Meeting the Challenge: Taylor House
The Taylor House in Flagstaff was created to provide extended stay lodging for the families of patients. But at the beginning of the pandemic, it quickly adapted to a new mission: opening its doors to caregivers, so they could continue to work on the front lines without going home and putting their families at risk.
Amanda Craver manages Taylor House. She says they’ve adjusted quickly to hosting a new set of guests, “We didn't quite know what that looked like initially, so we needed to reorganize with the staff and really discuss how we would provide that service safely and efficiently. So, at the moment we are serving staff members that are working frontline and traveling in and out of Flagstaff from their own home environments to stay at Taylor House while they're on call or reassigned a task or a role on a different unit.”
Safety and solitude
Since opening in 2001, Taylor House has provided a restful getaway for families that may be experiencing stressful days while their loved ones receive care. The staff has worked to maintain an atmosphere where colleagues can still recharge after a shift, while adding new safety measures for everyone’s well-being.
Craver says from the beginning they’ve tried to follow the hospital’s lead on protocols, “We were doing the temperature at the door, as well as screening and required masks to be used. And at the same time, we needed to make sure all the rooms were ready to go and sanitize everything as much as possible at that time. We closed down some of our community areas that would be a little bit more difficult to sanitize after use and narrowed that down quite a bit; and just flex out a little bit more on our rules, such as being able to take food in the rooms rather than eating in the kitchen or at the dining table with others.”
Matt Smith, RN, BSN, has worked with Northern Arizona Healthcare for more than a decade. He moved from an ICU role into the PACU about six years ago. But when he was asked to return at the beginning of the pandemic, he answered the call.
For his family’s safety, Smith and his wife decided he needed to stay outside the home while he worked ICU. So he became the first NAH caregiver to use Taylor House, “I had an opportunity; I could have maybe stayed with friends. But then once again, would I have been the person that pushed their exposure limit up too high? I could have stayed at a hotel, but is there another hotel closer to the hospital? Location, location, location. I got to get up and walk to work in like three minutes every day; it was fantastic. If it weren't for the current crisis, this would be a wonderful place to stay.”
It takes a village
Since the transition in March, Taylor House’s six-person staff has worked adjusted shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. They’ve provided hospitality for dozens of healthcare heroes, so they could come to work and care for the community.
“Every time I walked in the door, they always asked me, ‘Is there anything we can do for you?’ One of the girls put together a little care thing, with stuff like Chapstick, and a book, and something like that in there. I didn't realize, wearing those cappers all day had chapped my lips. It was the stuff that I really appreciated, and probably this will be a great time to say thank you to them,” says Smith.
Craver says that she and the Taylor House staff are very proud they could open their doors to colleagues, “To all the staff members that stayed with Taylor House, we've just appreciated your presence and the ability to serve you. It's been an honor.”
Northern Arizona Healthcare is proud to share inspiring stories from across the system and throughout our communities in on our Meeting the Challenge series. If you have a story about a colleague, community member, business, or organization that’s going above and beyond in our fight against COVID-19 let us know.