Long-term care facilities prepare for the holiday season
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — This time of year is when COVID-19 cases tend to increase, with families gathering for the holidays.
- Safety protocols are in place at long-term care facilities — such as masking and proper coughing etiquette
- Staff say they are better prepared this holiday season to fight off infections
- Proper hand washing and COVID-19 vaccinations are said to be the best way to avoid getting sick
Those working in long-term care facilities say coronavirus still is prevalent, but they now have more tools to combat infections now.
After long-term care facilities were hard hit by COVID outbreaks in the first two years of the pandemic, staff now say they've got a better handle on the situation.
Carol Stephens, a nursing home administrator for ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Bethlehem North, said it’s “business as usual” as the facility gears up for the holidays.
Stephens said signs around the building remind visitors to wear a mask and show the proper coughing etiquette.
“We have some reading material that we like to provide to them," Stephens said. "Whether we're in a COVID outbreak, if we're in a high transmission-based rate, if we're in a low transmission-based rate. So it's just following those guidelines to ensure the safety of not only our residents, but our employees, as well as those visitors."
"They are in place now because we want to protect everyone and protect our residents."Lisa Torchia, Country Meadows Nursing & Rehab Center
Lisa Torchia, vice president of clinical services at Country Meadows Nursing & Rehab Center in Bethlehem, said that facility also requires masks.
Torchia said safety measures already are being practiced at the facility ahead of the holiday season.
"They are in place now because we want to protect everyone and protect our residents," she said. "We do the general things that the state guidance puts out."
Torchia said Country Meadows has no plans to restrict visitation now or during the holidays.
Country Meadows Nursing & Rehab Center has 70 licensed beds at that facility, while ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Bethlehem North has about 175 residents at this time.