Shortness of Breath: The Coming Respiratory Crisis And How To Prepare For It

For the past five months, COVID-19 has had everyone associated with American healthcare holding our collective breath. Waiting for an outbreak. Waiting to see if our facilities are as prepared as we hope they are. Waiting to see if having the country shelter in place will indeed flatten the curve and prevent coronavirus cases from overwhelming the nation’s healthcare system. To date, more than 170,000 people have died from coronavirus. And while most agree the numbers could have been far worse, we’re not out of the woods yet. 

As states, stores, restaurants and schools begin to reopen, new case numbers continue to spike. New hotspots are emerging. And even if we do get COVID-19 under control, there are huge concerns about a second wave of the pandemic coming in the Fall when the temperatures start to drop and flu season begins. Hopefully, by then, we’ll be closer to a vaccine. But even then, coronavirus promises to be a part of our personal and professional lives for some time to come. As much as we wish it wasn’t, there is a respiratory crisis coming in the next six months and it’s imperative that we all prepare for it – especially those of us in the nursing home business. 


Here are seven things you can do to make sure you’re ready.


Understand The Coming Crisis Before It Arrives

The best time to get up to speed on COVID-19 is now, not when you’re in the middle of an emergency. Take some time and review the CDC Guidelines for Health Professionals and think ahead to where the virus could most disrupt your business and put your patients and staff at risk. What would a coronavirus outbreak do to your operation, especially if it hits when you’re already dealing with flu, pneumonia and other cold weather breathing maladies putting your patients at risk? Plus, in addition to the physical toll the pandemic is taking on the country, studies show it’s also taking a huge mental toll on people. As we prepare for any level of a coming crisis, it’s imperative we understand every aspect of how and where the disruption will come. 


Make Sure Your Facility Is Ready

Just as now is the ideal time to read up and understand the coming crisis, it’s also the perfect time to take inventory of your operation to expose any weaknesses while you have time to address them. In accordance with the CDC guidelines for nursing homes, Century Rehab offers a complete consulting service that can help you run a thorough diagnostic on your physical facility, your staff, your operations and how prepared you are for an increased need for respiratory care. Our job is to help you and your staff provide extraordinary care for your patients. If that means making physical changes to your facility, or changes to your staff, now is the time to make them while the increase in potential cases is still some time away.   


Make Sure Your Staff Is Ready


None of us have ever seen anything quite like COVID-19 and because of that, an air of anxiety and uncertainty surrounds every aspect of the pandemic. That goes double for your staff who may quickly find themselves serving on the front lines of the virus. For each of them, the best medicine is preparation. Great leaders make sure their people are informed, trained and confident they’ll know what to do in a time of crisis. For 20 years, Century Rehab has offered exemplary training for therapists and nurses and whether it’s a refresher, or more comprehensive training, we can help make sure your staff is prepared and at their best for this pandemic, or the next. 


Make Sure You’re Prepared To Keep Your People Safe


As important as it is to have a plan to keep your patients safe, it’s just as imperative that you protect your staff. It is impossible to provide extraordinary care if you’re constantly worried about your own safety. Give your people the materials, the tools and the safeguards they need to protect themselves. Give them directions and procedures to ensure their safety. And assure them, you’ll do everything you can to keep them protected. Do those things, and if you’ve hired well (we can help you with that), your staff will be focused on taking care of your patients, not themselves. 


Encourage Your Staff To Communicate


Clear and consistent communication is the key to managing any crisis. But to manage something like COVID-19, everyone in your organization has to understand communication doesn’t just mean top down. Effective communication flows up and down the chain of command as well as side to side. And whether your communication is written or verbal, everyone in your organization should feel they have a voice. To offer feedback on something good or bad. To make suggestions for how to improve your operation, or care. To keep the entire team informed about the realities they’re facing, where they feel strong and where they need help. In a crisis, there’s no such thing as too much information. Empower your people to communicate and lead and they will. 


Understand It’s An Uncertain Time And We’re Stronger Together


As uncertain as we are about the future coronavirus may bring, one thing we know for sure is that we’re stronger together than we are alone. At Century Rehab, our mission is to provide therapy, staffing and consulting services for skilled nursing and outpatient facilities so they can focus on the quality care their patients deserve. Whether you need help training, hiring, or simply finding a better, more efficient and affordable way to operate, we’re here and ready to help. As you prepare for the inevitable increase in coronavirus care, we can offer best practices for the present and help you update them as more information is learned along with way. 


Don’t Wait. Start Getting Ready Now. 


We said it before, but it bears repeating – now is the time to prepare for a potential outbreak of coronavirus in your facilities. Right now, the numbers are starting to come down. The weather is still hot. Much of the country is still adhering to social distancing, wearing masks and limiting their trips away from home. Use this time to take a close look at your facilities and your staff, and at your operations and emergency procedures. Make the changes you need to make. Invest where you can. Let our consulting team help you get your team and your facilities prepared for what’s coming. As it’s said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But until we have a cure, solid, thoughtful prevention is the best course of action. 


CENTURY REHABILITATION provides therapy, staffing and consulting services for skilled nursing and outpatient facilities so they can focus on the quality care their patients deserve. Founded by healthcare veteran Richard K. Pellerin, Century Rehab was built on the principle of always “doing the right thing” for our facilities, patients and employees. Every day, our teams continually strive to build lasting partnerships based on the highest level of quality and ethics. We are here to help improve our clients’ financial, operational and clinical performance so they can be extraordinary leaders in compassionate care. 

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