To view the current COVID activity by location, please click here.Holiday Visiting Guidance - November 19, 2020
In their continued effort to promote the health and safety of residents living in senior living settings, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed guidance for visiting during the holidays. Our locations have been following the guidance and requirements of CMS throughout this pandemic and are supportive of their continued direction during these unprecedented times. CMS has previously provided guidance on visiting at a nursing facility which takes into consideration the status of COVID cases within the facility and within the greater community. For the holidays, CMS recommends against taking loved ones out of the nursing facility because doing so increases a resident’s risk for exposure to COVID-19. If residents and families do decide to go out of the facility for the holidays, CMS has provided additional recommendations which can be found in this alert. Medicalodges nursing facilities and Gran Villas also strongly recommend against residents leaving the facility for holiday gatherings and will be adhering to these recommendations. The ability to accommodate holiday outings with family or friends will take into consideration the capacity of the location to isolate returning residents in private rooms upon their return. Residents and families/friends should plan for 14 days of isolation upon return to the facility and potentially an extended period of time residing with family or friends outside the facility until isolation rooms become available. Because of these limitations, please arrange holiday outings with your specific location. We express our sincere gratitude for your support in helping to protect our residents as we navigate these challenging times. This year’s holiday celebrations will undoubtedly be different than we have ever seen before, but together we can find safe ways for our residents to enjoy the holidays with their family and friends.
Dear Residents, Families and Friends,
The fast approaching holiday season will present new challenges as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. We were hoping to have more options for visiting in our locations however our surrounding communities and the entire Midwest have experienced a surge in cases of COVID. Our locations continue to provide creative options in keeping residents engaged while maintaining precautions for preventing the spread of the illness. One location recently created an outdoor “Pumpkin Patch” where local children were able to pick treats from the patch while residents observed and enjoyed safely from inside. Our residents were also able to exercise their voting rights in the recent election. There are many more fun and creative activities planned through the holiday season. Pictures from activities in our locations are posted daily on our facebook pages at
The holiday season unfortunately does not change the current visiting limitations we are required to follow and as such, we will not be hosting holiday parties for residents and their family and friends in any of our locations this year. Our COVID alert page at www.medicalodges.com is updated each week with COVID activity and identifies locations which have restricted visiting due to elevated county COVID positivity rates or outbreak testing at the location. For those locations that are able to allow limited visiting, arrangements must be made in advance.
We know many residents will be considering going home with family or friends for get-togethers or holiday dinners. The ability to accommodate holiday outings with family or friends will be determined by each location and will take into consideration the capacity of the location to isolate returning residents in private rooms upon their return. Residents and families/friends should plan for 14 days of isolation upon return to the facility and potentially an extended period of time residing with family or friends outside the facility until isolation rooms become available. Because of these limitations, please arrange holiday outings with your specific location.
On a brighter note, availability of a coronavirus vaccine is very near and is reported to be 90% effective in preventing COVID. Residents and healthcare workers in congregate senior living settings have been prioritized to receive the vaccine before it is available to the general public. Our locations stand at the ready to administer the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. In the coming weeks, be looking for a vaccine consent form, sign and return promptly so as not to delay administration of the vaccine. We strongly encourage all residents to take the vaccine and will be encouraging our employees to do the same.
Our locations have managed through this pandemic despite numerous challenges and no doubt there will be more, but we have been able to adapt. Our testing results are showing significantly lower numbers than the positivity rates in the surrounding community for both our residents and employees. We have been able to secure sufficient supplies of protective equipment (PPE) and have developed good relationships with our local health departments, largely due to the diligence of our dedicated employees who have gone above and beyond and willingly made personal sacrifices. We are truly thankful for our employees, and for the ongoing support from our residents, families and friends.
Shannon Lager RN, BSN
Vice President & Chief Operations Officer
Dear Residents, Families, Friends and Visitors,
In March of this year we were asked to spend two weeks flattening the curve of this pandemic. Each Medicalodges, Inc. community accepted that challenge and the obligation to protect our residents and clients as best we could while knowing very little about this virus. We could not have anticipated that as we headed into the fall and Labor Day weekend, we would still be in a state of restriction and mitigation in a world that looks nothing like it did before March.
