, their loved ones.  While I know our staff are wonderful, I also know that they don’t replace you.   Please take every opportunity to call, write, and Facetime/Skype when you can.  Any connection is better than no connection!
  2. I’m concerned about how fatigue and frustration in both families and residents is going to manifest itself over the next weeks and months as we continue to enforce the strict guidelines.
    1. As the weather (finally!) changes, we see our residents get outside, and that’s wonderful.  Sunshine and exercise are some of the best remedies!
  3. However, the open space outside has led to more socializing and gatherings, including some family members who are attempting to skirt the rules in place by meeting in the parking lot or some other corner of the property.  I understand the desire to visit, but people are not respecting the 6 ft distancing rule.  This simply cannot happen and, by putting us in the situation of having to police these interactions, it is unnecessarily adding to the burden on our staff.  We don’t enjoy this policing role, and it goes against our natural personalities to discourage community, but we have to do it.
  4. I can’t emphasize enough that our priority is the health and protection of our residents, first and foremost.   They are more vulnerable than the general population, so the strict guidelines are essential to protecting our entire community.  Your cooperation with our expectations is absolutely necessary, even though the expectations may seem more extreme than what is going on elsewhere.

In summary, there are certainly things to celebrate.  The overall health, the determination of everyone involved to keep this at bay, and the provision of resources to put proper measures in place.  We thank the Lord for His presence and care.

There are also still many challenges.  The emotional toll, the necessary energy and focus to remain diligent, and the anxiety that comes from the unknown.  We rest in His promises!