Nursing homes in Ashland help combat coronavirus in elderly population

Alayna Ross

As everyone has likely heard, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with underlying conditions and the elderly the hardest. Nursing homes across the state of Ohio have been working hard to continue their care of the elderly while protecting them from possible infection. 

Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable populations for COVID-19 and hold an extraordinary percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio. In order to protect these residents and the staff who deliver care to them, it is imperative that the appearance of COVID-19 in nursing home facilities be recognized so that actions can be put into place to isolate the virus and take control of its extent.

Effective May 27, 2020, each nursing home licensed by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) or certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or by the Department of Medicaid are subject to the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order for the Testing of the Residents and Staff of all Nursing Homes.

This order includes the regular testing of residents and staff, a comprehensive nursing plan, distribution of information on COVID-19 and the mandatory reporting of cases to the Ohio Department of Health.

According to the Ohio Department of Health website, as of November 11, 2020, Crystal Care of Ashland has had the highest number of infected staff and residents with 59 residents and 17 staff being reported to be COVID-19 positive. 

Other protective measures have been implemented in places such as Kingston of Ashland. 

According to a statement made by Jim Lark, the administrator at Kingston, there is, “a no visitor policy, health assessments and temperature readings of staff and residents, isolating and using additional infection control measures for residents with symptoms, protective masks are worn by residents when out of their rooms and also while receiving care, care staff is wearing masks and face shields while in the facility, frequent disinfection of surfaces and equipment, regular hand-washing is being followed by staff, proactively sending staff with any related symptoms home to quarantine, and Covid-19 testing is being requested and administered for residents and staff with symptoms”. 

At Wedgewood Estates in Mansfield, they are following many of the same rules with the addition of more social distancing regulations in hopes of reducing the probability of infection. 

“No strangers are allowed in the facility at any time and all visitors and residents have their temperatures checked prior to the visitation and no visits are permitted if anyone shows symptoms of COVID-19”, said Penny, a nurse at Wedgewood Estates. “Each resident is limited to 3 visits per week which must take place in our library, the visits are limited to two people and are no more than 30 minutes.”

Many other facilities in the nearby areas are taking care to protect the most vulnerable while still caring for their health. 

Brethren Wellness Center in Ashland is a community and fitness center associated with Brethren Care Village. The wellness center’s goal is, “to focus on enhancing your life in the eight dimensions of Wellness: Emotional, Physical, Social, Spiritual, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual and Occupational.”

Tyler Cook, a junior at AU, has completed his internship at Brethren Wellness Center and explains the regulations that have been put into place to protect the residents while still allowing them to take care of their physical fitness. 

“In the gym specifically, the interns always had to wear their masks, anyone exercising did not have to wear their masks while exercising, but they had to wipe down any equipment they used when they were done with it using the provided cleaning supplies,” Cook said. “Social distancing was also strongly encouraged and the machines were properly spaced out in the facility to maintain social distancing and the cleaning staff came in about every 2 hours to replace the saran wrap on all the touch screens on the machines and did a general cleansing of all the machines in addition to all seniors and staff within the building itself were required to wear a mask”.For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website at or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). The Call Center is staffed from 9 a.m to 8 p.m each day, including weekends.