behind the scenes: stories of service

When three members of the RiverWalk staff contracted the coronavirus, Marketing Manager Katie Murphy Dedde stepped in to help care for the 145 residents – around the clock. Ranging in age from their mid-60s to 106, Katie did everything from replacing batteries to handing out knitting yarn.

As with other senior communities, visitors to RiverWalk, an independent living residence on the campus of the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, have not been allowed so Katie’s been doing her best to step in where she can and be there for the residents.

Katie opted to live in one of RiverWalk’s model apartments to protect her family and her mom, who has dementia. Katie’s husband and two children, Michaela and Thomas Emmett, had no choice in the matter. She would be staying at RiverWalk for as long as was needed.

Update: We’re happy to report that after working 34 straight days and sleeping on site for 25 of them, Katie has finally been able to go home as her colleagues are now recovered and back at work.

Dr. Francis Polcari, Wartburg’s medical director, has gone above and beyond the call of duty during this COVID-19 crisis.

Early in the outbreak, Dr. Polcari himself became infected with the coronavirus.  For the time he spent recovering at home, he worked from his computer – writing orders and checking in virtually with the Wartburg residents under his care.

Upon his return, he put in 33 days straight, making daily rounds to every resident to ensure each was being assessed and treated appropriately.

Dr. Polcari’s dedication to the residents and families at Wartburg in Mount Vernon has been an inspiration to the entire community, and a role model for providing selfless and  compassionate care during this health crisis.

To help their residents maintain quality of life while adhering to social distancing and the end to group activities during the pandemic, Maria Fiorenza, Director of Recreation at Bethel Nursing Home in Ossining, designed a variety of individualized programs for those in their care.

For resident Sally Smith (pictured lower right), special programming includes pet visits from Debby and Stella the Poodle. Their virtual visit was made possible by the Good Dog Foundation. “Stella and I cannot wait for the day that we meet all of you [Bethel residents] in person,” said Debby.

Each day, the Bethel staff is working hard to ensure good care and safekeeping of their residents and, so far, they’ve been effective in combating the virus. Residents’ families visit via facetime and have been especially supportive – keeping them stocked with hand made masks, goodies and love.

(Image at top: staff from Bethel Nursing Home)

Latest posts by Westchester Senior Voice (see all)