Warren nursing home keeps coronavirus out: zero resident deaths, zero cases

WARREN, R.I. (WLNE) – When staff members at Grace Barker Health’s facilities, ‘The Cove’ or ‘The Willows’ in Warren, walk through the front door, they’re immediately screened.

“You would get about three feet into the building before somebody stopped you,” said Benjamin Lescault, the assistant administrator.

That’s how they caught the few staff members who were sick, but didn’t know it. And it’s part of the reason they’ve been able to keep coronavirus out. None of their 110 residents have tested positive.

“Bottom line it comes down to staff. None of this would be possible if we didn’t have staff that were vigilant, that really knew what they were doing,” he said.

Lescault and his parents own and operate the two facilities. One is a nursing home, the other assisted living. One of the most difficult decisions he says they’ve had to make when the coronavirus pandemic began ended up being one of their best.

“Facilities had the choice to either stay level 2 which allowed some visitation but restricted, or go level 3 which was no visitation whatsoever,” Lescault said. “We decided to go level 3.

“We received a lot of flack from a lot of families.”

Lescault credits other factors, too, with keeping residents and staff healthy, like telehealth, social distancing, and even upgrading the facilities’ HVAC filter to one that is thicker and picks up more molecules and particles that viruses and bacteria like to latch onto, he says.

And then there’s a special effort by his mom, Mary Beth, who is also the Director of Nursing Services. In her kitchen, she mixes gallons of alcohol with aloe vera gel to keep their hand sanitizer supply stocked.

“We’ve never had a problem with hand sanitizer,” she said.

Lescault also set up a dedicated system for Skype, Zoom, and Facetime – he says staff spends about 30 hours per week connecting residents with their families.

©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island