When Michele Quinn and Kristen Berkey, of Country Side Living, stopped by Marquis Hope Village Monday with a cartful of lunch and encouragement for the staff there, it was much more than a gesture of goodwill from one local long-term care facility to another.
For the Country Side contingent, it was a very real recognition that, just a couple short months ago, they were in a very similar position to what the Marquis Hope Village Post-Acute Rehab Center is now experiencing, as it grapples with the state’s largest active outbreak of Covid-19 at a senior care home.
Quinn said the two facilities have had a good working relationship for many years, and their hearts, prayers, love and support would have gone out to Marquis Hope Village no matter what. But the kinship of having been in the midst of their own Covid-19 outbreak just a few weeks ago has allowed them to “empathize in an all-too-real way” with what the rehab center’s staff are going through.
The effects of dealing with a Covid outbreak, emotionally and physically, and trying to protect those you care about at work and at home takes a big toll, she said, one that does not stop when employees hit the clock at the end of the day.
“They have spouses, children and parents to protect,” she said. “Many have caring family and friends calling for updates when they feel like they just don’t want to talk about it anymore. They might see comments on social media that are totally wrong or made by people who can’t really understand the situation, and feel misunderstood.”
She admitted that she struggled to put everything into words, particularly the feeling of being caught in “a kind of limbo,” where front-line health care staff continue to do all they can to fight the infection but feel largely powerless, where time seems to stand still, and any hope of returning to normal operations is based on test results, incubation periods, the decisions of the county and state, and fate.
Taking the Marquis Hope Village staff lunch was a gesture to help out and show that they care, Quinn said, but the more important gift was the signs bearing the message “Heroes Work Here.”
“It was given to them by every staff member at County Side Living,” she explained, “who knows exactly what they are going through right now and wants to say, ‘You are amazing, you are strong, we are with you in heart, and you WILL get through this!'”
Marquis Hope Village has been linked to at least 99 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since the first positive test result June 4, including 33 residents and 43 employees, as well as 23 family members and other close contacts of staff. Nine have died — all residents.