Jacksonville Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation has gone 30 days without a new COVID-19 case. The long-term care facility was hit early and hard by the virus with an outbreak starting on July 24th. Executive Director Sawyer Zaerr says that the facility is mourning the loss of the residents who passed during the outbreak: “Many skilled nursing facilities including us were rudely affected by COVID-19. We had 83 total cases between residents and staff – 59 residents and 24 staff members. We lost 18 of our residents during the outbreak and our entirely facility has mourned. All of our residents and staff get very close to one another, and this is like losing a member of your own family.”
Zaerr says that many of the residents who passed away from the virus also had underlying and additional complicating health factors that made them more susceptible to the virus. Zaerr said they did their best during the outbreak to continue to provide crucial social interactions and visits with residents in quarantine as well as provide the crucial care that was needed.
Zaerr says they were able to mitigate the outbreak with the implementation of a few extra procedures and help from the Morgan County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health: “We conduct frequent surprise inspections by outside experts. We put our staff through rigorous mock ups and sectional control surveys by our consulting companies, which helped us to act very quickly when COVID-19 struck. We do very deep, thorough training. It involves everyone down to our housekeepers, our cooks, obviously our nurses and our CNAs, our management team – just really continuous education. We train on several resident infection control functions not just proper hand washing but how to care for wounds and how laundry is handled and cleaned, and much more.”
Zaerr says the facility was under strict orders not to leave their departments or nursing units to mitigate spread among residents and staff. She says IDPH and the Morgan County Health Department provided extra PPE, including N95 masks and gowns, at the beginning of their outbreak while the facility built back up their own stock. She says that the facility has accrued extra costs to continue to fight against COVID spread, but financially they are stable.
Zaerr says that they are doing the best to continue visits and provide crucial patient information to families about their family member inside the facility: “We have several different options: 1, you can call the facility and set up a FaceTime; 2, we have a COVID hotline that we update Monday, Wednesday, Friday to let you know what is going on inside the facility. It is not monitored, so you can’t really leave a voicemail. We ask that you simply call the facility. Also, we do window visits regularly now, and we will be going back to outdoor visitation according to the phases and the tiers from IDPH and CMS. We will be getting ready to announce that soon.”
Jacksonville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation is an 88-bed facility that is currently accepting new admissions for short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, memory care, and respite care. For more information, please call Sawyer Zaerr at (217) 243-6451 or visit the website at www.jacksonville-snr.com.