In this week’s episode of LTC Heroes, we speak with Patty Talley and Pam Doshier. Both work at Dogwood Village: Patty as a Customer and Community Relations Director, and Pam as an Administrator and Executive Director.
Dogwood Village is a retirement and assisted living facility in Orange, Virginia. Incredibly, the facility went through the Covid-19 pandemic without having a single resident become infected with the virus. Because of this, how the team fought and protected its residents against the pandemic is the main focus of this episode.
We learn how the team at Dogwood Village immediately started training their staff about infection control practices, social distancing, and the importance of wearing a mask as soon as Covid-19 began to spread.
Aside from discussing Dogwood Village’s battles against Covid-19, we also learn Patty’s thoughts on staff burnout and the importance of a healthy work-life balance. She also discusses her thoughts on innovation and improving processes in a facility.
The hour-long episode wraps up with Pam and Patty answering a question on what advice they would give to themselves 40 years ago, before they entered the industry of long-term care.
Do you want to learn how one retirement and assisted living facility managed to avoid a single resident contracting Covid-19 during the pandemic?
Then tune in to this week’s episode of LTC Heroes with Patty Talley and Pam Doshier from Dogwood Village.
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Rapid Fire Q/A
If you could change anything in the long-term care industry with just a snap of a finger, what would it be?
Pam: It would be the reimbursement from our government from Medicaid. We are reimbursed at a lower rate generally than what our costs are. The expectation based upon the regulatory environment is very high.
We’re not getting the funds to do what we need to do. We do a great job, and we provide great care. But if we got the funds to cover our costs, we could do even more.
In your career, what’s been the biggest change you’ve witnessed in long-term care?
Pam: The acuity of the residents. When I first started in this business, the residents that we had in the nursing facility were more like what is in assisted living facilities today. The residents in the nursing facility today are much heavier care, their acuity level is much higher, and we’re seeing a lot more dementia and Alzheimer’s residents.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in the long-term care industry?
Pam: That the acuity level of nursing facilities will be even higher. That we will start admitting directly from the ED versus being admitted in the hospital if we can get the three-day hospital stays waived completely. That we will be taking people that are sicker and sicker, almost like a subacute facility.
Who’s your long-term care hero?
Pam: That would probably be Sandra Darnell. Sandra was the administrator at the facility where I first started, and I was the business office manager at the time. Just watching her and observing her in her role as an administrator helped me decide that I wanted to go in that direction and get my administrator’s license. She was very focused on resident care as well as ensuring accountability with staff, which was really important.
Patty: Brian Baker, who’s been an administrator for 16 years here. He is all about taking care of the patients and believes that the patients come first. Kindness and passion are what the patients need.
Do you remember the first time you heard about Covid? Do you remember what the first conversation was when you all started taking it seriously and getting prepared?
Patty: We started hearing about Covid probably back in January of 2019. Then we kept hearing more about other countries.
Then we started planning. We thought, ‘Well, we’re gonna need extra supplies. We’re gonna need face masks.’ So we started ordering supplies and immediately started stockpiling the best we could. And then Pam came in March, and she took the lead and started doing the same thing.
You mentioned that most of your success with Covid was due to preparedness and skill while some of it was due to luck. Can you explain what that skill involved?
Patty: We immediately started training and retraining our staff about infection control practices, social distancing, and keeping your mask on. That saved us a lot of headaches. We also educated as much as we could.
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