Photo: Holland Christian Home residents and staff wear masks at all times when interacting with others.
The Holland Christian Home is asking for help obtaining urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE), especially isolation gowns.
In the nationwide battle against COVID-19, long-term care facilities have faced exceptional challenges preventing and containing the spread of coronavirus. Their best weapons are PPE that can be used, discarded, and replaced — to protect the workers wearing them as well as the residents receiving care.
However, nightly news reports confirm the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warning that “PPE shortages are currently posing a tremendous challenge to the US healthcare system.”
As a small continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in North Haledon, NJ, the Holland Christian Home is experiencing these challenges.
“Long-term care facilities are low on the list for distribution of emergency PPE supplies,” said the Home’s Executive Director & Administrator Carlos G. Beato, LNHA, RN. “And as a small, nonprofit facility, we’re at a disadvantage in an extremely competitive marketplace.”
Nevertheless, the need is critical. “We serve a vulnerable population,” said Beato. “We care for nearly 150 seniors over the age of 75 all in the same building. We’ve left no stone unturned trying to obtain PPE for our 170 staff members.”
According to Beato, the Holland Christ Home has tried purchasing from every vendor approved by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) — plus any other vendor they could find, including some sellers who they later rejected suspecting they were scams. Multiple requests are regularly logged with the appropriate offices of emergency management, and Beato has had helpful conversations with North Haledon Mayor Randy George, NJDOH Assistant Commissioner Christopher Neuwirth and the New Jersey Hospital Association.
The North Haledon community has already rallied to the Home’s assistance, providing homemade cloth masks and 3D-printed face shields. Some local doctors’ and dentists’ offices have provided small quantities of critical PPE that they cannot use due to the current emergency restrictions on travel and physical distancing.
“We’re grateful for the assistance we’ve already received from many sources,” Beato said, “but we can project that our needs will likely continue for many more weeks – especially our need for N95 masks and gowns.”
Beato emphasized that any and all help is valuable. “A little goes a long way for us because we don’t use the large amounts of PPE that hospitals on the frontlines use.”
Founded in 1895 by a group of pastors in northern New Jersey, the Home has provided Christ-centered care for 125 years. This year marked the Home’s third consecutive “Deficiency Free” survey by NJDOH, the highest possible rating.