COVID Chronicles – Part 7: Therapy
COVID Chronicles – Part 7: Therapy
A typical day of rehabilitation at a senior healthcare community used to be fairly straightforward. Therapists would routinely evaluate and treat patients to help improve physical, occupational and speech language skills, from admission to discharge, ensuring the highest level of independence whenever possible.
But, like everything else in our world, COVID-19 changed all of that.
“We had to rapidly modify and adapt to a new way to deliver rehab services,” said Martha M., an Occupational Therapist at Villa Health and Rehabilitation Center, a Greystone Health community. “We developed COVID-related protocols, including checking temperature and oxygen saturation twice a day, providing room treatments with limited equipment, collaborating with other departments to ensure residents are constantly being active and motivated, and implementing virtual communication with families and caregivers via iPads.”
Marjani J., a speech language pathologist at Greenbriar Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, agreed that the daily schedule of a therapist at a senior healthcare community has drastically changed.
“We spend a great deal of time just preparing to enter the facility,” Marjani said. “Our oxygen saturation levels and body temperatures are monitored before clocking into work. We fill out a form and then don the appropriate PPE.
“We then sanitize any therapeutic material before and after entering patient rooms,” she continued. “We complete room treatments with all patients and wash our hands more frequently. Everyone has had to take on increased duties to keep the facility running smoothly.”
Teamwork played a crucial role in helping therapists continue to deliver individualized rehabilitation care throughout the pandemic.
“I am very proud of my team – we started working more cohesively with everyone dedicated to cleanliness and safety,” Martha said. “Our therapists assist the facility in a variety of ways: delivering meals, assisting with patients care, and even hosting a weekly ‘staff parade’ with music and colorful themes to entertain the patients and let them know that we care for them.”
“The therapy team helped make beds, fed patients who required total assistance with feeding, took vital signs, and even worked the reception desk,” Marjani said. “It was hard work, but it felt good. We pulled together as any family would during challenging times.”
One of the more difficult challenges that therapists faced was providing rehabilitation services in each patient’s individual room, with all required PPE and safety protocols, as group therapy sessions were no longer possible due to COVID.
“There were times that we would enter a patient’s room and their loved one is standing outside the window for a visit,” Marjani said. “We needed to find a creative, safe ways to incorporate that family member into the therapy session. One solution was to explain each step of the therapy session to the family member over the phone, which allowed them to ask questions and submit suggestions during the session.”
“We worked hard to implement preventive measures in infection control to ensure compliance with state and local guidelines,” Martha said. “Families can trust that the safety of our patients always comes first.”
Delivering quality patient therapy services is often described as doing the right thing at the right time in the right way to achieve the best possible results. At Greystone Health communities, our therapists and staff live by this definition every day. Our commitment to rehabilitation is displayed through every patient interaction with our highly skilled, caring therapy teams and reflected in the measurement of our processes, systems, outcomes, and patient perceptions.
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.