July Village Assisted Living COVID Updates

July 30, 2020

I am thrilled to announce that we are ready to take our first steps with resident and family visitation on Monday, August 3!

Our teams have been busy gearing up for next this.  The maintenance crew has been carefully creating multiple Plexiglas® structures on casters, to facilitate safe, almost face-to-face visits outdoors.  Our nursing teams have been eagerly collaborating with our activities coordinator, Kristin, and our admissions coordinator, Melanie, to determine the best times to schedule visits, and in turn Melanie and Kristin have created Sign-Up Genius accounts that you can use to sign up for visits.  Needless to say, we are READY for next week, and I hope you are as excited as we are!

Our visits are initially scheduled for 15-minute increments and will take place either on our memory care courtyards, or near the assisted living circle drive.  Village Assisted Living has established guidelines we all must adhere to for the duration of the visit.  I recognize it may sound very stringent, but we are following recommendations from the Missouri and Jackson County health departments.

Please watch for a separate e-mail from either Kristin Lennard or me, containing a link to your sign-up webpage and visit guidelines.

Memory care visits will be in the courtyards.  Please call your neighborhood for directions to the courtyard if you are unfamiliar.  Once you arrive in the courtyard and are screened, our team will bring your loved one out to see you!  We will have a chair available for you, however, you may want to bring a parasol for shade, as we are limited on options to provide shade.

Assisted living visits will occur near the circle drive, so go ahead and park in a parking spot and walk to the main lobby entrance.  Once you arrive in the vestibule, we will screen you and work with our nursing team to bring your loved one to the lobby.

Without a doubt, this is a work in progress.  I encourage feedback so that we can ensure the visits are safe and as comfortable as possible for everyone.  Thank you for entrusting your loved one’s care with us during this unprecedented time.

July 21, 2020

I am happy to share this week that we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Village Assisted Living or Village Assisted Living Memory Care residents or employees.

Outdoor Visits: Our Village Care Center will pilot courtyard visits next week, and Village Assisted Living and Village Assisted Living Memory Care will pilot courtyard* visits beginning August 3, 2020!  More details about the design, dates, and times will be sent out in my weekly email next week.  If we find the initial offerings are not frequent enough, we will expand the number times available for visitation.

*Village Assisted Living does not have a courtyard that is accessible without entering the building, so an alternate location will be used for Village Assisted Living residents and families.

Activities: This week we moved from offering one-on-one activities with our residents to offering small group activities.  We are exercising, “bingo-ing”, walking, and gathering in the courtyards in groups of ten or less.  We continue to disinfect surfaces and items between use and avoid sharing objects.  I believe everyone is excited to be back at it, albeit slightly modified.

Parking Lot Maintenance: The Memory Care 2 parking lot will receive maintenance (crack seal, seal coat, and stripe) on Monday, July 27.  The parking lot will not be accessible during this time.  If there is an item that needs to be delivered to a resident, please drop it off at the main lobby located at 1704 NW O’Brien Road.  Our team will make sure it quickly gets to our Memory Care 2 neighborhood for quarantine.

The Village Assisted Living main parking lot will receive maintenance (asphalt patch and crack seal) on Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 28.  Areas will remain accessible during the work, but some re-routing to get to your intended destination may be possible.

COVID Response : On July 17 Village Assisted Living announced that a Fireside Dining associate with no resident contact had tested positive. All coworkers who were tested had negative results.  Retesting will occur next week, and I will keep you apprised of the results.

We are looking forward to welcoming you into our courtyards* very soon!  Thank you for entrusting your loved one’s care with us through this unprecedented time.  I hope we are on the other side of this very soon, but until then, know we are diligently working, each and every day, to keep COVID-19 away from our residents.

July 21, 2020

I want to give you a brief update regarding the COVID-19 testing performed over the weekend.

Because we were notified on Friday, July 17, that a Fireside associate tested positive for COVID-19, we tested potentially exposed associates. We tested all but three on Saturday, July 18, and tested the last one today.  As of this morning, we have received all but one result back, and I am pleased to report all results have come back negative!  I believe it will be Thursday or Friday before the last associate result is received, but I didn’t want to make you all wait until the end of the week for this news.

Also, the Village Care Center reported on Monday that a resident in their Village Rehabilitation Unit tested positive over the weekend for the COVID-19 coronavirus, as part of their standard protocol for testing patients prior to transferring them to other communities. That patient is being re-tested and is now resting in the isolation unit, as a precaution. Residents and associates in that part of the building are now being tested. I will keep you apprised of that situation.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases at John Knox Village:

Village Assisted Living: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/20/20:

  • 1 resident and 3 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 1 resident and 1 associate have recovered from COVID-19

Village Care Center: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/20/20:

  • 2 resident and 10* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 1 resident and 9* associates have recovered from COVID-19

Non-VCC/VAL: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/20/20:

  • 4 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 0 associates have recovered from COVID-19

*1 is a non-JKV employee who works in the building. We have had some cases that, upon re-testing, we suspect they may have been false positives. We are erring on the side of caution and counting them as testing positive and as recovered.
3/14/20 is when the John Knox Village campus began steps to close to visitors.

