Hospital Corner – May, 2020
Who should wear a mask in public? No desire to wade into the politics associated with mask-wearing these days but cannot emphasize enough the importance for all hospital staff, outpatients and clinic visitors to wear a mask. The horror stories occurring at nursing homes and VA hospitals are all too real, where residents and patients with weakened immune systems perished quickly (and in great numbers) after exposure to coronavirus. Staff at these facilities succumbed as well. With this terrible thought in mind, we strictly enforce mask use in hospital and strongly encourage all to wear one in public, especially when you cannot maintain six foot distance from others. The virus can survive for a few days on surfaces and hide in asymptomatic individuals, so anyone can potentially carry it unknowingly into the hospital, which could be disastrous. Despite our housekeeping team’s exemplary disinfection efforts each day, this virus is tenacious and will inflict suffering if we are careless. Don’t be.
Given this reality, the State of Nevada is in no hurry to loosen restrictions on nursing homes. We had hoped our residents could once again receive visits from family and friends but sadly that will not be possible anytime soon. We are nevertheless working on visitation plans—when the State gives us the green light. Guaranteed to be part of this will be negative COVID tests, masks, and visits by appointment only—most likely on the SNF patio. You will be notified as soon as we are.
In an effort to provide our residents some contact with family, iPads are available for video conferences. The results have been quite positive so far. Please contact Shanon (ext 300) or Brandi (274) to make arrangements to set up a virtual meeting with your loved one. Certainly not the same as a hug or holding hands but at least smiles and kind words can be exchanged; these simple acts mean the world to residents.
Wish there were more ways to say thank you! First, to all the skilled seamstresses in town: your facemask donations have been overwhelming. Many have donated but special thanks to Debbie Bennett and the Frade family for their creations. Your gifts enable us to save traditional hospital procedure and N95 masks (hard to find these days) for the weeks and months in the uncertain times ahead. Much appreciation as well to Joe’s Tavern, Barley’s, Safeway, and Family Dollar: whether pizzas, catered luncheons, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, your donations energize nurses, providers and support staff. Kudos also to America’s Patriotic Home LLC for their $2000 donation to purchase PPE. Community support for this small critical access hospital during the pandemic has strengthened our resolve and warmed our hearts; we are truly all in this together.
No routine days at Mt. Grant; surprises have become the norm lately. Last week a lady from Goldfield called my office phone directly (often a bad sign). Prepared to hear a complaint, I listened and took notes as she spoke. My defenses melted quickly as she detailed the care received during an ER visit the week before. In addition to heaping praise upon Brent Kunzler, PA, she spoke glowingly about nursing staff and radiology tech. Her care she said was excellent in all regards; in her words, she was “treated like a princess.” I can’t guarantee that everyone will receive such royal treatment but we strive to nevertheless.
A few closing words about Tom Fitzgerald, who resigned from the hospital board of trustees in April. Tom was on the board for many years and served as president for the last several. His commitment to the hospital and its mission cannot be overstated. We will miss his leadership and wish him only the best.
Hugh Qualls, Administrator