Views from inside a nursing home on lockdown

Larry Wright

PAHOKEE — After a particularly long and extremely trying week in the nursing home, Glades Health Care Center Assistant Administrator Leila Chambers composed some thoughts as she breathed in some R&R time before dawn Saturday morning, and spilled them out in a social media post.

Speaking to no one in particular but addressing the community at large, she wrote:

“Many people are quick to criticize, pass judgment and (spread) false information.

“If you are not in a long-term care facility or nursing home, you do not know or cannot imagine what we are going through.

“At Glades Health Care, we have been tracking COVID-19 since Feb. 7, 2020. The state and federal government have passed several new regulations, mandates and guidances.”

She went on to explain how it’s been going, trying to keep up with all the multiple developments in this unfolding coronavirus saga: “With COVID-19, our daily operations change … according to these mandates so we can ensure the safety of our residents, staff and community.

“We are in constant communication with state, federal and local agencies daily to make sure everyone is aware of what protocols we have in place to protect our population.”

On Friday, Ms. Chambers wrote, she had to take an action to help protect other Glades Health Care Center workers because of the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown.

“I had Human Resources to share counseling information to our staff because many are feeling overwhelmed because of fear.
“We are talking daily and trying to keep our residents engaged but safe with social distancing, while focusing on their psychosocial well-being due to displacement from receiving visitors.

“This is something that we have NEVER dealt with before, but you have COMMITTED STAFF THAT SHOW UP DAILY AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!” Ms. Chambers continued, crowing a bit about other workers there. “Glades Health Care Center is a GEM when it comes to health and quality care. I cannot thank the staff enough for what they do, their commitment, determination, and loyalty to their job.

“We never know in health care what we will face. I encourage everyone who wishes to pursue a career in health care to see if this is truly what you want. You will face crisis situations and you cannot run and hide. You must uphold the oath that you take, and that is to take care of people in normal and life-threatening situations.

“I will be there no matter what for the residents and staff I serve.

“Staff and family members, I love you all and I am here for you.

“If you have questions or need guidance, please call me or send an email to lchambers@floridacare.net. Many of you know I am a busybody and miss a lot of calls.

“This was heavy on my heart this morning,” she stated.

Later in the day on Saturday, one resident of Glades Health Care Center indirectly answered her post when he went on Facebook Live to update his friends and family on the conditions there as the lockdown continued.

Larry M. Wright sat comfortably in his room and expressed the loneliness residents there are feeling while reassuring his friends and loved ones he was being well taken care of.

“Hi. This is Larry Wright, still in the nursing home. Just thought I would get a little note out to you all and let you know how we’re doing here.

“Although we’re a little secluded and we’re not getting any visitors, which is a good thing for health, I just wanted to let you know the amazing job they’re doing here, keeping us all safe, keeping us all healthy. Through it all, we’re staying happy, and healthy as well.”

Ms. Chambers took that as a compliment and gratefully replied: “Larry M. Wright, thank you so much for reaching out to your loved ones and friends to let them know that you are well and we are doing our best to keep you and all residents
safe.”

Glades Health Care has served the western communities of Palm Beach County since 1984, and Lynette Wiseman is the current administrator.

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