A Look Back at 2020 - St. Augustine Health Ministries

Remaining True to Our Mission Through the Faith, Strength,  and Fortitude of our Residents and Staff

Much has changed in the world these past eleven months. Everyone is affected in some way – whether through illness, job loss, or the lack of physical contact.

The programs and services of St. Augustine Health Ministries have likewise been affected. However, as we begin this New Year with a renewed spirit of hope, we are able to look back and see the strength, faith and accomplishments among the challenges.

Because of the nature of our work and the leadership of our Medical Director, nursing management and senior management, we were proactive in acquiring personal protective equipment and implementing stringent infection control protocols for the safety of our residents and staff. We quickly implemented our emergency preparedness plan and created observation and quarantine units to mitigate risk.

Throughout this health crisis we diligently  address the challenges presented by COVID-19. From the absence of volunteers and families to social distancing, the donning of personal protective equipment, weekly COVID testing, a multitude of reporting requirements and the sometimes moment-by-moment changes in regulations, our priority continues to be the safety and overall well-being of each person entrusted to our care.

Staff in all departments and at all levels continue to unselfishly devote their skills, time and love to care for our residents and families. In addition to holding iPads so loved ones can stay connected, they are covering the multitude of tasks once completed by volunteers. Resident programs have been adapted to restrictions and limitations with creativity and we have learned to utilize technology in far-reaching ways.

Staff are working tirelessly to promote the safety, health and well-being of all those we care for while enduring intense scrutiny and epic challenges. They are working extras shifts as they cover for colleagues at high risk or who are now caring for family members at home. They have continued to come to work, day and night, keeping residents safe, entertained, cared for and loved.

Lock-downs have left many essential workers without childcare. Our Child Enrichment Center quickly pivoted and became a pandemic center to safely care for children of essential workers. Teachers continue to support the families now at home with goodie bags and virtual visits.

Home-bound seniors may be safer from contracting the virus; however, they are at increased risk for hunger and depression. Our home-delivered meals program continues to check in daily and deliver additional meals, shelf stable items and toiletries.

Home based services are growing exponentially. While others have walked away, our home health and hospice teams have not backed down. They continue to make visits to private homes, residential facilities and nursing homes to care for patients – putting themselves at higher risk. The use of telehealth allows us to provide much-needed bereavement and emotional support, safely, through these unstable and uncertain times.

This past year has been filled with tremendous challenges and often-painful decisions. When much of the world paused, we continued even stronger. Never before has our staff faced more challenges and, at the same time, proven more heroic. Through their resilience, dedication and mental strength, we have remained true to our Mission.

During this pandemic, we have cancelled fundraising events and are seeing a drop in donations as people understandably face their own challenges – all while increased pressure on our staff, human resources and supply expenses are significantly higher.

We are extremely blessed by the outpouring of love, understanding, patience and support that our families have shown. We are grateful to all who have provided meals, encouraging words, and much needed supplies.

Now that we have entered a New Year, we are filled with a renewed spirit and a greater sense of hope. While many of the challenges remain in the foreseeable future, we continue to rededicate ourselves to meeting the needs of each individual we serve.