It didn’t take long for ever dependable 6Beds Board Director Cyndy Minnery RN to respond to a call of duty at an assisted living facility in San Diego.
When told that a staff member at a 30-bed Assisted Living facility in San Diego tested positive for COVID-19, concurrent 6Beds Vice President of Clinical Affairs Cyndy Minnery offered to help the facility’s Administrator make calls to inquire about testing for all of the residents and staff in the facility. After a full day of calls to find testing the San Diego Board of Health delivered 40 test kits to the facility.
Cyndy, an RN for 39 years and now owns and operates four residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) for 12 years,, went as far as offering her services along with her daughter Kelsey Minnery, a four-year ER nurse, to administer the tests when there was no one else was available..
“The Administrator of a San Diego 30-bed Assisted Living facility called Wednesday May 6th to let me know she had a staff member that tested positive for Covid 19 and wanted all of the residents and staff at the facility tested. Cyndy and the facility Administrator made several calls on May 7th that led to dead ends however, after reaching out to a local physician involved in long-term care, the San Diego County of Epidemiology offered to send 40 test kits to the facility. Realizing that no one was available to perform the tests my daughter Kelsey Minnery and I offered to go to the facility to conduct the nasal swab testing for the 36 residents and staff ourselves on May 8,” Cyndy stated.
Testing was performed within two days after the first COVID-19 infection discovery and the Administrator and staff felt so much relief as they would know which residents to isolate and if any more staff were infected with the virus. Both the Administrator and Cyndy felt as though they moved a mountain to get testing done on all residents and staff. By the following Monday, May 11, results revealed that four residents were positive for the virus.
Cyndy, who has provided CEU classes for 6Beds members, and Kelsey also did an in-service training while at the facility on proper donning and taking off of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the staff, when to wear masks, gowns and gloves and how often to change each type of PPE between residents.
“We also talked about infection control in general terms about cleaning and disinfecting and then specifically regarding isolation of residents. We helped set up an isolation room and talked about the importance of having a dedicated wing to house Covid positive residents as well as dedicated staff to care for residents in isolation,” Cyndy disclosed. “The facility kept the four positive COVID residents, set up a wing in the facility to house them and provided them with isolation rooms. All four residents were stable as of May 15th.”
For Cyndy, Kelsey and the facility Administrator, the testing and training were a very positive experience in large part due to the nursing acumen of Kelsey in calming the fears of staff by talking about how wearing PPE correctly will help keep them protected. Kelsey shared with the staff that she has been working in the ER with Covid patients since January and she tested negative for the virus.
Kelsey was a nurse at the Emergency Department at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Everett, Washington the largest ER in the Pacific Northwest and level II trauma center. She currently works full time in the Emergency Department at Kaiser in San Diego where she has been testing and caring for COVID-19 patients since the onset of the pandemic.
“I’ve heard from a number of facility owners and many are afraid to take new residents into their facilities especially from a nursing home or hospital where there are Covid residents under care. Some residents may have the virus yet be asymptomatic so, unless potential residents have tested negative for the corona virus. many won’t accept them into a Covid-naive facility,” explained Cyndy. “Reliable testing for Covid 19 is definitely in high demand in San Diego’s Assisted Living facilities.”
An expert witness in 2012 and has opined on over 200 cases involving law suits against Skilled Nursing and RCFEs, Cyndy impressed further that testing is so important for staff and residents