First in the fight against Coronavirus, Elderwood’s dedicated COVID Unit serves WNY

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When COVID-19 first hit the United States there was concern about how the pandemic would impact Western New York’s healthcare system. As our region braced to deal with an overwhelmed hospital system, Elderwood had the foresight to be a part of the solution by opening the first dedicated COVID-19 post-acute unit in the region.

Elderwood converted a 22-bed subacute unit at its Amherst facility into a specialized isolated care center for COVID-19 patients. The unit served as a relief valve for the Western New York healthcare system, allowing hospitals to open up beds for acute care patients. Staff at the facility are committed to helping COVID-19 patients fully recover following hospitalization for the disease.

“Every single day our staff inspire me with their dedication to our patients and the high quality care they deliver,” said Administrator Angela Hauser. “I thank them for their commitment to the job in a time of need. They did not walk away during difficult times, instead they faced the challenges, looking for a way to help. I thank them for taking on more in their role and not walking away from the pandemic. I can see how hard they all are working. Words can’t really capture my gratitude, but I appreciate all that they are doing for the patients, the facility and the company as a whole.”

The unit creates more capacity for coronavirus patients and focuses on providing post-acute care for patients who have been discharged from area hospitals that still require monitoring, but no longer need to be in an acute care setting.  

Paul D. is among the dozens of patients who completed their recovery at Elderwood at Amherst’s COVID-19 unit. “Once I got to Elderwood I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” said Paul D., who was discharged to the unit from a local hospital. “Everyone was so great to me. It was a tremendous lift for my mind and body. They worked so well with me and made me feel much more at ease. I felt confident in the care I was getting.”

Having Coronavirus was a scary experience for Paul. He was left confused and disorientated. “I thought it was the end,” he said. Paul has since made a full recovery and according to Elderwood Medical Director Dr. Paul Shields, DO, he’s doing better than ever. Paul is grateful for the care he received at our dedicated COVID-19 unit. “I love them all. They’re tremendous, every one of them,” he said.

Another patient, William F., was in critical condition when he was hospitalized and had been intubated multiple times. While he was fighting Coronavirus, he experienced intense nightmares. “The nightmares felt like you were actually there. You believed you were there,” he said. William is thankful for the wonderful staff that helped him get better. “When I talk to everyone about what happened to me, I bring up Elderwood,” said William. “They’re a very big part of helping me get better.”

There’s a saying that goes, ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that matters.’ That saying rings especially true in healthcare. Elderwood at Amherst has enjoyed an excellent reputation for subacute care – helping patients discharged from the hospital complete their recovery and get home quickly. That expertise, combined with best practice infection control protocols and a collaborative relationship with the region’s top hospital system, Kaleida Health, is what has made this initiative so successful for Western New York.

Elderwood worked with the clinical professionals at Kaleida Health and the Doctors of General Physician, P.C. to plan and develop the COVID-19-unit initiative. This powerful collaboration allowed Elderwood to gain regulatory approval and get the unit up and running quickly. “Knowing what needs to be done and then stepping forward to do it is what sets our team apart,” said Hauser.