July 17, 2020
Dear Family and Friends,
We have much good news this week! All of our Assisted Living Tenants are COVID-19 free, the majority of Care Center Resident results have come back and are negative, and all staff were negative last week (this week’s results are still pending). We had two residents in the Care Center move out of isolation, leaving only 2 residents in our isolation area – hopefully to come off soon!
We are also pleased to announce that we are developing a new program called ‘Essential Caregiver’ – in accordance with guidelines released from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) last Friday. Our goal through this program is to help our residents who are missing care previously provided by a loved one or outside caregiver prior to the visitor restrictions required by state and federal guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although social distancing and physical separation are still important to keep residents safe, we are taking steps to combat the unintended consequences of prolonged social isolation and to maintain overall health and well-being.
Our team has met extensively to discuss what this program looks like for Jones-Harrison. We have a duty to protect our residents and staff and any time traffic is increased through our building it is an added risk to their safety. This program has the potential to add 150 people through our doors each week. Opening our doors, even to a limited extent, is a very risky and polarizing concept; especially during a time when we still have 2 resolving cases of COVID-19, one of our neighborhoods is still in an incubation period, and cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the community at large. Just because we can implement this program, does not mean we should! Please take our anonymous single question survey to help us gauge how you are feeling about this.
MDH has put forward guidance around Essential Caregiver visits as something that communities can elect to implement. As stated in the above paragraph, we feel the need to move forward cautiously and therefore will begin this new program first with our Assisted Living on July 27th, 2020. Assisted Living staff will be reaching out next week to each Tenant to identify their Essential Caregiver and to schedule visits with that person. We chose to start this program with the Assisted Living first because of the smaller number of Tenants and because they have not had a positive case of COVID-19 in over a month.
We ask for patience over the next few days and weeks as we design a program that balances the safety, health and wellness for all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role. We recognize the critical role family members and other outside caregivers, such as friends, volunteers, and private personal caregivers often have in the care and support of residents. Please know this is our ‘phase 1’ of implementing this program and it will continue to grow as we feel we can safely do so! More communication will come next week with what this Essential Caregiver program will look like at Jones-Harrison.
Chantal Peterson, MS, LNHA, Campus Administrator