Dear Residents, Family Members and Teammates,
The pace and scope of change we all have experienced in the last sixty days is immense. It is somewhat hard now to believe there was a pre-COVID-19 world. Our team began discussing “what ifs” related to the corona virus at the beginning of 2020. What if it reached the U.S.? What if it made it to Texas? What if it hit Presbyterian Village North (PVN), Faith or The Pickens Center? We nervously reviewed disaster plans and updated our “flu-epidemic” policy. We made initial plans to “hunker down” for two weeks, but in a worst-case scenario, up to a month if necessary. In February, we sent our first notice out alerting our boards that our revised preparedness plan was in place. By the second week in March, common areas at PVN were closed, visitation had stopped in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing and Faith began planning for, (unheard of at the time), “virtual” hospice services. By the third week of March, we had entirely transformed as an organization.
The last 60 plus days have tested our ability to be nimble and innovative as well as our mettle as an organization. Over that time, the team has made extremely difficult and often unpopular decisions for the greater good of the organization. Our teammates have been shoulder to the wheel without complaint doing their very best to serve the people we all hold dear. All the while, residents, patients, families, volunteers and donors have been by our side coaching, advising and supporting our organization. When the media portrayed those working in skilled nursing in less than heroic terms, residents, families and donors stepped with much needed praise and support.
The day our first resident was stricken with COVID-19 was a hard blow for everyone. The team had worked tirelessly for six weeks to hold the virus at bay. The situation was made more difficult due to a lack of support and guidance from local officials. However, instead of taking this situation as a sign of defeat, we committed immense resources to testing rather than waiting for more people to become symptomatic. We also continued our tradition of transparency to our stakeholders and the external community. To date we have tested over 1,000 people who live and work at PVN. The testing and our emphasis on acting quickly continue to aide us in our ability to fight and contain the virus.
Despite the easing of restrictions by the governor, we are still in the “thick” of it. We serve those in the highest risk categories across our continuum of services. While restrictions ease around us, it is imperative we remain cautious. Difficult and potentially unpopular decisions will still have to be made. As in the beginning of the pandemic, our faith-based values will guide us. Our residents, patients, families and boards will provide counsel to the leadership team. While each day may bring a new challenge, we will emerge from this crisis a better and stronger organization.
Today, we have occasion to celebrate! One of our residents has recovered and met the criteria to leave the COVID-19 wing. Additionally, three of the eleven teammates who originally tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and met our criteria to return to work. While there are many opinions related to the next phase of the pandemic, the recovery of these individuals helps to support our cautious approach.
We continue to pray for all residents and teammates, and especially for those who are recovering from the virus. From a personal standpoint, I remain grateful to be part of this team and to serve such an extraordinary group of people. I look forward to a day, hopefully soon, when we can all celebrate the end of the pandemic.
CEO Forefront Living