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In the days before the COVID-19 crisis, family members were a familiar sight at Sunrise communities across the country. Whether it was visiting, participating in activities, volunteering, or stopping by to pick up a loved one for lunch, families have always been an integral part of our residents’ daily lives. As have partnerships with local care agencies and vendors, including hospice.
As concerns about the coronavirus began to surface early this spring, social distancing required us to limit who had access to our communities. Family visits became virtual ones as we worked hard to limit resident and team member’s risk for exposure.
While no one knows how long the virus will persist before a vaccine or a cure is discovered, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping residents make the most of each day. That includes finding new ways to foster community, even at the end of life.
Hospice Care at Sunrise Senior Living
Frequent contact between team members, families, and residents gives loved ones an opportunity to make decisions for the senior’s care, especially as their health declines. Hospice partnerships have always played a vital role in delivering the highest quality end-of-life care to residents. The support of hospice helps us ensure that every resident who wants to is able to spend their final days in their home at Sunrise.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when visitor access is limited, team members are called on to act as surrogates for residents’ sons, daughters, and grandchildren who can’t be present. We make certain that the last day of life is treated with as much love and care as the first. From holding a resident’s hand as they take their last breath to placing the phone to the ear of a resident who is too weak to hold it, we focus on what matters most.
A New Normal in Senior Living
COVID-19 has required us to be resourceful in many ways. Our methods for maintaining relationships and inspiring a sense of connectedness to others—2 pillars of life Sunrise is known for building, are just a few. As always, our caregivers and team members created innovative ways for meeting that challenge. Working together with residents and their loved ones, we’ve found ways to keep everyone connected, while also being mindful of health and safety concerns.
For example, team members at local Sunrise communities taught residents how to utilize video chat platforms, like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom, to talk with family members face-to-face virtually. While nothing can replace in-person visits and warm hugs, the smiles shared in a video chat is the next best thing.
Caregivers also make frequent phone calls to families a priority during this time of forced separation. While good communication has always been an important role in working with families, we know it’s more essential now than ever before.
Chief Clinical Officer at Sunrise Featured in National Magazine