As COVID-19 cases are falling and the world is starting to come back to life, many are trying to make up for the past year by spending extra time around the people they love. When you have to social distance to keep others safe, it’s common to feel isolated and alone.
But, in Easley, people are what made all the difference throughout the pandemic, especially in regard to the health care system. Local medical professionals have always felt supported by local residents, but the help and encouragement they received during the past year has reinforced what makes Easley such a great place to live.
“We opened the Easley clinic location in April 2013 in response to growing therapy needs in the area,” said Lee Ann Carroll, who is in corporate marketing and physician relations at Excel Rehab & Sports. “The patient and medical communities welcomed us with unending support and interest in our patient-first approach to therapy. Whether they received physical, occupational or hand therapy, they responded to the care we provided and openly shared their experience with their friends and family. For us, that is the highest compliment. We continued to experience incredible patient support during the pandemic through their communication, unwavering attendance and dedication to their therapy.”
Making it through the pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, but it’s been especially difficult for health care workers. Those who work in hospitals or primary care offices often are overburdened with the effort of taking care of COVID patients, but even the employees who don’t directly work with COVID patients have to keep their spaces as sanitary as possible to keep their own clients – and themselves – safe.
This task requires health care employees to keep up with CDC guidelines, which can change as new information about the disease comes to light, creating a confusing and difficult situation for patients. However, Courtney Mitchell, director of marketing at Eye Health America, said its clients have been overwhelmingly supportive.
“Over the last year, we have complied with all CDC guidelines, as well as some of our own additional safety policies, surrounding COVID-19. We have had very little resistance from patients about this. We have strived to do everything we can to protect our patients, staff and doctors and believe our community of patients have been comforted by this. Patient care is at the center of what we do. We love being involved in a business supported community where our patients become family,” she said.
Some of the strongest support has come from patients being kind toward to health care providers and adaptable to the safety policies they have established. In other cases, members of the Easley community have stepped up and donated items to people, places and organizations in need.
Staff members in nursing homes and assisted living centers have done everything they can to meet their residents’ needs and keep them happy and healthy. Unfortunately, over the past year, these places have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are the most at-risk for severe cases of COVID-19, and nursing homes and assisted living centers are susceptible to outbreaks because the residents live in a communal situation.
Staff have had to work hard to keep their residents safe and healthy, and many members of the community have done their part to help.
“We have had several community members reach out to us to provide additional support during the pandemic,” said Laura Gill Spearman, executive director of The Willows of Easley Assisted Living, pointing out that local residents have made masks, cards and baked goods for residents and staff. “Our volunteers are valuable to our community before, during and after the pandemic.”
That is exactly why these health care professionals – and so many others – have chosen to make Easley their home and workplace. The health care landscape in the area continues to expand, and medical facilities are able to offer more services to residents than ever before.
Advanced technology is important for health care professionals intent on offering their patients the best care possible, but the personal relationships they are able to build because they are part of a small, intimate town are important as well.
“Being a close-knit community allows Easley to continue to have a hometown feel even while it grows,” said Spearman.
“This community continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The revitalization of the downtown area continues to assist in the growth and prosperity of local businesses.”
She added: “We hope that even with the continued growth, we don’t lose the charm that makes our community unique and warm.”
By Katherine Waters