Press Releases

Congresswoman Lori Trahan Recognizes Gardner Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Her Local Heroes Spotlight

LOWELL, MA - Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) recognized the staff at Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in her Local Heroes Spotlight initiative for their outstanding commitment to keeping residents and staff safe from the spread of the coronavirus. As of May 14th, the facility's resident and staff populations have avoided a single case of COVID-19.

“Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is a model for how to respond to a pandemic like the one we face, and I’m honored to highlight the work of the facility’s incredible staff. Their decision to act early has saved lives, and their ongoing commitment to maintaining transparent communication with residents and their families has proven critical to keeping everyone at the facility healthy and in good spirits,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan.

“On behalf of the Gardner Rehab and Nursing Center staff, I would like to express to our community just how proud we are to contribute to a COVID-free environment. As we continue to do everything we can to keep our residents safe and their families informed, it’s important that people know that we will work to the best of our ability to keep the facility free from COVID-19,” said Jerry Shaffer, the Administrator of Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Under the leadership of Jerry Shaffer, the facility’s Administrator, Shawn Berkowitz, the Medical Director, and Deb Arsenault, the Director of Nursing, Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center acted early and out of an abundance of caution to stop permitting guests on March 13th. They immediately implemented recommendations from the Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Since then, the facility has also engaged in regular testing of both their residents and their staff, who remain in high spirits despite the ongoing public health crisis. 

Gardner Rehab’s entire staff has garnered high praise, with their skills on display every day in service of their residents. The activities team - described as the third leg of the staff - works every day to connect residents to their families digitally via Zoom and Facetime during this difficult time of separation, something that brings joy to both the residents and the staff who care deeply for them.

The facility also works diligently to provide resident’s family members with regular updates. Each week, families are sent at least one letter updating them on new guidelines from state and federal health agencies, as well as the status of residents’ health. Additionally, the center has established a “Buddy System” where members of the facility’s leadership group are paired with families of residents to personally contact them via telephone three times per week. The goal of this program is to establish a special relationship with family members predicated on two-way information sharing.

While the staff is proud of their tremendous accomplishment keeping the facility COVID-free, they have not declared victory yet. They remain vigilant each day, taking proactive steps to prevent an outbreak and keep their residents and colleagues safe and healthy. 

Trahan will continue to spotlight heroes who have gone above and beyond to serve their community during this difficult time. Those interested in nominating a hero in their lives can do so by clicking here. Trahan will announce additional Heroes Spotlight awardees each week.