Update for Staff

Dear Fellow Kirkhaven Employees,

We are truly amazed and humbled by your unwavering strength and compassion.  Each day we are reminded of the true meaning of The Kirkhaven Way, as we look around and see how well everyone is working together to confront the various challenges we’re facing.  As Christopher Reeve once said:  “A Hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure, in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Truly, all of you are Hero’s!

It has not been easy.  There is understandably fear and anxiety as we confront the enormous task of stopping the spread of COVID-19.  And there is great sadness, as we sympathize with families who can’t visit and who have lost their loved one to this horrific disease.  Together we grieve the loss of our elders, our friends whom we’ve cared for, learned from and whom we have the utmost respect for.  Although caring for elders at the end of life is not new to many of us, this pandemic has changed us forever.  We are stronger, smarter and evermore passionate in carrying out our mission to serve others in need.

All clinical leaders are working alongside our direct care team members to help balance workloads.  Additionally, a number office staff and support service associates who are trained in providing direct care are willingly adjusting their work schedules and accepting alternate responsibilities providing direct care.  And further demonstrating the true spirit of teamwork; the security and maintenance team is partnering more closely with housekeeping to provide direct assistance with cleaning and disinfecting procedures throughout the building.

Your administrative, finance & billing, human resource and nursing administrative teams are working behind the scenes in a concerted effort to tap new resources to strengthen and support all employees. As you are aware from local, national and world news reports, this pandemic is evolving by the minute. We are in tune with the most current long-term care State and Federal regulations and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance which continues to evolve as well.  We are communicating daily with our regional and state Department of Health (DOH), providing data and receiving direction regarding our specific facility experience and needs.  The finance and billing team is focused on coding and filing claims, managing COVID-19 expenses, researching disaster relief funding streams and applying for grants and loans for which we qualify.

Human resources and nurse staffing team members have joined forces and are working quickly to establish new contractual arrangements with community staffing and homecare agencies. We will be adding support in the form of LPN’s, CNAs, Companions and Home Health Assistants (HHAs) to the households to provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), meal service, nutrition and hydration rounds, answering call lights and 1:1 activities and companionship.

Counting inventory and managing our equipment needs has become a daily activity.  To date, although supplies have been limited, we have been able to maintain a sufficient inventory of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): gowns, masks, gloves and eye protection, hand sanitizer and disinfectants, as well as other medical supplies and equipment such as thermometers and vital sign machines. This too has been a team effort.

We will continue to provide education on how to wear PPE and how to safely remove PPE per the CDC guidelines.  If you have questions or if there is something additional you need to safely carry out your job, please contact your immediate supervisor, department director or the human resource department immediately.

Please remember that you are not alone and self-care comes first.  Take time to rest and relieve stress in ways that work for you; listen to music, take a walk, exercise, meditate, etc.  We’re in this together, let others know if you need help. The HR team and I are available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your work here at Kirkhaven or if you have a family matter you think we may be able to assist you with.  Again, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Also, New York State has set up an Emotional Support Helpline: 1-844-863-9314 open 8am – 10pm, 7 days a week.

In closing, the Employee Appreciation Committee (EAC) has been coordinating with businesses in the community and families that want to show their support and appreciation by donating meals, snacks and treats for all of you. The committee is also planning a special meal for all staff next week.

We remain committed to keeping you safe and healthy during this very challenging time. Thank you for your commitment and continued service.

Warmest Regards,

Anne Gallese, CEO/Administrator

Alexandra Lawler, Director of HR/Compliance