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April 2021 ~ Reflections from the Frontline

Lutheran Care Center Staff
Jeanelle Williams, Nurse

Jeanelle Williams, Nurse

What were the high points of the year?
There was a lot of team work…everyone pitching in and helping each other. Because I had to be here more, I could take time to sit down and offer to talk with residents. My relationship with them was very special. Many families couldn’t visit so I would take time to help residents call family and friends.
What were some low points?
 We didn’t know how Covid would affect us the first few months and had to figure out how best to keep residents and ourselves safe. It was difficult keeping up with all the changes. If you were away one week, you would come back to a whole different set of rules.
The hardest was the residents who passed. Some were here when I started five years ago.
What was the most important thing you have taken away from this past year?
I never realized how much the time sitting with residents impacted them – how much it meant to them. I learned new things about people I had known for years. One woman told me about her five boyfriends who took her out dancing and that she had been a flag girl on a drill team. It was the first time, in a long time, that I saw a smile on her face.
What are you most thankful for?

Theresa Koenig, EVS Aid

What were the high points of the year?
The teamwork!
We were the family for residents.   Activities and outings had to be canceled and that was scary for them.  They could only see their family through a window. So we stepped up as surrogates.  Some residents have been here longer than me.
During the first wave – one person died…we were proud of keeping so many safe.
Now it is nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What were some low points?
This is probably the scariest thing I’ll see in my lifetime but we still come back every day, gladly, to care for others w Covid. –I worked in the Covid Isolation Unit. At times, the whole section was full. It was hard for residents to adjust to seeing us covered head-to-toe in PPE protective and face shields. The residents didn’t recognize us – they were scared…it looked like a scene from a movie. But we reassured them and let them know “we are trying to keep you safe.”Everyone worked hard and worked overtime. There were meetings almost every day. We would do everything we could possibly do.
There was a period of a few weeks that were so intense we felt like robots. I worked 3 weeks straight …there was no laughter. That was hard. 
Sometimes we would leave work at the end of the day…and cry.
I didn’t get Covid but it was rough for those who did. We lost several staff.
It was hard on my family. I told my own kids they should not come into my house if they weren’t careful because I didn’t want them to bring anything in to Lutheran.
The national scrutiny of nursing homes was difficult.  I felt like long-term care got a scarlet letter, a bad rap. We work so hard, keep everything clean, are friendly, and really care for residents.  Family members were upset that they could not visit.  If someone passed, we were blamed. We used to have a waiting list – now people are scared.
What are you most thankful for?
I became more empathetic; allowed myself to be more emotionally involved; did simple things like rubbing a resident’s shoulders (with gloves on) so they know someone loves them.   Their history is amazing. Occasionally, a memory care resident would have total recall – it was great!
I am thankful that we got through this as well as we did.  Activities are resuming – that’s good.
I saw strong community and people step up, even in fear, and do things. It showed us the good in people. This has been my work family for 11 years. I’ve always loved working here but I have a whole new approach.  We don’t do it for the money - and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
You feel like you’re doing something positive for the world.
Edward David

Edward David, Director of Environmental Services

At the beginning of the year, when Covid started, we were successful in staying on top of all the additional cleaning protocols; everyone did their part and extra.  I was proud of how all the departments chipped in; nursing and rehab helped with cleaning and we helped them.
Summer was still good but late December through February we hit a low point. It was hard emotionally. 
The Covid Isolation Unit was especially emotional.  I was responsible for designating housekeeping staff and had to single out two people. It was hard to assign people to that floor. I asked for volunteers and had to be up front that there was no guarantee.  I assigned myself for the maintenance responsibilities.
Things are lightening up now; the weather is good and things are under control.  I am hopeful that there will not be another outbreak but I know that we are prepared.

