Village Care Center Covid-19 Update

The following communication are the emails sent to the families and loved ones of Village Care Center residents. If you have a question, please contact Anthony Columbatto, administrator, at acolumbatto@jkv.org, or Tami Hoversten, assistant administrator and director of nursing, at thoversten@jkv.org.

Aug. 12, 2020

I need to share some important news.  This morning we received news that three of our long term care (LTC) residents have tested positive for COVID-19.  All three are without symptoms (asymptomatic) and their tests were conducted as part of our routine testing stemming from an associate’s positive test results 14 days ago.

All other long term care residents and associate tests from that limited round of testing were negative, and all potentially exposed residents and associates are asymptomatic.

While I understand this news may make you a bit anxious, please know that we have a very robust infection prevention program and the Village Care Center has been continuously assessing and improving our processes and procedures for the past six months.  The safety and wellbeing of our residents and associates are our top priority and we are doing all that we can to limit any possible presence of COVID-19.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have continued to monitor our procedures closely and have conducted routine infection control surveys three times. Each time they have passed us with zero deficiencies and have expressed confidence in the protocols we have in place.

Here are the steps we are taking per our protocols:

  1. All COVID+ persons have been moved to the isolation unit.
  2. All long term care associates are wearing N-95 masks.
  3. All LTC residents are having temperature checks four times per day and oxygen levels checked twice per day.
  4. All LTC residents who were not tested yesterday will be tested tomorrow morning.
  5. All LTC associates will be tested upon arrival to their next shift.
  6. All congregate dining and activities will be suspended until further notice.
  7. All LTC courtyard visits will be suspended until further notice.
  8. All LTC salon appointments will be suspended until further notice.
  9. We will be personally calling all families of potentially exposed residents.

I will also do my best to ensure that we get as much information out as quickly as we can disseminate it.  We have and will continue to be transparent with what we have discovered and what we believe lies ahead.  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or another member of the team with any questions.

Aug. 7, 2020

First and foremost, I wanted to let you know that all associates and residents who were tested as a result of last week’s positive case have come back negative.  Additionally, no potentially exposed associates or residents have exhibited any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  Per CDC guidance, we will be conducting another round of testing at the 14-day mark.

This past week, a VCC non-direct care new hire’s results came back positive.  All new Village Care Center associates are tested for COVID-19 prior to encountering our residents.  The associate was asymptomatic and had no contact with residents and limited contact with other new hires. Those who were determined to have had the closest contact have been tested and remain off work, pending results.

Additionally, one Independent Living associate in the Sales, Marketing and Communications department has tested positive. This person has limited contact with others outside of this department. Their last day worked was Wednesday, Aug. 5, testing took place Aug. 6 and results were returned the morning of Aug. 7. All members of the department have been tested; five are negative – the rest are awaiting results.

On a different note, the courtyard visits have been very well received by most of our families.  I know that the gate and plexiglass present some challenges, but we are grateful we can connect our families and residents.  As a reminder, to schedule a courtyard or FaceTime, visit please contact Vicki Davis at vdavis1@jkv.org or at (816) 809-3051. We will continue to explore new ideas for in-person visitations, however, the rising case rates in Eastern Jackson County and the continued one-off new cases at the VCC make this a logistical challenge for us.  As always, we are open to innovative ideas, so please feel free to reach out to me if there is something you have seen or heard about elsewhere.

Lastly, we finally got our furniture delivered for common areas in our long term care and memory care neighborhoods!  Due to the pandemic, our order was delayed about four months, but the items have arrived and they are beautiful.  We cannot wait to have our families back with some great new seating areas (pictured on Facebook).

My children’s school district superintendent has focused on the words “grace” and “patience” in all of his correspondence, which has really resonated with me.  In this continued time of great uncertainty, we are trying practice and share grace and patience with everyone.  Grace to one another as we attempt to navigate waters that have never been charted.  Patience with one another as we make missteps, knowing that we are all trying to do what is right for our loved ones and ourselves.  I know these two have been challenges over the past five months.  I wish an abundance of grace and patience for each of us in a time where certainty is vague.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases:

Village Care Center: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 8/7/20:

  • 2 residents and 13* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 2 residents and 12 associates have recovered from COVID-19

Village Assisted Living: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 8/7/20:

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

All Village areas outside of VCC and VAL:
Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 8/7/20:

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

*1 is a non-JKV employee who works in the building. Also, we have had some cases who, upon re-testing, we suspect they may have been false positives. However, 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.

