COVID-19 Information and Precautions
May 30, 2020
To all the Families of The Pointe at Kilpatrick,
This letter is to update you on the status of Covid-19 at the Pointe, and generally how the Community is doing. Communication is extremely challenging, so this letter is also an effort to do my best to reach everyone, and provide some expectations going forward.
- If you are not already on the email distribution list I’ve used to provide updates, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to the list. Please identify the Resident you are connected with when you do.
- I will try to post an update on our website weekly, https://thepointeslf.com
Between these two options, I will do my best to keep you informed of significant developments.
As you know, after a prolonged period of relative calm, and no known cases of Covid-19 in the Community, our first positive test for an employee occurred on May 7, and for our first Resident on May 18. While we hoped those days would never come, we are also grateful that we have the benefit of the experience of other communities that have had to face it sooner. Speaking with those communities, I’m told the initial shock is traumatic, but that within weeks it calms down and there is a new Normal that involves Residents and Employees testing positive, and then returning to live and work here once the disease runs it’s course. While there is evidence that the majority of people aren’t devastated by the disease, some people’s lives are significantly changed and even lost. Obviously, among our Residents and Staff, there are people with risk factors that make them more susceptible to a negative outcome, so please keep all of them in your thoughts and Prayers as we do our best to protect them. While there is some comfort to be found in what other Communities report, it also reinforces the need to stay diligent and adherent to guidelines for Staff and Residents to contain it.
While until recently, testing was limited to people with significant symptoms, we now have access to testing on-site, and can finally have more information to address and contain the threat.
A total of 14 Residents have tested positive. 7 of them were discovered due to the 13 tests conducted at the Community, and the other 7 were tested at the hospital. We continue to monitor for signs and symptoms of the disease, and when significant symptoms are detected, they are transferred to the hospital for testing, and to ensure they have access to the best available resources to treat it. Approximately another 10 residents have been tested at the hospital since Covid started, and were found to be negative for the virus. So we have 14 Residents tested positive and 16 negative. While that may seem like an alarming ratio, know that all tested were based on symptoms or other conditions that made the priorities for testing. In that context more than half being Negative is a very good sign. One resident that tested positive at the hospital has now tested negative and was able to return.
A total of 9 Employees have tested Positive. 4 of them were asymptomatic and detected when we completed 20 tests on site. Of 20 employees tested on-site, 3 returned positive for COVID and were asymptomatic. All of housekeeping and a good sample of Dietary employees all returned Negative. One asymptomatic Nursing Assistant tested positive and two front-office staff. The other 6 employees were tested off-site on their own prior to us having the capability to test here. One was asymptomatic, the rest have different degrees of symptoms. One employee who tested positive has been released and has returned to work. Four more are expected to return this coming week.
On May 28, 9 more residents and 3 employees were tested on-site. We should have results early next week. Ideally, we will be able to test and periodically re-test all Residents and Staff. We are fortunate to have an experienced Nurse Practitioner performing all the tests. I’m told many Nursing Homes are having to have their own Nurses do them, and I prefer the expertise and consistency we are currently experiencing. Testing will be gradual at this point due to availability of resources, but I am so happy that we finally have a resource.
Testing does appear to be the key to containing the virus here and in the outside world, so hopefully, we will continue to have adequate access.
That’s a lot of information, and I imagine it raises questions, concerns, and fears. The number one question I get is, “was a positive employee or resident in contact with my loved one?” While that’s an important question to ask, it’s a hard one to answer with certainty. Unfortunately, we need to assume that asymptomatic Residents and Employees are among us, and continue to practice to adhere to CDC guidelines for containing the spread of the virus. The less prolonged contact we have with other people seems to be one of the keys, which is of course why the stricter you isolate yourself, the safer you are.
We are requiring Residents to wear masks when out of their apartments, and to strictly avoid interacting with other Residents in close quarters, or for extended periods of time. We appreciate you reinforcing that with them, as asymptomatic Resident to Resident transmission may be a greater risk than asymptomatic Employee to Resident transmission at this point.
