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Community Voices (Jackson): Pleasant View Nursing Home expresses thanks to the Mount Airy community | COMMENTARY

As you all know, the past few months have been the most challenging times for the nursing home industry. Daily headlines, both locally and nationally, have put a spotlight on nursing homes because of the large number of deaths those institutions have experienced due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Nursing homes provide care to the most vulnerable members of our community, and accordingly, are the most susceptible to the type of outbreaks and, sadly, losses due to deaths caused by this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. No one could have predicted the breadth of this tragedy, much less prepare nursing homes such as Pleasant View Nursing Home to handle the wave of infections that so easily spread once they are inside our buildings.

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As it turns out, much of the spread of the virus in nursing home populations was the result of asymptomatic staff members bringing the virus into their place of work. Until recently, it was not clear that asymptomatic people could just as easily spread the virus, while at the same time access to testing was often unavailable or simply not a priority of local and state health departments.

Thankfully the situation has dramatically improved, and we now have the resources to conduct testing for our staff regularly. Moreover, our patient safety has vastly improved as we have responded to the crisis by complying with each and every directive local and state health officials have given us.

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Pleasant View Nursing Home was needlessly placed in the spotlight due to the relatively high number of patient deaths during the early weeks of the pandemic, even while we believed that we were doing everything we were told to do by federal, state, and local health and other regulatory authorities. The pressures created by this disease on our hard-working, dedicated staff and administrators was indescribable. Many worked around the clock, sleeping on our premises, rarely if ever leaving their post, all in order to serve the ever-increasing needs of our patients and to keep them safe.

Like all of America’s health care workers, they are true heroes in that they risk their health and even their lives every day in order to serve their patients and try to keep them healthy and safe. These heroic efforts by our staff and administrators could not have succeeded without the unwavering support of the Mt. Airy community and many of its businesses who were kind enough to care and to show their appreciation for what we do. Those businesses include J&P Iliano Italian restaurant, Ledo’s Pizza, a local Ford dealer, and other local area businesses, many of which offered meals and other amenities to our amazing staff so that they could continue their difficult task of protecting our patients without distraction.

The Mount Airy community truly came together as any great American community should in order to support our efforts, for which we are forever grateful. Local area churches and folks in the surrounding communities were delivering meals from the backs of their vehicles to members of our staff, and some of our friends and neighbors donated home-made PPE such as masks and gloves which were used by staff members and their families. Just in the past few days the kind people at T. Rowe Price delivered hundreds of July 4 goodies to members of our staff to remind us that, through everything we have all endured to date, we still remain a family of committed-loving Americans.

Cards and notes of appreciation and thanks have flooded in not only from our surrounding community but from children, daycare centers, schools, and ordinary people from as far away as Texas and even Canada.

We remain committed to the safety and health of our patients and staff, even in these very difficult times. Our success is dependent upon the support of our community, and we believe that.

Mount Airy has provided that support. Thanks to one and all.

Andy Jackson is an administrator at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy.

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