July 1, 2020- Update to Families
Dear Residents and Families,
Thank you for the support you have shown to the caring staff here at Kirkhaven as we all manage the challenges of this prolonged pandemic. Our goal, as always is the safety and wellbeing of our residents and our staff. In addition, we are focused on maintaining compliance with the various directives from both Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health.
We have completed all resident baseline testing for COVID-19 and no new positive COVID-19 cases have been identified at Kirkhaven since May 29, 2020. Residents testing positive during the baseline testing period were asymptomatic and are now officially recovered having had two negative COVID-19 tests after being isolated for 14 days. Furthermore, all areas of our facility have been professionally cleaned and residents previously relocated for isolation purposes have returned to their original household.
Dental and Podiatry services will resume at Kirkhaven during the week of July 6th. Weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff including contract staff, medical/ dental providers continues. Kirkhaven has not had a staff member test positive since May 26th. No staff members are presently under quarantine. 100% of all persons entering the building and all staff (every shift) are screened for COVID-19 signs and symptoms, including temperature check and for potential exposure. We continue to receive and utilize CDC recommended PPE throughout our facility. All employees and approved visitors are complying with infection prevention measures and universally wearing surgical masks and face-shields. All residents are monitored at least twice daily for temperature check and the presence of COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
To date, visitation in all nursing homes in New York State remains limited to medically necessary and end of life situations until such time that a new directive is provided from the Governor or the Department of Health. To further clarify, the regulation prohibiting visits extends beyond just inside the building but also restricts any outside/courtyard visits. It is unclear as to when visitation in nursing homes will resume and how our visitation policies and procedures will be impacted into the future. Friends and family visits in nursing homes in the future will likely look much different from visits prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. I fully understand that this is not the news that you were hoping to hear. The continuation of no family/friend visits is very difficult on everyone. At the same time, it is what we need to comply with in order to stay safe.
Our Social Work and Life Enrichment teams are working diligently to help connect residents with family and friends at least once weekly via telephone calls, Zoom and FaceTime. On July 6th, we will be expanding visitation options to twenty (20) minute balcony visits on weekdays between 10am-12noon and 2pm-4pm, weather permitting. Visitors are asked to park in a visitor parking spot and proceed to the designated safe area in the driveway adjacent to the main entrance and 2nd floor balcony. The number of visitors for balcony type visits is limited to two (2) for safety reasons in the parking lot, driveway and main entrance areas. We thank you for your cooperation and understanding. Staff will escort residents inside the building to the balcony area and remain with the resident during the visit. Please contact your designated Social Worker or the House Manager to schedule a balcony visit.
We are now able to adjust our household and building quarantine measures. Residents are no longer restricted to their rooms as long as they wear a mask (as tolerated) and cooperate with social distancing and infection prevention measures with assistance from staff. Communal dining will resume with social distancing measures. Residents preferring to eat in their room may continue to do so.
Our Life Enrichment team is resuming internal resident programming after the July 4th holiday. We understand this is an integral part of the quality of life for our residents and want to conduct programming in a safe and controlled manner. Resident activity programming will be structured differently to ensure residents from other households do not co-mingle and that proper infection prevention (hand hygiene, frequent cleaning of common area furniture and disinfecting of activity supplies) and social distancing measures are taken. The size of group activities will be ten (10) or less and determined based on social distancing measures and the size of the space being utilized for the activity. We are excited to offer resident activities in our courtyard. However, use of the Kirkhaven bus and community outings are prohibited until further notice.
We appreciate that families and friends of our residents want to be kept updated and we are doing our very best to keep everyone informed. Moving forward, we will keep the lines of communication open with family and responsible parties by promptly communicating general information related to any positive COVID-19 cases, or if any resident suffers a COVID-19 related death, along with communications, resources and new or revised policies to you via email and postings to our website.
If you have not provided us with an email address or if you believe that we do not have an accurate email address or phone number on file for you, please submit your up-to-date information to COVID19info@kirkhaven.com in order to receive future periodic informational updates and data reports regarding COVID-19. You do have the right to opt out of these communications, and if you prefer to do so, please let us know.
Anne R. Gallese, CEO/ Administrator