Our goal is to not care for active COVID cases in this Community. Our Staffing Ratio, PPE availability, lack of expertise, and lack of readily available resources to respond to changes of conditions, makes hospitals and skilled nursing facilities the appropriate level of care. I feel it’s the best way to ensure that a given Resident’s course of illness is managed towards the best possible outcome. Covid-19 has transformed Supportive Living, and not in a good way. More than ever, ensuring people are in the right level of care is critical, so I ask in advance for your support should your loved one be tested positive. Should that happen, we can discuss the thinking around transferring them in more detail.
I apologize this is such a long letter, yet only scratches the surface, given the complexity of this environment during a Pandemic.
Thank you for your continued support, patience, understanding, and adherence to current and future restrictions brought about by Covid-19. While this is going to be a long-haul, I somehow feel encouraged that if we all do the right thing, we are on a course that will ultimately conclude with a return to normal. I believe that “new normal,” will be enhanced and even more appreciated for the hardships and heartaches all of us have to endure along the way.
Martin Bukacek, Executive Director
MOTHER’S DAY 2020 – (No Flowers Please)
We have a real challenge on our hands, making Mother’s Day special during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Not being able to spend time with our Mothers is painful enough, but for many that pain will be made worse by delivery, Restrictions necessitated to keep everyone safe. Naturally, in the absence of being able to visit and spend time, we all want to send things to try to make their day more special.
Unfortunately, I do have to ask for your support for a restriction on Cut Flowers. Because they are perishable, we will need to hold them for 48 – 72 hours so they will likely not present as well as intended. I cannot promise that any received will be delivered in good condition, and strongly recommend that you not send them at all.
Here are some suggestions for alternatives to flowers:
- Create a Mother’s Day Activity bucket to keep your loved one’s mind busy, filled with stationary, crossword puzzles, picture of grandchildren, a little sweet treat?
- If you have a green thumb, potting a plant from home would be much safer as you will be able to control who has come in contact with it.
- Cards (especially homemade,) Letters, crafts are always well received.
- Baked goods, if dropped off on Friday can be delivered on Mother’s Day.
- Comfortable Summer clothing
- Framed pictures
We will do our best to make everyone feel special this Mother’s Day, and we will have one heck of a big party when it’s safe to do so for all the sacrifices we are having to make to keep the Pointe Safe.
Martin and the Team
April 29, 2020
Executive Director Update,
Depending on your point of reference, it is roughly 7 weeks since the COVID 19 World Pandemic entered and disrupted our Lives beyond recognition. I recall feeling a great sense of gratitude when we got through the first Weekend after “lockdown” without a case, and I recall capturing that moment and that feeling knowing that we could be slammed with cases like so many Senior Living Communities have now been. While the Residents and Staff here deserve a ton of credit for the fact that we don’t have any cases as of this minute, but this is such a difficult virus that even if you do everything right, it can still take hold and potentially spread out of control.
While we will continue to do our best to keep it out, it feels almost inevitable that it will get in. Our goal is to then contain it and prevent it from spreading. We are on CDC calls at least Daily, and doing our best to keep abreast of and implementing all preventive and containing measures. We feel adequately prepared if it happens, but no one in their right mind is comfortable or should feel fully in control of this virus.
Last week I suddenly awakened to the fact that one key to running a Community like this right now is to “embrace” this horrible situation as “The New Normal.” By embracing it, we have a chance to make the best of it. Early on, I realized that one challenge this disease poses is that every day we have to make multiple difficult decisions without any good options. If that’s the New Normal, then our goal has to be to strive for the “Best Possible” living and working conditions for the Residents and Employees at The Pointe at Kilpatrick.
Here are some thoughts on how to improve things:
Challenge 1: Due to Communal Dining restrictions, Residents have been forced to eat in their apartments for over a month now. Because we started from “crisis mode” the kitchen did a great job distributing 3 meals per day in Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils to the Residents. I can’t imagine eating 3 meals per day out of Styrofoam, and a Kitchen that takes pride in their food as ours does can’t feel good about what’s being served. I can’t allow this to continue without a fight.
Partial Solution: Yesterday we did a trial run serving one of the floors their Lunch from a “satellite” kitchen. We set up the apartments with napkins, silverware, etc. We set up steam tables near the elevators so that the food can be plated on china, and brought to the apartments within a time-frame more like you’d experience in the Dining room. It went well, and next Monday we plan to initiate it Community-wide for the Mid-day meal.
