Our understanding of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve day-to-day as do the measures taken to avoid the threat at a local and state level. We’ve seen positivity rates surge across the country while New York State, a previous hotbed for COVID-19 infections and deaths, remains the lowest. We will always wonder what if when it comes to the closures, restrictions, and other implications we’ve had to endure, but this is a reality we must navigate and we do so with the best intentions: protecting our residents at the Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program, Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center, and the employees serving both.
Over the last week, several senior care facilities in our area very similar to ours have made local and regional headlines after announcing micro-outbreaks in their facilities. Some of these outbreaks (though not all) could have been avoided. The term “COVID Fatigue” is beginning to circle around the states that were earliest affected by COVID-19 and have been fighting it the longest, our state being one of them. COVID Fatigue refers to knowing what should be done to mitigate risks of the virus but ignoring or forgetting due to physical and mental exhaustion as well as general depression from the work itself. We want to make sure we reiterate our commitment to sanitization, checking then re-checking our work and protocols as it relates to resident care and staff health screenings, and to also remind you of our stricter-than-most admission requirements to both levels of care on our campus.
We learned through local media and the county health department that many of the residents from the local outbreak locations ended up hospitalized. This sparked some of our residents, families, and employees to ask whether or not we would admit anyone who is a) COVID-19 positive or b) who recovered from COVID-19. The answer is no, we will not be admitting any current or recently diagnosed COVID-19 residents. We are still open for general admissions in our assisted living program, nursing home, and rehabilitation program, but recent health history will be taken into account and strict guidelines must be met prior to admittance.
Aside from NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order forbidding nursing homes from accepting COVID-19 positive admissions into their facilities until they have tested negative, we have a commitment to our existing residents and families first. Admitting anyone who is COVID-19 positive or recently diagnosed with COVID-19 would push back or pause any in-person visitations happening in either of our buildings. This is not acceptable to us and we will not put our residents and families through any additional trouble or worry if we can help it.
As the cold weather slowly creeps in, we have reopened in-person visitation at the Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program and we have brought those visits indoors.
Visitation protocols for each facility can be found in the COVID-19 section HERE. Please remember that visitation protocols (when available) differ for each level of care and there are time-sensitive requirements that must be met before visiting the nursing home if you choose to do so.
Last but certainly not least, we wanted to share a comment with you that a resident family member sent our way recently in an email in regards to the issues we face, the care we provide, and the attention to detail we pay to everyone we serve:
“I just wanted to say thank you for everything your have done for my mother. Not being able to visit her has devastated our family more than I can even put into words, but of all the places she could be right now, I am glad she is at Lutheran. The ability to video chat with her, drop off care packages for her, hear her voice, and learn of the relationships she has been cultivating with your nursing staff means so much. From a sometimes disgruntled but profoundly grateful family, we say thank you.”
Our staff have continued to do amazing things within our building. Even when COVID-19 cases have emerged here, they are found and snuffed out immediately without any increased spread. As I’ve stated before, it is a testament to what can happen when you do things the right way the first time and every time.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season are right around the corner as is the snow. The temptation to gather with friends and family in confined, indoor spaces has never been higher. There are ways to celebrate with friends and family in a safe way that don’t endanger yourself or others. Please reconsider your plans this year, continue to wear your masks in public, social distance where you can, wash and sanitize your hands, and always be aware of your surroundings. Thank you for your patience and support.
Symptomatic LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 35
LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 2
Symptomatic HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 0
HP Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – ALL
LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
HP Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive Employees Recovered – 8
*not counting resident or representative declinations.
President and CEO