Posted 09/29/2020

Pay it Forward: Goodwin House Shares its COVID-19 Playbook

Pay it Forward: Goodwin House Shares its COVID-19 Playbook

By Lindsay Hutter

Most of us have never experienced a pandemic with the spread and impact we have seen from COVID-19. This novel coronavirus has revealed that the world did not have a fully developed playbook for such an event.

In February and March, first responders, health care systems and senior living organizations found themselves on the front lines without proper training or the right ammunition. Those were the early days.

That Was Then. This Is Now.

We have learned much since those early days. Treatments are far more effective in helping to increase survival rates for those who are seriously ill from COVID-19. Many vaccines are in the final trial stages. And the basics of infection precaution have been affirmed for their potency – practice hand hygiene, wear your mask and keep physical distances of at least six feet from others.

As a nonprofit, mission-based organization that has been on these front lines, Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI) has been directly engaged in staying ahead of the curve, learning quickly and acting nimbly as the situation evolved. Through it, we remained rooted in our mission to support, honor and uplift the lives of more than 2,000 older adults across Northern Virginia, and the more than 900 staff who provide service and care for them.

We were not in this alone. We leaned on and learned from one another, relying on the decades of experience our medical staff brought to bear. We also followed the news, listened to public health departments and consulted other experts in their fields to help guide our decisions. Along with all those who found themselves facing this new virus, we sought opportunities to grow and learn.

What We’ve Learned

Since late February, our organization has accomplished a lot:

  • Initiated more than 200 infection precaution protocols
  • Trained more than 900 employees in proper COVID-19 protection hygiene
  • Purchased more than 500,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), enough supplies to support our residents and employees as well as a group buying effort we initiated so other nonprofit organizations could obtain PPE in the early days of the pandemic
  • Launched an ongoing COVID-19 testing program for residents and staff
  • Established regular, sometimes daily communications to inform our residents, members, staff and business partners about our protocols and situation

As GHI team members spoke with other community leaders, it became clear that our approach to safely navigating the pandemic as a business could be helpful to others. We gathered what we’ve learned and developed a “playbook”. Over the period of a few weeks, we’ve shared both our playbook and access to testing labs with schools, churches and Chambers of Commerce. We’ve also contributed surgical masks and gloves to local churches so their older congregants could be safe during the fall flu season.

Paying It Forward

Our mission is to support, honor and uplift. Our vision is to expand the places and ways we live out that mission. The current public health crisis presents us with the opportunity to do just that.

We are offering our playbook to anyone who might find it useful, whether you’re an executive at a local organization or a volunteer for a community group. Our playbook includes protocols for resuming operations and templates that can be adapted to any organization for:

the cover of the Goodwin House COVID-19 Playbook

  • Keeping facilities safe
  • Signage and guidance to employees, guests and business partners
  • On-site work spaces and practices
  • Facility screening
  • Sample communications
  • Access to testing labs
  • Access to PPE group buying

This playbook should not be taken as legal or pandemic response advice. It is simply a collection of information, approaches and tools that GHI has found useful in our response to COVID-19.

Every organization should consult with their insurance provider and legal counsel about steps they should take to safely resume and restore operations. While we share common challenges and needs, organizations are unique, and so, too, must be the solutions for those challenges.

We anticipate that you will find some tools and templates in our playbook more applicable to your situation than others. We invite you to use everything in this playbook that is relevant, adapt it to your situation and discard the rest.

If you have questions about the Goodwin House Playbook, access to testing or PPE group buys, please contact covidsupport@goodwinhouse.org or call Holly Hanisian (Goodwin House Director of Corporate Administration) at 703.824.1186 to discuss your needs.

Stay safe, practice the basics and find ways in your own life to pay it forward. Society needs more people investing in those around us – now more than ever.

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Lindsay Hutter is the daughter of a mother and father who survived the Great Depression, World War II and the loss of family and friends. Throughout their lives, they unfailingly chose to construct rather than destruct and to leave people and places better than they found them. Lindsay strives to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Since 2017, she has served as Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for Goodwin House Incorporated.

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