21 October, 2020

Iraq Vet. Operating Nursing Home And Staff Sleep On-Site To Prevent COVID-19 Spread | All In | MSNBC

all right listen the statistic people living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes make up about 0.

6 percent of the entire US population right now they account for almost 28 percent of the nation's coronavirus deaths the disease is just ravaging nursing homes around the country and here's the thing it does not have to be like this we could protect these vulnerable populations 1 assisted living facility in Connecticut has come up with an innovative solution on how to do it joining me now to talk about it as Tyson vilandra he's the owner and director of Shady Oaks an assisted living facility in Bristol Connecticut he wrote a New York Times op-ed titled the coronavirus is killing too many nursing home residents detailing what his facility is doing to help fix this problem Tyson I wanted to start with a little bit of your story of how you came to be running this facility I know you you you you went to college you did three tours in Iraq if I'm not mistaken how did you end up overseeing this facility well my parents got it senior care back in 1969 and they built shane oaks in about 1976 we were the second assisted living in all of connecticut both my grandmother's who lived here and my mom Mike's you need our care and so you took over this facility yeah as I got through college you know I went to Yale I studied international relations I've always had a strong sense of service that I've learned from my parents I admire my parents I love my parents and I thought what they did was wonderful here and my sense of service brought me to the Marines so after I graduated and I joined the Marines I served five deployments oversee his three tours in Iraq as an infantry officer when I was done there the thing that I felt really compelled to do was to try to research what went wrong and so I went I got lucky I got into Harvard and I finished a PhD there in 2014 right about that time that's when my parents are helping in at the time and was this question to do with Shady Oaks so I picked it up I bought it I moved next door and I've been here for about four years now I never thought I'd be back on the front line you are back on the front lines you are now running this facility amidst this pandemic tell tell tell us generally what what you have chosen to do here to attempt to protect both the staff and the residents in your facility so we've been watching a news out of Wuhan in January in February I the alarm really went up for me in seeing that spread to Italy South Korea and the Middle East that was when we knew you know this is this is this might be coming our way Kirkland and what happened in the Life Care Center in Kirkland Washington I followed that very closely it was crushing and I my heart goes out to the families and the staff who went through that that was that was all arms like you know that we we got ready to go we started buying equipment buying the protective equipment and in early March we began having checkpoints to screen our staff we shut down for visitors what I did in those first few days is I split I went and I tried to do it myself okay who come in and who couldn't come in and while I've been reading these articles that there's this thing that people have been talking about of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmissions and I got really frustrated and I just felt like it just wasn't gonna work out in Iraq if we had that odds those probabilities of someone who getting through a checkpoint with a weapon we would be pretty upset and so I was upset here it's just the same thing I was up late late nights that early March I would wake up and switch sweats in the middle of the night and my brain was just trying to no just come up with something margin I had the idea hey we all need to move in it was a little bit ahead of where most people were and it wasn't easy I moved out of the house next door which is where I've been living I bought five trailers I'm now I sleep in my office I gain my house to my aides and tailors go to our nurses and our cook and this is what we do if this is what we did on March 22nd 17 staff members and I committed to living here for up to two months it's actually now been stretched we're looking to do until June first idea is that I'm not commuting we wouldn't be bringing Kovac back and came into our home we wouldn't be bringing it in through asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission and we went from families visitors health care people all kinds of people coming in and out of our home down to 48 staff members who are commuting then down to zero zero people coming in and out of our home and the result is we have a safe place to live and work right now and this idea I I didn't know for sure that it would work but it it's it succeeded we feel safe and so what I've been trying to do is to share the idea I don't know exactly how it would apply in every home every home is gonna have to figure it out for themselves the one thing I do know is that we need government and charitable assistance so that senior homes are going to be able to afford to offer the right kind of incentives for staff to be able to do this it's really hard ship work our staff is working 60 to 80 hours a week and they can't be with their families during a time of crisis and if we make them to June first which I'm thinking that we will it'll be ten weeks ten weeks away now as Marines we sort of sign up knowing that that's what we're gonna do but it's a it's a whole nother thing to ask health care workers to do it and they've done it they've done it they're really heroes they really deserve all the praise and for their heroic work that they're doing and keeping our home safe Chris I'm just grateful for the opportunity to share this idea I hope people give this serious consideration I don't want to be called a hero I want us to be called a pilot project I want us to be called look at what they did can we see about doing it over here or over there New York New Jersey Connecticut we've been hit pretty hard the rest of the country might be hit hard soon we need to share the ideas of what worked in our States so that all Americans can benefit so that all residents and all caregivers have an opportunity to bubble up and I should know Tyson that I'm you you are paying a tremendous on the hazard pay to that staff that is working so hard that's living on site and part of the point that you make in the op-ed is that in order to afford this this model would need federal assistance but it is something that we should be looking to do as a society not just individual pilot program thank you for sharing your story tonight Tyson it's really an incredible story and inspiring and I hope you your staff your residents all keep safe Chris thank you.

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