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Two residents of Silver Bluff Village smile and hold signs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Silver Bluff Village: Keeping Residents, Families and Staff Engaged Despite Pandemic

As we kick off our series highlighting PointClickCare customers demonstrating leadership and creativity in the face of COVID-19, we introduce you to Silver Bluff Village in Canton, NC. Silver Bluff, which offers long-term care, assisted living, assisted housing, independent living and rehab services, has been on high alert since the novel coronavirus arrived in the U.S. Their quick action and continued vigilance have kept the virus out of their buildings so far.

A Phased Lockdown

Lisa Leatherwood, administrator of Silver Bluff Village, describes the lockdown process that began in early March.

“We first limited visitations to immediate family, then to no visitors, but still allowed residents to move around a little bit. We quickly realized that wouldn’t be enough, and stopped all group activities, closed the dining rooms, and restricted residents to their rooms. It’s been tough for everyone, residents and staff, and especially for those residents with dementia.”

Lisa said they also began educating the “amazing” staff on new procedures and precautions, and provided them with PPE and regular COVID-19 testing.

Never a Dull Moment for Residents

Once the residents were room-bound, staff began devising ways to boost their spirits while keeping them safe. Hall bingo has been a favorite, as well as movies shown on the internal TV channel. Lisa says the residents particularly love hall concerts.

“Our residents sit in the doorways of their rooms, listening to our music therapist play violin and guitar, and sometimes singing along. We also have iPads, with access to puzzles and games. And when the weather’s nice, we give as many as possible some distanced fresh air outdoors.”

Lisa notes that signs have also been a big hit with the residents, some of whom are becoming social media stars.

“The residents love holding up signs and seeing themselves on Facebook. They were baffled when we told them there was a toilet paper shortage, so residents held up signs saying, “Don’t worry, we have toilet paper,” and  “Three Rolls of Toilet Paper for $19.99.” These folks haven’t lost their sense of humor.”  

Amazingly, the average resident age at Silver Bluff is 89. Perhaps because of that, Lisa sees most of them taking the situation in stride.

“Our residents have experienced a lot of sacrifice in their lives. They understand that bad happens, and when it does, we all have to cope and move on. A few have had enough of this, but in general, they have been very cooperative and grateful.”

One resident makes it a point to thank staff members every day for coming to work, telling them that he doesn’t have a choice to be there, but they do.

Community Outpouring a Blessing

The surrounding community has been extremely supportive of Silver Bluff Village. One resident sign reading, “Please Send Cookies” went viral – and that’s all it took.

“Four different businesses either made or purchased cookies and had them sent to us. We ended up with nearly 30 dozen cookies! Hospice has brought in a meal for the staff, our PointClickCare account person fed the staff one day, and someone else sent donuts for everyone.”

Two-Way Family Support

Staff are trying to help families stay connected with the residents, with phone calls, emails, window visits and a drive-by to see one another outdoors. Some families and residents have figured out how to use technology, but it remains a challenge for others.

“We have a 95-year-old resident with a 79-year-old daughter! They both struggle with technology and we’re trying to help them communicate. Plus, the 95-year-old can’t hear to talk on the phone. Sometimes we email photos to the families or post them on Facebook if they know how to access that.”   

Rewarding Staff Devotion

When the pandemic began, Silver Bluff started offering free meals to its staff, and the chef created special menus for them. There’s also been a staff dress-up day, to help relieve their stress level.

“They have to do everything for our residents now. They’re used to bathing, dressing, feeding and providing nursing care. But now they’re the entertainment and the connection to the outside world for all these people, too.”

PointClickCare congratulates Lisa and her staff for going above and beyond. We hope their devotion, education and communication enable Silver Bluff Village to bypass the novel coronavirus altogether.

June 16, 2020