The care, protection, and safety of each patient in our skilled nursing facility as well as each resident in our assisted living community is the top priority at Bethel. From the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethel immediately implemented all guidance from CMS, the CDC, and state and local health departments to prevent the spread of the disease to our centers. Until recently, those actions had proven to be successful, allowing our community to remain free of any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
However, the highly contagious nature of this virus made total containment a virtual impossibility. When a resident or staff member at Bethel facility exhibits symptoms or is tested positive for COVID-19, we have, again, followed all guidance from CMS, the CDC, and state and local health departments. Residents exhibiting symptoms or tested positive are treated in isolation to prevent any further spread, and they are closely monitored for any worsening of symptoms. In addition, if a resident in the nursing center or assisted living community tests positive for COVID-19, notification is shared with the responsible person when Bethel receives the results. CMS requires us to notify the families of our skilled nursing residents of status changes including when a confirmed infection of COVID-19 is identified, or whenever 3 or more residents or staff with new onset of respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other are under investigation. We report all positive confirmations of patients and employees directly to the local and state departments of health. Active positive residents are supported in identified “transitional areas” with dedicated staff equipped with proper personal protective equipment. All infection control protocols per CDC and CMS are followed extensively. We follow CDC guidelines in managing positive COVID-19 employees.
One of the guidelines from CMS and the CDC has been the restriction of visitors to our centers and communities to help prevent the introduction of the virus through asymptomatic individuals. We are aware that social interaction with family and friends is very important to a senior adult’s emotional and physical well-being. We would like to remind families and those who wish to visit with loved ones to use digital communication (i.e. – cell phone, Facetime, Facebook, Zoom, etc.) to stay in contact during this time. In addition, our staff have come up with creative ways for our residents to be engaged in activities to keep them happy and engaged. The staff at Bethel Lutheran Home are going “above and beyond” to ensure our residents are receiving high quality care during this period.
I would like to recognize our incredible employees for providing excellent care and compassion to our residents, and each other during these unprecedented times. Thank you to our families and community members for your kind words and outpouring of support. God Bless You!