Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2020


Ethnography, Retirement home, COVID-19, Assisted living facility, Housekeeping, Caregiving, Bellingham


“Left in the Dust: How Staff at River Heights Assisted Living Facility Adjusts to Change and COVID-19”, by Victoria Hill

In this study, the Housekeeping and Caregiving Departments at River Heights Assisted Living Facility in Bellingham are being investigated. The initial research was aimed at understanding how the lax regulations of the Housekeeping Department affected its capacity to complete necessary job duties. Collected testimony pointed to the conclusion that specific individuals within the department proved to be problematic which resulted in the overall quality of work to stray from facility standards. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the employees at this facility have had to adapt to the paradox of consistent changes which have unearthed gaps between departments. The secondary portion of the research addresses how in times of change and particularly with virus precautions, the care team (housekeeping and caregiving), is impacted in regard to the quality of provided care. This portion of research gives a demographic breakdown of the Caregiving Department, analyzes their job functions, and describes the current relationship between the two departments. Additionally, how these departments directly affect the residents at this facility. Qualitative ethnographic research methods are used to point out the uncertain future of the facility based on the shift in communication, lack of mutual respect, and limited resources that would allow for smoother transition in these times of change.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Coronavirus infections--Washington (State)--Prevention; Congregate housing--Washington (State)--Management; Emergency management--Washington (State); Communication in community health services.

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State)


student projects; term papers




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