Aug. 1, 2020

Today I have several updates about initiatives underway at the Village Care Center to make lives more pleasant and a bit more “normal” during these challenging times. And I also want to let you know about a COVID+ case within the Village Care Center.  Here are the details:

  • This week we returned to our practice of random testing of associates from various parts of the building and different shifts. Out of the 37 (about 10%) tested, we have discovered one associate who is asymptomatic but whose test came back positive.
  • This associate is in a patient care position and works nights in the Garden View long term care neighborhood. The last shift worked was the night of July 28.
  • As a result, all Garden View residents and any associates who may have been in contact with this person were swabbed today for COVID-19 testing. At this time, no residents are showing any signs or symptoms.
  • All families of potentially exposed patients have been contacted via telephone.
  • We will continue providing updates until we are certain that no new cases are developing.

Also this week, on Wednesday afternoon, the Village announced that a JKV Auxiliary shops associate received a positive test result. This person passed their screening on Friday, July 24, then began experiencing symptoms over the weekend. The General Store has been disinfected by Public Safety’s new portable equipment.

On a happy note, our first few days of our outdoor courtyard visits have been a big success! Despite the rain which dampened things a bit, by the end of today we will have successfully completed over 30 courtyard visits! We are still working out kinks on timing and some visual issues, but overall the families have been so complimentary and appreciative of this opportunity to see their loved ones in person.

Another step towards more socialization has been to carefully re-open the main dining room. Right now, we are seating about 10-12 residents at a time, which permits us to keep the proper amount of distance, but still allows residents to visit with others while enjoying a great meal!

And just for fun, we’ve been having a couple of spirit days each week. The high point of this week was supporting our Kansas City Royals by wearing our blue.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases:

Village Care Center: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/31/20:

  • 2 residents and 12* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 2 residents and 11 associates have recovered from COVID-19

Village Assisted Living: Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/31/20:

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

All Village areas outside of VCC and VAL:
Cumulative Totals from 3/14/20 to 7/31/20:

  • 5 associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 4 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.

July 23, 2020

I have a lot of information to share on happenings at the VCC.

COVID-19 Update

First and foremost, as a follow-up to our COVID+ patient on the Village Rehabilitation Unit, we needed to test every VRU patient and associate.  Out of that testing, we found one positive, asymptomatic direct-caregiver.  The caregiver did not come in contact with the COVID+ patient at any point during the previous 10 days, so there appears to be no connection. This associate has not worked since Sunday, July 19.

All other associates and patients tests came back negative and all potentially exposed residents remain asymptomatic.  Additionally, we are happy to share that the COVID+ patient has since had two consecutive negative tests, remains asymptomatic, and has been successfully transferred to a different community.

Regarding the follow-up testing on our long term care neighborhood, I am pleased to report that all resident and associate tests came back negative!  Unless there are further developments, we are moving back toward our previous strategy of testing 10% of our associates from different departments and shifts, bi-weekly.  As always, we will keep you all apprised of those results.

Good News

On a much more pleasant note, I am pleased to announce that we will be officially starting courtyard visits next week.

If we are successful with these visits, we will look to expand to more creative outdoor visits for our residents and loved ones.  However, if the guidelines and protocols we have established along with our regulators are not strictly adhered to, we will be forced to discontinue these visits.

I know these are not ideal, but it is the best we can offer under our current circumstances.  We will do everything in our power to expand on outdoor visits as it is safe to do so, I only ask that you do your part to ensure these visits remain safe for everyone.

On another positive note, our third infection control survey was conducted yesterday and we again passed with zero deficiencies or concerns!  We are fortunate to have an outstanding team here, and it has now been validated once again by a third party.

Lastly, I am taking some much-needed time off next week and will not be available for communications.  Tami Hoversten will be sending out our weekly communication next week and will let you know if there are any further developments.

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 associates have recovered from COVID-19

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

  • 2 residents and 11* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • 2 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.

July 20, 2020

I wanted to report another COVID+ case within the Village Care Center.  Here are the details:

  • Over the weekend, a patient on the Village Rehabilitation Unit tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The patient was tested in preparation for transferring to another community, per our standard protocols.
  • The patient was, and remains, without symptoms (asymptomatic), but has been moved to the isolation unit as a precaution.
  • As a result, all associates and patients on the VRU will be tested for COVID-19.
  • Additionally, all associates on the VRU who were tested as part of our ongoing practice of random testing last week also came back negative over the weekend.
  • The lab we are using is a local company in Lee’s Summit and have proved to be very responsive. Results typically are submitted to us within 72 hours.
  • All families of potentially exposed patients are being contacted via phone call.
  • We will continue providing updates until we are certain that no new cases are developing.

