Not all heroes wear capes. Some, like Jamie Bell of UMRC’s Housekeeping team, wear gowns, masks, and face shields.

Jamie’s day starts at 7:30am in UMRC’s Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Since COVID-19, her job as a housekeeper has never been more important to keep residents and team members safe. “I come in and put on my personal protection equipment (PPE), then get my cart, wipe it down, fill up my supplies, and get to work disinfecting,” says Jamie. This includes the Kresge Center entrance, bakery area – now where team members don and doff their PPE each day – bathrooms, and doctor’s office. Jamie adds, “Our day is full – lots of sanitation. We are diligent on making sure the residents and our co-workers have a clean, safe environment to live and work.”

Once residents have finished their breakfast, Jamie begins her routine of cleaning their rooms, including picking up trash, cleaning bathrooms and tray tables, and vacuuming. “We (housekeepers) also help the CNAs (certified nurse assistants) as much as possible, within the parameters of what we are allowed to do, like helping make the residents’ beds,” says Jamie. “We want the CNAs to know we have their backs.”

These days, the Housekeeping team is also helping clean refrigerators, checking the temperatures and expiration dates of food items, as well as helping put residents’ laundry away and shampooing carpets. “Everyone is working together,” says Jamie.

She says she appreciates all the support from her housekeeping supervisor, Lorina Hawley, as well as the Kresge Center managers, UMRC Strategic Team, and the UMRC Foundation for “everything they are doing to help” direct care team members. “Our management teams, at all levels, are not afraid to do the same job that we do, from environmental services to patient care,” says Jamie. UMRC and the UMRC Foundation have also helped direct care workers by creating a food and essentials pantry, launching the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and recently opening a “comfort room” for direct care workers to take a break when needed.

A caregiver at heart, Jamie has worked as an aide in Campus Care, a resident care assistant in Glazier Commons, and in dietary services at UMRC as well. “I’m still a caregiver, just in a different way,” she says. Spending time with the residents is Jamie’s favorite part of working at UMRC. A native of Dexter, Jamie says she will start visiting with people who come to Kresge Center for short-term rehabilitation and “pretty soon you find they know people you know. It makes them feel a little more comfortable about being here.”

As residents must now be separated from their loved ones, Jamie says she wants families to know: “Every one of the residents is loved. We try every day to do different things to make their days special. I thank the families for all their support. I see a lot of them at the windows of our residents. If it was my parent, I know I would be worried, but I want them to know we are all doing our best. I treat all of the residents like my family.”