AFH Senior Care would like to welcome Doctor Stephen C. Morris, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington to our team. Dr. Stephen Morris brings a wealth of experience about the health care system to AFH Senior Care. Dr. Morris is the head of Emergency medicine at the University of Washington and is now the Vice President of Healthcare at AFH senior care. “I am humbled and excited to join this institution given the superiority of their delivery of quality residence for those lucky enough to be under their care. My background in health systems development, clinical experience in emergency medicine, belief in the importance of quality, safe and enriching residence will help AFHSC (AFH Senior Care) continue to provide the best possible care,” says Dr. Morris.
A statement from Doctor Stephen Morris: What did senior care learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The last year has dramatically changed our perception of safety in providing services for the elderly. The dramatic shifts from socialization to isolation, comfort to safety, and day-to-day organization, have been profound. Staff have changed from roles that were similar to that of a Maître de catering to clients’ needs to airline stewards whose primary mission is one of safety while maintaining service and customer-oriented goals.
From my experience being in the thick of the public health and clinical response, I can say that the severity of the situation was not over-estimated as some have suggested. I have been in adult residences, providing assessments and assisting with testing, and have witnessed the hardship the Pandemic has brought to this population. First, it is essential to recognize and have empathy for those who have suffered from the effects of the disease or died and their grieving families. Additionally, for elderly residents, there has been anguish from severe anxiety, the emotional stress of significant changes to their lives, including isolation, loss of loved ones, and an uncertain future. The impact has been terrible, and our hearts go out to them. No time has it been more critical to ensure the best care for family members in need of a residence. My perspective is that you should feel confident you have made the right choice in this regard.
The Pandemic shone a spotlight on the adult residential industry. Prior tragedies, such as those after Hurricane Irma, have demonstrated how the corporate model of long-term care facilities has significant vulnerabilities. Sadly, this came true again as the scope of illness and death from COVID-19 in these facilities was staggering. Thankfully, the adult family home models did better, much better, regarding the transmission and impact of COVID-19 among their residents.
Why is this? The answers will never be obvious, but there are likely many factors that contributed to the success of the adult family home model. It is possible, but difficult to find direct causation, that the homelike atmosphere is an overall healthier environment, as some, including myself, believe. Concerning COVID-19, a highly infectious virus, staffing and safety procedures are likely the principal culprit of the poor outcomes in long-term care facilities. Senior Living facilities, with more staff, correlate to more turnover with the team working at multiple facilities; a higher patient-to-staff ratio increases transmission. AFHM staff does not share many of these harmful and dangerous attributes. Another factor is that implementing change in Senior Living facilities is challenging and cumbersome. AFHM developed and implemented strict safety protocols, educating staff rapidly, within hours, and in a dynamic fashion. Adapting as new information and recommendations came into being. This nimble response was and will continue to be impossible in Senior Living facilities, especially with the current corporate structures and for-profit models that require everything, including safety measures, lean. The number of COVID-19 infections in AFH’s compared to other facilities should reassure you of the care your family member receives.
With the rapid deployment of effective vaccines and associated the anticipated decrease in the disease burden, we will better understand the many lessons from the Pandemic. While we are not out of the woods yet, the path ahead is brighter. Other events are inevitable, but with the knowledge we have gained, we are better positioned than ever to provide safe residence to our elders.
Don’t forget about our “Champion Referral Program“.
If you know anyone who has questions about “Senior Care Options” please have them contact us directly at 800-747-2997 and speak with a professional senior care advisor.