Senior living providers eagerly await FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine and are preparing the logistical plans needed to ensure a fast and efficient process to vaccinate residents. In the meantime, robust testing remains the most effective strategy for protecting residents and staff from widespread infection. To better understand current testing strategies and how they have adapted over time, I spoke with Ed Ward, Vice President of Operations, Kisco Senior Living to learn more about their innovative testing program.
Toward the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, I authored a blog post highlighting some of the strategies that seniors housing and care operators were implementing to maintain resident wellness and engagement. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to present on this topic at the 2020 NIC Fall Conference. While preparing, it struck me how much these strategies have evolved over the course of just a few months as operators stepped up to the challenge of delivering an ever-greater sense of connectedness to their residents in this time of a global pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created design challenges for the seniors housing and care sector that need to be articulated, addressed and navigated. Achieving the right balance between social connectivity and coronavirus exposure has now become one of the key trials facing seniors housing operators.
A recent study from North Carolina State University and Georgia Tech found that healthcare workers in the United States are struggling with significant mental-health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. While all healthcare workers are at risk, one key feature of caregivers in a seniors housing and care setting is that many of these caregivers have spent months, if not years, developing relationships with the residents they serve and their families. This means the emotional toll experienced by these staff may be that much more overwhelming.