by KATE SHUNNEY
Berkeley Springs Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility on Autumn Acres Road, will be one of the state’s nursing facilities to extend COVID-19 testing to all patients and employees. The center is owned by Stonerise, which operates 17 facilities in West Virginia.
On Friday, April 17, Governor Jim Justice ordered that all nursing home patients and employees be tested for the disease.
Justice issued an Executive Order that directs the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to “test every nursing home resident and staff member throughout the state.”
Those who have already been tested will be retested to ensure accuracy and “to provide more aggressive support to West Virginia’s nursing home population,” said Justice.
“Our nursing homes, as we all know, are home to some of the most vulnerable of our people. This disease has a way of attacking the elderly,” Gov. Justice said. “Every single one of these people have brought wisdom to all of us for decades and decades. These are not statistics. These are names and families and they absolutely deserve the very best from us in every way. Just ‘good enough’ is not good enough. We need to be perfect.”
Stonerise CEO Larry Pack said last week COVID-19 testing of patients and staff will continue at all of the company’s nursing home facilities in West Virginia.
One center in Kanawha County had identified seven patients who are positive for the disease, said Pack in a Friday statement.
“We have made a commitment to those we serve to be as transparent as possible throughout this pandemic. We are providing regular updates through our website and social media channels.
“Within the next week, we will report more detailed data on patient testing within each of the 17 skilled nursing centers beyond the current ‘Location Status’ web page. We want our families, patients, employees and the public to be as informed as possible,” he said.
Patients and staff in nursing home facilities have been one of the high-risk population during the pandemic. Because of the age and health of nursing home residents, COVID-19 poses a special danger. Medical data shows that the most severe cases of the disease, and the most fatal outcomes, are in patients who are older and have underlying health conditions.
Pack said the company has also created a “dashboard” on their website to show data about testing at each nursing home.
It will show how many current patients are in each facility, how many have undergone COVID-19 hospitalizations, patients who have tested positive for the disease and who have returned to the nursing facility after being stabilized at the hospital, plus the number of positive, negative and pending test results for COVID-19.
The dashboard will show information as it is confirmed at 10 a.m each day, the company said.
“This dashboard will allow our families, patients, employees and the public to be as informed as possible,” Pack said.
As of Monday, that dashboard showed the Berkeley Springs Center has 79 residents and no COVID-19 test results have been reported, and no tests are pending.
Televisits for families
Families who want to visit with loved ones at Stonerise facilities, including the Berkeley Springs Center, can make an appointment for a 30-minute “televisit” via Zoom video conferencing software during the COVID-19 visitor restrictions.
Stonerise has put the option in place as the state has barred outside visitors into nursing home and rehab facilities during the spread of the coronavirus.
Family and friends of patients and residents at the Berkeley Springs Center can go to the Stonerise website to schedule a visit and download the video app needed to connect with patients. The links are located at http://www.stonerisehealthcare.com/coronavirus-update/.