"Across our family of communities, residents and staff are taking extraordinary steps to protect the health and safety of our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and caregivers," says Erickson Living CEO R. Alan Butler, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This commitment and dedication could be seen daily at Greenspring, an Erickson Living-managed community in Springfield, Va., as staff are working tirelessly to serve and protect each and every community member.
"The staff, community resources, housekeeping, resident services, security, GSV-TV, and so many others have gone, and continue to go, above and beyond to ensure the good health of our community," says community member Ginny Oehler. "Every gesture, directive, and proactive step taken has not gone unnoticed. I am very grateful."
Staying in touch
Most importantly, throughout the crisis, Greenspring staff and management have remained in constant communication with all residents. Daily updates and information are shared on the in-house cable station GSV-TV; posted on YouTube and the My Erickson app, and through the use of bulletin boards and personal flyers.
Each week, Executive Director Chandra Kumar addresses residents on a recorded special, played throughout the week on GSV-TV.
"Chandra Kumar is exceptionally dedicated to seeing that we, her residents, are kept informed, in a safe environment and well cared for," says resident Gray Parks.
Neighbor Carolyn Nagler agrees. "Management has done a super job of transparency and keeping us informed," she says. "There aren't enough words to thank the staff for their extraordinary efforts to keep us well-fed, healthy and safe."
One important message shared with community members and their families was the continuity of on-site medical care. Throughout the pandemic, the medical center has remained open, seeing residents on an as-needed basis and offering telehealth appointments with members of the medical staff.
"In April, I was able to complete my six-month wellness check with my medical center doctor using the FaceTime app," says Roy O'Connor. "It worked well. I am fortunate to be in good health, so it fit the bill."
Greenspring residents have also kept the lines of communication open for resident-to-resident exchanges through the Greenspring Resident Information Exchange (GRIX), an online message board. Residents have shared information like favorite recipes, how to's such as homemade mask-making, uplifting comments, or to ask questions.
In addition to communicating important health and wellness guidelines, Greenspring staff have kept residents abreast on communitywide precautionary measures. One of the first programs initiated was the in-home dining program. Rather than enjoying meals at one of Greenspring's five campus restaurants, staff members began personally delivering all meals to residents in their homes.
"My wife Vickie and I are most satisfied and superbly impressed with how the Greenspring dining staff have prepared, packaged, and delivered us three days' worth of satisfying and fulfilling meals every three days," says Clint Lambert. "It is obvious that the dining staff, including the student servers, are dedicated to providing us three well-thought-out, planned, and prepared meals, including a snack, every three days. Not only are the meals healthy and nutritious, they are tasty and enjoyable to eat."
Greenspring's director of dining services, Jason Healey, provides community members with frequent updates regarding the food selection process and delivery. He, along with Executive Chef Michael Ritt routinely appear on GSV-TV explaining the program and participate in a live, call-in, question and answer sessions with residents.
At your service
In addition to keeping everyone well-fed with healthy, nutritious meals, Greenspring, like all Erickson Living-managed communities, launched a concierge program to facilitate the doorstep delivery of newspapers, packages, and other important items by staff members. This program helps minimize outside visitors, further keeping community members safe and healthy.
Moving to Greenspring this past November, Bob Graf is grateful for the dedication of the staff providing these much-needed services.
"The agility of the administration and staff is just amazing to me," he says. "The changes, the planning, the can-do, will-do attitude of all gives my confidence that we will weather this storm and deal appropriately with whatever comes. I feel much safer here than I would be living alone, with no plans for help if I should get sick."
As an added enhancement to the concierge program, the Greenspring community implemented an essential items delivery service, providing residents the opportunity to request essential items including soap, laundry detergent, coffee, and tea from the front desk. These items are provided free of charge, within 48 hours.
With health, wellness, dining, and the distribution of necessities under control, Greenspring staff have continued to look for creative ways for community members to entertain themselves from the comfort of their homes.
All Greenspring departments work carefully to provide information and, in many cases, entertainment options to community members. The pastoral ministries department sends daily email devotionals to Village Church (Greenspring's nondenominational church) members and any residents who request this special offering.
GSV-TV added additional, programming during the week, including a line dance class led by community member John Carle, a Great Decisions lecture, a sing-along with staff member Amy Hewes, concerts from the Kennedy Center, museum tours, and cooking demonstrations from Greenspring chefs and residents.
"The Greenspring staff is working so hard to keep us all safe while following medical guidelines," says Connie Bubon. "I appreciate the efforts and all that it takes to find the best ways to meet all of our needs."
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,000 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.
Photo Credit: Greenspring Resident Larry Rood
Photo Caption: The "We Can" sign, created by staff member David Dodson, demonstrates the special bond between community members and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Kelly A. Shue