This new COVID+ case is extremely vexing to all of us, as there is no rhyme or reason to it.  I am sorry I do not have a better explanation for this, but after five months of this pandemic, it is safe to say there is still so much about the transmission and testing that we just do not know.  We do know that our diligence in physical distancing when possible, good hand hygiene, and wearing a face covering at all times is critical and is working.

I also want to update you about the presence of COVID-19 in other parts of our campus. Late last 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 Assisted Living non-patient care associate who works for Fireside Dining. Additional testing has happened in these situations, as well, with no new cases reported outside of these.

On a more pleasant note, the VCC long term care associate we notified you about on 7/16, who also tested positive for COVID-19, continues to isolate at home, but is feeling better. And all of the results from testing in our long term care neighborhood (both residents and associates) have come back negative!

We are still working closely with our regulators to see how we can safely do outdoor visitation with residents that are negative for COVID-19, are asymptomatic, and have not had a known exposure.  As soon as we have the blessing of those involved, we will be reaching out to schedule some safe and much needed outdoor visits.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases:

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 2 associates 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.

July 16, 2020

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

We have recently been informed of one additional positive case in the VCC. This patient care associate has worked in two halls in our long term care neighborhood. On their last day worked, Monday, July 13, the person had no symptoms, passed the daily pre- and post-shift screenings and wore an appropriate face covering throughout the entire shift. On the following day, the associate reported to us a loss of taste and smell, was tested July 15, and informed us today that the results were positive. At this time we have no residents with symptoms. All families of potentially-exposed residents have notified.

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

Due to the current circumstances, we are:

  • Increasing temperature tests of potentially exposed residents to four times per day.
  • Testing potentially-exposed residents
  • Testing any associates who recently worked with this individual

Unfortunately, government privacy requirements restrict us from divulging specific information about the individuals involved, unless they are your family member and you have the necessary permissions to receive such information. These are the people who are contacted if your loved one has been exposed, is suspected of having or is diagnosed with COVID-19.

On a personal note, because these 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 VCC 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.

Here are updated number regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCC:

Cumulative Totals From 3/16/20** to  7/16/20:

Village Care Center

  • _1*_ Residents and _10* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • _1_ Residents and _9_ 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.

**The date that the John Knox Village campus was closed to visitors.

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

July 10, 2020

I wanted to offer a brief update and let you all know that we have not had any new COVID+ residents or associates!  We completed two weeks of testing to cover all direct-care givers on each neighborhood, so seeing all of them come back negative was very encouraging.

On another note, Missouri’s Department of ​Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released new guidance regarding how and when skilled nursing facilities could be able to open back up to visitors.  We are still digesting these guidelines and having dialogue with DHSS and other communities on how to interpret the new guidance.  What we do know is that we are still considered to be in ​their Phase One, which does not allow in-person visitation.  I will send out some clarification early next week on what re-opening might look like for the Village Care Center and Village Assisted Living.

Regarding testing, we ​have now done one round of systematic testing of all associates and another round of targeted testing of all direct-care associates.  We made the decision earlier this week, and it was validated by DHSS yesterday, to begin randomized bi-weekly testing of 10% of the VCC’s workforce.  Our sample will consist of multiple departments, which will allow us to do more targeted testing, should the need arise.

I will have a lot more information to send next week, but I wanted to make sure you all were up to date with events here at the VCC.   I wish you all a safe and happy weekend and please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or ideas.

To summarize our current status with COVID-19 cases at the Village Care Center:

Cumulative Totals from 3/16/19 to 7/10/20:

  • _1_ resident and _9_ associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses
  • _1_ residents and _9_ associates have recovered from COVID-19
July 3, 2020

We are about to enter the nineteenth week of our COVID-19 response, and to be honest, our knowledge of this virus continues to shift and evolve.  Across the country and the world, we are seeing rising cases of asymptomatic carriers.  There seems to be ongoing debate on the strands, infection rates, and the number of antibodies asymptomatic people carry after they recover.  Many of us at John Knox Village have been studying this virus for well over five months now, and though we are better prepared to mitigate the potential spread, it is hard for me personally to give, with absolute certainty, many facts about COVID-19.

Last week, during the systematic testing of residents, we received one COVID+ result.  The resident was asymptomatic and had never come into contact with any of our COVID+ associates.  We immediately moved the resident to our isolation wing and performed two additional COVID-19 tests, both of which came back negative.  After working through all the possibilities, we, along with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the family of the individual all believe the first test to be a false-positive.

