I recently spoke with an associate who manages a rather large nursing home. Unfortunately, he was out on sick leave due to acquiring norovirus which has rather nasty side effects. He noted that half of his staff were out ill and that many of the residents were ill as well. Based on the information I could get it appears that the owner of the nursing home decided to cut back on staff, training and other supports. It was also evident that they had not kept their contingency plans updated for such an event.

At the time when the manager needs to be on site with additional staff, the lone lead workers who are not ill has to do the best they can to not only pull trash, clean rest rooms, service patient rooms but also go about disinfection protocols that have not been updated in a couple of years. It reminds me of the cliché’ that the CEO can be out for a month and no one may notice, but if the janitor is out or simply misses a trash can, everyone knows! What we do is important.

A healthy work force is important this time of year. The lesson I get from this experience is that we need to make an extra effort to protect our staff by providing ongoing training in dealing with disease outbreaks as well as providing them the very best in PPE’s (personal protection equipment). This may include quality rubber gloves, face masks, plenty of clean microfiber cloths, effective disinfectants and regularly running drills on how to respond to an outbreak. They also need to determine what at the priority areas if staff come down with the contagion. Finally, they need to have a list of back up workers that have already been trained in contagion protocols to fill in and weather the crisis. A healthy, well trained and motivated staff are the front line of defense against such outbreaks.

Get well soon my friend.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.