“Fortunately, we did not yet have a corona infection in our nursing home in Hilversum, but we did have one in our other location in Loosdrecht. A resident was tested positive and after that there were two more suspicions in the same department. Fortunately, I heard that all three of them had been living for 72 hours are complaint-free, so I hope it stays with this.
This week the news was that in 900 out of 2500 nursing homes people have already been infected. When I hear the stories of colleagues from other institutions, I hold my heart: in some places a fifth to half of the residents die. We will therefore continue to do everything we can to keep the virus at bay. That is why I am always looking for the balance between proximity and distance.
Normally, as a psychologist, I spend a lot of time in the departments. I talk to residents who are struggling and sometimes get very close. For example, with someone who is deaf or completely lost in his dementia. In that case you really have to touch someone to get in touch. And even though I feel healthy, I don’t want to bring the virus to the department.
So it is always reviewing: how do I deal with this situation? If a resident’s behavior changes, do I have to go to the department to observe that behavior, or do I call the team members and rely on their experiences? You always make the trade-off: is it necessary to have contact or can it also be done remotely?
Now that this has been our reality for a few weeks, I notice that the tension among residents is starting to build up. Not all of them, some enjoy the sun and say they have experienced worse. But the loss of family members is increasing and some activities have disappeared. That causes boredom and gloomy feelings. And that sometimes expresses itself in different behavior.
For example, we have a resident who is suddenly shouting much more. We know about that: the person is out of balance. But he cannot explain why. It is up to us to find out and change it where possible.
In this case I decided to go and see the department myself and make contact with this gentleman. So much has changed recently. His family came every day, which has been dropped. And all residents are in the residential group all day which can cause over-stimulation.
Now we try to make video calls with his family at a fixed time every day and build in enough rest during the day. Hopefully this will give him more structure and life will become more organized for him. “