Care & Rehab – June 2020
A Family Company Committed to Care.
Welcome to the 2nd edition of Care & Rehab News, covering some highlights from all of the locations below. When I think and pray for all of our wonderful staff, patients, residents, families, friends and volunteers, I picture an oval, starting in WI and ending in MN: Cumberland, Barron, Ladysmith, Neillsville, Boscobel and Ostrander Mn.
It has been really hard for me not being allowed to go inside the doors. Only Medically Necessary Staff are allowed. We do our work daily from the phones, computers, face time and when necessary, we meet outside of the locations. I truly miss going inside and seeing the faces of the amazing healthcare workers in all of our departments that service both the Short-Term Rehab Patients and Longer Nursing Need Residents. All of our wonderful staff members ARE medically necessary to give all patients and residents the Health Care Hotel experience.
All our staff members are wearing masks whenever they are in our facilities. Even though I, personally, am not allowed to enter the facilities, my experience when wearing a N95 mask or surgical mask is that neither are easy to wear. The N95 mask constricts my nostrils…the picture on the packaging makes it look easy, but it’s not.
As you know our visitor restrictions continue to be in-place and only “medically necessary” visits are allowed at this time. We are taking these precautions to protect those we have the pleasure of serving as well as our staff and their families at home. These restrictions will be in place as long as the CDC, CMS, and State Health Departments determine it is necessary. The visitor restrictions and personal protective equipment precautions we are taking have thankfully been shown to be effective. Thank you all for your continued adherence to our visitor restrictions.
Every moment is our reality and we are asked to live now. Below you will hear experiences from each location. You will hear some pain in some of their words, but I want to let everyone know that your companionship of walking this journey is showing love. I am so proud of all Care & Rehab staff, family, friends, local businesses etc. for going above and beyond by living fully in the moment.
We believe God made everyone and we are all brothers and sisters. We are committed to providing an environment in which all people are treated with kindness, dignity and respect. Andrea Thayer, V.P./ Owner
Greetings from Care & Rehab-Cumberland
(Attached to the Hospital & Independent Living Apartments)
Celebrating Skilled Nursing Week
“Our patients and residents here in Cumberland have done better thru this lock down than I had expected. They do talk about missing visits from family and friends, but no excessive sadness. We agree, as staff, we miss the visitors just as much as residents miss them. I am grateful that no one has experienced excessive sadness. I believe this stems from the fact that our direct care staff are awesome and we are all family to one another”.Kelley Strohschein, Director of Nursing, R.N.
“During this difficult time, I have been so thankful for our Patients, Residents and families. They trust us. They are family. Although the families haven’t been able to come and visit during this time, they trust us to ensure that the patients and residents are still receiving the interactions that they need. Our staff is familiar to them, they personalize the things that they talk about; which may be a mutual friend or family member, church, “Cumberland” history, etc. Families are also using window visits, phone calls, or Skype to communicate with their loved ones. I must say, the staff at Care & Rehab miss the families visiting ALMOST as much as the residents miss these interactions. We cannot wait until the day that we are able to open our doors again to visitors! In the meantime, we will keep doing whatever we can to make the most of our current interactions. Thank you to our short-Term Rehab Patients & Longer Nursing Need Residents and families who continue to trust us during this difficult time”. Kristin Stokes, Administrator
Hello from Care & Rehab-Barron (County Seat of Barron County)
The restriction on personal touch is tough for sure, for both residents and staff. We empathize with residents and families that are separated from personal contact because of this pandemic. For one of our short-term rehab patients in particular, the separation pain is really visible. Our staff has had to work very hard to come up with creative ideas to address this hardship, we even involved County Health looking for solutions. . Physical touch is such a significant element of emotional well being and physical healing. We look forward to the day that can be “the norm”. Len Fast, Administrator
Hello from Care & Rehab-Ladysmith (located on the 2nd floor of the Hospital)
“We all look forward to seeing when the families, patients and residents are able to greet one another again.” Ann Novak, Administrator & R.N.
Hello from Care & Rehab-Neillsville (Attached to Hospital)
“Every day we do our best to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. We follow the guidance that is issued to us (which changes constantly). It is a lot to keep up with. Trying to keep staff calm, keeping them from becoming frustrated and burnt out is very difficult. Trying to keep all the Short-Term Patients and Longer Nursing Care Residents and staff updated on all of the changes is challenging. We have been in “lock down” since the first part of March. The new patients and residents know we are doing everything we can to protect them but many want to get back to how things were. Seeing families, eating together, attending programs together, they miss all of this. They miss having the volunteers coming in each week and bringing them lively, foot stomping, “dance and sing along” entertainment. They miss “living” the life they knew before COVID . Our staff has done an amazing job of keeping them safe and providing activities in a unique way that still gets them involved. Staff is providing phone calls, Skype visits, Facebook messaging, all in an effort to connect them with their family. What they need now is human connection. They need to receive hugs and kisses from their family. They need to be able to hold their grandchildren/great grandchildren and give them kisses. This is what brings them their greatest pleasure. It is what we are all missing at this time.”
