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Update from Administrator – May 12, 2021

Good Morning! I hope this email finds you well.

Attached is this week’s update which includes our most recent testing results.  Unfortunately, we have an individual who tested positive for COVID, therefore we must cease indoor visitation and activities.  We must also retest everyone within the facility; this will conclude on Friday so we will not have any results until after Friday.  As soon as the results are received, I will notify you if we can then immediately open visitation or if we must continue to quarantine and limit visits.  However, regardless of the outcome, we must limit visits to the first floor for the entire 14 days.

We work closely with the State Epidemiology Department.  They have recommended the quarantining the exposed residents for 14 days and they are not able to participate in indoor or outdoor visits.  Unexposed units may have outdoor visitation.

I apologize for the limitations however I am sure you understand the need for caution and our efforts to prevent further infections.  We recommend vaccinations, we will continue to recommend them to residents, families and staff.  Though the positivity rate is low in CT, we are not out of the woods.

Continue to take care, and as always, please contact me if you have any concerns or questions.

Kind regards,
Donna C. Orefice, MHA, LNHA

May 12, 2021
Dear Families,

This week, we celebrate National Skilled Nursing Care Week (formerly National Nursing Home Week). This year’s theme is “Together Through the Seasons.” NSNCW began on Sunday, May 9, Mother’s Day and runs through May 15. The theme will honor the collaborative commitment of our staff in providing compassionate care to your loved ones during this unprecedented time.

Over the past year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our team has shown an incredible and steadfast commitment to providing quality care and ensuring the safety of their residents. Throughout the week, our team has many activities and special meals planned for our residents. Please look on our Facebook page or contact our recreation team to learn more.

As you may have seen or heard on the news lately, more than 30 Connecticut nursing homes have threatened to go on strike later this week. Please know that our center is not unionized, therefore unaffected by this strike.

Some updates for you:

Visitation

Unfortunately, we have an individual who tested positive for COVID.  We must retest everyone and close indoor visitation until those results are all verified as negative.  I apologize for this inconvenience.  As it occurred last week, we are hoping everyone tested will be negative and we will be able to open visitation shortly after receiving the results.  I will email everyone as soon as we have the final testing results.  Once that occurs, we will follow the guidelines as noted below:

  • A revised guideline from CMS came out that we are now implementing.
    • Residents and visitors who are fully vaccinated may visit without social distancing and masks if alone in the resident’s room or alone in a designated area.
    • If the visitor is not vaccinated, they can visit with a fully vaccinated resident alone in the resident’s room without distancing while both are wearing well-fitting masks.
    • You are also now permitted to eat with your loved one IF you and your loved one are both fully vaccinated and in your loved one’s room alone or alone in a designated visiting area.
  • We continue to explore ways to increase our visitation calendar, especially for outside visitations.
  • A reminder, even outside visitations still require a mask, currently. The CDC and state continue to update their guidance for nursing homes – and we’ll keep you up to date on any changes. If you are unfamiliar with our protocols, please ask us.
  • We always offer visitations using our technology (iPads, tablets, calls, etc.) and when we can, window visits and outside visits.
  • For visitation appointments, please contact Valerie in the Recreation Department at 203-624-3303 x344.
    • Outdoor visitation is not affected by an internal outbreak on a unit, while we await the results of the initial round of testing.
    • When an outbreak is detected among residents or staff, all visitations must be suspended except for compassionate care visits, until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed.

Recreation / Activities:

  • We are delighted to once again safely begin holding small, socially distanced group activities.
  • Outdoor activities are always encouraged and preferred by the CDC and CMS, however indoor events are once again taking place following the outbreak guidance.
  • These events will safely welcome back in our volunteers and vendors including entertainment, clergy, artists, and instructors.
  • A reminder to everyone that we do have various tablet devices for your loved one to utilize to access games, various communication tools, games, news, and more. We have done some tutoring and training of the tablets so that residents are more comfortable with them. The feedback from residents on the availability of the tablets has been fantastic!

Dining:

  • Following guidance from the CDC and CMS, we will begin serving meals in our dining rooms, allowing for additional opportunities for socialization among our residents. We have started our assisted dining program which is very well attended.
  • Update:
    • Communal dining and activities may occur without physical distancing and without source control masks if all residents are vaccinated. If any unvaccinated residents are participating in the dining experience or activity, everyone must practice social distancing and wear a mask when not eating.
    • A reminder on bringing food to the center for your loved one. Please keep in mind any dietary restrictions for your loved one. The most recent guidance notes that you and your loved are now permitted to eat together if you and your loved one are both fully vaccinated and in your loved one’s room alone or alone in a designated visiting area.
  • However, we will ensure that your loved one enjoys the meal, treat, etc. once the visit is complete.

Vaccination Update

As we have said before, although not mandatory, we continue to encourage any employee who has not been vaccinated to obtain one. Currently, they may obtain one at a community clinic. We are also working with our state to do “catch-up” clinics to assist our team and new residents in obtaining the vaccine right here in our center.  We have partnered with our pharmacy, Procare, and this program should be up and running in a very short period of time.

  • Fully vaccinated staff are no longer required to be tested each week, unless an outbreak is detected, or the local county’s positivity number is very high.
  • Unvaccinated staff still must be tested weekly.
  • Regional hospitals are working on plans to offer the first dose of a COVID vaccine to their patients being discharged to nursing homes.

We hope you have a great week and look forward to seeing you!!

May 13, 2021