What Makes an Exceptional Professional Caregiver?

Assisted living nurse wears a mask and tends to a patient

Many certified caregivers within senior living communities, in addition to monitoring an array of health and safety concerns, today are responsible for working directly with those who have contracted the virus.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, certified caregivers, many of whom were themselves afraid of catching the virus, have summoned deep wells of compassion and courage to address this crisis.

Meet Trish, a COVID-19 Superhero

Trish Coopwood has been with Cascades for eight years and, along with six of her peers, volunteered to join Cascades’ COVID-19 Superhero team.

These professionals care for the few residents who have the virus and, like the heroic doctors and nurses caring for COVID-19 patients, don their PPE and follow all of the CDC and state-mandated precautions. Also, to minimize virus exposure to other staff members, the COVID Superhero team provides housekeeping services, delivers meals, and never loses sight of the fact that these residents require extra kindness these days.

Leading with Compassion

Trish and everyone at Cascades understand that a warm smile, friendship and a listening ear are especially important to socially isolated seniors.

“Sometimes kindness comes in the form of playing cards or solving a puzzle together, and other times residents share rich stories about their life experiences, children and travels with us,” Trish said. “And when they need to pour their hearts out about COVID concerns, we listen and console.”

This comes naturally to Trish, who feels she receives equal measures of friendship and compassion from the residents she serves.

It’s a Team Approach.

“I work with an amazing team of caregivers, staff members and managers who focus on the entire wellbeing of residents, and especially on emotional needs in these challenging times,” Trish said. “The realities of social isolation and distancing demand that we all address the loneliness and anxiety that comes with it.”

“If, at the end of my shift, I’ve protected those in my care from COVID-19 and relieved their loneliness or anxiety, it’s been a good day.”

Minimizing the introduction and spread of the virus.

Cascades, like all other responsible senior lifestyle communities, is doing everything it can to minimize the introduction and spread of the virus.  Our current protocols include:

  • Adhering to a “no visit” policy to safeguard against the asymptomatic spread of the virus.
  • Mandating that all staff wear masks and all residents wear them when in the company of others.
  • Disinfecting all rooms, hallways, elevators, staircases and gathering places hourly.
  • Taking temperatures twice daily of residents and staff.
  • If anyone is symptomatic, we are on high alert. Even after we are provided with COVID-19 testing kits, we will continue taking temperatures regularly as an added safety measure.
  • Suspending all unnecessary trips outside the community with the exception of medical appointments.
  • Delivering three meals a day to every resident in their apartment.

Senior living communities are receiving continuous guidance from the CDC which, together with regular testing, provide valuable protocols for safeguarding residents.

We hope this information shines a light on how professional caregivers and others entrusted with senior care are heroically contributing to the health and safety of residents during these unprecedented times.

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