COVID-19 Update: A letter from Nazareth Home President and CEO Mary Haynes

To all our family, friends and neighbors:

The past two weeks have been filled with news, guidance and change. I want to speak with you about how Nazareth Home has met the challenges of new information and separations that have come with our required responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, March 9, 2020, we began what is now a series of actions aimed at the confinement of this novel COVID-19 virus. Each of these changes became more restrictive as the week progressed with the involvement of the Kentucky Health Department, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, the Centers for Disease Control, the President of the United States and the task force put in place by our Governor Andy Beshear. We are grateful for the many ways we have been receiving information and the guidance and some rules we have been given in keeping our environment safe and secure. We are in a state of containment. The restriction of family is, of course, the most difficult of all. 

At this point, no staff member, elder or anyone involved with Nazareth Home, either campus, is sick with COVID-19. Please know that if anyone is affected by the virus, we will make notification and likely, our processes for staying safe may change.

Also, know that the leadership team of both campuses are very capable in a time of crisis. We have a compliance officer, Sandra King, who has thirty years as a nursing faculty and long term care leader. Two years ago, we identified a position called infection control preventionist. This person, Stephanie Nicholson, is a nurse practitioner. Her work, research and education have been of tremendous support and benefit to the leadership teams. Our nurse administrators are exceptional, as our survey histories demonstrate. Our other administrators and leaders are very equipped to manage this crisis, and I want to tell you, we have been on-site every day since Monday, March 9.  Beginning this weekend, we will have an administrator on duty on Saturdays and a nurse administrator on duty on Sundays to help with questions and concerns and to help with the increased communication needs. This practice is now scheduled through April 25.  

While you may be hearing or fearing a disturbance in the supply chain, we have no concerns about our food supply. It is secure, and we have no reason to believe that will change. The medical supplies, as you have heard, are a concern. Right now, we are secure in what we have to meet our current needs, but we do have a plan in place to moderate our use based on changes in the community or changes under our roof.

We have a very solid disaster plan that was approved during our Medicare survey at the end of last year.

Here are the major changes the response to the crisis have caused us to institute:

    • Absolute restriction of family and any other potential visitors. 
    • The screening of all staff for symptoms, exposure and travel.
    • Daily temperatures are taken, for staff at the beginning of each shift and daily for elders/residents.
    • Re-education in infection control, cleaning methods, hand hygiene and the importance of social distancing. 
    • Ceasing of communal Mass. Mass is televised, and the Eucharist distributed by our staff who have been educated and screened to do so.
    • Activity programs modified to observe social distancing.
    • Meal service changed to remove common dining.
    • No gatherings.
    • Stopped outpatient therapy services.
    • Limiting medical practitioners to essential visits only and asking personal care residents not to go out.
    • No home visits of our therapy staff or pre-discharge from our short stay therapy area.

Other things we are doing:

    • Daily monitoring of all the educational sites to learn what we should be doing.
    • Daily huddle of leadership to monitor the effectiveness of our policies and practices.
    • Continuing to admit patients and residents following best practice methods.
    • Trying to have fun, special treats and music to lift our spirits.
    • Stepped up communication, asking team members to help residents keep in touch with family via FaceTime, Facebook and Skype.
    • Using our in house Facebook private account to push out communication, educational videos and news.

We are relying on our values to lead us through this time. We are finding inspiration in the family conversations, the perspectives of the elders who have been through wars and rations, and as always the amazing efforts by the staff who are committed to Nazareth Home.

We appreciate your confidence and what must seem like a great amount of trust right now. Please know we hold ourselves to our commitments. Contact me at mhaynes@nazhome.org, and you will receive a prompt response from me or a member of the leadership group.

Our goal is to navigate through this time in a way that we end stronger in relationship with you and with each other. Be safe and stay well.

Mary N Haynes
President

X