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The Hundley Center: Year in Review

The Hundley Center, a long-term care facility in South Hill operated by VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, recently opened its doors to visitors by appointment only after a year of suspended visitation due to the pandemic.

The Hundley Center recently opened its doors to visitors by appointment after a year of suspended visitation due to the pandemic. What have the residents been up to? What changes did the staff make during this time? Get an inside perspective from those on the front lines. The Hundley Center is a long-term care facility in South Hill operated by VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH).

 

Administration

Betty DeOrnellas, RN, BSN, LNHA, has been the Administrator for The Hundley Center for about two years and lives in South Hill. She has 16 years of previous experience at the Center and came back for the leadership position. The long-term care (LTC) facility has both Skilled Nursing and Long Term Care, opened in 1977 and has 140 beds on two floors. They have extremely tight restrictions that have kept residents safe and prevented the spread of COVID in the facility. They keep one wing as a transition unit for incoming patients to keep them separate from other residents for 14 days. Approximately 90% of residents and 65% of staff have been vaccinated.

Betty explained, “Hundley Center staff are not only screened daily but COVID-tested weekly, or twice weekly, depending on the positivity rate in the community.”

VCU Health CMH’s pharmacy staff trained nurses to stock the drug dispensing equipment so pharmacy employees would not need to enter the facility. Other hospital staff were restricted from the area until visitation opened back up.

One visitor is allowed at a time and it must be scheduled in advance, according to Betty. Please call (434) 584-4570 or (434) 584-4579 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to schedule a visit for 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors must keep six feet away, hand sanitize and wear a mask. They can sit on the patio outside or visit inside with social distancing. Before the visitor restrictions were lifted, visitors could see their family through the breezeway windows and speak with them by the phone, or they used Zoom and FaceTime. The staff worked hard to ensure residents had outside contact to keep their social and mental health strong.

Betty DeOrnellas, RN, BSN, LNHA, has been the Administrator for The Hundley Center for about two years and lives in South Hill.

Betty DeOrnellas, RN, BSN, LNHA, has been the Administrator for The Hundley Center for about two years and lives in South Hill.

 

 

Activities

Activities Coordinator Rebecca Yonker, ADCP, has been at The Hundley Center for 21 years and resides in Lawrenceville. Her favorite part of her job is talking with the residents and seeing smiles on their faces. Before the pandemic, it could be a challenge to get some residents motivated to participate in group activities.

“You can’t say exercise, because no one will show up,” she explained. “We dance in our seats and play ‘Simon Says’ to keep our residents moving. They love to play games that exercise their mental capacity and anything with music.” A quick glance at the activities calendar shows daily devotions, fun holidays and activities including movies, music, games, crafts, and dancing to give them something to look forward to each day.

Rebecca said, “Activities in the LTC world are not just fun and games. We complete paperwork and report to the state everything we do. They have mandates for residents’ social, mental and spiritual needs. We had to get creative during the pandemic to make sure these needs were met while keeping residents safe.”

When everything shut down in March of 2020, they had to cancel about 10 community groups that were volunteering on a regular basis to provide worship, music and Bible study. Residents played hall bingo, where they stayed in their doorways and played from their chairs. Staff read scripture out loud on the units. They organized a family parade where the residents lined up outside with signs and family drove by in cars to wave to their loved ones.

Now that cases are low in the community, residents can participate in group activities socially distanced and wearing masks. The hospital chaplain is now hosting Bible study.

“The residents have been troupers; they understand the restrictions are for their protection, and their families have been patient as well,” Rebecca said.

Activities Coordinator Rebecca Yonker, ADCP, has been at The Hundley Center for 21 years and resides in Lawrenceville.

Activities Coordinator Rebecca Yonker, ADCP, has been at The Hundley Center for 21 years and resides in Lawrenceville.

 

Environmental Services

Anna Alston, of South Hill, works in Environmental Services, making sure the residents have clean and comfortable living quarters. She has experience in different industries like automotive, retail and manufacturing. She’s worked at The Hundley Center for more than five years and loves everything about her job, but especially enjoys working with the residents. If they need something, and she can get it for them, she will.

