Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health
Departments Health Links Calendar Archived Issues Media Kit Contact Us
  Senior Care Senior Living Special Needs Directory Ask the Expert  
  Ask the Expert    
 

Ask an Expert

Impact of COVID-19 at UPMC Senior Communities

Mark Bondi is the president of UPMC Senior Communities, which includes 30 facilities that are home to 3,000 residents. In this Ask the Expert feature, he answers questions about how COVID 19 is impacting the residents, staff and operations of UPMC Senior Communities.

Q: The UPMC senior facilities admit patients who are post-COVID, for recovery and rehab? Do you have a separate unit for these patients?
A: We have and do care for COVID-19 positive residents. The symptoms vary from non-existent or asymptomatic, to others with mild symptoms, to others needing oxygen support and/or select therapies. These residents are placed in rooms or units that have been specifically outfitted to care for them while protecting other staff and residents. This may mean private rooms, special barriers or air handling equipment or just enhanced personal protective equipment. It really depends on the specific situation and we follow the advice of our medical directors and infection control experts

Q: How is the staff morale as they deal with the pandemic on a daily basis?
A: It is stressful for staff no doubt. I have been amazed and impressed at their dedication and empathy. I have read that tough situations don’t develop character, but rather reveals character, and our staff members have revealed their very strong character. We have increased the communication to the staff and have found that facts and good science from our medical experts really helps allay fears.

Q: Do you have staff shortages?
A: We screen staff for symptoms daily and ask staff to stay home if they feel sick. As a result, we’ve had more staff than usual off work. We typically staff at levels that exceed the mandated licensed levels. Because of our higher staffing, we’ve been able to remain well within the licensed requirements.

Q: Have you experienced any problems in obtaining PPE?
A: Fortunately, because UPMC Senior Communities is part of UPMC, we have a strong supply chain system. They closely track the allocation of supplies making sure our facilities have enough to properly care for our residents and protect our staff.

Q: How are you supporting the residents as they experience social isolation, separation from families, and reduced activities?
A: We know this is a difficult time for our residents and their families. We’ve implemented strategies to maintain a sense of normalcy by facilitating activities that still adhere to the necessary safety and infection prevention protocols. These include virtual visits with family members, a television channel with games, puzzles and bingo, virtual readings to residents – anything to prevent extreme feelings of isolation. We’re doing everything we can to ease their fears and care for them, treating them with compassion and kindness every day. We increased our psychiatry services available to residents through our contract with UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital to assist with feelings of depression that may occur.

Q: What do you most want the community to know about how UPMC Senior Communities have responded to COVID
A: We want the community to know we’re working tirelessly and doing our best to make sure their loved ones are safe and protected. We are very focused on keeping their spirits lifted. Our staff serves the role of their surrogate family during these difficult times.

For more information visit www.upmc.com/Services/senior-communities

View Our Health Experts and Ask Your Questions

Westmoreland County Special Edition Download a PDF version Advertise Subscribe for FREE
Subscribe to GTGH

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Focus

Scott and Christie

CMS Housing – Apartments

Doterra

WR Cameron Wellness Center

Medicare Specialists of Pittsburgh

East End Food Coop

Reserve This Space | Call 412-835-5796 or email goodhealthmag@aol.com


Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health. All rights reserved.


Send email to goodhealthmag@aol.com