September 7, 2020

Old age is a challenge in itself. This situation, which deserves careful and deliberate analysis, is exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. And in the case of the municipality of Puente Alto in Chile’s Metropolitan Region, which is still quarantined, the guard must not be lowered given the reality of this age group, the most vulnerable one in the pandemic.

In fact, if we analyze the international situation, various European countries that had reported very low infection figures have seen new outbreaks in the past month, which has forced them to activate quarantine protocols. In Chile, although infection cases have not drastically increased, they haven’t decreased either, which tells us that we must be prepared, in better ways and always alert.

In this scenario, the Municipality of Puente Alto reaffirmed its commitment to the care and wellbeing of the elderly by opening a residence for them.

It is a temporary stay mechanism for non-autonomous Puente Alto seniors with a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis, which seeks to provide basic care in nutrition, hygiene, comfort and vital signs monitoring to identify risk factors that are worthy of a possible transfer to hospital centers.

“This is a residence that will enable our senior citizens to receive adequate treatment, face the disease in proper conditions, protect their families and be responsible with all of the community,” stated Mayor German Codina.

To provide proper assistance, the National Service for Senior Citizens appointed a team of professionals, technicians and assistants composed of a nurse, 4 nurse technicians (TENS), 10 caregivers, 2 cleaning assistants, 2 cooking assistants and 2 laundry assistants, while the technical management is led by the municipality. Additionally, the program includes daily medical evaluations, a nutritionist that drafts the patients’ records based on their health condition, and weekly sanitization procedures throughout the premises.

According to the indications of the health authority, seniors admitted to this residence undergo effective quarantine for 28 days because they are part of the population at risk.

A cooperation agreement was signed on June 19th, 2020 by the Municipal Health Corporation and CMPC, which has been present in the commune for 100 years. Thus, the company contributed with a donation of over $29 million, intended solely and exclusively for the purchase of necessary supplies to improve the facilities of this residence.

“We must not lower our guard. We need to be prepared for potential new outbreaks, and with this contribution to the residence, we want to be able to enable Puente Alto’s senior citizens, the pandemic’s most vulnerable population, to have a safe, comfortable and suitable place where they will be welcomed in order to prevent possible infections at their own homes,” said Guillermo Turner, Corporate Affairs Manager at CMPC.

Thanks to the company’s contribution, the Puente Alto Espejo Residence has managed to make available to its users and employees personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, portable toilets for elderly persons with moderate dependency, rails to reduce the risk of falls at night, ergonomic chairs in the dining room, physical and cognitive exercise materials, sofas, a television set, a portable oxygen kit for decompensations, a freezer for storing food, furniture and lockers, a cart for transporting food, a washing machine, a dryer and a trash container, among other supplies.

The residence was implemented at the premises of the Clerics of Saint Viator Congregation, which through a temporary loan for use to the municipality, allows using two of their houses to give life to the Puente Alto Espejo Residence, intended to benefit 26 seniors. It has the capacity to extend 4 to 6 additional slots to persons with severe dependency, as deemed appropriate by the Technical Director.

To set up the awarded space, the municipality has carried out a series of works that include tree trimming for the ambulance entrance, installing an inclusive bathroom for users with moderate or severe dependency, re-adapting the entrance to the residence with a ramp and railings, and installing and refitting faucets, among others. This is in addition to acquiring pillows, towels, cleaning and laundry supplies, and medical and nutrition supplies, according to the users’ nutrition guidelines.

All of this has enabled Puente Alto to be prepared to prevent and face any health situation involving Covid-19 infections of seniors in a situation of dependency.