Summer 2020 is upon us – and as the number of Coronavirus cases continues to rise in Texas, the uncertainty surrounding just about everything remains.
Despite the uncertainty, we at ABODE are eager to do what we do best – offer compassionate, interfaith and spiritual care in a contemplative community so those who are dying leave this world with dignity and grace.
We’re excited to start reconnecting with our hospice partners, meeting potential Guests and welcoming them to our home. We’ve spent the past many weeks studying best practices, consulting with experts, retraining ourselves and writing new policies and procedures designed to keep all of us as safe as possible.
We’ve also received wonderful donations of thermometers and PPE from Damien Vasquez, Ernesto Tepox Tapia, Kathy Pamerleau, John Davenport, Cindy Million, San Antonio Lighthouse and the City of San Antonio, as well as critical instruction from Beverly Tuomala RN on properly “donning” and “doffing” our masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.
It’s a new world, as we all know, and we are as ready as we can be.
New COVID-19 Procedure Highlights
As we balance our desire to provide exceptional care for our Guests with the burdens of the Coronavirus pandemic, all while doing our best to protect one another from the virus, we’ve created new COVID-19 procedures. Our full list is quite detailed and lengthy, but here are a few highlights:
- Everyone entering ABODE must wear a mask.
- Each Guest/family must designate only two visitors for the duration of the Guest’s stay. While this rule hurts our hearts, for now it’s necessary to limit our risk of exposure as best we can.
- Only two hospice team members can visit – hospice nurses and CNAs only.
- We encourage virtual visits and calls with family, friends, chaplains, social workers and others.
- All visitors must call in advance. We’ll meet visitors at our back gate, escort them to the Guest’s patio, take temperatures and ask screening questions.
- Once the screening is complete, visitors enter the Guest’s room through the French doors and immediately wash and sanitize their hands. Visitors are restricted to the Guest’s room and can ring the bell when they need our attention.
- Upon leaving, visitors must wash and sanitize their hands again.
- A specific alternate plan must be in place for the Guest in case COVID enters ABODE and we’re unable to remain open.
On top of that, our staff has been tested for COVID – thank you, UT Health! Ideally, all Guests and visitors will come to us with negative COVID tests. We’ll have to see how realistic that is – though with plentiful (and painless) testing available, we strongly encourage it.
Our House is Ready
Along with all of our planning and training, we’ve used this time to refresh and reorganize every inch of ABODE. We’ve repainted the baseboards, kitchen and Guest room furniture, added bumpers to corners to protect our walls from equipment damage and deep cleaned and organized everything that can possibly be cleaned and put away!
Outside, we’ve transformed our lovely but often-tempermental fountain into a beautiful flower garden (thank you, June Ferguson, Arthur Dawes, Steve Ortman and Ed Alderette), installed more motion detector lights, painted the carport, polished our outdoor furniture and added colorful and comfy new cushions. Since we’ll conduct COVID screenings on our Guests’ patios, we wanted to make them as inviting as possible.
And With Your Support, We’re Ready, Too
Speaking of Steve Ortman, many thanks to him for this lovely sculpture he created in honor of our staff. Titled ABODE Tree of Caregiving, the piece represents all the intentions, energy, transformations, creativity, clarity and heart that go into what we do.
Steve’s sculpture features red jasper, amazonite, sun stones, peridot, amethyst and clear crystals, among other gems and stones. It’s beautiful, Steve, we will cherish it always.
And many thanks to all of your love and support, we’ve met our $20,000 match goal in our ABODE Big Give Emergency Relief campaign last month – and then some! We ended the campaign with $23,320, making us eligible for a $20,000 match offered by two of ABODE’s generous donors. We are so grateful! San Antonio’s traditional Big Give returns in September, so we’ll have another helpful fundraising opportunity then.
However, we’re always in fundraising mode – and our summer months are always the trickiest for funding. So if you missed out on the Big Give and would like to help, please donate here on our website. Or join our Householders by giving a monthly donation – increasing our number of Householders is especially helpful to us, as are donations of all sizes.
We Love Our Volunteers!
If you’re interested in getting more involved at ABODE – we welcome that, too! It will be awhile before we can see you face to face, but there’s plenty we’re doing via Zoom.
Our Marketing Committee is busy working on upcoming events and projects including a virtual cooking class and a Recipes to Die For cookbook. Our Education Committee is creating an 8-week ABODE Academy training course that kicks off in July. We’re using Zoom for our Monday Meditation Group and we post daily sutras, poems and prayers on our community bulletin board. Plus, we can always use help with fundraising.
If any of these are of interest, we’d love to hear from you!
We thank you, we appreciate your interest and support – and we’re excited to move ahead as carefully as we can. Please follow us on social media for regular updates on new Guests and happenings at ABODE. Lots of good things are ahead for us all!