Miami Valley long-term care facilities navigating pandemic as it evolves

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Congregate care facilities are adapting policies and procedures amid the most recent pandemic spike. 

It’s a tough balance sometimes, to keep an at-risk, often elderly population as safe as possible, while also trying to limit the effects isolation has on those people and their families. 

Janell Smith’s father is at a long-term care facility. She says, “Every day he is dying in isolation, and every day I have to watch this. And it’s cruel.” 

Smith gets emotional when speaking about how isolation is affecting her father, saying “He is declining so quickly because of the isolation.” 

Her father is suffering from dementia. Six weeks ago, she moved him from Indiana to a Miami Valley long-term care facility. She’s choosing not to name which one. 

WATCH child care facilities also adjusting as the pandemic evolves:

Janell says she knows everyone has to adapt but it’s difficult to cope when visitation is limited, and she feels she’s essential to her father’s treatment. “This was something that was recently diagnosed, and I don’t even recognize the man he is today.” 

In Springfield, the team at the Springfield Masonic Community is working to explain decisions to residents and their families. President & Administrator Tony Berardi says, “I feel the families have really come around, especially in the past few months as we are releasing the second surge, the really big spike.” 

Berardi and his team are already trying to anticipate the next steps so they’re ready when the state reopens further. “We’re going to see life start to open back up again, but there will be certain fail safes that we can monitor. And then will know exactly what plans to implement win because will have more experience with what works and what doesn’t.” 

And he says he’s in constant contact with the health department, and sharing information among other formerly-competing facilities. Berardi says, “Right now the only thing we’re competing against is the virus. We’re not competing against one another.” 

Berardi says a lot of the people at the Springfield Masonic Community are just as vigilant as the staff. He says they’re very careful to not bring the coronavirus into the facility, and are eager to share and learn new information about the virus. 

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