AARP Bulletin: A Tale of Two Nursing Homes: What 2 Very Different Nursing Homes Learned From Fighting COVID-19

Park Springs was featured in AARP Bulletin’s January issue for their ongoing success in protecting their members from the coronavirus pandemic in an article that explores how two long-term care facilities learned from the pandemic and the changes they have made.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pebblebrook at Park Springs staffers volunteered to move into the care center within the 61-acre Park Springs Life Plan Community campus in Stone Mountain, Georgia, near Atlanta – staying for 11 weeks. Employees deepened relationships with members over meals, courtyard conversations and games. The bold decision to go to a total lock-in kept the coronavirus at bay, and bought time for leadership to develop the next phase of its virus response, which wouldn’t rely on staff members sheltering in place.

Beginning in mid-June, Pebblebrook’s managers implemented their Phase Two response, that allowed employees to return home while increasing testing and screening, social distancing, PPE, and other infection-control protocols, such as the daily use of a cleaning system that uses a mist to sterilize surfaces. The bonds created during the 75-day lock-in remain strong and motivate compliance with rules.

Within the walls of Pebblebrook, as has always been the case, members are divided into 18-person households. By design, these smaller contained communities bolster relationships and control the spread of infection, explained Donna Moore, COO of Isakson Living, which owns and operates Park Springs. While members don’t have to wear masks, they are kept at a safe social distance, sitting at least six feet apart during activities like arts and crafts.

“We built a forever bond. You cannot take a shortcut with someone you care about. We are family,” Pebblebrook Healthcare Administrator Nadia Williams shared about the experience.

To read more, you can visit AARP Bulletin here.