Reflecting on 2020 and COVID-19
Posted on December 31, 2020 by Jesse Hazel
More than 4 million masks, 202,000 COVID-19 tests, 715,000 resident engagement programs, and 400 vaccinations. 2020 may have been rife with challenges, but thanks to the work and resilience of Atria’s dedicated staff, residents and families, 2020 has also had its triumphs. As the year comes to a close, Atria is reflecting on the accomplishments achieved over the last year.
From the inventive and delightful programs that keep residents engaged to the COVID-19 testing strategies that keep residents and staff protected, #TeamAtria is grateful for a year that reinforced what it means to be a team, community and family – no matter the circumstance.
Through hurricanes, wildfires, flu seasons and now a pandemic, agility and preparedness have been key in helping Atria create environments that are as safe as possible for older adults.
In the earliest days of the pandemic, this meant dedicating manpower and resources to procuring and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to Atria communities and even families of residents and employees.
In March, as Atria manned and inventoried a PPE warehouse, a partnership with Mayo Clinic Laboratories began. The collaboration has served as the cornerstone for Atria’s testing strategies and has been instrumental in keeping residents and staff safe. Air freighters, jets and turboprops were utilized to ensure supplies arrived the minute they were needed in early affected areas.
As testing kits were being deployed to Atria communities, an internal team began tracking the spread of the virus behind the scenes.
From business analytics to virus penetration analysis
Under the leadership of Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore, a team began meeting nightly to track the virus’ penetration in Atria communities and across North America.
“Our charge in those meetings was to use our own data to see what the disease dynamics were in Atria communities, and then compare that to the disease dynamics within the cities where communities are located,” said Kyle Whittinghill, Director of Corporate Finance and Analytics at Atria. “This allowed us to understand what the risk levels were and how to manage and mitigate those risks.”
That data has impacted every level of the business, allowing community and corporate leaders to swiftly escalate or deescalate safety protocols and procedures accordingly.
“We were able to implement screening questions, PPE and infection control measures well ahead of local mandates,” said Abby Figueroa, Senior Vice President of Functional Operations at Atria.
Keeping residents engaged during the pandemic
Like everyone else, Atria residents and their families became familiar with video conferencing, group chats and livestreams. Accordingly, Atria’s Engage Life® team (those responsible for creating and arranging events and programs in communities) set out to keep residents engaged with their families and each other throughout the pandemic.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to make every interaction count. Whether it be through video calls or going door to door, we did whatever it took to give our residents the same excellent experience, as close as we could get it to what it used to be,” said Kristin Brown, Assistant Executive Director at Atria at Villages of Windsor in Florida.
As the virus persisted and cases rose, Atria communities enforced protocols that kept people together.
“What we feel the most is safe,” said Louise, a resident at Atria Darien in Connecticut. "And even though our protocols are strict, I’ve noticed people who were not exercising begin to exercise, and that’s rewarding."
Although keeping residents active through COVID-19 fluctuated between socially distanced activities and in-apartment programs, communities continued to look for new ways to keep residents engaged.
“Interestingly enough, the pandemic reminded us that human interaction is the element we all hold so close and prioritize. We just had to look at it differently,” Figueroa said. “We had to use different resources – obviously, technology, but it was also going back to basics.”
As Atria begins hosting more and more vaccine clinics for residents and staff, all safety protocols currently in place will continue to be observed until everyone has received the required vaccine doses.
In the meantime, Atria communities will continue prioritizing resident well-being by offering opportunities for physical activity and connection within and outside of communities.
#TeamAtria wishes you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.
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