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Grandview Heights offers ‘magic window’ for visits

Grandview residents are enjoying the new Magic Window.

Grandview Heights Rehab and Healthcare is keeping visits transparent for its residents.

The nursing home, which houses 57 seniors, is taking extra measures to keep residents connected to friends and family in a safe way, using technology and its “magic window” to accommodate visits. These measures were implemented early on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility was closed to visitors on March 13 when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its guidance for normal operations.

Grandview Heights experienced a COVID-19 outbreak in July when 81 people tested positive for the virus including residents and staff, according to its website. Since Sept. 1 there have been no active cases.

“We try to keep their daily routines as normal as possible despite not being able to have normal visitors,” said Grace Maitland, human resource manager. “They appreciate that they have multiple options for visits.”

One option is the“magic window,” which is almost what it sounds like. It is a large window with microphones on both sides. It allows residents to see their visitors face-to-face with a glass partition keeping both parties safe. There are two windows available. Maitland did not confirm what type of magic might be involved. Disposable microphone covers are replaced and the area is sanitized after each use.

“It’s a nice big open area where they can see each other,” Maitland said. “The microphone works well. It helps those residents who are hard of hearing.”

Option two is the magic of technology. Particularly the use of iPads. The tablet devices that have become a common form of communication in the coronavirus age are another convenient and safe way to feel together while being apart. The tablets come in handy for telehealth appointments as well. These devices are also sanitized after being used.

In spite of the extra precautions involved in visiting a long term care facility during the pandemic, Maitland said the volume of visitors has remained fairly consistent.

With the upcoming holiday’s in mind, Maitland urges planning visits well ahead of time.

As for activities within the Grandview Heights community, residents maintain social distancing practices and physical items are not shared among them.

Grandview Heights purchased microphones and two iPads with funding from a $2,700 communication technology grant which was awarded in April.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines call for long term care facility staff to be tested for COVID-19 at minimum twice per week if the county has a positivity rate more than 10 percent, which Marshall County falls under. This is considered high community COVID-19 activity. A 5-10 percent positivity rate requires testing once per week. Less than 5 percent requires testing once per month.

“MAGIC WINDOW” VISIT PROCEDURE

• Call Grandview Heights to arrange a visit.

• Staff will be notified.

• Visits can last 30-45 minutes.

• Disinfecting supplies are provided.

• Sign the sign-in book on the front porch.

UPDATES

Regular updates on the COVID-19 situation at Grandview Heights can be found on its “About Us” page at grandviewmarshalltown.com

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Contact Joe Fisher at 641-753-6611

or jfisher@timesrepublican.com

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