Medical Director's Update Letter
March 24, 2020
COVID-19 is a virus that poses a very serious threat to older people, who are particularly likely to develop serious and potentially fatal illness if they become infected with it. The world is currently grappling with a worldwide pandemic of this potentially deadly virus. At the present time, the United States is in the early stages of this outbreak. What happens next is uncertain, but depends greatly upon the personal actions that each of us takes, and the collective actions that all of us take as a result.
During these challenging and uncertain times, the leadership at Enlivant is treating this threat to our seniors with the utmost seriousness, professionalism, love and concern. We define ourselves – and our success as human beings – by how we treat others entrusted to our care. We understand the gravity of this situation and the enormous responsibility of safeguarding the tens of thousands of Americans living in Enlivant communities while providing comfort and support to their families as well. Additionally, many thousands of Enlivant employees, each with their own families, are committed to love and protect all those whom they care for every day at their places of work.
It is a great privilege to be entrusted with the care and wellbeing of the seniors whom we serve, all of whom deserve to live their best lives no matter what. Confronted with this outbreak of disease, the safety and wellbeing of seniors and others who are more vulnerable to the worst effects of this infection is of paramount importance. I am proud of all the efforts undertaken by Enlivant staff across the country to safeguard the residents and their fellow staff. The many precautions being undertaken are vital to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into Enlivant communities and to limit the spread of this disease within the communities themselves.
Infection control measures, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing by limiting visitors and avoiding congregating in groups, barrier precautions, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, as well as other best practices intended to limit the spread of this virus are vital tools being used to protect residents and employees in all Enlivant communities. The virus itself cannot be completely stopped, however.
While social distancing is crucial at this time, physical isolation can have unintended negative consequences. Most human beings thrive by being with other human beings. Other ways of keeping people connected are therefore necessary to mitigate the potentially negative effects of social isolation in order to maintain and enhance personal well being. Maintaining communication with loved ones, over the telephone, Facetime, or the internet are more important than ever, along with cards and letters. Likewise, maintaining physical function by continuing to walk and move and avoiding the bed except for sleeping are important to physical health. Watching television, reading, listening to music and engaging in meaningful personal activities are also highly encouraged.
As human beings, each of us owes our very existence and wellbeing to our own elders – those who cared for and protected us as children. To whom much is given, much is required. Therefore, each of us must strive diligently to honor our elders by serving them and others. Frontline caregivers do heroic work every day, routinely placing the needs and wellbeing of others before their own. They must be given all of the tools, resources, ongoing education and support to do their very best each day.
We owe it to everyone’s families to do the very best we can to keep them well and keep them safe in the places they have chosen to live.
Dr. Jonathan Evans, MD
Dr. Jonathan Evans, MD, serves as Enlivant’s Medical Advisor for guidance on protocols related to the COVID-19 outbreak. A graduate of Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Dr. Evans studied internal medicine and is a geriatric physician.