COVID Chronicles – Part 5: Senior Leadership
COVID Chronicles – Part 5: Senior Leadership
The compassionate staff members at Greystone Health communities have cared for and supported residents throughout the COVID pandemic – but the people that residents interact with each day are not the only ones caring for them.
Just as Greystone front-line nurses and healthcare teams have demonstrated a steadfast dedication to keeping residents safe, the senior leadership has helped shouldered the responsibility for empowering our community teams since the pandemic began. They help ensure each aspect of the business is working smoothly – providing trained staff, protecting residents and each other, helping employees manage personal responsibilities, and working within the ever-changing requirements of governing regulatory entities, while still managing their personal lives throughout this process.
Kimberly Pero, RN, MSN is a Regional Vice President for the South Florida and Gulf Coast Greystone communities, including all business development, financial performance, clinical services, food and nutrition services, and environmental and plant operations. She has been with Greystone for over 20 years.
“The challenges we faced were new in many ways to all of us,” Kimberly said. “Staff were frightened, not only for themselves, but for their family members, their residents and their coworkers. Because my region was in the ‘hot spot’ of Florida, the most frightening situation was seeing our counties skyrocketing with COVID cases and seeing this trickling down to our facilities and staff.
“Fortunately, we have a superb clinical team that kept everyone updated with the latest infection control recommendations,” she said. “Our home office team ensured we had all the Personal Protective Equipment we needed. Collectively as a team we were able to successfully juggle the ever changing and unprecedented pandemic environment. With the consistent focus from all of us, we were always able to safely and competently care for our residents at each of our communities.”
Vince McGowen, Senior Vice President of Operations for the Greystone Midwest communities, agreed the multiple and evolving demands during the pandemic could be exceptionally difficult at times.
“Protecting our residents and employees was always our primary focus,” Vince said. “The Midwest leadership team and our department head leaders stepped up to the challenge and committed extra time, treasure and talent to the cause. Our leaders filled any role for which they were qualified to assist, including conducting activities, delivering meal trays, and providing communication to residents and families.”
Even though the pandemic brought unprecedented obstacles to everyone in healthcare, the Greystone community teams worked together to identify and solve potential caregiving issues.
“There are not enough accolades that would portray my ongoing applause for the sacrifices and commitment that our staff has demonstrated this year,” Kimberly said. “Working with a mask on for eight hours is no easy task, and then the donning and doffing of isolation gowns, gloves, and face shields every time you go into a resident room – it is definitely a process to protect residents and staff, but our staff consistently goes above and beyond to provide care.”
“My teammates have all performed exceptionally well,” Vince said. “They have faced adversity with fearlessness. They have faced challenge with wisdom. I don’t believe that anyone would want to be singled out for recognition over and above anyone else. My hat goes off to everyone on this team.”
Vince also disagreed with the negative portrayal of senior healthcare communities in the media.
“I believe that our profession has been much maligned during the pandemic,” he said. “We have been viewed through a lens that lacks understanding. Our patient population was incontrovertibly the most vulnerable in the world. There was little to no consideration given to this fact when covering stories related to the senior healthcare industry. I do not agree with the media assessment, as we saved many lives through sound infection control practices and continued to provide excellent care to our residents.”
The staff at each Greystone community is committed to protecting those that entrust their care to us, and our teams know they have the full support of our leadership to provide the necessary resources. Our senior leaders see community staff and residents as an extension of their own families. Never has this been more important, or more prevalent, than during the past seven months.
Greystone Health 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.