When Jay Evans, Vice President of Operations at CMSS, answered the phone his heart sank. Rose Policarpio, Director of Nursing, was crying on the other line, because one day earlier, they had tested all CMSS’ Wesley Place residents for COVID-19. But they were tears of joy. Not a single resident tested positive for COVID-19.

Evans ecstatically went floor by floor of Wesley Place telling each resident that they were COVID-free. The staff and residents cheered, cried in relief, and some even danced. It had been an anxious 24 hours, as the community waited for the results from the tests taken.

“It shows CMSS staff and residents all of the hard work they’ve been doing in the last three months has paid off because they’re able to keep each other safe,” Evans said.

Senior communities across the country have had to go through extraordinary measures to keep residents and staff healthy these last few months, and CMSS is no different. While the quality of care for residents has not changed, the way we work certainly has.

Nurses wear masks, face shields, and gowns at all times. CMSS takes the temperature of staff members three times a day, monitors for COVID-19 symptoms, and administers questionnaires at the beginning of shifts. Residents wear masks when they receive direct care. CMSS stopped allowing guests into the communities in early March to prevent the spread of the virus. These have all been difficult adjustments to make, but critical in keeping protecting the communities.

Despite the new restrictions at CMSS locations, we’ve been able to actively accept new residents into several of our communities in the last few months. Through testing, quarantining, and retesting, older adults are still safely finding new homes. CMSS will continue testing of residents and staff on a weekly basis, while closely watching how cases increase or decrease throughout the state. Now, as Illinois begins to open back up, CMSS is adjusting its policies and being cautiously optimistic.

Wesley Place residents are now spending some time outside on the first-floor patio to greet friends, family, and neighbors. CMSS would like to get back to field trips, visits, and other activities in the future, but the safety of residents and staff is the highest priority.

CMSS thanks everyone who has played a role in keeping residents and staff safe from COVID-19. The threat of the virus has not gone away, but it’s clear the last three months are an indication of the strength and determination of the CMSS community to work together and care for another.

If you’d like to learn more about the precautions CMSS is taking to keep residents and staff safe, contact us here.

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