On June 25 and 26, as part of our efforts to test more strategically rather than responsively, we tested associates working in our long-term care neighborhoods; all results came back negative.  On Monday, June 29, through auditing our results, we noticed that one test, for a direct care worker, was submitted, but the result was missing from our reports.  Out of caution, we re-tested the associate that same day; that test came back negative.  On Thursday, July 2, we were notified that the earlier test result (swabbed on June 25) came back as positive.  The associate has not worked in the building since June 25.  Additionally, the associate, along with all other direct-care associates at that time, was wearing an N-95 mask out of an abundance of caution.  After reviewing the incident with our medical director and DHSS, we believe that there was no risk to any of our residents.

As part of our continued testing strategy, we will next test associates who work in our memory care neighborhood and our rehabilitation unit.  We continue to screen those working and living in the building daily, ensure all associates are donning masks, and work closely with state and local health departments.  This week we have been educating our teams on the importance of wearing masks in public places when they are away from the VCC, as well as the importance of exercising good judgement during the upcoming holiday weekend.

As I mentioned initially, this virus is very humbling, and I can tell you that we are all dumfounded by it.  After reviewing the incidents above, I cannot in good faith tell you absolutely that these people’s results were false-positives, whether they have a new strain of the virus that is not as contagious or harmful, or whether there is something else entirely going on.  All I can say with absolute certainty is that we continue to do everything in our power to keep everyone safe.  We are doing the very best we can with the information that is available to us.

Here are updated number regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCC and VAL:

Cumulative Totals From 3/16/20** to  7/3/20:

Village Care Center

  • _1*_ Residents and _9* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • _1_ Residents and _7_ associates have recovered from COVID-19.

 *1 is a non-JKV employee who works in the building. 3 associates and 1 resident who originally tested positive, were re-tested and confirmed negative. While they may have been false positives, we are erring on the side of caution and counting them as testing positive and as recovered.

**The date that the John Knox Village campus was closed to visitors.

June 27, 2020

I wanted to keep you up to date on some of the things that are going on this week.

 State Infection Control Survey

Because of the recent number of COVID+ associates we discovered at the VCC, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) conducted a second infection control survey yesterday. I am pleased to report that the two surveyors found zero deficiencies and voiced no concerns about our infection control program.  In their words, “We were very impressed with what we saw today.”  

 Plexiglass Visits

I wanted to update you on our plan to allow for courtyard visits between our residents and their loved ones.  With the recent number of COVID+ associates, DHSS is recommending that we put in-person visits on hold for 28 days from the last known COVID+ case.  Additionally, Jackson County’s recommendation is no in-person visits until the county reaches phase four of the re-opening plan (we are currently in phase two). 

 

I apologize for the stress this has caused, as I know we are all excited to allow safe visitation.  Please know that we disagree with the guidance and are working with local regulators to change course because of the very safe nature of these visits.  We believe there has been misinterpretation of the term “in-person,” as our visits are outdoors, require physical distancing, and have a Plexiglas plate between visitors.  I will keep you posted if we make any progress on this very important issue.

 Salons

We are excited to announce that DHSS is allowing us to begin salon services for our residents!  As you may know, John Knox Village employs all of our stylists (as opposed to contracting services out), which makes us unique in our industry.  In our mission to keep every associate employed during the pandemic, we have utilized our stylists in other departments. Each stylist has been screened, tested, and on campus this entire time. With all these factors, we recommended and received permission to begin providing services again under strict guidelines.  We are very excited to be able to offer this critical service to our residents once again.


Testing

We have worked closely and carefully with the Jackson County Health Department and DHSS on a sound testing strategy moving forward.  Due to our size, they have recommended that we strategically test associates by neighborhood in order to better mitigate and isolate in the event we see more positive cases.  We are testing associates who work in the long-term care neighborhoods this week. We will test associates on the memory care neighborhood and the rehabilitation unit next week.  Depending on the results, we will have a better sense on how to move forward.  We do not plan on testing residents unless we see more COVID+ cases within a certain area.

 Village Assisted Living (VAL)

Village Assisted Living has reported their first COVID+ associate this week.  They have started testing residents and associates who were potentially exposed. The VAL team continues to work hard to ensure everyone stays safe.  As we have mentioned in previous emails, we created an isolation unit in the beginning and are prepared to manage any COVID+ residents from the VCC or VAL.  I know many of you have loved ones in both VAL and the VCC, so we will keep you posted with any news we receive.  

 Please have a wonderful week. I’ll be in touch with you next week.

June 22, 2020

It’s important to me to get back to you today with a summary of the recent testing we have done for COVID-19 on our campus. We have all the results in, and the news is VERY good!

First let me summarize the situation:

In early June, one Village Care Center associate was sent home after a pre-shift screening showed a temperature of 99.9o or above. Later in the month, a second worker also did not pass the daily screening and was sent home. Both tested positive.