“It’s not a difficult job, but we’re busy all the time,” Anna said.

When the pandemic began, she was scared of bringing the virus from the outside to the residents, so she was very careful and didn’t go anywhere.

“I was terrified, so I got my vaccine when it was first available,” Anna explained. “We wear masks, shields, keep six feet away at all times and we get tested every week. Most of the residents are vaccinated. Now that my family members are vaccinated, I am able to see them again.”

 

Anna Alston, of South Hill, works in Environmental Services, making sure the residents have clean and comfortable living quarters.

Anna Alston, of South Hill, works in Environmental Services, making sure the residents have clean and comfortable living quarters.

 

Food and Nutrition

Ruth Bates, of South Hill, is the Associate Director of Food and Nutrition Services at The Hundley Center. She’s currently working on her CDM (Certified Dietary Manager) certification. She is responsible for developing menus for the residents, entering information for orders, catering needs and scheduling staff. She also cooks, meal plans and cleans when needed. She has vast health care experience, spending time at UVA, INOVA, and Sentara and worked in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

 

She first started at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) in 2005 and stayed for eight years. After three years she came back and has been here since 2016. For the past three years they’ve had zero health department inspection deficiencies under her watch. Of all the places she’s lived, she prefers South Hill because she loves the residents here. She enjoys seeing them smile and laughing with them.

 

Ruth’s favorite part of her job is the people. She’s always been a people person. Her philosophies for great teams are, “There is no ‘I’ in team,” and, “If we are divided, we fall apart; together we can conquer the world.”

 

She is also big on presentation. She believes ‘people eat with their eyes, and if it looks good, it will taste good.’

 

During the pandemic, Ruth makes sure everyone looks out for each other. “If anyone sees someone doing something wrong, we enable each other to speak up and not get defensive. Even in the community, if we see each other out, we’ll make sure they’re following protocols. We keep each other safe,” she said.

 

The biggest change is the residents could no longer eat in the dining room, so everyone takes their meals in their rooms.

 

“We really miss seeing the residents come down to eat,” Ruth said. “We used to have cookouts and we let the Residents’ Council pick a meal each month and they would all get excited about their barbecued ribs, or whatever they chose that month. It’s just not the same, but it’s more important we keep the residents safe.”

 

They also made smaller changes, like switching from hard plastic trays to disposable paper trays for the residents on the transition unit, and now the clinical staff takes residents’ meal orders to limit exposure to other staff members.

 

“We want our families to know we are keeping their loved ones safe,” Ruth said.

 

Ruth Bates, of South Hill, is the Associate Director of Food and Nutrition Services at The Hundley Center.

Ruth Bates, of South Hill, is the Associate Director of Food and Nutrition Services at The Hundley Center.

 

Family Testimonial

Arlene Brooks’ husband has been a resident of The Hundley Center in long term care for about two years. Before the pandemic, she used to visit him daily for about an hour. When visitation was suspended it was very hard for her.

“It was terrible,” she said. “I still called him every day, but it wasn’t the same.”

Visitation was allowed outside socially distanced in the fall of 2020 for about 30 minutes. Once the third surge hit, visitor restrictions went back into effect. She was able to do few window visits and rode through during the parades to see him and show her support. Mrs. Brooks understood the protocols were in place to keep her husband safe.

“The Hundley Center has done a better job than most on keeping their residents COVID-free,” she said.

Now that visitation has opened back up inside, Mrs. Brooks has been taking advantage every chance she gets.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “A big relief to be able to see him again and catch him up on things going on around the house.”

For more information about The Hundley Center call (434) 584-4054.

 

On September 2, 2020, The Hundley Center organized a family parade where the residents lined up outside with signs and family drove by in cars to wave to their loved ones.

On September 2, 2020, The Hundley Center organized a family parade where the residents lined up outside with signs and family drove by in cars to wave to their loved ones.