I will continue to keep you updated with our COVID-19 response as I have information.

July 20, 2020

Today I have all sorts of good news to share!

Activities: Treva began her role as activity coordinator on Monday, July 13.  The first few days were spent familiarizing herself with the history of the role and the current whereabouts of everything related to our activity program.   Treva scheduled hallway meet-and-greet activities, and on Thursday and Friday, then led some small group exercise classes in the activity room, with proper distancing and hygiene protocols in place.

Last week, Treva and I also hired a part-time activity assistant who will be here three days a week.  Her name is Christina Campbell, and she will begin on August 2.  Christina has a “contagious” positive energy and her passion is leading games and trivia in fun and exciting ways!

We are still searching for another part-time activity assistant to cover the other two days of the week.  I’ll be sure to let you know when we find him or her!  Until then, we continue to have Bonnye Brown, from Independent Living to assist with the activity program on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

DHSS Reopening: I mentioned in my weekly email on July 10 that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued guidance on reopening Long-Term Care Facilities.  John Knox Village is still in the process of reviewing this information.  We are working closely with our regulators to see how we can safely conduct outdoor visitation with residents who are negative for COVID-19, are asymptomatic, and have not had a known exposure.  We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward.

Podiatrist: The podiatrist has had to reschedule visits originally planned for the week of July 27.  Patients will be seen in Assisted Living and Memory Care neighborhoods on the dates of August 12 – August 14.  The podiatrist and assistant will be screened for COVID-19 via the standard questions, have temperature taken, and will follow all infection control requirements, including wearing masks.

Optometrist: The optometrist will be on site to see patients August 4.  The optometrist also will answer the COVID-19 screening questions, have temperature taken, and will follow all infection control requirements, including wearing masks.

Fireside: And, finally, we opened Fireside Dining today!  I spoke with some residents this morning after breakfast, and I can tell you that they were so happy!  The reasons for their joy were many, and I am delighted to know that our residents are happy.  If you or your loved one have feedback about our modified operation in Fireside dining, please let me know. We will take that information and modify processes, as appropriate.

We are taking careful and considered steps to reopen various services offered to our residents where we are able.  On July 1 we opened the salons, on July 16 we began small group activities (with less than 10 people), and on July 20 we opened Fireside dining.  We will continue to cautiously bring more services online, so stay tuned for more information.

July 17, 2020

I want to provide you with an update regarding the presence of the COVID-19 coronavirus at Village Assisted Living.

We were informed today of one additional positive case in VAL. This Fireside Dining associate has worked in various halls in the assisted living (non-memory care) portions of our main building. On their last day worked, Thursday, July 9, the person had no symptoms, passed the daily pre- and post-shift screenings and wore an appropriate face covering throughout the shift. On the following day, the associate began experiencing some mild symptoms, was tested July 14, and informed us today that the results were positive. At this time we have no residents with symptoms.

Our facility remains in very close communication with local, regional, county, and state authorities to ensure we are taking all of the appropriate steps. We also are following guidance from CMS and the CDC to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Due to the current circumstances, we are:

  • Testing potentially-exposed associates on Saturday, July 18.
  • Increasing temperature tests of potentially exposed residents to four times per day.
  • Shifting to use of surgical masks – rather than fabric face coverings – in assisted living (non-memory care) areas by those performing direct care, as well as associates in Fireside Dining, housekeeping and therapy.

I also want to update you about the presence of COVID-19 in other parts of our campus. This week the Village announced 5 other positive cases in associates. These include 2 associates in our Emergency Medical Services group, 2 in Information Technology, and 1 Village Care Center patient care associate who works in long term care.

I am pleased to say, that even though, as a campus, we are experiencing more presence of the coronavirus – as is the whole metropolitan area – we have not had any indication of transmission from the affected associates to anyone else at JKV. Our processes and procedures seem to be working well. We discover cases early, isolate the individuals and give them time to recover, and when they meet our criteria they are allowed to return to work.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases:

Village Assisted Living: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/17/20:

  • 1 resident and 3 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 1 resident and 2 associates have recovered from COVID-19

Village Care Center: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/17/20:

  • 1 resident and 10* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 1 resident and 9* associates have recovered from COVID-19

Non-VCC/VAL: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/17/20:

  • 4 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 0 associates have recovered from COVID-19

*1 is a non-JKV employee who works in the building. We have had some cases that, upon re-testing, we suspect they may have been false positives. We are erring on the side of caution and counting them as testing positive and as recovered.

