Dear Residents, Families, Friends and Visitors,
As our surrounding communities and businesses begin to return to normal and open up we want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support. This has certainly not been easy for anyone. We also want to provide information on how our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope locations will be impacted.
Many areas continue to see positive cases of COVID-19 and community transmission. As businesses begin to reopen, travel restrictions and gathering restrictions eased and eliminated, we can expect to see continued new cases in our communities. The individuals we care for remain at extremely high risk for illness, hospitalization and even death due to COVID-19. It is estimated that 40% of the deaths caused by COVID-19 have been in those who reside in long term care facilities and other congregate living communities. For these reasons, our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope communities will continue with our current processes to prevent as much as possible the introduction of the virus into our locations. These efforts include, among other things:
- Restricted access to our locations to essential personnel only
- Restricted visiting with the exception of compassionate and end of life situations only
- Strict adherence to hand hygiene, cough etiquette and use of face masks for all who enter our locations
- Social distancing for residents as much as possible including no communal dining or large group activities
- Monitoring of employees and residents for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature
- Restricted entry of any individual with a temperature or other symptoms of COVID-19, travel restrictions or potential exposure, including employees
We are currently developing reopening plans as an organization, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the CDC, CMS, state and local health departments and our state survey agencies. These plans will very likely include limited numbers of visitors allowed per resident, limited numbers of individuals allowed in our location at a given time, restricting visiting to specific areas of the facility and arranging for visits by appointment. As these plans are finalized, they will be shared with you. The health and safety of our residents and employees is of the utmost importance to us during this transition period.
You are encouraged to continue connecting with your loved ones through a variety of means, including letters, cards and notes, window visits, phone calls and video chat via google hangouts, Zoom and Facetime and Facebook chat. Our employees are available and happy to assist with arranging the use of technology devices for phone calls and video chats.
And a sincere thank you for your encouraging words sent through a variety of means to our employees. We know they are the heroes in all of this, and it is so meaningful when they hear it from you too. We will get through this and we all look forward to hugs, kisses on the cheek and handshakes.
Shannon Lager, RN, BSN
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
A letter to our Residents & Families
In this time of unprecedented pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our staff and residents. As our surrounding communities begin to open up, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facilities, including restricting visiting and non-essential personnel. Below you will find what we will continue to have in place to prevent and manage the COVID-19 risk.
First, rest assured we are following the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and our State and Local Health Departments. While we are doing everything possible, you or your loved one may come in contact with someone who is unknowingly contagious. The CDC has stated that individuals without symptoms may spread the virus. As a precaution ALL of our staff and anyone entering the facility to conduct essential services for our residents are required to complete a screening regarding their travels and, potential encounters with anyone who has been diagnosed with the virus, and they have their temperature taken. ALL individuals who enter the facility are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth, perform hand hygiene and are required to notify us if they later develop symptoms consistent with the virus.
We are doing everything possible to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facility; however, nothing is guaranteed. Some people who have the virus do not have any symptoms and can still spread the virus. We are doing our best with the tools we have, and we will make it through this pandemic apart but together.
Here is a brief description of what we will continue to do to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus in our facility even as the surrounding community begins to open up:
- Entry to the facility is restricted to staff and essential personnel only.
- Every resident has their temperature taken and reviewed by a licensed nurse every day.
- Medical providers (Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants) are encouraged to conduct visits using telehealth technology so residents do not have to leave our facility and risk exposure to the virus.
- Residents who leave our facility and risk exposure in the community are restricted to their room for a period of time afterwards to monitor for the development of symptoms.
- Isolation precautions are initiated for any resident who develops symptoms. They are restricted to their rooms and staff wear protective equipment when providing their care.
- Communal dining and activities have been suspended. Activities are provided in-room. Dining occurs in-room, or in small groups where social distancing can be maintained.
- Deliveries are made without entry of vendors into to the facility. Staff bring our deliveries into the building.
- Every staff member has their temperature taken every day and are screened for symptoms, travel and contacts which may place them at risk for exposure to the virus. Staff members who are sick or meet any of the exposure criteria are restricted from working in the building.
- All staff and essential personnel wear masks while in the building.
What can families and friends do to help?
- Write letters or send cards to your loved one, and ask your friends and relatives to do the same.
- Have grandchildren make pictures and mail them to your loved one.
- Make copies of photos and mail them in a letter to your loved one.
- Send blank cards and envelope sets so your loved one can write to family and friends.
- Bring pets to the resident’s window; seeing a pet is a great way to lift spirits.
- Hang a bird feeder outside your loved one’s window, and refill it every time you visit. Ask your loved one about the birds that come to eat.
- Bring chairs to sit outside the window and visit at the window on pleasant days.
- Send gifts such as hand lotion, cologne, candy, books, puzzles, etc. A surprise gift is always welcome.
- Print a copy of the hometown newspaper and mail it to your loved one. News from the childhood home of your loved one is welcomed and keeps them connected.
- We have technology which allows residents to visit loved ones via video chat technology such as Facetime, Google Hangouts or Zoom. Pease make an appointment, as our staff can help residents utilize the technology.
- Send a note to our staff too; let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Remember, these restrictions will not last forever, but until they are no longer recommended, we will continue to do what we can every day to reduce the risk of the spread of this virus to our residents and your loved ones. We love you like our own family and we will get through this together but apart.