By Raven Osborne
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nursing homes greatly since it took hold in March.
Many family members have been unable to see their loved ones who currently reside in long-term care and assisted living facilities. This is due to guidelines that were set in place by the state. They did this to help protect those more susceptible to COVID-19.
With the reopening of these facilities, Cody Brayton, a healthcare worker at a long-term care facility in Altamonte Springs, shared what life has been like working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Brayton had been working at this facility for less than a year before the outbreak. While the pandemic wasn’t an ideal way to start his work there, Brayton doesn’t see this as a negative.
“I’ve learned that representatives from myriad departments—for example, housekeeping, nursing and leadership—are willing to complete tasks outside of their job descriptions to benefit others,” he said. “This level of unselfishness and/or team-first attitude is commendable, which is why I feel that this experience has been shaped in a positive way.”
Later on, when asked about how the facility he worked in was keeping the residents’ health safe and what was the most effective means of doing so, Brayton shared the facility’s best practices.
“Educating the staff on strict infection control is arguably the most effective practice implement designed to protect the residents who reside in the building,” Bray- ton explained. “We have also experimented with the use of industrial air scrubbers and UV lights.”
While the level of effectiveness is not known, the science behind these methods can warrant the use of them, he said.
Brayton also offered advice to family members getting ready to visit their loved ones for the first time in months.
“I would ask all visitors to simply practice patience,” he said. “Having an understanding that the building they are entering is not the same as it was as short as four to six months ago is crucial.
“It is important for family members and loved ones to know that all healthcare facilities are having to abide by guidelines that are set forth by the state and not the facility itself. If both facilities and family members can come to a common understanding the reopening process will go much smoother.”