Like most all organizations across the country, Medicalodges, Inc. communities have not been left untouched by COVID-19. We have had several communities experience residents and/or employees who have tested positive for the virus and the cascade of mitigation efforts that ensue in order to prevent as much as possible further spread. We have experienced challenges and have had to be creative in sourcing and maintaining our protective equipment, supplies and sometimes even certain food items. We have had great support from our contractors and vendors in making sure we have all we need to continue to care for our residents and clients with little to no noticeable impact on them.
This has certainly been a difficult time. We are grateful for the ongoing patience of our residents, clients and family members as we navigate the ever changing guidance, recommendations, requirements and reopening processes of all our governing agencies and health authorities. The most recent change in guidance will require us to conduct routine testing on all employees of our skilled nursing facilities, sometimes as frequently as twice weekly depending on the rates of COVID positive cases in the surrounding county. This new level of testing will certainly have an impact on our reopening processes and we are currently making arrangements to comply with the testing requirement. We are also seeing local health authorities extending or implementing new restrictions on visiting in long term care and assisted living facilities, preventing us from moving forward with reopening as we would like. In the communities where we can, we are moving forward with reopening, but also acknowledge that circumstances can and do change rapidly within the facility and greater community forcing us to adapt even the best laid plans.
We know the limitations on visiting have been the single most challenging aspect of this pandemic for our residents, clients, families and even our employees. We ask that you please adhere to our visiting protocols and restrictions as these are in place for the purpose of protecting all residents and clients entrusted to our care. Even a single breach in our protocols can have a devastating effect in our community. All locations can accommodate compassionate care visits. Compassionate care visits are for the purpose of visiting under special circumstances, and may be arranged by calling the community directly. Compassionate care visits will not be arranged for the purposes of routine visiting, are entirely at the discretion of the community leadership team and will be based on the specific needs of the resident or client. We have also secured additional technology in the form of tablet devices through funds made available from our state agencies. We are working now to distribute a limited number of these devices to our locations to further facilitate virtual visiting until such time as we are able to allow unrestricted visiting.
We are also so very grateful for our employees who continue to dedicate their service to our residents and clients despite such challenging circumstances encountered on a daily basis. We were recently able to provide a significant Hero Bonus to our employees to show our deepest appreciation for their continued dedication and we are hopeful we can provide another Hero Bonus in the near future. Our employees remain our single greatest asset and no amount of appreciation expressed will ever be enough to fully acknowledge their efforts.
Additional updates will be posted to our Medicalodges Inc. website at www.medicalodges.com. You can also find updates regarding specific Medicalodges communities at their individual websites. We will all get through this together and will be stronger as a result. Please keep our residents, clients and employees in your thoughts and prayers as we do the same. Until next time.
Shannon Lager, RN, BSN
Vice President & Chief Operations Officer
Dear Residents, Families, Friends and Visitors,
As our surrounding communities and businesses begin to return to normal and open up we want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support. This has certainly not been easy for anyone. We also want to provide information on how our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope locations will be impacted.
Many areas continue to see positive cases of COVID-19 and community transmission. As businesses begin to reopen, travel restrictions and gathering restrictions eased and eliminated, we can expect to see continued new cases in our communities. The individuals we care for remain at extremely high risk for illness, hospitalization and even death due to COVID-19. It is estimated that 40% of the deaths caused by COVID-19 have been in those who reside in long term care facilities and other congregate living communities. For these reasons, our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope communities will continue with our current processes to prevent as much as possible the introduction of the virus into our locations. These efforts include, among other things:
- Restricted access to our locations to essential personnel only
- Restricted visiting with the exception of compassionate and end of life situations only
- Strict adherence to hand hygiene, cough etiquette and use of face masks for all who enter our locations
- Social distancing for residents as much as possible including no communal dining or large group activities
- Monitoring of employees and residents for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature
- Restricted entry of any individual with a temperature or other symptoms of COVID-19, travel restrictions or potential exposure, including employees
We are currently developing reopening plans as an organization, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the CDC, CMS, state and local health departments and our state survey agencies. These plans will very likely include limited numbers of visitors allowed per resident, limited numbers of individuals allowed in our location at a given time, restricting visiting to specific areas of the facility and arranging for visits by appointment. As these plans are finalized, they will be shared with you. The health and safety of our residents and employees is of the utmost importance to us during this transition period.