Family Reflections

We appreciate hearing from many families who took a moment to thank our staff for their care of a loved one.  Here are just a few…
From Lorraine – whose mother, June, is a current long-term resident
Lorraine is a nurse and had at one time served as a volunteer at LCC with Pastor Heller. She shared,  "How truly wonderful the 1N staff has been. I appreciate that they laugh with my mother and joke with her and make each other laugh."  
 From Maria - whose mother, Dierdre, passed on January 11th
 I would like to thank LCC for taking wonderful care of my mother, Deirdre (a.k.a. Dee).  She loved the care she received on One North, and in the entire LCC.  Everyone was continually kind and patient, always good-hearted and helpful.  The nurses Cherie, Jeanelle, Marsha, Soraya, Cindy, Jackie, and Lisa, and the CNA's Tanaya, Chris, Ann, Racine, Simon, Augustina, Latoya, and Chris, as well at the activities specialists Carolyn and Sharon, all worked harmoniously to bring a beautiful life to my Mom on a daily basis.  Dr. Nesheiwat and Andrea Guzi could also be counted on to take good care of my Mom's various medical needs.  Rev. Kelly-Ray Meritt led the services Mom appreciated so much, providing spiritual nourishment for her, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the church group in various ways.  Mrs. Heller helped make my Mom feel comfortable and special, taking the time to talk to her about things they had in common.  
My Mom enjoyed everything, the staff, the routine, the activities, and the food.  She loved music, shows, and the parade too!  And she loved having quiet time in her room, where she could read or rest peacefully with her feet up, maybe watching a favorite TV program.  
If Mom asked for anything she needed, the response from the staff was always swift and helpful.  A cup of tea?  No problem!  Help with a phone call?  Of course!  And the staff always kept me informed of anything I might need to know.  
I also want to thank the front desk, the night supervisor, the cleaning staff, the maintenance staff, the appointment office, and Elizabeth in the finance office.  Many of these people may not be on the front line of patient care, but their hard work did not go unnoticed.  Everyone was always courteous and ready to help.  
Mom passed on January 11, and I am so thankful that she had LCC during the last few years of her life.  I feel God led us to the LCC, and the workers at LCC were His hands on earth during her residence there.  I am very thankful for all of the care and support my Mom received.
From Monica – whose mother, Joan, passed on January 16th
Monica wrote to us two months after her mother, Joan, passed saying she would be forever grateful to LCC for allowing her to be with her mother before she died. She shared a black and white image of Rembrandt’s Healing of Peter’s Mother in law. It struck her how much this sketch reminded her of her mother, bedridden, and needing assistance to “get up!”.  It had brought her comfort to think of “Jesus bending over her bedside, and with his two hands grasping my mother’s two hands, and lifting her head off the pillow as He took her to be with Him in heaven.”
In Joan’s obituary the family included this tribute:  We wish to thank everyone who helped us care for our mother as her dementia progressed over the years, especially Bonnie, Gladys, Hudson Valley Hospice, and the entire staff of Lutheran Care Center, most especially the staff on 1 North. We will be forever grateful as you helped us shepherd our mother as she traveled to her true “Home”.

A Huge Thank You ...

to those who contributed toward new Smart TVs for the units, for the protective tents used during family window visits, and for the various congregations that provided lunches for LCC Healthcare Heroes!
Bingo on Smart TV Window Visit Tent Banner from Dutchess Church of Christ

Help lift spirits and celebrate our amazing staff during National Skilled Nursing Care Week, May 9-15.

This year’s theme, Together Through the Seasons, honors the collaborative commitment of skilled nursing care facilities and their staff in providing compassionate care to their residents during this unprecedented time.
Like all skilled nursing facilities, LCC has been on "lockdown" all four seasons. So, during National Skilled Nursing Care Week staff and residents will celebrate the different seasons with daily creative theme- based activities.  A series of fun events will kick off on Mother’s Day including one day when staff will take residents out for a walk and join them for lunch. Gifts of appreciation for staff will include a limited number of new scrubs, gift baskets, gift cards to area vendors, and a delicious boxed meal catered from a local restaurant.
Please share your appreciation and support by donating here. Or, if you prefer, check or a gift card from a local shop would also be greatly appreciated. These may be sent to Patricia Ludington, Administrator by May 9th.
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965 Dutchess Turnpike | Poughkeepsie, NY | 12603 US

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