November 5, 2020 Speaker: Mike Senden


Ward introduced Chaska Rotarian Mike Senden, the CEO of Auburn Homes and Services. Mike has been with Auburn Homes for 30 years, and needs all that experience to cope with the effects of the COVID pandemic and lead his organization through its difficult challenges.  The services and facilities he manages include Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care, and skilled Nursing Care in Chaska.  In Waconia, there is another Assisted Living facility and a Skilled Nursing and Short-term Rehabilitation facility.

Mike closely watched the progression of the virus in Washington State, and tried to anticipate the actions required to prevent its spread here.  On March 13, the MN state of emergency was declared and local, then federal regulations were enacted, but implementation guidance was slim.  Immediate changes dealt with isolating residents from potential infection and implementing exposure controls.  Soon, efforts using technology allowed residents remote contact with the outside world and family.  “Window” visits and outdoor visits were later allowed, but the psychological effects of isolation and lack of physical contact are being felt by residents and staff.  Weekly and more frequent testing of staff health have run into the obstacle of delays in receiving results.  After initial efforts were successful in avoiding infections and death, the surge in Minnesota COVID cases in October has led to resident and staff diagnoses and some illness-related deaths.

The financial and staffing effects have added to the stress of the pandemic.  Auburn Homes has incurred large costs and revenue losses.  Mike and his managers are challenged in their efforts in maintaining morale and efficiency of the staff as they work to comply with prevention requirements and the emotional cost of seeing their patients succumb to the disease and isolation effects.  Within their website, Auburn Homes and Services provides current data about COVID prevention, cases and status for their residents and staff.

To contact Auburn Homes and Services: phone 952-448-9303; website: https://auburnhomes.org