Challenge 2: Residents have different wishes for breakfast ranging from a complete hot breakfast to just cold cereal and in some cases nothing at all from outside. When we started service to the rooms, our default position was to prepare full breakfasts for everyone. Not only was this wasteful, but it’s also not appetizing to have a full breakfast when all you want is something less. For those residents who just want to sleep in and eat it’s a nuisance.
Partial Solutions: Karl, the Culinary Director, and his Team conducted surveys with the Residents so that we can better cater to their individual wants and needs for breakfast. It’s a big production to get over 100 meals distributed to apartments, so it takes a lot to tailor the meals. Since this condition has persisted, we now need to try to tailor the service better than our initial approach. A resident still has the ability to say they want something else or more on a given day, but we will have a breakfast plan more catered to their general wishes.
Challenge 3: Residents need food and other items that are not provided by the Pointe. For example food and beverages for their apartment refrigerators, as well as personal items like toilet paper, briefs, and toothpaste. Since they can’t go out shopping, and we can’t allow visitors in the building, we are having huge amounts of things dropped off for us to hold 48 hours before distributing. Because of the 48 hour period, we are unable to accept perishable items like milk and ice cream.
Something we are considering in response: If this is the new normal, perhaps we can come up with a plan to provide the items they want and pass the cost along to them. It is far less risky to acquire all food and non-perishable items from a single source, rather than every resident’s families shopping and dropping them off. While the 48 hours is a guideline based on the length of time the virus lives on surfaces like paper and plastic, there is no guarantee that something brought from outside doesn’t bring the virus into the building. Because Gordon Foods is our Food supplier, it’s conceivable that we can stock their apartments with things like milk, juice, ice cream, cereal, crackers, bagels, etc. We also order toiletries and things from preferred providers, and we could potentially expand our “country store” concept to make more things available for purchase here at cost. Please email me any thoughts about this idea at email@example.com. The goal is purely to reduce risk, by limiting the number of sources of things brought into the building.
I hope this information is helpful and demonstrates our commitment to doing the best we can under these circumstances. Just like under normal circumstances a good Community is constantly striving to do better, so in some ways, it’s no different. I guess the obvious difference is that under these circumstances, our hands are tied in so many ways. Because of that, the creative and implementation processes are harder. You have to like a challenge to be in this field, and I am Blessed to be among Residents, Employees, and Families who are strong and determined to overcome this monumental and unavoidable one.
Thank You for your patience and support. We all look forward to a day we can relax and enjoy life free from the stress and anxiety of a World Pandemic. It will come, and we will Celebrate!
Updated Message to Residents, Families, and Employees at the Pointe.
It’s Tuesday, April 14th, and it feels like a miracle that The Pointe at Kilpatrick has gotten this far without any known cases of the COVID-19 virus among our residents and staff. We are by no means out of the woods here, and the unfortunate reality seems to be that it’s just a matter of time until it comes to us to some degree. That looming probability should not dis-hearten or scare us, but rather we need to appreciate that we couldn’t have asked for a better 4 weeks to prepare for it.
While we’ve scrambled, made decisions every day without any good options, held our breath and Prayed, so much of the world, was already facing the very worst that the virus has to offer. My heart goes out to the Heroes at the Hospitals and our Emergency Responders who are providing hand’s on care to people afflicted with the disease – often without the Personal Protective Equipment, they need to ensure their safety. My heart breaks for the individuals and families who have suffered through the illness and in many cases the loss of life. As we stand here at the Pointe with relative calm, Senior Living Communities all around us are experiencing cases among their Residents and Employees. In fact, my parents are at a very nice Skilled Nursing Facility that I just learned has 11 active cases among residents, and 7 employees have also tested positive. While I’m obviously concerned for my parents and other Residents, my Heart goes out to the Facility Team that appears to have done everything right, but the virus found its way in. They are not alone, The Pointe is at this point an exception.
While we can take great pride in the fact that all of our hard work, effort and decision making has kept it out for the past month, the reality is that even if we do everything right we can’t necessarily stop this. Nevertheless, we got through a critical phase of the Pandemic, and we must somehow celebrate the fruits of our Labor and the good fortune we’ve “enjoyed.” We can’t let the fact that we are still at high risk, prevent us from Celebrating the days and weeks we’ve just had without it. I’m so proud to be part of this community, and grateful for the Residents, Employees, and Families who have done their part.
