Rapid Response Stories
Geer Village Senior Community
SERVING OUR COMMUNITY DURING THE PANDEMIC
Geer has maintained our community Dial-a-Ride services throughout the entire time of the pandemic. We have provided essential medical rides for appointments such as dialysis and cancer treatments. The number of rides has certainly been reduced but the intensity of each ride has increased. We have limited each vehicle to one passenger and one driver and each vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between rides. As you can imagine this takes time and we are expecting to continue this practice for the foreseeable future.
We applied for, and were fortunate to receive, grant funds through the Northwest Community Foundation and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to modify our vehicles to create barriers between the drivers and passengers. Depending on the model of the vehicle this could be a plexiglass or clear vinyl barrier. All the modifications meet DMV and DOT safety specifications.
Beginning in June 2020, we started to see a significant increase in the volume of requests for rides and expect that people are anxious to get back to see their doctors. We are ramping back up cautiously and will work as safely as possible to fulfill all requests.
The Geer Dial-a-Ride is funded in part by the Foundation for Community Health.
FCH Donation for fabric for Isolation Gowns
Geer has been fortunate to have a collaborative effort to deal with a shortage in isolation gowns. We sent out an email to our supporters and the response was phenomenal.
Gertrude O’Sullivan, from the Foundation for Community Health, answered our call and was instrumental in re-connecting us with a supplier as well as securing funding to purchase 300 yards of fabric. Mike Schopp, owner of Stadium Systems, and also a member of the Geer Board of Directors, volunteered his staff to design and sew the gowns.
Even before making gowns, Stadium Systems went straight to work making fabric masks and supplied Geer with our first donation of masks that our residents and staff could have for personal use.
Once the fabric was purchased, Stadium Systems worked with Geer to design and manufacture 170 clinical grade reusable gowns. Gowns were in very short supply and the costs were skyrocketing.
Without these gowns and masks, our staff and residents would be more vulnerable. We are so fortunate to have local heroes to help protect us.
Current Status of Geer
Geer has largely been able to keep Covid-19 off our campus. Technically the state reports that we have had 2 cases. One individual came to us after 2 negative tests from the hospital, was isolated while in the Nursing Center and within a very short time was sent back to the hospital where they then tested positive. Another individual tested 'low positive' when we conducted our all-resident testing. Subsequently, two tests came back negative, although the individual was isolated as a precaution.
Geer continues to restrict visitation on the campus. We have been able to implement some outside, supervised visitation for residents with their loved ones. These are done in a very controlled environment and scheduled ahead of time.
According to a State of CT regulation and with their guidance, we are now mandated to conduct staff and resident testing. This will contribute toward the monitoring of campus and provide vital information regarding any possible loosening of restrictions.
Geer’s Outpatient Physical Therapy has adapted by offering Virtual Visits and on June 29th began accepting limited, in-person visits with new protocols.
Sadly, after much consideration, we have concluded that we will not reopen Geer's Adult Day Care program. The risk of infection as we transport highly vulnerable people across long distances and provide care in a confined space is just too great.
Going forward, we are focused on finding new ways to help those who need support at home. We are happy to inform you that we are creating an entirely new division at Geer focused on safe, alternative programming for seniors. Geer is embarking on the creation of a new division called Community Services with a goal to provide a variety of senior support services throughout our service area.
We hope that any disappointment will quickly turn to optimism as we introduce new, safer and more effective ways that we can help people live full and enriched lives at home.
As you can imagine, the health and safety of our participants and staff are our highest priority as we work to find a way through this pandemic. Our staff has done an outstanding job at infection control at our Nursing Center and Assisted Living Facility. Our goal is to continue that trend while finding a way to allow residents and participants to become more connected again.