May 29, 2020
Another week has passed, and we continue to be COVID-19 free! I want to thank each of you for your continued support during this challenging time. We continue to work hard each and every day to prevent the appearance and spread of COVID-19 in our building. It is hard work, but hugely rewarding, because we really are one big family here.
I have two great pieces of news to share this week. First of all, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that CMS would begin performing infection control surveys at every long-term care facility, to ensure that we are following appropriate protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This Wednesday we had two surveyors perform our infection control survey, and I am happy to report that we were deficiency-free! We continue to strive to do the right thing for your loved ones and our associates with each decision and action we take, and it was nice to have external validation that we are, in fact, doing the right things.
Secondly, I want to share a bright spot to help lift your spirits during some of these gloomier times. Last week, Sandy Stearman and Brittany Wolf began taking pictures of our Memory Care residents and associates, and they have made a heartwarming video. Please double-click on the attachment to start it playing. The video made my day and I wanted to share it, to pass some joy and hope on to each of you. I cannot think of a better way to show you the love between our team and those we are caring for.
May 26, 2020
We have had another week COVID-19 free for all residents and associates! I wanted to send a brief update, with the understanding I will have a lengthier, more detailed email coming on Tuesday. I wanted to let you know that we received our 10 new iPads and will be working to get additional FaceTime and Skype sessions set up next week. We currently can do 20 sessions per day, so our capacity should increase beginning next week. We are also working on some new and innovative ideas to allow alternative visit methods for our residents and families. Due to the nature of the virus, everything we want to try that is new and innovative needs to be run through multiple channels before we can get approval.
Attached is a waiver release form that will allow us to share pictures of our residents on social media. If you are comfortable with this, please sign and return to Vicki Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to reach out to Vicki with any questions regarding the waiver.
I hope and trust that each of you are remaining physically and emotionally well during these trying times. Please continue to follow the VCC on Facebook to see what our associates and residents have been up to. Be well.
May 15, 2020
We are another week in – and another week COVID-19 free! Our team continues to do our best to adapt to the changing world to ensure our residents and associates remain safe. Thank you for sending all the cards and flowers this past weekend. The gifts and notes were a hit for our residents and our associates who had a great time delivering them.
Today I want to give you some insights into how we here at the Village Care Center are navigating through these uncertain and ever-changing times. Dr. Twenter (our Medical Director), Tami Hoversten (our Director of Nursing), and I meet at least once a week to discuss new data; the new protocols released by the CDC, CMS, and WHO; and the new procedures we need to implement for our building as this pandemic evolves.
We have been more stringent than what is required as we attempt to keep the virus out of the building. We also feel that because we have been able to keep the virus away thus far we are much better prepared to manage and mitigate in the event that we have an exposure. For example, we have ample Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to offer to our associates to manage COVID+ or other infectious diseases. Secondly, we have seen the time frame to receive test results improve from 11 days to less than 24 hours, which allows us to isolate residents and/or associates in the event of exposure in a more timely fashion. Finally, we have created a dedicated isolation unit that we can use for residents if an exposure occurs. What’s more, a group of dedicated associates already have volunteered to work in the unit to care for our residents if someone comes down with the virus.
Again, I want to thank you all for the thoughts, prayers, meals, cards, and everything else you have done for us. I am so thankful for each of you and your patience and understanding during these times. While we still do not have a timeline for allowing visitors in the building, please know, when that time comes, you will be welcomed back with open arms (social distance style)!
May 5, 2020
First and foremost, I am extremely happy to share that I have no new news to report on the COVID-19 front! But that’s not the only good news – I found out this week that we will be able to expand the number of time slots available for you to communicate with your loved one!
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently announced that it would provide funding to skilled nursing facilities to purchase iPads for video communication. We applied for 10 devices and were approved! Once we receive the iPads, we will be able to offer significantly more time slots for you to FaceTime or Skype with your loved one. While we still do not have a timeline as to when we will be able to welcome visitors back to the building, we hope that this will improve our ability to keep our residents connected with their loved ones.
We are especially thrilled to report this news because the past couple of weeks have shown us how important this technology has become to our families. In fact, Mary, our activity coordinator, just asked me to share a note she received from the daughter of one of our residents – it definitely brought a smile to both our faces!
“I want to thank you for sending out the tips and ideas for a successful video visit! I took your advice and pulled out a doll and a beaded purse of mom’s and showed them to her. She was delighted to see them and shared some stories I hadn’t heard yet. She talked and talked about them during our visit and it made her happy. I found something out I might not have ever gotten to know. It was a special and rich moment I will treasure!” – Gigi B.
My team and I know and understand this pandemic has caused high levels of anxiety and pain to so many people. Every day I try to find at least one positive thing to tell my family about my day. And to be perfectly honest, there are some days that this small goal is difficult to fulfill. But I hope during this trying time you can still find heartfelt moments with your loved one, just like Gigi did, and I know once we receive the additional iPads, there will be more opportunities to do just that.
I also want to thank everyone for the continuous flow of love and support that has been coming our way. We have received numerous offers to purchase meals for our team, donations of masks and other important items, and words of encouragement from so many of you. Each member of our team works every day both to protect our residents and each other, and it means so much to know we have another layer of support lifting us up.
Finally, we also are working to keep our residents engaged. In fact, I’m proud of the variety of creative ways we have accomplished this. We are incorporating new activities, for example hallway exercises, and reaching out to our residents in new ways, such as daily lunchtime window visits – and the list goes on.
I hope and trust that each of you is well. As always, please let me know if there is anything that I/we can do for you.