Elderwood COVID-19 Unit Succeeds in Fighting the Virus

Dedicated post-acute unit proves valuable in efforts to keep seniors safe

BUFFALO, NY – Having successfully and safely assisted in easing the COVID-19 burden on the area’s hospital systems, Elderwood at Amherst recently discharged its last COVID-19 patient from its post-acute care unit dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 patients. The unit will now resume regular non-COVID-19 operations.

Elderwood at Amherst cared for more than 100 patients in its COVID-19 unit with exceptional outcomes. The unit was also a key component in Elderwood’s overall success in helping mitigate the spread of the disease across its Western New York network of senior care communities.

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic surged, Elderwood of Amherst was the first to create a unit to specialize in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. The purpose of the specialized unit was two-fold. First, it was designed to help the area’s hospital systems cope with limited bed availability. Secondly, the unit would enable Elderwood to isolate COVID-19 positive residents from other local Elderwood facilities in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Elderwood worked in partnership with Kaleida Health to establish the proper clinical protocols for the unit. Additionally, modifications to air handling equipment, a separate entrance, a dedicated staff, and special infection control procedures were just some of the measures that Elderwood put in place to protect residents. Elderwood’s administrative, operations, and clinical staff carefully planned and implemented physical and procedural modifications within the facility to keep COVID-19 patients isolated from other residents at the facility.

The Elderwood at Amherst COVID-19 unit was foundational to the hospital system’s and Elderwood’s strategy to keep patients and residents safe. The unit serves as a valuable precedent in the event of a resurgence, or another viral spread. “Successful infection control programs are possible when you are purposeful and plan ahead. We have proven that viral spread can be controlled,” said Paul Shields, DO, medical director for Elderwood at Amherst, vice president for post-acute care at General Physician, PC, and a member of the COVID-19 Task Force at Kaleida Health.

“We are extremely proud of our team and the role they played in not only helping our residents but our community as well,” said Angela Hauser, administrator.