When the Going gets Tough, Keystone Gets Tougher

Submitted by Kari Rhodes, MS, CCC-SLP, Therapy Resource, Keystone West Texas
When the fog lifted from our initial COVID outbreaks in 2020, we breathed a sigh of collective relief. Vaccines were coming, cases were dropping, and visitations were resuming. We thought the worst was over. Small outbreaks here and there were managed, and PPE was easier to find.

Little did we know that the Omicron variant was going to wreak the havoc that it has on our facilities. As we ended 2021 and entered 2022, outbreaks were looming large yet again, affecting residents and more staff than ever before. As we have seen staffing shortages in nursing, we are seeing the effects of unprecedented therapist shortages. As we struggle to find a balance to avoid burnout and meet the needs of our ladies and gentlemen, the Keystone Therapy Markets have worked hard to get tougher!

At a small gathering of Keystone Therapy Resources in San Antonio in December, we talked openly about how we can best support each other in times of need. There were honest conversations about asking for help, text threads with motivating statements, and a lot of loving competition between the recently separated markets. In times of high levels of burnout, it often seems like a contraindication to challenge each other. However, the extra challenges put forth between us and a healthy amount of friendly competition work well to spur us on to do better work for each other, our teams, and our residents. Additionally, the open level of communication allows each member of the team to feel heard and supported, a necessary component of forging onward through the crises at hand. These methods of support then trickle out to our clinical resources, our market leads, and our floor staff.

As we tell the family members of our residents frequently, you cannot care for someone else if you are not caring for yourself! Taking time to rest and surrounding yourself with others who support you are essential for being essential personnel. When times in Keystone are tough, we are tougher because we are better together!