This spurred us to test associates with whom they may have come in contact. We saw a few more asymptomatic positive test results, one of whom is a non-John Knox Village health care professional who saw patients in the Village Care Center and Village Assisted Living on three days in June, after previously having tested negative. At this point, we chose to be proactive by testing all residents and all who work in the building.

I am thrilled to announce that were ZERO additional confirmed positives, and most of those with positive results are now recovered.

While this brings the VCC total for the year to nine positives, these associates did not work with one other, and there does not appear to have been any spread from these individuals to others here.

Village Assisted Living also tested all residents and associates who may have come in contact with the non-JKV health care professional, and they had ZERO confirmed positives. I know they, too, are breathing a big sigh of relief.

It was incredibly important to us to be proactive and test everyone – to see where we stood, once we saw a few positive cases show up at the same time. We have worked very hard on our infection control procedures, and we’re constantly updating and fine-tuning them, to keep everyone as safe as we can. It’s gratifying to see that those individuals who tested positive appear to have acquired the virus from outside, and that we do not appear to have had any spread within the building. This has been the best news I can think of!

I am so proud of the work my team has done. Every decision we make here is based on what’s best for the residents and how to keep them safe.

Thank you for your ongoing support through all of this.

Cumulative Totals From 3/16/20** to  6/22/20:
Village Assisted Living

  • _0_ Residents and _0_ associates have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • _0_ Residents and _0_ associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • _41_ Residents and _39_ associates have tested negative for COVID-19.

Village Care Center

  • _0_ Residents and _9* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • _0_ Residents and _7_ associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • _240_ Residents and _287_ associates have tested negative for COVID-19.

*Of these, 3 Associates who originally tested positive, were re-tested and confirmed negative. While they may have been false positives, we are erring on the side of caution and counting them as having recovered.

**The date that the John Knox Village campus was closed to visitors.

June 20, 2020

As you know, earlier this week Tami and I shared communication regarding five people who work in our building who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, June 13. This number includes an individual who is a health care professional who is not a John Knox Village associate. Since then, we have been administering tests to all our residents and every member of our staff.

I want to take a moment of your time to share the very “positive” news that we were just able to confirm: we have received all our resident tests results back, and all results for our residents are negative for COVID-19! We also received results for the remainder of our associate and, again, I’m pleased to report that the results are all negative for COVID-19, as well!

This has been a roller coaster of a week, and I appreciate all of your support throughout the last several days. Our entire staff has been working so hard, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for entrusting the care of your loved one with us.

I plan to send out a more comprehensive report early next week. Until then, please enjoy your weekend – Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, and happy first day of summer!

June 17, 2020

It’s been 3 days since our last communication. I have a few updates related to Sunday’s email to share with you and as soon as I learn anything – even if there isn’t any news – I will be in contact again.

First, we received the results from the tests we performed Sunday and Monday on the residents who live on the 100 and 400 units. So far, all the tests came back negative. On Monday and Tuesday, we collected samples from the residents of the 200 and 300 units. We will get those test results back by the end of the week. Finally,  testing of the remaining 30 or so associates who weren’t in the first batch of staff tests also were completed. Again, all tests have come back negative.

Second, I also want to touch base with you about the activity that is happening as a result of the announcement. As you may have seen Monday evening and Tuesday morning, multiple media outlets have reported on the positive test results in our employee population. I want you to know that the Village’s communications team has been working with the various reporters to ensure they have accurate information about what’s happening here at the Village.

However, because we are not the only community/facility that has been affected by the virus, some people may get our facts and figures and other communities’ facts and figures mixed up. So to reiterate my original message to you:

  • 5 people who work at the Village Care Center have tested positive for the virus.
  • All were asymptomatic and passed their daily pre-shift screenings.
  • One person, who is a non-JKV health care worker, also saw patients at Village Assisted Living the week prior to testing positive.
  • None have worked on the campus since the positive confirmations.
  • No residents have tested positive.
  • Between March 16 and June 10, four associates have tested positive for COVID-19 – one in March, one in May and two in early June. So between the first 4 and the 5 from the weekend, a total of 9 associates have tested positive since March.

Please know, that anytime there is news about what’s happening here at the VCC, I do everything in my power to make sure you know what is happening, why it is happening and how we are responding before anyone else.

With that said, if you hear any reports that differ from the information that I have shared with you, please let me know as soon as possible. It is a very confusing time right now, and I just want to make sure the information you have about the Village Care Center, Village Assisted Living and John Knox Village is accurate.

We continue to work extremely hard to keep everyone who lives and works here safe and healthy. Again, please call me a 816-347-2426 or e-mail acolumbatto@jkv.org and I will do my best to answer any questions and help keep your in contact with your loved one.

