An Update from the Administrator
Dear family, friends and volunteers,
I hope this letter finds you all healthy and doing well! I want to catch you up on how we are doing here at Rolling Hills and The Meadows.
We are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus into our home and preparing to care for residents who may become ill. Our residents are at high risk of becoming infected with viruses due to lowered immune systems and multiple medical issues. Our residents are more likely than others to develop severe complications as well so we take this very seriously!
We continue to communicate with the Wisconsin Department of Health, Region 4 Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition and the Monroe County Health Department to stay abreast of the spread of the virus in our area. There have been frequent changes to the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, CMS and the Wisconsin Department of Health and as each change comes we are implementing them!
All staff are masking every day to help prevent us from bringing COVID-19 in to our residents. We have also provided masks to residents who are able to use them and are encouraging them to wear them when out of their rooms and off the living areas. Many thanks go out to the volunteers, family members and other community members who have graciously provided their time and sewing skills to make sure we have enough masks! We have surgical and N95 masks to use to protect caregivers when we have residents with the virus. The cloth masks are allowing us to save the critical medical grade protective equipment for when we need it. We have been steadily increasing our supply in preparation of an outbreak. We intend to be as ready as possible!
Staff continue to clean and disinfect high touch surfaces and all shared resident equipment frequently. We screen staff for fever and illness before every shift and monitor residents daily for respiratory symptoms and fever. All physician and medical provider visits are through telehealth and phone to limit healthcare staff from going from clinics, hospitals and other nursing homes and carrying illness into ours. (Some of our staff are learning new tech skills, like it or not!)
The health and well-being of all of our residents is our highest priority! When residents show signs of illness we are contacting the health department and their medical provider immediately. We are testing for COVID-19 whenever symptoms could indicate they have the illness. Thus far we have tested three residents and all have been negative. I am also happy to report that we have not had any staff test positive either. I assure you that family members and staff will be notified if or when we have a positive test result. There is enough worry at this time, you don’t need to worry that you will be kept in the dark about test results! Privacy regulations restricts us from giving out specific resident information but we will provide as much general information as we can.
Residents who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be quarantined on a separate unit. We are screening all new admissions and those coming from the hospital are tested for COVID-19 prior to coming. New residents are monitored for signs or symptoms of illness and are admitted to private rooms only. We will not be admitting new residents who are COVID positive in an effort to keep the virus from establishing a foothold in our home. We will be providing care to our current residents should they become ill with COVID.
Our Activity Department staff are being very creative with fun activities to keep residents engaged and spirits up. We recently received a trishaw electric bike so we can get some of our residents out in to the sunshine and fresh air in a safe way! Many of you are receiving emails with pictures to keep you up to date on the happenings here at Rolling Hills! You can also check out the blog on our website at www.rollinghillsseniorliving.org!
Thank you again for helping to keep our residents safe! I know this is an incredibly difficult time to be separated from loved ones and friends. The visiting restrictions are difficult but necessary. I recognize the sacrifice that all of you are making by not visiting in person. The news from other nursing homes and senior living centers that have been impacted by the virus are very sobering. This virus is often deadly to elders. Your support in staying away from in-person visits helps significantly reduce the risk of exposure for all our residents. Nursing staff and social workers will keep you up to date on any changes in the health of your loved one and you can always call at any time just to check in. Exceptions to the visitation restriction will be granted by the Nursing Home Administrator or Director of Nursing for extenuating or end of life circumstances only. If a visit is approved you will be required to be screened for illness and you must follow all infection precautions when you are in the building. If you are ill you will not be allowed to visit. This is for the protection of all residents.
Please be sure to send cards, letters and packages to the residents. They very much appreciate hearing from loved ones and friends! Letters and cards can be enjoyed and read several times. Family pictures and craft projects from grandchildren are shared with pride and decorate resident rooms! You can also stay in touch via phone calls, facetime or other video calling. Phone calls can be made directly to the unit, resident phone if they have their own or you can contact Linda Fabry during the week to schedule a video visit. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 608-269-8829.
I very much look forward to the day when we can begin welcoming visitors again! We will notify you as soon as restrictions begin to be lifted. I anticipate that it will happen in stages with some restrictions remaining but at this time we remain under orders to remain closed to visitors.
Thank you again for your patience, support and understanding. Stay safe and healthy until we can throw our doors open again!
Linda Smith NHA