On November 12, the federal government issued updated guidance for visitation to nursing homes. These new updates take away many of the restrictions originally put in place to slow or stop the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in nursing homes. While these new updates will essentially “open our doors” for most intents and purposes, we are still asking visitors to adhere to our infection control and visitation guidelines we’ve come to trust and rely on. This will help us ensure that high foot traffic in our building does not turn into any inadvertent COVID-19 outbreaks. We’ve been fortunate to keep resident and staff infections to a minimum and have not experienced any loss of life in the nursing home thus far, but we need your help to make sure this trend continues now more than ever.
Chautauqua County is currently experiencing a high rate of COVID-19 transmission; in fact, it is one of the worst counties in the entire state. Plus, we now know from experience that COVID-19 began to spread like wildfire during last year’s holiday season as people gathered in groups, shared plates of food, exchanged gifts, and more. In light of this, we’re strongly urging visitors in our facility to consider limiting time spent in our building, only coming in small groups (two is recommended at one time), and being hyper vigilant when it comes to infection control.
You will be asked to sanitize and/or wash your hands before and after you leave visitation areas and you must keep a facemask on and remain socially distanced at all times. This is non-negotiable until our county’s infection rate drops to “Moderate” or “Low” from its current status of “High”. Although you may have become used to mask-less visitation and sitting closer together during outdoor visitation in the summer, you’re now going to be visiting in resident rooms which requires tighter restrictions. More precautions may be put in place in situations where our residents have shared living spaces with others. In situations like this, we reserve the right to modify or move visitation to a safer location to be sure we can honor every resident and their right to a safe living environment. This should go without saying, but no holiday parties, large groups, or gathering in communal areas are permitted at this time.
Though all of our employees have been vaccinated, not all of our residents have been. You’ll notice if/when you visit that able-bodied residents can migrate through the building as they used to. It is their right to do so as this is their home of which you are a guest. Please be mindful of the fact that although you and your loved ones may be vaccinated from COVID-19, the same cannot be said for others living in close proximity. You must remain in your loved ones room for visitation the entire duration of your visit.
Visitors who violate this new CMS guidance and are unable or unwilling to adhere to infection control recommendations will be asked to leave and will not be permitted to visit in the building again. Care and visitation in our facility will focus on a person-centered approach as it always has, which includes honoring the rights of every resident in our building.
Lastly, it is the expectation that you will be polite, speak to our staff with respect, and not interfere with care delivery for any resident at any point during your visit. We understand that you and your families have been through a lot over the last year and a half; visiting together again is exciting and emotional. Please remember that our direct caregivers have been here every step of the way doing the absolute best they could given the circumstances they have faced. The staff you see in the building during your visit and those who may join our team in the near future have made a conscious decision to stay with us… and they chose the wellbeing of our residents above all else. We owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude, as do you.
Again, your patience is appreciated as we navigate this new guidance and visitation process. During your visit, you may come up with questions about your loved ones and/or their care plan, room, meals, etc. Please direct questions like this to your family members’ designated social worker so our caregivers on the units can keep up with immediate and urgent direct care needs which include delivering meals, medication administration, rehabilitation or therapy, and more.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
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 – 6
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Employees Recovered – 38
*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, LNHA
President and CEO