Through a difficult situation, Mennonite Memorial Home’s residents and staff are grateful for the help of innumerable community members, organizations and partners as we navigate uncharted territory.
According to a statement from Elizabeth Kelly, Board Chair of MHCO, “The Coronavirus is an especially difficult adversary, as the spread is invisible. As healthcare workers, we are used to using the acronym, “RACE”, to remember how to fight fires – “Rescue, Alarm, Contain and Extinguish.” The coronavirus is more like a wildfire that jumps from place to place, up a mountain and across a valley, and the tried and true methods for fighting fires does not hold true in this situation.”
We want to reach out and thank those that have helped us during this time. While it is impossible to mention every good deed that has been done during the past several weeks, some to note include:
· Blanchard Valley Hospital: Numerous BVH employees have volunteered to come on as temporary employees of the Mennonite Memorial Home to assist with staffing needs as part of the organization’s Contingency Staffing Plan. BVH has also helped provide needed non-touch thermometers.
· Bridge Hospice: Have assisted with staffing for those residents utilizing hospice services
· Bluffton University and Sodexo: Are assisting with food services for the Mennonite Memorial Home and Willow Ridge Campuses
· Pharmacy Solutions: MHCO’s long-term care pharmacy, Pharmacy Solutions has helped provide PPE equipment, such as gowns.
· Community Members: Community members have been reaching out continually to help. We received over 700 hand-sewn cloth masks. We’ve also received handmade face shields using 3D printers from a group of community volunteers called the “3D Printing Coalition”. More information about this group can be found at www.3dpcoalition.org. Families of elders we serve have donated food for the staff at all MHCO campuses. Community members have loaned us their RV’s for temporary housing of staff if needed.
· Restaurants: Local restaurants have donated food to staff and residents, including The Met in Lima and Bluffton University food services.
The Allen County Health Department has also been very helpful in helping procure needed medical supplies from emergency stockpiles, reviewing policies and procedures, and helping to organize a visit from the “ICAR” strike team of consultants from the Ohio Department of Health and CDC that the Mennonite Home requested. This team included a physician, epidemiologists and infection control specialists. They made recommendations for conserving PPE, protecting staff and residents, and containing the spread.
Kelly said health care workers respond to needs in other cities or states when there’s a natural or man-made disaster. In this case it isn’t people from outside the area but “our friends and neighbors,” some of whom have or had family at Mennonite Memorial Home. “Many are coming because this is what friends do and how they can serve their communities. We are deeply, deeply grateful.” she added.
Kelly said the community as a whole has been offering support, from people donating masks and face shields to families making “window visits” to their loved ones who reside there. There has been an “outpouring of kindness,” she said.
Mennonite Memorial Home is part of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio, a faith-based nonprofit that also owns Maple Crest Senior Living and the Willow Ridge “green house” nursing home, both in Bluffton, and Hilty Memorial Home in Pandora. As of the time of this writing, there have been no confirmed cases among residents or staff on the other campuses.