3/14/20 is when the John Knox Village campus began steps to close to visitors.

On a personal note, because privacy laws cause us to be rather vague, I worry that we come across sounding uncaring about the people involved.  Nothing could be further from the truth. We care very much about all in the VAL family, and situations like this keep me up at night on a regular basis.  Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community.  Please know that we are working extremely hard to keep everyone who lives and works here safe and healthy.  This is a responsibility that weighs heavily on us every day.

Please call or e-mail me and I will do my best to answer any questions and help keep you in contact with your loved one.

July 10, 2020

For many reasons, I am very happy to write to you this week!

The first reason is that we have no new positive COVID-19 cases to report between our associates or our residents.  I am doubly happy to share that one resident and one of the two associates that were identified as positive in June have recovered.  We completed our methodical retesting of associates today.

The second reason is that yesterday, July 9, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued Guidance on Reopening of Long-Term Care Facilities.  This is the first time DHSS has issued guidance on visitation since the pandemic began in March 2020.  I can tell you that I am excited to learn what needs to be done to move forward, and it feels great!

We are currently in Phase 1 of their three-phase guidance. Missouri may allow visitors in Phase 2, assuming certain conditions are met by the facility, but we also need to work within the orders and recommendations put forth in Jackson County’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan. Since the Missouri Guidance just came out yesterday, we will need time to review it and see how to best integrate it into the bigger picture for John Knox Village and Village Assisted Living.

In the meantime, we are fortunate. We have four nurses who are trained to perform nasopharyngeal swabs at a moment’s notice, and we have a contract with a local laboratory to provide testing supplies and results within 72 hours.  Plus, we are continuing our work to keep people safe by doing our daily pre- and post-shift COVID-19 screenings, our infection control procedures, and conducting COVID-19 testing for all new employees in VAL and VCC. We also require employees to call the Return to Work Line when away from work due to illness or vacation.  All that to say, I believe we are doing the right things now, and that will put us in a good place to act on the DHSS guidance when the time is right. I will share more details as soon as I can.

The final reason for my excitement is that we are working with our podiatrist to see our residents during the week of July 27. Everyone is looking forward to this! Once I have a date confirmed, I will be sure to let you know.

Thank you for being on this unprecedented journey with us.  I feel so much better now that we know there is a path forward toward helping our residents and families reunite.  As always, thank you for entrusting your loved one’s care with us.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases at Village Assisted Living:   Cumulative Totals from 3/16/19 to 7/10/20: 1 resident and 2 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses 1 resident and 1 associate have recovered from COVID-19
July 3, 2020

I know you’ve been waiting since my letter Monday, June 29, to learn more about what’s happening regarding COVID-19 in our buildings. While I don’t have complete information at this point, I’m sharing what we do know now – as I don’t want to leave you wondering.

Because we had 1 associate who works in a direct care position at Village Assisted Living (memory care neighborhoods excluded) test positive last week, we began testing associates on June 25 who had contact with this individual, as well as residents who lived in the 100 and 300 wings.

This was the first positive case of COVID-19 at Village Assisted Living. The lab returned the results on the other tested residents and associates, and all were negative.

As an extra layer of information-gathering, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommended a second round of testing on the same people. The re-testing has identified one resident, in assisted living, as COVID-19 positive, and one additional associate (in Memory Care I, day shift). The resident has been re-tested and we are patiently waiting for that result. The newly-diagnosed associate will be re-tested later this week. Because the lab processes them in batches, the results have come in sporadically, over a couple of days. Most results are back – we are currently waiting for 4 more associate results, plus the re-test of the resident.

As I mentioned previously, we have increased our infection control efforts by doubling the frequency of temperature checks to four times a day, and all our associates are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. We are continuing to follow infection control protocols and procedures recommended by the local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, to protect our residents and associates. We also are following Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services guidance. These are the same protocols followed by the Village Care Center (which also must follow the guidance of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). CMS recently re-visited the VCC to do a follow-up infection-control survey, and once again they received zero deficiencies, so we have a great deal of confidence in our procedures.

We had hoped to re-start the drive-by family parades, but I’m sorry to say that we have put them on hold again as we assess the current situation. The salons are still operating, but we have decided to continue just with meal delivery for Fireside dining, for the time being.

Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community. I am so proud of the way our residents and staff have worked together in being diligent with our procedures, while still finding ways to have meaningful and caring relationships with one another.

I understand that you may have questions, and we will share additional information, as appropriate, through our various communication tools. Please direct your questions to me at 816-347-2701 or hscott@jkv.org.