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The Maplewood: ‘We’re very accustomed to handling this kind of thing’

Maplewood’s Greg Chambery shares how the nursing home is managing COVID-19


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Many are concerned about their loved ones living in nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, as the illness poses a higher risk for the elderly. To reassure people that their loved ones are in good hands, Greg Chambery, head administrator of The Maplewood (located at 100 Daniel Drive, Webster), shared a video on the nursing home website and across social media explaining how they are managing the COVID-19 situation.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions addressed in the video and Chambery’s responses to them.

What if my loved one gets sick?

“The thing about this virus is, for the purposes of long-term care and for folks who live in a nursing home, we’re very accustomed to handling this kind of thing,” Chambery says in the video. “So for us, it’s not new.”

“It’s the same as if we were to have a case of the common flu that goes around.”

When Maplewood does tackle the “common flu,” Chambery says they have inoculations that 100% of employees AND 100% of residents receive. So this year, “we haven’t seen as much of that as we used to,” said Chambery.

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus, there is not yet a vaccine. But although Maplewood staff can’t get ahead of the virus, they address any case of sickness the same.

“So if this does come up, we’re still used to it because we immediately treat the situation as if the person has it,” Chambery explained. “We don’t wait and say, ‘Well, we’ll see when the testing comes back.’ That’s not how you handle this kind of thing.”

Even if it is not known whether someone in fact has the coronavirus when he or she is sick, Chambery said the door to the room is kept closed at all times to prevent the illness from spreading.

Additionally, there is no cohabitation at the nursing home; every resident has his or her own private room.

Maplewood is protecting its employees as well, according to Chambery. Protective equipment is provided for employees to allow them to continue providing the necessary care to residents in a safe manner.

What is your greatest concern?

Chambery says his greatest concern at this point is that “we do the best job we possibly can to take care of all the residents that we have in our care as well as the employees.”

Are you able to get supplies and food?

Chambery assures people that all the nursing home’s food supplies are “coming in on time.” However, there are, in some cases, shortages of certain things, just as there have been at popular grocery and retail stores.

For example, the supply of bottled water is getting “a little tight,” according to Chambery.

“But in that particular case, we can go to the tap and just do things a little bit differently than we normally would,” said Chambery.

Another concern many have had is the supply of masks available to help protect people from the spread of the virus. As of right now, The Maplewood does not have a shortage of masks and has enough for at least several weeks, according to Chambery.

Chambery says the county’s office of emergency preparedness has been helpful in providing the nursing home with supplies such as hand sanitizers, masks, goggles, etc.

For the most part, Chambery says The Maplewood is not struggling in acquiring supplies.

What is happening at The Maplewood now?

Chambery says the only thing different from a typical day at the nursing home is that more people are wearing masks.

Anyone who needs to get within 6 feet of a resident or closer is required to wear a mask at all times.

Since this particular virus lays dormant with people before symptoms are exhibited, Chambery says Maplewood is taking extra precautions, even if everyone appears healthy.

“We want to make absolutely sure we’re doing everything we can to not spread the virus through unintended employee contact with the residents,” said Chambery.

Other than the masks, Chambery says “you wouldn’t know that there’s anything going on, because the atmosphere is very calm.”

Are you equipped to treat people with COVID-19?

It’s the million dollar question.

Unfortunately, there is not a treatment designated specifically for the coronavirus at this time. The only thing that can really be done, according to Chambery, is to “let the virus run its course.”

“It’s not like you have a headache and you can take a pill and the headache goes away,” said Chambery.

Another challenge the nursing home has to be aware of is that the virus exacerbates conditions an elderly person may already have, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Chambery says The Maplewood keeps a close eye on residents with such conditions to see if they exhibit any signs of elevation. If not, the condition can be treated normally. If, however, the nursing home determines that a resident’s condition is elevated and may be putting others around them at risk of exposure, the primary physician may decide to send that resident to the hospital.

Have employees been infected?

At the time of posting the video, Chambery says no residents, patients, or employees at the nursing home have exhibited any symptoms of the virus.

However, he acknowledged that it is difficult to know whether someone is a carrier or not.

The nursing home takes precautions by testing every person each time they enter the building with a temperature test and a battery of questions (e.g. have they knowingly been exposed to someone infected, does anyone they know have it, etc.).

How are you communicating with the outside world?

In response to the rise of the virus, the governor announced that visitations at nursing homes are no longer allowed, to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes visitations from family members.

“A difficult day for all of us, to say goodbye to them,” said Chambery.

As a result, Chambery says the nursing home has done its best to make due. In addition to cell phone usage, the nursing home places residents by the glass so they can talk through the glass, on a cell phone, while getting to see their loved ones.

The Maplewood has also initiated the use of a Google tool called “Duo” in some situations, where an iPad or Google Chromebook is provided to the resident so they can communicate with loved ones virtually.

One of the things that has been really good for staff morale, says Chambery, is the positivity coming in from the outside community. For example, someone put a poster outside the home’s front door that reads, “Thank you nurses and staff,” with bright colors and hearts.

“I can’t tell you how important that kind of thing has been to the morale of the staff,” said Chambery.

“And that means an awful lot to us, so it’s those kind of situations that we run into and really give us heart and keep us going,” he added.

The full video can be viewed below.

***Please consider donating to Webster Online’s GoFundMe to keep this independently-run news site operating and Webster residents informed during these challenging times.***

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