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St. Francis Manor’s Heroes Commemorated for Work During COVID-19

June 29, 2020

In recognition of all the heroes working at St. Francis Manor during the COVID-19 pandemic, Seeland Park resident Mike Sawyer recently presented a wood-burning plaque created by artist Kathy Reed of Grinnell to Administrator/RN Tiffany Criswell, who continues to lead the COVID-19 charge at St. Francis.

Other nursing superheroes pictured above from L-R include: Lori Glosser, Vickie Miller, Jen Kingery, Julia Ingle, Christine Anderson, and Morgan Beck.

Mike Sawyer initially commissioned the plaque by Kathy Reed but after creating it, Kathy wanted to donate it to St. Francis Manor instead. “We wish to thank Mike for recognizing us in this way and Kathy for creating such a unique piece of artwork to commemorate the year of the pandemic,” said Tiffany.

CLICK HERE for of Kathleen Reed’s work can be viewed on her Etsy website

Mike, whose 100-year-old mother resides at St. Francis Manor, has experienced firsthand how difficult the past few months have been for family members who are unable to visit loved ones in nursing facilities. “Before COVID-19, I visited my mother several times a day at St. Francis; and when she previously lived in a Seeland Park apartment, we walked to the Social Center and had lunch together every day—so you can imagine how hard this has been for both of us,” said Mike. “I continue to talk with her regularly via “Alexa” and by phone while seeing each other through her window. It is extremely hard for my mother though because she doesn’t understand why we have to visit this way.”

“Our Activity staff, Julie Underhill and Miranda Mendoza Anderson are doing a phenomenal job of keeping our residents engaged and as active as possible,” noted Tiffany. “We enjoy seeing their smiles during activities and when they can be outside enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, it still isn’t the same as interacting with their loved ones.” 

St. Francis Manor had moved to Phase 2 of Governor Reynolds’ phased approach to safely reopening long-term care facilities on June 18 but then had to go back to Phase 1 less than a week later when the Iowa Department of Public Health released updated guidance clarifying that having an “adequate supply of PPE” means masks must be changed between every resident care interaction. Since face masks are still on allocation from the state, each facility can only order a certain number of boxes each week.

“Our facility alone would go through a minimum of 1,000 face masks per day so we would not be able to order enough to follow this guidance,” explains Tiffany. “The Iowa Health Care Association is working on this issue with the State and we hope the requirement will be changed soon. Otherwise, it will be difficult for any facility in Iowa to move to Phase 2 of the reopening plan.”

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