We are starting to hear the virus penetrating the personal lives of our employees, and that highlights that we are all at risk, and also at risk of bringing the Virus with us to the Community. There may be no preventing it from happening, but if everyone stays diligent about maintaining Social Distancing and strict attention to cleaning, sanitizing and washing hands, we can do our part to minimize the risk. Trips to the grocery store feel like one of the most dangerous activities now, and please treat it accordingly. You don’t know who touched or coughed on items you pick up from the store, so handle what you put in your car and bring home accordingly. If you can let non-perishable items sit for a couple of days it will reduce the chances of them infecting your family.
As employees experience it in their personal lives, it puts them at risk of not being able to come to work. That in-turn puts the Residents and Co-workers at risk of not having the number of employees on a given shift that we want and even need. This is what’s happening at the place my Parents are at, and it’s inevitable if this virus affects the Employees and their Families. What keeps me up at night is knowing that for no fault of the employees who can’t make it work, the Residents and Employees who are here will have to endure less than what they deserve and what we all want for them. There may be trying times ahead in this respect, so let’s brace for it, do our best to manage it, and hold on tight until this pandemic is over.
We all want to get back to normal, and that day will surely come. For now, we need to stay the course and recognize that each of us has the ability to spread or contain the virus by how we conduct ourselves. For the employees, please remember that wearing a mask while in the building and around others (including co-workers) is critical. Being conscious that you might infect anything you touch, and anything you touch may already be infected. Please don’t let the anxiety that thought raises scare you. Recognize that 99% of the time it was probably not necessary. Just know that by treating every action as a potential threat, you may be the one to prevent that 1% from slipping by us and letting the virus get in. you are not spreading nor contacting the virus when you take those preventive measures.
So while we hope and pray none of our Residents and Employees will get the virus, let’s assume that it is going to happen before this is over – and again, it will be over. While the Nurses, First Responders, and Doctors have been dealing with it in “Crisis Mode,” we’ve had some time to prepare. We have proven to be a Strong Team and one that has treated this World Pandemic with proper respect and concern. We would not be where we are had the entire Resident population and Employees not stepped up to the plate and Lived Heroically while doing all we can to prevent the virus from reaching us. Our efforts have also Prepared us for whatever comes next, and I’m confident we will face it with the same courage and conviction that has made this past month so challenging, and everyone’s performance nothing short of awe-inspiring and inspirational.
April 7, 2020
COVID- 19 Update from Martin
Once again, I apologize for the lack of communication and want you to know that it’s purely a product of too much to do in a day, and the difficulty of finding time. It doesn’t help that things are changing rapidly, so communication can be outdated almost as quickly as it’s posted.
- We still have no active/confirmed cases of coronavirus. We’ve had a number of respiratory conditions emerge, which of course warrant the closest scrutiny and management, and we appear to have successfully managed “normal” colds and other respiratory conditions without having to send a person out for testing. We did have a doctor send someone out to the hospital who was twice tested and twice found to be negative for COVID-19! While we are so grateful for the days and weeks now that we appear to have steered clear, I’m assuming it’s inevitable that we will be hit by it. Some might say I’m tempting fate to think that, but I look at it as assuming the worse, preparing as best we can and then seeing what the coming days bring. So far so good, and I am so grateful to the Residents, Staff and Family members for doing their part.
- Given that we don’t appear to have it in the building, we have our defenses up to try to keep it out. Employees are being encouraged to exercise proper Social Distancing and handwashing in their home lives. Avoiding unnecessary contact with anyone, including loved ones. While in the building employees must wear masks, not to protect themselves, but to protect the Residents and co-workers in case they contracted the virus and just don’t know it. The fact that people can be contagious without showing any symptoms makes it essential for all of us to assume we are carrying the virus and act accordingly to protect others. We are having to re-use masks, which is not ideal, but we are doing it in a manner that we feel strikes the right balance of providing protection while conserving the limited quantities our Nation has available.
- We have a supply of N95 Masks, gowns, gloves, that we are holding until such time as we have an active case to manage. Masks especially are scarce right now, so we hope and pray we don’t need to use them, but we do have an adequate supply to react quickly and completely should the need arise.
