Montgomery Place is accepting donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) — chiefly face masks and gloves in addition to disposable gowns, eye protection and alcohol wipes — as the coronavirus pandemic continues in Chicago.
"Right now at this moment, I'm fine. As this develops and continues, and with the lack of supply that is available in the broader market space, all health care providers are at risk," said Deborah Hart, president and CEO of Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Shore Drive, in an interview. "If all other factors in the universe stay as they are, I'm OK. If factors in the universe change, I don't know."
"I am asking individuals that, if they have personal protective equipment that is on a list of what health care providers are asking for, to consider donating some of what they have to take care of others," she said. "Anyone is welcome to drop donations off in our vestibule."
Panic-buying and hoarding PPE began in Chicago shortly after the coronavirus broke out early this year. Hart said buying the equipment online has become increasingly difficult for medical providers.
"What we feel is happening is that individuals are purchasing things for their own personal protection rather than letting it be in the environment of health care workers, who are theoretically not sick (and) trying to take care of sick people," she said. "If it turns out I don't need them, I'll share them with other medical professionals when they need them, if they don't have them. We are a community of health professionals. I don't plan on hoarding things either."
Sanitation requirements have grown exponentially at retirement facilities like Montgomery Place since the outbreak began. Montgomery Place has independent and assisted-living apartments for elderly residents as well as skilled-nursing facilities.
Two weeks ago, Montgomery Place began working with all residents and staff on hygiene protocols. The maintenance team sanitizes commonly touched surfaces throughout the building on a daily basis. The common dining room has closed, and three meals a day are being delivered to residents individually. The building is also closed to visitors.
"I don't want people to think that I'm in a crisis: I'm asking people to start thinking about supporting the medical care giving industry through this crisis," Hart said. "We're trying to create a life within the building where people can isolate and still be able to feel like they have a life."
Morale, she said, "is not too bad."
"Everybody's appreciative about the fact that we're being very serious about this and the steps we are taking, and we are continuing to work on avenues to be able to allow them to communicate by using technology. And they're adapting."