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COVID has Restorium staff going above and beyond

 
November 10, 2021

Restorium administrator Karlene Magee was down for days with COVID-19, and though she's back at work now, no longer contagious, she's nowhere near completely recovered.  And she's not the only Restorium employee working who would be better if at home; many are going above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure residents have the care and support they need.

"We were hit with a bomb and we're doing all we can do to keep everything together," Magee said. As of today, there are at least 17 at the Restorium fighting COVID, among both residents and staff.

With illness, quarantines and resignations, it's been a juggling act to keep enough staff on the floor to take care of the residents, prompting an emergency county commission meeting in late October to weigh options.

Commissioners had been in contact with Panhandle Health and the Idaho Department of Health, but nearly all health care agencies throughout the region are facing the same situation as regards personnel; people are falling sick or quitting.

Assistant Restorium Administrator Diana Lane, there in person while Karlene, sick at home, participated by phone, told commissioners everyone is trying to find staff, and that at the moment, the Restorium was at the bottom of the needs list.

Those in attendance even discussed asking the families of residents to take them home and the possibility of transferring them to Boundary Community Hospital as beds were available, but neither option was favored and those members of the Restorium staff able to work have managed, by dint of long hours and devotion, have managed thus far to fill shifts enough to get by as staff returns from quarantine periods to step back into the breach.

The one idea that did meet with approval was to develop a list of volunteers who could be called upon to pitch in as needed.

"Even if someone comes in for one hour to help put food on a plate and distribute it, it would be helpful," Restorium employee Tabitha Fields said. Even volunteers answering the telephone, they said, would free up trained caregivers to serve the needs of residents.

As with employees, volunteers would be required to have their temperature checked daily and some would likely be required to wear masks, but there is no county mandate for taking the COVID vaccine. Volunteers would also need to undergo a background check.

In the days since, a number of potential volunteers have stepped up and added their names to the list, though none have yet been called upon as existing staff have all gone the extra mile to get through the crisis.

"I understand that staff are putting in a lot of hours to help out, and they are appreciated," commissioner Dan Dinning said.

Those willing to volunteer at the Restorium should the need arise can call (208) 267-2453 to be added to the list.

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