1. Osman, Ellen RN

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Country Rest Home is a small private long-term-care facility located in Greenwood, Del. Our team was certainly proud of holding off COVID-19 for 7 months; however, like other facilities, the virus found its way into our facility. We never believed that we were invincible, but we all felt the disappointment and dread of what could possibly happen to our vulnerable resident population and our staff.

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As the director of nursing, I was at home on a Saturday when the COVID-19 swab results came back from our lab and eight of our residents were positive. The shock of so many at once was almost surreal and action had to be taken fast. Administration began pulling everyone on location. Because we didn't have a specific closed area for isolation, we needed to make a COVID-19 unit. Planning for this day had been reviewed, but nothing prepares you for that one word "POSITIVE" in the face of a terrible pandemic that could be especially fatal for older adults.


Teamwork was at its best as we successfully built a COVID-19 unit in less than 8 hours. Our administrator was helping the team position the framework for our plastic walls with zip doors as I directed their placement. Our nursing staff members were setting up full droplet precautions while other nurses and nursing aides prepared our residents for transfer to isolation rooms within the COVID-19 unit. Staff members were covering residents' beds with sheets and masking the residents as others packed up necessary care items into basins, bagged them, and set them at the residents' feet. Signs were made and placed on each bed with the resident's new room number.


This transferring of residents, moving from one unit to another based on COVID-19 test results, continued for hours. Staff members were hot and soaked with sweat from moving beds and equipment in full personal protective equipment (PPE). Nurses were busy setting up a temporary nurses' station inside the plastic-walled COVID-19 unit, including PPE stations for masks, gloves, and gowns. The infection control team was overseeing our setup as we moved forward with isolating our COVID-positive residents.


Residents who tested negative were all gathered together in the designated "clean" area to await new rooms, which had to be sanitized, cleaned, and fumigated after a COVID-positive resident was moved out before a COVID-negative resident was moved into the freshly cleaned rooms. Our residents were awesome and never complained about the wait as their personal items were bagged and moved.


Staff members were also designated to call all family members to alert them of what was happening, explaining that their loved one had to be moved temporarily for the safety of themselves and others. COVID-19 is fierce but so were we, battling against a deadly virus that pushed our team to the limits. And yet we kept going relentlessly until the COVID-19 unit was done and all residents were rearranged to keep the COVIDpositive residents isolated away from those who were COVID-negative.


Our staff members pulled together so fast to set up our needed isolation unit. We were all scared to know that COVID-19 had come to our beloved long-term-care facility, and we were fearful for our residents, ourselves, and our families at home. Through all the frantic assembly and physical exhaustion, we at Country Rest Home kept our spirits up, trying hard not to alarm our residents. Our team worked in total unison, coming together regardless of our fear, to help our residents, staff, and friends. We executed our strategic plan to perfection that day, a plan we had prayed would never be needed and yet there we were doing exactly as we planned.


Perhaps many others can identify with awesome teamwork during this terrible pandemic. I can't help but recall how frantic I was driving to the facility, wondering how in the world we were going to get everything done to get the COVID-19 unit up and running. Our staff members did it together, giving all to the cause. It was just amazing! I've never been so proud to be part of a team/community.