Brightmoor residents, staff fighting COVID-19

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Brightmoor Nursing Center Chief Executive Officer Penny Griffin spoke out Saturday evening to offer reassurance to family members, friends and the community regarding the COVID-19 outbreak that includes 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and eight among staff members, with three deaths.

While she and her staff grieve for residents lost to the coronavirus, Griffin said the majority of their residents are responding well.

“I can tell you the majority of our positives are recovering. They’re doing well. Many are even asymptomatic,” she said.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has offered to test all residents and staff members, and Griffin said that will take place Wednesday.

“We can expect the numbers to go up then just like everyone else,” Griffin said.

Brightmoor, like all long-term care facilities statewide, will also receive assistance from the Georgia National Guard infection control teams.

She stressed that Brightmoor facilities are compliant with all state and federal guidelines.

“We have gone by all the guidance offered by the CDC, CMS (Center for Medicare Services), DPH and everyone else,” Griffin said. “We put precautions in place before they told us to. We’ve been on this for two months.”

Posts on local social media public forums have resulted in an inundation of phone calls that staff are often unable to handle. Griffin on Saturday sent out a text message to families, seeking to offer reassurance. However, she realizes the verbiage has upset some.

“It hit several people the wrong way and I apologize for that. We’re just trying to take care of our patients,” she said. “It was out of frustration. If your family is affected, you’ve already been contacted.”

One infection control measure implemented early in the pandemic was the reduction of access even by employees and other businesses.

“We don’t let anyone in unless they are essential to medical care. No deliveries, no nothing,” Griffin explained, adding that this includes the Brightmoor receptionist, which creates further challenges with a heavy flow of incoming phone calls. “There was also a post yesterday that Brightmoor had no PPE. I have no idea where that came from because we have PPE. We do have adequate PPE. We’re not depending on the government. We’re procuring and purchasing what we need. We’re getting gouged, but it is what it is, but I have to protect my staff so they can take care of our residents and protect them.”

Griffin said that no staff members have been permitted to work while ill, and that Brightmoor has been evaluating employees since early March.

Brightmoor has always been such a special place, she said, but it isn’t immune to a pandemic that has devastated the world.

“This nursing home was built by my grandfather. I’ve been at Brightmoor for 32 years, and these people are my people, the staff and the residents, and I’m going to look after them,” she said.

Comments

  1. This is Grief says:

    Really? You grieve for the ones that lost their lives to this virus? You may want to tell the entire staff that’s what they’re supposed to be doing. As far as our family has experienced not even top management seems to care. In fact not one person has acknowledged my Mother who died there from the virus. Had they been honest about the severity of the situation instead of completely downplaying it, I could have brought my Mom home.

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