Since the beginning of this year, the daily routines of our staff and residents have changed dramatically due to the health threats associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the beginning of our lockdown and social distancing precautions, we went back to the drawing board to determine the best way to provide care, meal services, and fun for our residents. We wanted to share an update with you to let you know all of the ways we’re combating the social and emotional challenges associated with COVID-19, not just the health challenges.
Thanks to the creativity of our Music Therapist, Elizabeth Dooher, we’ve been broadcasting the “Lutheran Variety Show” on our closed-circuit TV channel for residents to watch in their rooms. Throughout the week, staff from various departments take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to sing, play instruments, and perform skits in Christ Chapel which is then broadcasted to our residents’ rooms. The channel is typically used to share church services and other special events, but this new addition has been well received and quite entertaining too! Our residents enjoy it and so do our staff.
Speaking of our staff… I cannot say enough about their resilience and dedication to their work and to those we serve. Every department has had to shift their thinking on how they do what they do. Our activities staff now visits room to room for manicures, exercise, and other activities; we’ve stocked a pushcart to take the gift shop “on the road” for residents to buy snacks and other food items without having to leave their personal spaces; our music and church programming has gone digital; and much more. Not to mention, our video chatrooms and mobile device usage for family and resident communications have gone through the roof. I cannot begin to explain how heartwarming and inspiring it is to see our younger employees teaching technology to a resident and then using that technology to connect them with their family who are social distancing at home. My hat goes off to all involved in making these accommodations happen.
Your words of encouragement via Facebook, through the mail, and by email have been big motivators for our staff during these trying times. Please keep those messages coming. Workers at long term care facilities like ours are forgotten about in the main stream media. When they are acknowledged, it seems to always have a negative connotation. There is a reason we have remained COVID-19 negative thus far. It is a testament to the hard work of everyone who walks through our doors.
The work we do here is not without its hurdles. Though there is a nation-wide shortage on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, we continue to provide the supplies our workers need without overbuying and therefore adding to the problems our colleagues across the state and country are facing. Cleaning supplies, food supplies, and others remain in good standing as well. For those community members asking how they can help, please consider a donation to the Lutheran Foundation. Donations made to the foundation are earmarked for future use when we find ourselves in difficult situations. The foundation often times affords us the supplies or people we need to get the job done right the first time.
Lastly, please remember that we’ve begun scheduling window calls for our residents and their families. A window call is when friends or family can visit a designated window or doorway to communicate with a resident via mobile device. It allows residents the opportunity to see and interact with visitors while keeping a barrier in between to avoid possible spread of infection. We will allow groups of no more than two (2) people on campus to participate at a time. These visits will become more popular over time, so please keep your eye on the weather and use the following contacts to schedule your window calls. This gives our staff time to make proper transportation arrangements to and from resident rooms.
LHRC Units: (A1) 716-665-8164, (B1) 716-665-8115, (A2) 716-665-8165, and (B2) 716-665-8118
HP Activities: 716-720-9624
Since it is now a requirement in NYS to wear face masks or other facial covers in public spaces where social distancing is not practical, we’ve included a flyer from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to educate you on how to wear and clean fabric face coverings. This information is for your health and the health of those around you.
Our promise to you is transparency. As we’ve mention previously, you will continue to receive COVID-19 communications from us on a regular basis. We are also making daily status updates via recorded message for you to call and check-in should internet access not be available. The number to hear our daily recorded updates is 716-720-9715 and it is available 24/7.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding during this time.
President and CEO