Commentary by Carol Applegate
We have all been at home for so long that it is difficult to think life, as we knew it, will ever return. I was feeling a little hopeless as I awoke this morning, looking for encouragement and a positive perspective on my daily routine. That hope came later when I was privileged to hear Dr. Ryan Nagy, IU Health Methodist president, give an update on COVID-19 to the members of the IU Health Foundation.
The report reassured us that the hospital was stable with the number of COVID-19 patients remaining steady. There were zero employees lost to the virus, and the few that had tested positive were recovering. The staff was able to work in a controlled and manageable environment. This is not the story that was heard from other hospitals in New York and Chicago.
So, why the difference? In my opinion, we are very fortunate to have strong health care leadership and top-notch facilities. With three major hospital systems in Indianapolis, not only do we have a higher capacity for sick patients and staff to care for those patients, but we also have had adequate supplies. Our hospitals are financially stable, which has allowed us to respond to the crisis in a timely manner.
However, one of the major issues that we have faced is testing. IU Health is now able to do its own testing within its facility, which means it also is able to process 3,500 tests a day. This is huge progress! Because of this, IU Health also is reaching out to provide testing supplies to a nearby long-term care facility. This will allow all facility residents to receive testing and get their results in a shortened amount of time. Hopefully, this testing can be expanded throughout Indiana when supplies are adequate to do so.
From one who worries about the most vulnerable population, our elderly, and who has witnessed the agony that patients and families have had to endure when they are unable to see their loved ones in a facility, this was great news to me. It is comforting to know that these issues are acknowledged by IU Health and that actions are being taken to address the needs of our elderly population.
During this time, it has been difficult to know what we can to do to help others. However, showing our appreciation to those fighting on the front lines and providing excellence in care is a good place to start. With health care leaders who want to provide the best for their patients, and who care about their staff, a pandemic, such as COVID-19, can be conquered.
I encourage you all to show your gratitude for health care workers in any way you can, such as food, a thank you note or a gift basket. Your support will mean the world to them. Together, we can get through this.
Carol Applegate is an attorney at Applegate & Dillman Elder Law. The firm specializes in elder law and Life Care Planning, a holistic approach to deal with legal, financial, medical and emotional issues involved in growing older. The firm has offices in Indianapolis, Carmel and Zionsville. Find out more at applegate-dillman.com