June 14, 2020

Dear Village Care Center Residents and Families,

I want to provide you with an update regarding the presence of the COVID-19 coronavirus in our building. The safety and wellbeing of our residents and associates are our top priority and we are doing all that we can to limit and contain any possible cases of COVID-19 within our building.

Because we recently identified two unrelated cases of COVID-19 in care center associates, we decided on Thursday to be proactive and begin testing all associates working in the Village Care Center. We now have tested the majority of our associates, and have results from all of the samples sent to the lab Thursday and Friday. I want to be sure that you know we had 5 additional positive results. All of these associates have been asymptomatic, have passed their daily pre-shift screenings, and have not worked since we received their results.

These newest cases include associates with jobs in a variety of departments, most of whom have not had ongoing contact with residents, or each other, therefore we do not believe it is being spread within the building; rather it appears to show that our infection control procedures are doing their job. Because of these outcomes, we also are beginning to test residents. We expect resident and associate test results to continue rolling in over the next several days. I will continue to keep you informed as we gain new information.

Here is a more detailed update regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCC since March 16:

As of June 14,

  • _0_Residents and _9_associates have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • _40_ Residents and _261_ associates have tested negative for COVID-19.
  • _N/A_Residents and _3_ associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • It has been _0_ days since we were notified that a resident or associate has tested positive.

We currently have no known cases at John Knox Village outside of the Village Care Center.

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

These include:

  • Daily screening of residents for symptoms, with vital signs taken 4 times a day
  • Daily screening staff and essential visitors for symptoms
  • Use of social distancing and other infection control procedures
  • Enhanced infection control precautions
  • Stopping all new admissions for the next few days (except John Knox Village contract holders)
  • Restricting visitation and entry of people into the building
  • Carefully limiting communal activities

Unfortunately, government privacy requirements restrict us from divulging specific information about the individuals involved, unless they are your family member and you have the necessary permissions to receive such information. We will contact those people directly if your loved one is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

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 me a 816-347-2426 or e-mail acolumbatto@jkv.org and I will do my best to answer any questions and help keep your in contact with your loved one.

June 12, 2020

I want to share some exciting news with you: We finally have received permission from our regulators to start hosting in-person courtyard visits!

Many of you have voiced – and we at the VCC are in total agreement – we need to expand our activity offerings to further support our residents’ emotional and psycho-social well-being. As you know, our residents can participate in iPad visits, hallway exercise sessions, and small group church and bingo gatherings. However, we know there needs to be opportunities to spend in-person time with your loved on, and we’ve been working on a plan. It’s taken a while, but we have finally gotten this idea approved.

Here’s how it works:

  • Our long-term care families will go to the 100 courtyard gate (if you are facing the building, it is to your right). We have installed Plexiglas on the gate to prevent droplets from entering. Residents will be seated three feet from the gate on the inside, you will be seated three feet away on the outside.  We will then ask you to call a phone number (if you cannot hear each other over the Plexiglas) and talk to your loved one. We will have a staff member available to assist your loved one if they need assistance with the cell phone. Right now, we need to limit visits 15-minutes, which will allow us to sanitize everything in between visits. The wearing of masks is required. Please call the front desk when you arrive, and we will bring your loved one out to the gate.
  • Memory Care – The process is exactly the same, but you will be visiting at the Village Rehab gate. (If you are facing the building, it will be to your left).
  • We know that it is getting hot out, so we will be providing water and shade to our residents so they can remain comfortable.

Because we do not have any guidance from local, state, or federal agencies about when we will be able to re-open, we will continue to work on new and innovative ways to bring our residents and families together. We cannot imagine how hard it has been on you all; but please know that it has been hard on our team, as well. We miss seeing our families, and the joy created by watching our residents/family interactions.

Finally, I want to share with you a news story produced by Cody Holyoke of KMBC Channel 9 News. He talks about the ways we are working to keep our residents engaged and connected. It is a fun story to watch! https://www.facebook.com/CodyKMBC/videos/891950597938979/

Thank you, again, for your patience, gratitude, and support.  As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your loved one.
June 11, 2020

I need to share important news. We have been notified that an additional John Knox Village associate was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus.

The associate works in a direct care position in the Memory Care Neighborhood at the Village Care Center, and last worked on campus on June 9. This person showed no symptoms (asymptomatic) at that time and continues to be asymptomatic. The associate was notified of the positive test from an outside healthcare provider.

This is only the third case on our campus that we are aware of. Our team continues 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 and testing every associate who came in contact with this individual.

