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Staff members on the Grimes Center’s Short-Term Rehabilitation unit are among those at the Center whose focus on hand hygiene, PPE and other safety measures have helped prevent COVID-19 among patients. 

YNHHS’ Grimes Center bucks COVID-19 trend

The devastating effects of COVID-19 on skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities nationwide has been widely reported, with more than 570,000 nursing home residents testing positive and, sadly, more than 112,000 dying since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In Connecticut, as of the end of January, more than 13,680 long-term care facility residents tested positive, and more than 3,830 died.

That news has been particularly sobering to staff with Yale New Haven Health’s Grimes Center, who have become even more determined to keep their short-term rehabilitation and long-term care patients safe. Their efforts have paid off: Grimes has not had a COVID-positive patient since last April.

“This is a real testament to the staff and leadership at Grimes,” said Katie O’Leary, RN, YNHHS vice president for Post-Acute Care. “They’ve been very proactive.”

The reasons for the Grimes Center’s success will sound familiar: Good hand hygiene, proper use of PPE and quarantine for any patients who show possible symptoms, said Carol Work, YNHHS director of Long-Term Care. 

“We do a lot of education with staff, and a lot of rounding and auditing regarding PPE, particularly donning and doffing procedures,” she said. 

Staff members also practice 200 percent accountability, helping one another with PPE and cross-checking safety procedures. 

“We’re very cautious,” said Albertha Phillips, CNA. “We care for each other, too.”

Her coworker, Annie Carbone, CNA, said she’s been tested for COVID-19 numerous times and got vaccinated along with Grimes patients in January. 

“It’s not just about our own safety,” she said. “If we get sick, we can’t help our patients.”