It’s good to get a little inside view of what it’s like to be working in a skilled nursing facility during these difficult times. Shari is a front line worker and I appreciate her commitment to those she cares for. I also can feel some of the tension beneath her words.

Doctor says cross-country United Airlines flight was scarier than volunteering in COVID-19 hospital ward—ABC News

White House to require staffers to wear masks in West Wing—NBC News

May 11, 2020

SNF update by
Shari R, Shoreline, Washington

Skilled nursing facility (SNF) update from this occupational therapist. 

We continue to have our temperatures checked at the start of each shift, and, of course, wear face masks with all of our patients. Some of us are wearing masks all day, except for eating and drinking at least 6 feet away from each other. Last week, we upped our game and each received personal reusable face shields to be worn over the mask while working with new patients during their 14-day “quarantine” (no roommate, but they can still come out of the room with a mask). A bit cumbersome, and especially difficult for communicating with people who are hard of hearing, but I’m grateful our nursing director & facility director are making sure we have the PPE we need to protect ourselves as well as our patients.

Of course, we may already have been exposed, but no staff or patients who’ve been symptomatic have tested positive. 

So, I’m grateful. I’m well. I have a job to go to which provides income as well as some needed socializing and a sense of normalcy. I’m receiving the gift of unemployment to compensate for some of the work hours I’m missing due to our decreased caseload. The rehab patient census fluctuates, but I think we’re about half full right now. I’m guessing this is due to the combination of no elective surgeries and people choosing to go directly home from the hospital rather than risk exposure to COVID-19 in a rehab setting.

I’m gardening & working in the yard, and trying to be patient with myself for not being motivated to do more.

I have some great neighbors. From time to time we talk from a safe distance, exchange plants and seedlings, and today my neighbor helped me see, for the first time, a yellow tanager—a beautiful red- and-yellow-headed bird I’d never seen or even knew we had around here until she pointed it out in her yard.

I think I’m past the white knuckling stage of last month. I’m video chatting a fair amount with family and friends. 

But, not to negate how wonderful it is to see everybody electronically, I am really missing hugs and being physically close to people I care about. A cat can do only so much.

May all be well.

Photo of Cuddles the Cat by Shari R

1 Comment

  1. Shari R. Thank you for your service in such a scary time. You are on the frontline and definitely a hero. What a lovely cat and loving companion.

    Liked by 1 person

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