This testing began yesterday, and all known results, so far, have come back negative. At this time, we do not have any symptomatic residents or associates, which is great news. We’re still working on guidance for the process of testing residents, so for now we are doubling the frequency of temperature checks to four times a day. Additionally, we are working to complete systematic testing of every associate who works at the Village Care Center.

As you have likely heard on the news, quick and reliable testing has been an issue nation-wide. We have had similar experiences, so I am happy to report that we recently partnered with a local lab, Viracor, for all the VCC’s COVID-19 testing needs. Thus far, they have been extremely responsive and held to their commitment to return lab results within 48 hours. To assess their abilities, two weeks ago we tested 30 voluntary associates from various parts of this building. We received the results within 24 hours – and all were negative. Additionally, the results from the 20 associates we tested last week who came in contact with that COVID-positive associate all came back within 48 hours, and all results also were negative.

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 816-347-2426 or acolumbatto@jkv.org.

Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community. Our associates have – and will continue to – work tirelessly to protect everyone who lives and works at the Village. The care, concern and commitment they have shown, and their willingness to step up to new challenges, makes me proud to work alongside them. Our mission to Enrich Lives and Build Community has never been more meaningful. Thank you for your support.

June 3, 2020

Dear Village Care Center Family and Friends,

I need to share important news. We have been notified that a John Knox Village associate was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus. I understand that this news is concerning, so I hope this additional information will help calm your fears.

Given the size of the Village Care Center, we have always anticipated, and planned for the fact that an infection could happen here at any time. We are now actively putting those plans into action. My confidence in our procedures has been further bolstered by the results of a recent infection control inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (these are happening at all long-term care facilities) which showed us to be deficiency-free – their highest rating.

The associate works in a non-direct care position in the Village Rehabilitation Unit, and last worked on campus on May 20. This person showed no symptoms (asymptomatic) at that time. On May 26, during the pre-shift screening, the associate presented with a fever of 99.9oF or higher and was sent home. While we, the Missouri of Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Jackson County Health Department, consider this incident to be extremely low-risk for an outbreak, out of an abundance of caution we are going to test every associate who came in contact with this individual on May 20. We also are reaching out to patients who potentially came into contact with this individual.

Our team continues to follow protocols and procedures recommended by the local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to protect your loved ones, including pre-shift screenings, which helped keep this person from exposing others once symptoms were known.

This is only the second case on our campus that we are aware of, and the first since March. Thanks to our early actions to keep COVID-19 out of the building, we have had time to acquire an adequate supply of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and to enhance our ability to test people.

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 816-347-2426 or acolumbatto@jkv.org.

Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community. Our associates have – and will continue to – work tirelessly to protect everyone who lives and works at the Village. The care, concern and commitment they have shown, and their willingness to step up to new challenges, makes me proud to work alongside them. Our mission to Enrich Lives and Build Community has never been more meaningful.

Thank you for your support.

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 vdavis1@jkv.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

Dear VCC Loved Ones,

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)!

Best,

Anthony

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.

Best,

Anthony

April 28, 2020

We are another week into this pandemic, and I am extremely pleased (and relieved) to report that our building remains free of any COVID-positive residents or associates!

This week, we remain focused on educating our associates about exhibiting responsible behavior outside of work. For example, we often reiterate that associates need to continue practicing strict social distancing, wearing a mask in public and ensuring the establishments they frequent are following the rules. This training is especially important as we work to keep everyone in the building safe and healthy as the stay-at-home orders begin to lift around the state and the country, and businesses and destinations slowly begin to open back up.

On a related note, I am sure many of you saw Gov. Parson’s executive order announcing that stay-at-home orders will be lifted May 4, 2020. I want to emphasize the section of the order that impacts us here at the Village Care Center:

“In accordance with the guidelines from the President, the CDC, and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, people shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances.”

With that being said, the Village Care Center will continue to remain closed to non-medical visitors until we receive new guidance from the CDC and CMS.

However, I proud that the virtual visits using FaceTime or Skype to connect residents and their loved ones have really taken off – only a few slots are open! We are actively exploring ways to increase our capacity for virtual visits, so stay tuned!

Thank you all for the words of encouragement, the cards, and the signage that you have been sending. It means the world to us. Though our circumstances are not ideal, we are using this opportunity to engage our residents and associates in new and different ways. For example, we have had a lot of themed days, including Pretzel Day, where we offer different types of food. We also are encouraging our associates to dress up depending on the theme of the day, such as wearing pajamas on PJ Day. Lastly, we have created art boards from the artwork donated by loved ones and friends of the VCC.

