By: Jonas Hoedebecke, LNHA, Administrator – Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living

The challenges related to COVID-19 have been extensive.  As you know, COVID-19 has essentially changed everything we do about our daily operations. We have an 1135 waiver that addresses hospitals without walls, qualifying hospital stays not being needed, Emergency Temp Nursing Assistant, a complete overhaul in facility structure into various zones – General, Observation, and Positive –  all of which have required an extraordinary amount of staff’s time and efforts to keep the patient population safe.  

Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living experienced two positive cases in April of 2020, with no further spread. And, then, our facility was hit with the big breakout. On October 22, we had our first positive test (on staff), 6 more on October 30, and 15 more on November 3. At that point COVID-19 infections were isolated to our observation wing and we were very excited we may have stopped the spread. Unfortunately, on November 5, a case in our general facility population popped up.  We tested the entire facility residents and learned a number of cases were present. COVID-19 had spread like wildfire. There was no identifiable pattern, it just went all over. At this time, we deemed the entire facility, 75 beds, a positive unit due to the extensive exposure to nearly all patients and staff. Staff experienced 3 weeks of “hell” where managers, dietary, housekeeping, and activities were all working crazy hours to support the nursing team.  

In my 15 years in leadership, I have never been more proud of the way this team came together and supported each other for the residents. At risk of their own personal health, everyone played a part in keeping our residents safe.  On December 16, the last positive results were reported and the facility is thankfully on the road to recovery.  

Stay diligent in your personal lives and keep this elderly population safe. The most valuable lesson we learned through this experience is that there is nothing more important than the team.  I’ve always thought that, but I understand it now on a completely different level that words cannot even explain. We look forward to distributing the vaccine for which my facility just received clinical dates.  As a company, we look forward to continued growth but mostly for the health and safety of the world population to unite, put differences aside, and come together as we end this pandemic.