Wesleyan nursing home in Georgetown taking precautions to keep residents safe

Wesleyan Homes in Georgetown is taking every precaution to keep residents safe. (Community Impact Staff)
Wesleyan Homes in Georgetown is taking every precaution to keep residents safe. (Community Impact Staff)

Wesleyan Homes in Georgetown is taking every precaution to keep residents safe. (Community Impact Staff)

Wesleyan Homes—a senior care and assisted-living facility in Georgetown—cares for 600 residents, patients and clients throughout the city. But with the coronavirus, its job got harder.

“The first and foremost priority of our organization is to safeguard the health and well-being of our patients [and] residents and our team,” said Mark Lenhard, CEO of Wesleyan Homes.

Lenhard said Wesleyan—which offers services in assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, hospice, rehabilitation and more—was early to adopt government-suggested limitations on nursing homes to full-on restrictions.

He said the facilities were closed to visitors in mid-March.

“Some said we were a little bit early, but we felt like it was important to be proactive on behalf of the full continuum of care that we have, because our residents, of course, are potentially at greater risk than others,” Lenhard said.

Lenhard said the facilities are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when it comes to testing for the coronavirus, adding that physicians will direct when testing is appropriate for residents or employees.

As of April 23, Williamson County health officials said no adults living in senior care facilities in the county have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The county has also established a secure isolation unit at Hearthstone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of Round Rock to provide beds for seniors as they are discharged from the hospital, if needed.

"Nursing home staff provide care for our most vulnerable citizens," said Dr. Lori Palazzo, Williamson County Health Authority, in an April 23 news release. "Prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities require an intense focus on infection prevention practices.”

As for personal protective equipment, Lenhard said the facilities were prepared before the pandemic with needed supplies stored away, but this has not stopped the Georgetown community from offering extra supplies, which Lenhard said the facility is grateful for. For example, one man had extra N-95 masks at his company and donated them to the home.

“I absolutely want to praise our community,” Lenhard said. “Just that thoughtfulness of people recognizing things that that we might need.”

Even with the center’s current precautions, residents are still finding ways to connect with family and check on each other, Lenhard said. A few of the residents have picked up Skype, Zoom, TikTok—a video-sharing social networking service—and even Marco Polo—a video chat app—to stay connected.

The staff is also working to keep spirits up by planning luaus and Renaissance festival events.

“We know how difficult it is to be away from their loved ones.” Lenhard said. “We appreciate the sacrifice that [families have] made to make sure that the community that we have is staying healthy and well.”