Heed and React

Community’s pandemic response brings positive changes for residents.

For the past 2½ years, an apartment overlooking the pond at Hibiscus Court Assisted Living and Memory Care in Melbourne has been Brenda Daugherty’s home.

Brenda (left) visits with her daughter, Rhonda.

A regular visitor to the senior living community’s adult day care program prior to moving there permanently, Brenda made a smooth transition to life at Hibiscus Court. Since then she has especially come to enjoy the community’s group activities.

Like many living with dementia, Brenda benefits from the social interaction those gatherings afford, so when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of group activities, Hibiscus Court began taking those events directly to the residents.

For the community’s Luau Day, for example, a couple of staff members loaded up a cart with food and games, turned on some Hawaiian music and took the party to Brenda and other residents.

In doing so, the Hibiscus Court staff learned a valuable lesson.

“What we’ve learned is that some of the changes we’ve been forced to make because of COVID-19 are actually good for our residents,” says Charisse Durham, sales and marketing director at Hibiscus Court. “They’re positive changes that will stay even after the threat of COVID-19 is gone. And what we did with the luau is a good example of that.

“We learned that by taking the smaller party to the residents, we got to spend more one-on-one time with them. And that’s a positive for them. So going forward, we will still have large gatherings, but for some activities, we’ll go to the resident’s rooms individually and spend some quality one-on-one time with them because that’s important.”

Another positive change out of the COVID-19 crisis pertains to family visits. Virtual visits, while not as intimate as personal visits, can take place anytime and include people from almost anywhere, and therein lies the advantage.

“Before COVID, virtual visits through Zoom or something like that weren’t even an option for some residents and their families,” Charisse explains. “But now, we’re seeing a lot of families that are actually staying even more connected through virtual visits.

“Now, family members who are out of state and normally wouldn’t have the chance to meet with their family member can call anytime and set up a virtual visit. And we are more than happy to help set those up for our residents if they need the assistance.”

Going forward, Hibiscus Court also intends to hold its regular resident council meetings through Zoom so that family members can participate and get a better idea of what’s happening throughout the community.

That, Charisse says, is an example of improvements in resident care that have come out of the COVID-19 crisis. Another is a plan to have Hibiscus Court nurses participate in telehealth calls with residents and their doctors.

“There will always be an opportunity for private conversations between the resident and the doctor, but if the resident allows it, we can have our nurse there, and she can talk directly to the doctor as well,” Charisse says. “That’s going to help a lot in terms of our resident care.”

Brenda’s daughter, Rhonda Whitaker, knows the importance of those nurse visits and appreciates all that Hibiscus Court is doing in other areas to normalize and even enhance their residents’ lives amid the pandemic and beyond.

“A quarantine can really take a toll on the elderly, but at Hibiscus Court, they’ve done a great job of keeping activities going and keeping families connected with their loved ones,” Rhonda says. “I have the utmost confidence in them as caregivers.”

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    • Hibiscus Court

      Hibiscus Court, offering luxurious senior living in Melbourne Florida, is an elegant yet affordable assisted living and memory care community in Brevard County.... Read More