- Deliveries including Mail must be held for 48 hours before distributing to the Residents. We remain not willing to accept perishable items, including Flowers until further notice. We understand the desire to send special things for the Residents, and this time of year Flowers can be a real pick-me-up, but we can’t run the risk that they are bringing the virus into the building, and we don’t know who has handled them.
- Meals continue to be distributed to the Apartments since it’s the only way for us to comply with Social Distancing. Gordon Foods is our supplier, and we are grateful to be assured that the supply chain should not suffer under this crisis, and it gives us some comfort to have a “single source” for all perishable and food items. They are professional and like us, have processes in place to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
- We have received no guidance on Testing Residents and Staff for COVID-19. It seems that the only way to be tested is if you have active symptoms and go to the hospital. Hopefully, this will change soon. It would give us great comfort if we could do some random testing, and hopefully, this will occur soon.
We don’t know when this will be over, but there’s evidence we are in a critical 2 week period right now. I am so impressed with the Residents, Families, and Employees, and we have weathered the first part of the storm, and are as well-positioned to deal with what’s ahead as we could hope. We will get through this.
March 26, 2020
For the Family and Friends of the Residents and Staff of the Pointe at Kilpatrick.
Sorry, this will be long, and probably still just scratch the surface. I hope it is helpful.
Once again I am excited to wake up and have no texts or voice mail expressing concern that the Corona Virus may have come to the Pointe. Since we went into full “lockdown” a week ago, I have celebrated every such morning, and marvel at the way our Staff, Families and most of all our Residents have managed and coped with this incredible disruption to our lives. Whatever the future brings, I will never forget the countless moments this past week, in which I’ve witnessed the Best in Humanity and felt so Blessed under such horrific circumstances for our Community and the World.
While in many cases I have had to be the one that has had to be the bearer of bad news for Families about restrictions we have to put in place in order to do everything imaginable to prevent the spread of the disease. The temptation to make exceptions or “lighten up” has been ever-present and frustrating. We have done our best to hold firm because whatever comes our way, we cannot afford to have to question whether we did enough to prevent it. Should we be hit, there will likely be people lining up to question whether we did enough, but that’s the least of my concerns. In normal times we bear such a weighty responsibility to care for precious lives, and when things go badly it bends and can even break our hearts. In normal and extraordinary times, we in healthcare accept the responsibilities we have, and try to “tread the needle” of affording Residents freedom of movement and self-determination, while being their “protectors.” This Pandemic has forced us to err on the side of protection. Please forgive me if I’ve ever been less than gracious when I’ve had to explain decisions we’ve made when in that moment there were no good options available.
One of the saddest ironies at play here is that at a time when people need to hug and be hugged more than ever, we must maintain “social distancing.” For healthcare workers, that extends to our home lives. Parents have to somehow try to make their children feel safe and Loved, in a time where having them sit on your lap or hold them in your arms comes with it, risk. I don’t have children, but I honestly don’t know how I would manage that but am quite sure Social distance would be next to, or impossible to maintain with the children. For those of us with parents in Communities like the Pointe, or in the outside community that same dynamic exists. It’s heart bending to live through this aspect of the pandemic. Skype and Zoom meetings will never replace hugs and kisses, but if you haven’t experienced the joy of a Zoom meeting with the ones you love, it’s oddly fulfilling.
Spring is coming, we will get through this. While I don’t want to predict when we will have the comfort to relax some restrictions, I firmly believe we will have some opportunities in the near future. Spring is coming. We are gearing up to give Residents the opportunity to get out for some fresh air and exercise. I can imagine families being able to see residents outside while maintaining appropriate “Social Distancing.” As we enter that phase, I will again likely have to exert some control in order to minimize risk – but that will, of course, be rooted in what Science is recommending.
It used to sound cliché when we tell Residents Families and each other that the Residents in our Community become extensions of our Families. This has been put to the test by this Virus, and I can tell you with certainty that it’s true and heartfelt. Your Loved ones are Ours too, and they are Loved.
My biggest self-criticism has been my ability to Communicate effectively with everyone; Residents, Staff, and Families. We went through a phase of things changing so rapidly that any communication would require frequent updates and change of course. I’m sure there are technologies, some at my disposal to communicate more efficiently and effectively, and we will figure it out.
