Champions in Action
The arrival of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine brought joy and hope to the residents, their families and associates at Hallmark Nursing Center. Conveniently located in a quiet neighborhood of picturesque Denver, just minutes from three hospitals, Hallmark Nursing Center focuses on inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation with 24-hour skilled nursing care.
“We share a trust with the community we serve,” said Deborah Barnes, executive director. “Offering the vaccine to our associates and residents is an important, visible step to restore any concerns the community may have about us. It’s been a difficult year, and I think everyone in the skilled nursing industry is thankful that a vaccine is available and being administered.”
Barnes emphasized that the availability of a vaccine is not the end of the fight against COVID-19, which has attacked the most vulnerable members of society across the country since early 2020. It is an important step in the right direction, though. Hallmark Nursing Center will maintain its stringent safety measures and will continue to follow all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and state and local public health agencies.
Our goal is to provide a high level of service in a safe environment that brings peace of mind for our residents and patients, along with their families. The virus tested us, but we came out stronger on the other side.
Deborah Barnes, executive director at Hallmark Nursing Center
In April 2020, COVID-19 came to Hallmark Nursing Center for the first time. Associates worked hard to protect their facility. The four cases at the facility and the resident they lost during that time brought heartbreak, but associates banded together and quickly overcame it like champions and had a COVID-free building once more.
Then, at the end of October 2020, COVID-19 returned to the building. This time, the number of cases and loss was greater. And so was the trauma associated with it. Like health care workers in skilled nursing facilities across the country, associates at Hallmark found themselves fighting a lethal virus no government or health care system was prepared for.
The loss of life and the pain associated with losing residents was immense. Fear of the unknown shook everyone’s confidence. However, the residents and associates at Hallmark were shaken, but not defeated. They were determined to overcome every challenge and heartache brought on by COVID-19.
Like so many communities around the country, Hallmark Nursing Center and the surrounding area have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the associates and residents at Hallmark have experienced triumph, tragedy and sorrow. But even in the darkest times, they stayed focused on protecting each other. As a result, they have come out stronger. Hallmark Nursing Center is a family. The facility’s commitment to the safety of its residents and associates has never been higher, and the facility’s associates continue to fight daily for the health, well-being and peace of mind of the residents in their care.
I will never forget the courage and strength I saw from staff in our buildings during this time – the countless hours that staff worked to take care of all their residents, making sure they were cared for and felt loved. I want the world to know that these staff members are heroes. They truly are champions of care!
Cristal Collier, regional director of business development
That vigilance includes:
An increased focus on infection control and safety are part of the lessons learned by the skilled nursing industry due to battling COVID-19. As a result, Hallmark Nursing Center is being vigilant to invest in new technology and implement strengthened safety measures in our facilities. That vigilance includes:
- Providing every patient with a routine clinical assessment.
- Doing PCR testing on associates and residents for routine surveillance testing and following state health care guidelines to utilize “Point of Care” testing equipment from the federal government in situations where it is needed to test symptomatic associates and residents.
- An ongoing surveillance testing program that continues for staff, per state requirement.
- Ongoing communication with family members.
- Maintaining strict adherence to CDC, CMS and state health department infection control protocols.
- Utilizing a UV SafeZone decontamination device, state-of-the-art technology which uses ultraviolet light to help kill viruses and bacteria.
- Continuously updating training for associates based on regulations and first-hand experience in controlling the virus.