They say change is the only thing that is constant in life. Over the past two and a half years, long-term care has been immersed in this concept. In searching for a path out of the pandemic we find ourselves facing reroutes associated with COVID re-emergence or various other infection-prevention barriers. But we are now better equipped and prepared for these detours and, with the skilled eye of assessment, can equip our residents and staff with the tools and function to emerge stronger and fortified.
Many residents were inadvertently negatively impacted by the preventative measures put into place during the pandemic, others may be experiencing lingering deficits from having contracted COVID. Their current baselines are likely not the same as their pre-pandemic baselines. Screening processes must take this into account to ensure attainment of the highest practicable level of independence, thereby promoting confidence in a return to normalcy for residents.
Even though most facility-based activities have resumed, and therapy gyms have reopened, some residents are hesitant to participate due to residual fears related to infection. Given the new, enhanced barrier precautions outlined by CMS, some residents may see these precautions and fear a surge is imminent. To offset this, open communication, assurance, and vigilance in infection prevention and control processes is key. Implementing health literacy interventions to convey information to residents in ways they can comprehend will allay concerns, provide reassurance, and instill confidence in their home environment.
As we navigate these paths, we should step into the moments that allow us to pause, celebrating our collective endurance, cultivating new bonds through shared activities, and discovering moments of inspiration. May we prevail in constructing a hope-filled future with the permanent paths to successful outcomes.