Green House Blog

An Unlikely Partnership Solves a PPE Issue

At Green House we often say “It’s all about relationships” and that certainly was the case for Green House partner Jewish Senior Life (JSL) in Rochester, N.Y.. Early on in the pandemic, JSL had trouble finding PPE that was accessible and affordable.

An Unlikely Connection

It’s a story of creativity and relationships. The JSL team wondered if the local Amish community might be able to help. This is when JSL Chief Information Officer Travis Masonis stepped up to make a crucial connection. Masonis knew his father had a relationship with the Amish community, so he asked him to make an inquiry about creating cloth PPE.

Travis’ dad reached out to Moes, the general store manager for the Amish, who spread the word about their willingness to sew the gowns in their homes. Twenty women agreed to do so using a pattern created by Travis. The women sewed small, medium, and large gowns on pedal operated sewing machines.

Over a period of several weeks, the community sewed reusable cloth PPE isolation gowns–roughly 10,000 of them. JSL CEO Mike King drove up each Friday to pick up the completed gowns. As it turned out, the low incidence of COVID cases and deaths at JSL meant they didn’t need all of the gowns.

A Pay It Forward Opportunity

This turn of events enabled JSL to make a “pay it forward” contribution to other nursing homes. As a member of a New York non-profit alliance with five other nursing homes, JSL shared the gowns with the other homes dealing with larger coronavirus outbreaks.

We applaud the efforts and hard work by the local Amish community and the creative approaches to meet a practical need at JSL and within their nursing home alliance!

Awe and Gratitude Amid COVID-19

Audrey Weiner
Audrey Weiner
Former President & CEO
The New Jewish Home

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, Vice Chair Audrey Weiner delivered some very heartfelt remarks to Green House partners last week as they gathered virtually to share updates about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought her very eloquent words were worth sharing with everyone, as her message applies across all of senior living:

“First, good afternoon or good morning to each of you. And many thanks for taking time out of your day. Each day, I am sure, is becoming increasingly more complex for each of you.

“My message, on behalf of the board of directors, is really a very simple one. It is one of awe and gratitude to each of you for all that you are doing.

“While we have all lived through uncertainty and crises, hurricanes and tornadoes, horrible fires, economic downturns, blackouts and civil unrest, September 11th, flu, SARS, H1N1, and for some, the AIDS crisis, nothing in my view has prepared us for this pandemic. We are simultaneously desperately wanting to do the right thing for elders, the individuals who work in our organizations, our volunteers, and the community, while also being concerned about our families, knowing that the demands across communities are extraordinary and complex.

“In some cases, some of you have parents who are older and in at-risk groups. In other cases, you have children who are concerned that you are going to work every day and what you might bring home. There are new babies, new grandchildren, and every day, greater unknowns.

“There are the realities of supplies, concerns about the shortages of medications and antibiotics, challenges in physician visits, challenges in providing rehab, and attempts by government to do the right thing around telehealth, testing, and survey. There are heartbreaking stories about visitors restricted amid moments of death.

“But what is clear to me is that the values of The Green House Project, the ways in which living, care, and relationships are structured in Green House homes, provide what seems like the strongest framework for the best outcomes.

“As I read about nursing homes around the country, especially in the state of Washington, and the surprise on the part of the press that staff are rotating throughout facilities, the issue of inadequate staff, staff working in multiple facilities and multiple shifts, I wonder if anyone has really been listening to the concerns about providing the best possible care of elders.

“I do hope, on a macro level, that there are lessons we will learn as part of this pandemic, and hopefully there will be lessons that allow us to strengthen the long-term care system not only in America, but around the world.

“So, I end where I began, which is with awe and inspiration for all you are doing every day and how you are juggling myriad responsibilities. On behalf of the board, we are endlessly grateful for your intellect, your heart, your inspiration, and your values.

“Please know that we want to be there for you in any way we can be helpful. Above all, please do try to take time to care of yourselves.”