Updated: Jul 15, 2020
(BPT) - As the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are eager to celebrate healthcare workers on the front lines who cope with the disease every single day. You've probably heard countless stories of the amazing acts of kindness and courage exhibited by the doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff who are facing the virus head on.
But among the brave and selfless healthcare providers who put their energy, compassion and even their health on the line to give care to the suffering are many unsung heroes - the healthcare workers in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
Their untold stories involve not only their capacity to acknowledge and mourn great loss, but also their dedication to providing the compassion and care required to help their residents persevere and recover.
In a time like this, they deserve recognition for their sacrifices.
Mother and daughter team
In Indianapolis, mother and daughter team Lenore Williams and Aubrey Baker both work at long-term care facilities. Williams says that colleagues at CommuniCare, a national, family-owned company that operates long-term care, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities across the country, has helped hundreds of residents recover from the virus.
"Our division alone has recovered over 150 patients, and I think it has largely been due to the love and care our staff provides," said Williams, a regional director of clinical care for CommuniCare.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, long-term care facility employees have learned and implemented strict new protocols for bolstering resident and staff health and safety - including lockdowns that unfortunately keep residents apart from their loved ones.
"There are people who care about your family members that are in here. We are trying the best we can," said Baker, a qualified medication aide at Wildwood HealthCare Center on Indianapolis' east side. "They are very scared, and I try to tell them that it is going to be OK," said Baker.
Baker tested positive for COVID-19 back in March but has fortunately since recovered. As soon as she was cleared to return to work, despite her mother's wishes, she went back to the COVID 19 unit.
Care at long-term facilities goes way beyond COVID-19
Healthcare workers at care facilities provide vital daily care and assistance for those unable to care for themselves. They are dedicated to continuing to provide that quality care to the best of their ability - despite the dangers and challenges of the current pandemic.
"For our patients' physical and mental well-being, we wake up every morning, put on our scrubs and protect our patients," says Ashley Johnson, nurse at Landmark Nursing Home in Texas. "We reduce injury. We improve health. We work with recovery, post-operative care and sometimes assist with palliative care. We maintain skills in supporting someone with degenerative diseases. We help people develop, recover and improve skills needed for daily living and working. We help people communicate 'I love you' to their loved ones after a stroke. We improve quality of life and will continue to do so for our residents."
Read inspirational stories of recovery and kindness, then send your own messages of thanks and encouragement to healthcare workers and residents in long-term care and assisted living at CareNotCovid.com.