As a reminder, this update will be posted on the website. Also, I encourage you to share this message with other family members. Finally, please feel free to reach out to me or Tami Hoversten with any questions you may have.

April 25, 2020

Today as I sat down to collect my thoughts for this update, it seemed like there was a million different ideas running through my head. But after only a few minutes of reflection, I was able to really peg down what I want to share with you, which is a feeling of extreme gratitude.

First, we are fortunate to enter another weekend without any COVID-19 positive residents or associates, and for this, I am extremely grateful!

Additionally, I am grateful for our dedicated associates who take such pride in providing care to your loved ones. I am proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish so far here at the VCC. Our associates work so hard every day to ensure we keep everyone safe and protected, and it has paid off thus far.

I am also grateful that, even though you currently aren’t able to meet face to face with your loved one or our associates, there are a variety of ways to keep everyone connected. Please continue to set appointments to see your loved one via Skype or Facetime. What’s more, we will continue to use email and our website to share accurate and timely communication with you and anyone else who wants the information. I ask for your assistance in communicating with other members of you family by either forwarding our newsletters on or by directing them to https://www.jkv.org/share-facts-not-fear/. Be sure to click on the VCC link; the content of these emails also are posted on the website.

Finally, we are so thankful for the countless gestures of kindness and good will from many of you and other members of our community. Please read on to learn more about how members of the VCC community are helping to lift spirits and bring smiles to every member of the Village Care Center family.

I hope each and every one of you are as well as can be during this time. It has been a period of high anxiety for all of us, but we continue to be privileged to care for your loved ones. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or another member of our staff.

 *** Thank You! *** 

We want to give a SHOUT OUT!

Currently, there is a lot of focus on numbers. Today, I propose we look at a different set of numbers, ones that focus on the individuals and organizations that have provided support and lifted up our residents and associates throughout the last several weeks.

  • Thank you, Abundant Life Church,along with our community friends and families! Thank you for providing activity books, art supplies, puzzles and personal items that our residents can focus on during this distancing phase, and thank you for the cards of encouragement to share with our residents. Your generous support and giving hearts have made a difference here, and we are so very grateful!
  • VCC associates also are thankful for BHS Restoration, who showed their support by providing pizza and putting up very special signage at our employee entrance! Thank you for keeping us uplifted, fueled and fed, as well as for the generous of support as we navigate this journey!
  • It does take a Village to get through this time – thank you to the John Knox Village Foundation and all the doers and seamstresses! A countless number of individuals continue to work endlessly to make enough face coverings for all of us to wear every single day, adding just another layer of protection for our residents and each other. Every day we try to lift those smiles up to our eyeballs through our masks to assure our residents that we are here for them, in this together and we will endure!
  • Thank you, families and friends of our residents, for enabling us to provide care to your loved ones each day! We appreciate you understanding the importance of distancing right now. Stay well, stay home!
April 17, 2020 Update

The Village Care Center team is unceasing in its efforts to keep residents and associates safe.

To date, we have had only one associate test positive three weeks ago. Though we cannot provide details to protect the associate’s health information, we can disclose that contact was traced to an immediate family member.  We have not had any additional associate or residents test positive for COVID-19.

Here are a few of the safe guards we have in place:

  • We continue to screen everyone that enters the VCC, taking temperatures and monitoring for respiratory symptoms.
  • Each associate, regardless of where they work at the Village Care Center, wears a face covering at all times while in the building.
  • All resident’s temperatures and oxygen levels are checked twice a day.

Finally, we made the decision four weeks ago to divide all non-direct care associates, such as housekeeping, dining, etc., into teams that mimic our current nursing schedule. This change was designed to limit the number of associates our residents are exposed to and to provide routine days off so our associates can better identify if they are becoming symptomatic.

April 3, 2020 Update

John Knox Village has been informed that an associate has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus.

  • The associate works in a non-patient care position in a contained area at the John Knox Village Care Center.
  • The associate last worked on campus March 25. This person was asymptomatic when on campus, but was later hospitalized and is confirmed positive.
  • The Village Care Center is continuing to follow protocols and procedures recommended by the local and state health departments, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
  • We have been screening associates daily for some time now; this process was instrumental in keeping the associate from exposing others once symptoms were known.

“Our focus remains 100% on the health and well-being of the entire John Knox Village community. I know our associates have – and will continue to – work tirelessly to protect everyone who lives and works at the Village,” said Dan Rexroth, president and CEO, John Knox Village. “Our mission to Enrich Lives and Build Community has never been more meaningful.”

The 430-bed Village Care Center is the largest long-term care facility in the area. Built in 1988, the self-contained facility is located on the west side of the Village campus.

Additional updates will be shared as they develop.