In the Canary Islands, at the moment, no positive case for coronavirus has been detected in senior centers, according to the president of the regional government, Angel Victor Torres. The leader assured that only a contagion had been detected in a day center, in “a young person with disabilities and previous pathologies” and that he was the third deceased with Covid-19 in the Archipelago. However, one of the main concerns at the national level is the appearance of numerous infections in nursing homes that have ended with the worst outcome. For this reason, spaces like El Pino Social Health Center in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria it has shielded itself to face a virus that is especially dangerous for the elderly and those with previous pathologies.
“Our priority is to avoid a catastrophe and minimize any effect that may come to the center,” says Alejandro López, director of the center, who has used all the security measures and put in place a “very restrictive device that goes beyond what is recommended”. To make it difficult for the pathogen to enter the residence they make the staff change their uniforms every day and even invites them to use the downtown industrial laundry. At the entrance to the building, the toilets cannot wander through it and only have access to the floor where they carry out their work. The idea, according to López, is to have everything as sectorized as possible so that, in case a contagion occurs, they can have it as limited as possible because it is a “population of high risk”
In this line, as precautionary measures, residents are in their rooms and, for weeks, they have not been going to common areas such as the dining room to avoid crowds. This requires much more personalized attention, for which the center has significantly expanded its staff, and all resources are focused on these tasks. “Our first objective is to avoid infections, the second is the safety of the patients, the third is the well-being of the patients and the fourth is the care of family members,” defends López.
Due to the closure of the center to visits, it is the staff of the residence who is responsible for conveying information about their health status to the families of the 290 patients. Until yesterday they did it twice a day but, since the internal work is already adapted to the new protocol and the staff is somewhat more liberated, since yesterday they revised the communication policy and the management determined that calls to families will increase and they will get contact them three or four times a week. López understands that for many this is an “abrupt” rupture of ties, because they maintain a very close relationship and now they cannot make visits. “It is possible that we have left the subject of communication as something secondary due to the workload of these days, and we understand the concern, because when you receive little information you think that something is being hidden from you,” he admits.
“We are not only fighting against the virus, but also against the fear of staff, that people come to work is already a triumph”, warns the director of the center, because the means of protection are few and the usual providers have limitations to serve them . From now on they will implement more security measures such as taking the temperature every day to staff and users. Also, daily, they are disinfecting all common areas with hypochlorite.
Patients are also experiencing an exceptional situation within the center. “In the plants there is silence and tranquility, although there is always one that is agitated, but we have plans to avoid it,” emphasizes López. To compensate for the fact that they cannot share time together or be freely in the leisure areas, the staff accompany them, two by two, to take controlled walks through the hallway of their plant, take them to the roof and take them to the therapeutic greenhouse of the residence.
They have also created an isolation area to confine those who have had to be referred to the emergency department of a hospital and return to the center, to those users who enter the residence for the first time and to those who may present a compatible symptomatology at any time. with the coronavirus. Given that there are risks that cannot be avoided, the effort of López and all the staff of El Pino is focused on minimizing the danger and avoiding that if any case of Covid-19 is detected among patients, the spread will not spread.