FONTANELLE — Through a concerted effort focused on the health and safety of staff and residents, Good Samaritan Society of Fontanelle will endure this season of social distancing and medical concern because of COVID-19, says Mallory Wheatley, the facility's administrator.
There have been a plethora of measures in place at Good Samaritan Society because of the community spread of the virus in Iowa. One of those measures is that nursing homes were on the cutting edge of measures being taken in response to the virus and no visitors have been allowed, except in end of life situations, since March 10.
While that can make life lonely for residents in some situations, staff explained COVID-19 is a serious situation and should not be taken lightly.
"The first consideration is the residents' safety. We've taken all kind of measures for their safety as far as screening our staff as they come in the building for temperature and their exposure. We've also limited outside people coming in," said Wanda Browning, the Infectious Diseases Nurse at Good Samaritan. "All who are coming into our facility are our staff."
Good Samaritan Society regularly briefs its staff to keep them on top of ever changing guidance they're receiving. Leadership are constantly in contact with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Drug Information Association.
Meetings are held twice each weekday with staff where they go over infection control practices and talk about the proper ways to don and dispose of their personal protective equipment they're wearing.
"We're constantly passing on to the staff [what we learn] in our morning meeting and have one again for the evening shift," said Nancy Brainard, Interim Director of Nursing at Good Samaritan. "We pass the information on everyday because guidance changes frequently. We want everyone to be kept up to speed and be transparent about what we know and pass that along."
Wheatley said the community has also reliably met the needs of Good Samaritan Society when it has been asked for, even in this time.
Community members, churches and organizations have come to the aid of the facility by donating their time and resources.
The staff have devotions each Tuesday with Pastor Steven Broers of Emmanuel Lutheran Church and residents are tuning into live stream services each Sunday from the church.
Last Wednesday night, residents enjoyed a visit from Carol Baudler and a group of area horseback riders who brought their horses right up to residents' windows to allow them an up close and personal look at the horses.
Additionally, the Good Samaritan Society's corporate offices have sent three iPads to the Fontanelle facility that will be able to be used by residents to talk with their family and loved ones over video chat.
"Our community has been awesome. We've had community members donating homemade masks, we've had people bringing in food for our staff, we had some people from the community donate large plywood Easter eggs for the residents to paint," Wheatley said. "To sum it up, everybody has been very, very awesome and very supportive."