Although we have been communicating with you primarily via phone notifications lately, I thought it was best to send a letter home to explain the changes that were recently unveiled at the state level regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and visitation to our facility.

First, I’m proud to share that the vaccination rate at the Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center is at 98% for residents and 65% for our staff. Vaccines remain available to all new admissions as well as all staff, including new hires. Overall, our residents, their families, and our staff have been supportive of vaccine acceptance, have asked thoughtful questions, and have done what they can within their comfort level to protect our facility from any further spread of infection. For that we are truly grateful, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Second, our current visitation plan and protocols have finally hit a stride. It took some getting used to, but we did it! Employees from various departments, including our office workers, have stepped up to help monitor our visits to ensure our residents can see their family and friends when they would like to. We will continue using this process for the foreseeable future. Most visits to our facility will fall under this general visitation plan, however new guidance was issued recently from the Department of Health that requires some added offerings that require some explanation.

You may have read in the news about “Emergency Personal / Compassionate Caregiving Regulations” at skilled nursing and adult care facilities in New York State. Unfortunately, the media did not do us or our colleagues across the state any favors by oversimplifying the headlines which actually refer to two very different programs:

  • Personal Caregiving: A family member, close friend, or legal guardian of a resident (designated by the resident or the resident’s lawful representative) who may visit the facility to assist with companion care and support which would benefit the resident’s mental, physical, and social wellbeing. This option is not available if/when a COVID-19 outbreak is active, suspected, or being investigated.
  • Compassionate Caregiving: Designed primarily for end-of-life situations, visitors may provide companion care and support to a resident in anticipation of the end of the resident’s life or in the instance of crisis with regard to significant mental, physical, or social decline. This option remains available even if/when a COVID-19 outbreak is active, suspected, or being investigated.

**NOTE: Emergency Personal / Compassionate Caregiving programs DO NOT replace direct medical care provided by the Lutheran Interdisciplinary Team. Both are considered companion care and SHALL NOT interfere with required medical service. Each resident or their legal guardian/healthcare proxy may identify two (2) individuals for these visitation programs if/when they are deemed appropriate. To remain consistent with Lutheran’s visitation plan, all health protocols and PPE usage remain in effect for both programs.

While these programs are available to all residents, they may not be appropriate for all situations. Each program has intended uses and include protections to avoid misuse which includes a review and approval process by our Interdisciplinary Team. The review and approval process is in place to protect the resident, other residents, and our staff from the inadvertent spread of respiratory illness.

If you or the legal guardian/healthcare proxy believe that the resident in question would benefit from having Emergency Personal / Compassionate Caregiving, the request can first be made with the resident’s unit secretary. After that, Lutheran’s Interdisciplinary Team and physicians will evaluate the request along with the resident’s medical history to determine whether or not the visit is appropriate or if it would be better suited for scheduled outdoor visitation when available. The recommended frequency and duration will also be evaluated.

To make a request for Emergency Personal / Compassionate Caregiving, or to schedule a window visit, video call, or in-person out door visit, the unit numbers are:

LHRC Units: (A1) 716-665-8164, (B1) 716-665-8115, (A2) 716-665-8165, and (B2) 716-665-8118

Lastly, we want to thank all of our residents, family members, and guests for the patience and understanding you have demonstrated as we continue to be forced to adapt to new visitation guidance almost weekly. We try to make appropriate changes as fast as we can, but there will always be hiccups with this many moving parts. Nearly all of our visitors on campus over the last few weeks have given us helpful, constructive feedback that has helped us improve our processes along the way. We are blessed to have you as unofficial members of our team in that regard!

We look forward to welcoming you back into our facility more and more over time. Stay safe.

LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – See Below*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 12
Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – See Below**
LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Employees Recovered – 34

*as needed under active, suspected, or investigated COVID-19 outbreak situations, does not count resident or representative declinations.
**only staff who are non-vaccinated or who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to test for COVID-19 weekly.

For COVID-19 status updates on the Lutheran Campus, call our 24/7 hotline at any time: 716-720-9715


Pamela S.  Nordin, RN, BS, WCC, LNHA