You are encouraged to continue connecting with your loved ones through a variety of means, including letters, cards and notes, window visits, phone calls and video chat via google hangouts, Zoom and Facetime and Facebook chat. Our employees are available and happy to assist with arranging the use of technology devices for phone calls and video chats.
And a sincere thank you for your encouraging words sent through a variety of means to our employees. We know they are the heroes in all of this, and it is so meaningful when they hear it from you too. We will get through this and we all look forward to hugs, kisses on the cheek and handshakes.
Shannon Lager, RN, BSN
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
A letter to our Residents & Families
In this time of unprecedented pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our staff and residents. As our surrounding communities begin to open up, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facilities, including restricting visiting and non-essential personnel. Below you will find what we will continue to have in place to prevent and manage the COVID-19 risk.
First, rest assured we are following the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and our State and Local Health Departments. While we are doing everything possible, you or your loved one may come in contact with someone who is unknowingly contagious. The CDC has stated that individuals without symptoms may spread the virus. As a precaution ALL of our staff and anyone entering the facility to conduct essential services for our residents are required to complete a screening regarding their travels and, potential encounters with anyone who has been diagnosed with the virus, and they have their temperature taken. ALL individuals who enter the facility are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth, perform hand hygiene and are required to notify us if they later develop symptoms consistent with the virus.
We are doing everything possible to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facility; however, nothing is guaranteed. Some people who have the virus do not have any symptoms and can still spread the virus. We are doing our best with the tools we have, and we will make it through this pandemic apart but together.
Here is a brief description of what we will continue to do to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus in our facility even as the surrounding community begins to open up:
- Entry to the facility is restricted to staff and essential personnel only.
- Every resident has their temperature taken and reviewed by a licensed nurse every day.
- Medical providers (Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants) are encouraged to conduct visits using telehealth technology so residents do not have to leave our facility and risk exposure to the virus.
- Residents who leave our facility and risk exposure in the community are restricted to their room for a period of time afterwards to monitor for the development of symptoms.
- Isolation precautions are initiated for any resident who develops symptoms. They are restricted to their rooms and staff wear protective equipment when providing their care.
- Communal dining and activities have been suspended. Activities are provided in-room. Dining occurs in-room, or in small groups where social distancing can be maintained.
- Deliveries are made without entry of vendors into to the facility. Staff bring our deliveries into the building.
- Every staff member has their temperature taken every day and are screened for symptoms, travel and contacts which may place them at risk for exposure to the virus. Staff members who are sick or meet any of the exposure criteria are restricted from working in the building.
- All staff and essential personnel wear masks while in the building.
What can families and friends do to help?
- Write letters or send cards to your loved one, and ask your friends and relatives to do the same.
- Have grandchildren make pictures and mail them to your loved one.
- Make copies of photos and mail them in a letter to your loved one.
- Send blank cards and envelope sets so your loved one can write to family and friends.
- Bring pets to the resident’s window; seeing a pet is a great way to lift spirits.
- Hang a bird feeder outside your loved one’s window, and refill it every time you visit. Ask your loved one about the birds that come to eat.
- Bring chairs to sit outside the window and visit at the window on pleasant days.
- Send gifts such as hand lotion, cologne, candy, books, puzzles, etc. A surprise gift is always welcome.
- Print a copy of the hometown newspaper and mail it to your loved one. News from the childhood home of your loved one is welcomed and keeps them connected.
- We have technology which allows residents to visit loved ones via video chat technology such as Facetime, Google Hangouts or Zoom. Pease make an appointment, as our staff can help residents utilize the technology.
- Send a note to our staff too; let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Remember, these restrictions will not last forever, but until they are no longer recommended, we will continue to do what we can every day to reduce the risk of the spread of this virus to our residents and your loved ones. We love you like our own family and we will get through this together but apart.