|By Denise McQuown-Hatter, President and CEO
In the wake of an unprecedented pandemic, Affinity Health Services is proud to salute the long-term care profession. Our professionals are the embodiment of grace and compassion while faced with an incredible challenge.
I am honored to have the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated professionals in this field. Our front-line staff has stepped up to care for those who depend on us each day. We are proud to report that very few of our workforce were compelled to leave the industry due to the pandemic fears.
Their reaction was about how to protect those that we serve, and that they did. That type of dedication does not just happen; that type of dedication is a derivative of solid leaders.
COVID-19 has made us look at things differently, solve problems more efficiently and care for those we serve more compassionately. Long overdue technology is being integrated into our daily operations. Our investment in screening technology, disinfecting technology and telehealth will be key to our future success.
Our adaptability to provide family and loved ones visitation and unique life enrichment has been well received and much appreciated by the families we serve. Another key to our commitment is regular and transparent communication. We are committed to telling our story and making it heard by all stakeholders. We are always available to answer questions and address concerns.
Because family members are still not in the communities for routine visits, we have expanded our WE CARE customer appreciation and customer service commitment to an on line product. There is more about WE CARE later in the adjacent column.
One of our obligations as healthcare professionals who protect our seniors is to educate the communities in which we work. There remains confusion about what a healthcare pandemic is and what it means. A pandemic is an epidemic that is spread over several countries or continents and affects a large percent of the population. The infection disease experts spanning across the globe recommend certain basic infection control procedures including masks, social distancing and hand hygiene to help slow the spread.
These and the other precautions that people have been asked to take are basic and, in the healthcare industry, we have utilized these same practices for years. When people in the community chose not to abide by the professionals’ recommendations, it puts those that we care for at risk.
The healthcare industry has also been conducting pre-employment and routine employment screenings for decades. Adding COVID-19 testing is simply another employee screening in addition to criminal background checks, flu shots, Mantoux testing and other safety checks that are in place to protect our seniors and compromised individuals. We are advocates to support the precautions and continue to send a message of respect for seniors.
In closing, pride is the best way I can express my gratitude for the families that have stuck by and supported us, to the staff that have lived up in every way to their commitment to care, to our boards of directors and commissioners who have supported our mission and to the residents in our care for their patience and understanding.
I would also like to thank our associations for their support of the industry. None of us know exactly where this is going or what our new normal will be, but I do know that we are blessed to be surrounded by some of the best in the industry.
We have all worked tirelessly to identify and prioritize ways to deal with the virus. It is incumbent upon all of us to lift each other up and to endure together.