May 8, 2020 – Family Letter
Dear Residents and Families,
We write to you today with a new sense of optimism. Data for Massachusetts is starting to show improvement in our broader communities due to everyone’s hard work to stay home and socially distance. We too are seeing signs that our continuing efforts to stop the spread of the virus in our homes are working and that our gradual recovery is underway. Fewer residents and staff are testing positive each week, and the number of residents and staff who have recovered is growing. A few residents have even gone home to reunite with grateful and relieved family members. Like in this video from Brudnick Center for Living in Peabody, our on-site staff has been thrilled to celebrate with them as they leave.
As part of our commitment to keep you informed, here are a few updates from our team this week.
State Resources and Successful Visits from State Clinical Auditors
Last week, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts will begin to provide additional resources including desperately needed funding to all nursing homes to support increased staffing costs, personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing of all residents and staff. We welcome the support from the state as we continue to fight this pandemic. As part of the funding, the state has implemented a checklist and auditing process to ensure compliance with recommendations such as infection control measures.
This week, state clinical surveyors began their regular audits at each nursing home to examine procedures for infection control, PPE, staffing, clinical care, and communications to residents, families, and staff. We are happy to report that all four of our skilled nursing residences in Chelsea, Peabody, and Longmeadow were visited and that no issues were flagged by the auditors. In addition to our strong and strict adherence to clinical best practices for infection control, PPE, and clinical care, the auditors noted the exceptional care provided to our residents by knowledgeable and compassionate staff. We congratulate and thank all our staff for being the best at what they do.
Virtual Family Support Group
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives dramatically as our everyday routines and sense of security have been severely disrupted. We know many of our residents’ families are experiencing strong emotions including increased anxiety, stress, and anticipatory grief. While we continue to support our residents on-site, family caregivers may be struggling due to the current separation from their loved ones. We have therefore created a virtual family support group program and are offering it to all you.
In this two session group series, you will have an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings in a supportive and safe space while connecting with other families who can empathize with what you are going through. Our experienced social workers will share coping strategies and resources during each session. To express interest or learn more about the program, please fill out this form: Virtual Family Support Group.
Online Scheduling of Family Video Calls
We are excited to announce that after a successful pilot program, we are launching a new online scheduling system for families to schedule video calls with our residents. This new system will allow you, our families, to set up a 15-minute call with your loved ones. You can easily see available time slots without the frustration you may have felt with back and forth calls or emails with our staff to schedule calls. You will also be able to plan ahead and gather more family members to have a group call by sharing a single video conference appointment.
While we have tested this system in a few units and sites, we still ask for your patience and consideration as we ramp up. To ensure that all families have the opportunity to connect, we please ask that you limit scheduling to 1 future appointment at a time. We will be evaluating demand, technologies, and the best times to offer. Your feedback about this new process is important. A survey will be shared after you schedule and attend a call. Instructions and the link to access the scheduling site will be sent via email and will be posted on our website in the coming days.
We believe that maintaining regular communication between our residents and families is key to healing, health, and well-being. While the COVID-19 crisis has stretched our staff, we have also been hard at work to find solutions that help free up resources to be dedicated to activities that positively impact the lives of our residents.
Mother’s Day Celebrations
The bond between mother and child is unbreakable and while it is difficult to be apart, we would like to do our part to help honor our mothers on their special day. To brighten the day of all the mothers and grandmothers in our homes, all female residents will be receiving flowers and plants. We thank the generosity of Lowe’s and local greenhouses for their donation to our nursing homes to mark this special occasion. We will also have extra staff on hand to try and connect as many families as possible with their mothers and grandmothers via phone and video calls.
We Want to Hear From You
If you have any ideas on how we can continue to improve our communications and services, we want you to let us know. We encourage you to complete a brief survey to get your feedback.
For any questions or to share words of encouragement or support for our staff, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.