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Keeping our seniors safe

Local nursing homes and assisted living centers work to promote infection control and keep facilities clean and safe during these challenging times.

JGS Lifecare Kicks Off  “Superheroes Saving Lives” Campaign

Chad Gammad, MMQ Coordinator at The Leavitt Family Jewish Home signs the JGS Lifecare Superhero Pledge.

LONGMEADOW – JGS Lifecare, one of New England’s leading nonprofit healthcare systems serving seniors and their families, unveiled its new Superheroes Saving Lives campaign. Geared to its dedicated and loyal frontline staff, the light-hearted campaign focuses upon serious subjects: thanking employees for adhering to proper infection control protocols as well as conveying the importance of taking the coronavirus vaccine.

Created in English and Spanish, the three-month campaign features videos from Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence and Leavitt Family Jewish Home residents, who thank the staff for their “heroic” efforts in keeping them safe during the pandemic. The videos run the gamut from humorous to serious to emotional. Staff also encouraged their own family members to record videos showing how important it is for individuals to follow safety guidelines and proper hygiene protocols.

Left to Right: Robert Whitten, executive director and “Ironman” Ed Mack,Housekeeping Manager at The Leavitt Family Jewish Home, are among the first to sign the JGS Lifecare Superhero pledge.

“We have faced many challenging and unprecedented situations since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Rob Whitten, executive director of JGS Lifecare’s Leavitt Family Jewish Home. “Our staff has been extraordinary the entire time. I am incredibly grateful for their resilience, dedication, and cooperation in keeping our residents safe and healthy. This campaign is our way of thanking our employees and letting them know how much we appreciate their efforts…We’re also hoping it instills a little bit of humor into our daily routine.”

The campaign slogan, “Not all superheroes wear capes. At JGS Lifecare, we wear masks,” emphasizes the fact that healthcare workers have emerged as real-life superheroes, risking their own health every day to save the lives of their beloved residents. Both Leavitt Family Jewish Home and Ruth’s House, the assisted living residence, created their own videos, showcasing heartfelt “thank you” messages from the residents. 

Components of the campaign include Superhero buttons, care packages, t-shirts, candy, and capes. Employees are encouraged to take the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare Superhero pledge, in which they promise to “keep myself, my co-workers, my residents and my community safe by following safety practices at work, at home, and in my community.” 

 

Eisenberg Assisted Living launches Air Quality Protective Services

Eisenberg residents exercising in communal rooms that have been monitored under the assisted living center’s air quality plan.

WORCESTER — In addition to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), social distancing and infection control, Eisenberg Assisted Living, an affiliate of the Jewish Healthcare Center (JHC) has included air quality in its COVID precaution plan. 

“Communal activities are essential to Assisted Living Communities, be it dining, social activities, religious services or family visits,” said Eisenberg’s Executive Director David Price. “As the weather started to turn, we
challenged ourselves to best replicate the benefits of outdoor fresh air indoors so our residents could continue to enjoy these communal activities. We knew that it was a matter of time before keeping windows open would become uncomfortable for our residents.” 

According to the director of Plant Services, George Belliveau, “It starts with having clean air coming into the building. The HVAC system feeds the building with 100 percent outside air. There is no recirculation of air through building’s HVAC system which is key during a pandemic.” 

The Eisenberg team researched air quality and consulted with several experts. An engineer by training, Price purchased a CO2 meter for $200 and did an analysis of carbon dioxide levels and airflow in common spaces to ensure sufficient ventilation for the number of occupants in the room. Employees and residents took data to gain an understanding of the importance of air quality. 

A chart showing the CO2 levels in Eisenberg’s dining room.

“Fortunately, The Eisenberg building’s HVAC system was well designed when built 20 years ago, and the airflow calculations and CO2 readings are in recommended ranges in most areas,” said Price. “Where necessary, we added cost effective window fans to generate over 10 Air Changes per Hour, which is in the recommended range for hospital operating rooms.” Eisenberg has also installed Ultraviolet light (UV-C) air sanitizers in areas where common spaces and offices throughout the building as an extra step towards achieving healthy indoor air quality.  

Price said that Eisenberg has not had any COVID-19 cases since last spring.

“It’s impossible to know the extent to which our air quality work has led to keeping our residents COVID free this fall, and we know there is no absolute way to prevent COVID,” he said. “We wanted to do our homework and share what we have learned. We consulted with subject matter experts, the executive office of Elder Affairs and Worcester DPH along the way to ensure our COVID precautions are on target to facilitate a high quality of life for our residents.” 

Main Photo:Left to Right: Robert Whitten, executive director of  The Leavitt Family
Jewish Home and Shannon Wesson, director of Nursing proudly display the JGS Lifecare Superhero Pledge, promising to “keep myself, my co-workers, my residents and my community safe by following safety practices at work, at home, and in my community.”

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