A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Air Guard medical professionals aiding Covington nursing home in COVID-19 battle

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A team of Kentucky Air Guard medical professionals are augmenting the staff at Northern Kentucky’ Rosedale Green, which has been severely affected by the coronavirus.

The five-person team, composed of four medics and a registered nurse, had been on standby at the Alternate Care Facility, located at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville and volunteered to help at the Rosedale Green Nursing Home in Covington.

According to figures from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Rosedale Green has been one of the hardest impacted in Kentucky. Through Friday, they had dealt with 63 residents and 22 staff infected testing positive, along with 21 deaths among residents.

The strain on employees led to company leaders tapping into traveling nurse agencies to fill in the gaps and relieve full-time staff.

Due to the emergency staffing situation at the nursing home, the Air Guardsmen began working Sunday and are on-site providing a variety of basic daily care activities for residents, including feeding, hygiene, extra help in physical requirements and the registered nurse is able to help with medications and administering insulin.

The Kentucky Guard says this military team is in place to allow the facility to develop civilian staffing solutions and are set to return to Louisville later this week.

“We have been able to integrate with the medical staff seamlessly and we are willing to do anything to help,” said Maj. Amy Riley, officer in charge of the medical team providing support.

The Beshear administration has increased their efforts in protecting residents of nursing homes, many of whom are medically fragile.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said Friday that they have become more aggressive with supplying nursing homes with personal protective equipment and, despite earlier shortages, are now able to supply it.

“Just this week, the federal government has stepped up to help us,” he said. “They have started delivering personal protective equipment to nursing facilities across Kentucky to make sure they have a 14-day supply.”

Friedlander added the state is also stepping up testing at every one of Kentucky’s 286 skilled care facilities.

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Meantime, relatives of Rosedale Green residents celebrated Mother’s Day in a big way — wishing a happy day to their loved ones from a distance on Sunday.

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