One year ago, Ann Gordon was in the Australian outback with 14 other adventurers from a Holland America cruise who had booked an excursion to see Ayers Rock.
With little access to news of a pandemic sweeping the globe, the group was astonished to learn the prime minister of Australia had closed all ports and there was no option to reboard the ship.
The travelers flew home to their respective countries with only the belongings they had with them in the outback. The rest of their luggage, they were told, would be packed and delivered at a later date.
For Ann, who lives at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living-managed community in North Dallas, it was the first indication of just how staggering the changes wrought by pandemic would be.
“How drastically our world changed in such a short amount of time,” says Ann.
Comprehensive, effective response to the pandemic
At Highland Springs, where Ann has lived since October 2015, much has taken place over the past year to help residents thrive and connect in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. The executive team acted decisively and with innovation, creating new standards of operational excellence to protect the health and well-being of residents and staff.
“Highland Springs and our corporate partners at Erickson Living worked together from the outset of the pandemic to activate a comprehensive plan to protect the health and well-being of those who live and work at our community, which is our highest priority,” says Executive Director Matt Neville. “We've come so far in the past twelve months. The innovative spirit and expertise of our employees were the engines driving these efforts.”
The culinary professionals at Highland Springs adapted their carry-out and delivery meal programs to meet public health guidelines. The community rolled out a concierge program, which included doorstep delivery of newspapers, packages, mail, and everyday conveniences.
Telemedicine appointments across the Erickson Living enterprise rose to 50,000 in 2020, maintaining continuity of care and same day access to on-site full-time physicians.
“From the very start we worked together across all the Erickson communities with the simple guiding principle of preventing as many cases as possible by designing and implementing the very best infection prevention protocols,” says Matt Narrett, M.D., chief medical officer for Erickson Living.
Neville and Dr. Mary Norman, medical director at Highland Springs, gave televised updates throughout the pandemic response which aired in resident apartments on HSTV, Highland Spring's closed circuit television channel. The local team was able to provide important information about COVID-19 protocols, COVID-19 activity on campus, and critical data about what was happening within the larger DFW area.
“The livestreams have become part of the fabric of our communication with the community,” says Neville.
Brighter days ahead
In partnership with CVS/Omnicare, Highland Springs was able to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus for residents and staff. By the end of February, over 96 percent of residents had been vaccinated.
“Stamping out the risk of COVID-19 is something we're all looking forward to,” says Neville. “Better and brighter days are ahead in 2021.”
The community has a lot to anticipate in the coming months. A new residence building, Edgewater Place, is scheduled to open in June, bringing 107 apartments and additional amenities to Highland Springs.
“Just like the rest of the community, our sales team adapted to meet future residents and priority list members where they were with the pandemic,” says Sales Director Christina Christie. “Whether it was a traditional in-person appointment or a virtual tour, their comfort was our priority. As a result, 170 new residents have called Highland Springs home in the past twelve months. We're excited to welcome more new neighbors when Edgewater Place opens in June.”
For Ann, the promise of a brighter future includes renewed hopes to resume her travels. She's already booked a cruise with Holland America for 2022.
“This time I'm hoping to go all the way around the world,” she says.
Comfort, quality care, and community are just a few of the hallmarks of Highland Springs. Request a brochure or schedule an appointment with the sales team at 972-975-5403 to learn more.