COVID Chronicles – Part 3: Recovery at Unity
COVID Chronicles – Part 3: Recovery at Unity
As you’re no doubt aware, COVID infections can affect people in significantly different ways, and skilled nursing communities are no exception. At Unity Health and Rehabilitation Center, a Greystone Health community in Miami, the residents and staff who tested positive for COVID encountered an extensive variety of symptoms, ranging from nonexistent to severe, similar to effects experienced by the general U.S. population.
Like all Greystone Health communities, the Unity team has taken extreme caution to prevent infection, both within the facility and outside in their local communities. Even though South Florida was a worldwide epicenter for the pandemic at the time, Marie F., a nurse manager at Unity since 2019, was very surprised when she tested positive.
“I experienced coughing, shortness of breath, back pain and leg cramps,” Marie said. “I was frightened about the possibility of transmitting COVID to my son while I was sick.
“But I was able to stay in contact with my family via FaceTime,” she said. “I received calls from my coworkers and some even prayed with me. During this time, I learned that with great leadership we can overcome all challenges that may come our way. “
Julienne J., a certified nursing assistant at Unity for 13 years, tested positive for COVID but did not experience any symptoms, and recovered soon after. She was excited when she was medically cleared to return to her job.
“Our facility is the best because of how we take pride in caring for our residents,” Julienne said. “They are like family to us. I am proud to work here.”
Alvin C., a resident at Unity for over eight years, also did not experience any COVID-related symptoms after testing positive.
“I didn’t feel isolated because I was visited by staff a lot during that time,” Alvin said, who received frequent socially distanced visits from caregivers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). “The staff at Unity was really good to me and is so loving. Nurses should receive medals for their willpower for dealing and caring for residents during this pandemic.”
But not all residents were so lucky. Ernest J., a resident at Unity for six years, experienced a high fever and shortness of breath during his battle with COVID, which required a brief visit to the hospital.
“I wasn’t scared,” Ernest said. “I felt confident I could and would overcome it. The most frightening moment was when they had to intubate me in the hospital to help me with my breathing. But I stayed positive and was determined to keep fighting.”
“The staff treated me very well,” he said, “and they knew what they were doing. I was excited when I returned home to Unity.”
Although most recent media coverage about the pandemic has been overwhelmingly negative, this certainly did not reflect life inside the walls of Unity.
“Unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities have not been portrayed in the best light in the news,” an employee emphatically shared, “However, I believe nursing facilities like Unity have done their best to do what is right for their residents, as well as staff, by abiding by all CDC and government guidelines in regard to COVID.”
Thankfully, all four people were able to successfully recover from COVID. Even though significant changes have been implemented to focus on infection control and social distancing at the community, it remains a warm, comfortable and safe place to live for the +200 residents that call Unity home.
Since the pandemic began, the Unity staff has been on high alert to not only protect every healthy resident and employee, but to also care for those who did test positive for COVID – treating not only the symptoms but also the emotional impact of the virus, including potential isolation, frustration and depression.
Throughout this unprecedented experience, our team is constantly committed to touching the lives of those entrusted to our care, and we strive to brighten each day by providing a variety of socially distanced activities, electronic and/or “window” communication with loved ones, and around-the-clock compassionate care.
As with all Greystone Health communities, Unity Health and Rehabilitation Center is truly an organization Where People Matter. We are doing everything we can to protect our residents and staff, and will continue this commitment in the days, weeks and months to come.