Here are the current Restrictions:
No visits, and minimal contact with staff when dropping things off. Hopefully, we will soon be able to forecast the lightening of this, but for now, it’s a key to keeping everyone safe.
You can drop things off, but any perishable foods will not be accepted or thrown out. If you let us know a favorite perishable food item, we will do our best to provide it within reason. Unfortunately the more we try to “cater” to individuals right now, the more it strains our human resources to take care of everyone. If it’s important, please let us know what special things we can do for or provide your loved one.
Non-perishable items, including mail and packages, will be held for 48 hours before being given to the Resident. Exceptions will be made for prescription medications of course. The virus is believed to live on hard surfaces for 48 hours, so that’s something to be aware of at home too. It may or may not be an over-reaction to do the same holding pattern at home, but my wife and I have implemented it in our house. If you pick up non-perishables you can put them in a 48-hour holding pattern and wash your hands after handling them.
Any flowers or packages that are labeled “refrigeration required” will be thrown away. With Spring, the temptation might be to have flowers delivered. We will not be able to deliver them, at least in the current way of thinking about deliveries. I haven’t heard how long the virus lives on plants, so we will treat like perishable food and not accept them at this point.
Residents are “sheltered in place” in their apartments. Obviously this is a hardship for them, and we are concerned about the physical and psychological toll it may take on them. Some people need more encouragement than others to do an exercise routine. Some residents prop their doors open to create less of a shut-in feeling, and I am encouraging all to consider this as a small and easy way to reduce isolation. We have been encouraging exercise and are ramping up some hallway efforts for activities and exercises. Residents are able to leave their rooms, and some are going for walks. As long as they are not congregating, this is acceptable. When the weather permits, we will actively escort the less mobile Resodemts out of their rooms to enjoy some fresh air and encourage open windows at least intermittently.
Meals are provided in the rooms except on New Day, where One person eats in the apartment and one eats in the dining room. This is tough and requires great compromise for Residents and a challenge for staff. We’ve always prided ourselves on our dining program and were actively trying to come up with a plan more tailored to New Day, but now we are having to be satisfied with the basics all around. Spring is Coming, we will emerge from this ready to take full advantage of the freedom that will come when we can relax some restrictions.
A word about Personal Protective Equipment, (PPE)
As I’m sure you are aware, there is a severe shortage of Masks and other PPE. We appear to be in better shape than most, and have a reasonable supply that we are using as needed, and conserving as able. In some direct care situations, employees are encouraged to use masks and gloves, even though no one currently has symptoms. If we get someone with symptoms, we do have an adequate short-term supply (longer than most apparently) that we will be able to keep our employees and other residents safe.
If you work in construction or know someone who does, we would welcome donations of masks used in construction, there’s a very good chance they will be appropriate for healthcare. It’s possible any PPE we collect here will end up going to a Healthcare provider who ends up needing it more than us, but we would appreciate you reaching out to try to locate construction masks, as there are Nurses in some settings being told to use “bandanas” to protect themselves. We are all in this together. Our goal is not to hoard at other people’s expense, but to also ensure we have a reasonable amount of PPE to meet our foreseeable needs. We are in good shape with respect to PPE but welcome any efforts to secure masks and many people aren’t aware that construction masks fit the bill.
March 19, 2020
Dear Family and Friends:
Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the United States we are taking a proactive approach, following industry standards and asking that you refrain from visiting your loved one at this time.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We realize that social interaction with your loved one is important so we are happy to set up a FaceTime, Video Chat or Skype call with your family member(s) so that you can visit with them safely. Please be assured that we are taking every measure to protect their well-being.
At this time, we are strictly adhering to the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19:
- We are restricting visitation
- Should a compassionate care situation arise, such as end-of-life, we will make special arrangements for you to be with your loved one
- All volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel (HCP), including barbers, are being put on hold
- We are suspending group activities and outings as well as communal dining for the safety of our residents
- We are checking the residents daily for any signs, such as fever or flu-like symptoms so that we can prevent any cross-contamination and attend to their needs
We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we work through this global health crisis.
We will make every effort to keep our website up to date as things change during this pandemic.
If you would like more information related to COVID-19 please follow the links below.