“Yes, we had 100% compliance with testing 32 residents and 38 staff members as well as contracted staff that were tested. Our prayers were answered! No Covid!! I worked all weekend, so I am exhausted. I think I cried 8 times total but I got that out of my system now. You put so much work, time and effort into keeping everyone safe and hope your doing enough.” Lisa Cervan, Administrator, L.P.N.
Thank you for all your years of dedication and caring!
Celebrating Employee Anniversary’s “Covid Style”Harriett Weaver- 20 years, Joyce Fitzl-25 years, Angie Kaczor-25 years, Sandy Knoff-15 years, Donna Wagner (Not pictured)-10 years, and Mary Kipp-35 years
“I have enjoyed being an employee at Care & Rehab – Neillsvile, as I like working with our residents and their families. Many of our residents have been here for a number of years, and it is gratifying to learn about their past lives and experiences, and how they have coped with difficulties during their lifetimes. I have also gained an appreciation for their families, who have found innovative ways to keep in contact with their loved ones during this time when visitation is restricted. As many of the employees have worked here for a number of years, it gives a sense of stability to work with the same people and appreciate their roles and dedication. It is also wonderful to work for a company with owners, who appreciate the employees, respect the needs of the residents, and recognize the contribution which the families make to provide quality of life to their loved ones.” Mary Kipp, Licensed Social Worker
“It is difficult to fully describe the impact that the Coronavirus Pandemic has had on each of us …in our personal life as well as in our second home at Care & Rehab. I’ve been a part of long term care for 48 years, as a nursing assistant (we didn’t need to be certified back then. Later we did) and as a Nurse. I have not experienced this level of mandated masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc.. in all those years. Has it changed many lives?…Certainly.. It hasn’t missed a person. What we have seen is the resilience of all coming in together to help each other out: taking the time to listen to each others woes; brightening the day for all we come in contact with; putting a smile on a face that is lost.”This too shall pass” if we face it together. We have to believe that to be true and continue on this journey until we reach the end of the tunnel and see the sunshine. Together we will get through this.. Residents, families and staff”. Gloria Hulett, R. N., Director of Nursing
Care & Rehab-Boscobel (Attached to Gundersen Hospital & ER)
How has Covid 19 affected us? Wow. I could talk about all of the ways that life has become more difficult due to Covid 19, as I’m sure it has for everyone. However, as an activity director, it has forced me to look at the world of resident activities from a whole new perspective and push myself and my residents to try new things. It has been amazing to watch the residents not only overcome their fears of technology, but to embrace it and gain confidence in using it. The facility bought an inexpensive tablet for each nursing station early on in the Covid 19 crisis, and have helped residents visit with family via video chat. Our residents have also been able to play Bingo, Pokerkeeno and have discussion/visiting sessions using Zoom and chrome books that were borrowed from Boscobel Area Schools. Since most of the area churches now post their weekly services on YouTube or Facebook, residents are able to see their own pastor offering services on a weekly basis. Initially residents made comments such as “I don’t know if I can do that at my age,” “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or “I don’t understand how it works.” Even with instruction, many of them were nervous about trying the technology. Now, after two months of using it, it is so rewarding to see residents not only become comfortable with the technology, but also embracing it and gaining self confidence in their ability to learn something new. In the 36 years I have been an activity director and 40 years working in skilled nursing care, I have never seen anything shake up our routines the way Covid has, but it has also shown just how resilient our residents are”. Rose Adkins, Community Living Coordinator
Testing Employees for Covid
Hello from Care & Rehab-Ostrander ( Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living)
Thank you Suzie Jacobson for all your years of dedication!! 35 years!!
“The things I miss the most are the personal contacts such as hugs from the residents. They have difficulty understanding us with face masks on. Our eyes tell a lot of things about our emotions, which is wonderful because we try to smile as much as possible. When I walk thru the dining room and the front lounge area, I miss having the residents enjoying one another’s company. I miss the families that come in to visit and us sharing our stories with them. The best thing was our drive by parade which was awesome! Watching the residents wave at their family members brought a lot of joy to all of us. It was emotional seeing how many people showed up for such a small community. The next drive by parade is scheduled for June 19th at 5:30 p.m. Please join us!” Janice Howe, Administrator & R. N.