We have reached a historic time for our organization and country. We have passed the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. I will never forget the day I received the phone call back on Saturday, March 7th, 2020, and was notified that we had our first confirmed Covid-19 positive case in Nebraska. We learned that the individual had participated in a YMCA event with over 500 participants, located in a community where we have three of our Nye Health Services campuses. I will never forget the immediate action taken by our campus teams and leaders to secure our environments and restrict visitation at our three Fremont campus locations, fighting to keep the virus out of our campuses. There was heartache and anxiety felt by everyone because we didn’t really know what to expect.
Our team made personal phone calls to every family member, every team member, and spoke one on one with each of our residents. I clearly remember that our message was intended to be hopeful, that we anticipated a two-week timeline, until contact tracing and exposure risk within the community could be determined. Then two weeks turned into three, and three into four. Then one month turned into two, and so on. It seems completely unbelievable to me looking back at where we were one year ago compared to where we are now. An entire year later, and our guidance is to finally begin accommodating visitation! To say we are beyond excited is an understatement!
We have been hosting many compassionate care visits on our campuses, and the joy accompanied with such an emotional and significant moment for our residents, family members and team members is unparalleled. The love, laughter, and happy tears we get to witness every day create so much eagerness for the joy we have ahead!
As we begin opening the doors to our campuses and easing our visitation restrictions, we will be following the guidance received from CMS and DHHS. We ask for your patience and support as we once again implement new processes to ensure we can maintain the infection precautions in place to reduce the risk of any Covid-19 exposure.
Please review the below critical precautions related to visitation on our campuses to maintain safety and minimize the risk of Covid-19 exposure:
- Outdoor visitation is always the preferred method for any visitation due to the minimized risk of exposure to Covid-19, and will be prioritized as weather permits.
- Visitors will complete and pass the pre-visit screening on a kiosk located at the entry point to the campus.
- Visitors will wear a face mask at all times and complete hand hygiene before and after the visit.
- Visitors with any exposure to a Covid-19 positive individual, regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status, will have entry restricted for 14 days past the exposure date.
- Visitors will be escorted directly to the resident room at the beginning of the visit, and directly out of the campus at the end of the visit. Visitors may not congregate or gather in any public spaces, including livings rooms, nurses’ stations, dining rooms, hallways, or offices at any time. Since public spaces are prohibited to visitors, including restrooms, please plan accordingly prior to the visit.
- If a resident has been fully vaccinated and is 2 weeks post final vaccine, they may choose to have physical contact with a visitor. Yes, that means hugs!!!! I am anticipating lots of happy tears! Please wear your face mask at all times and sanitize your hands before and after resident contact.
- Per the Center for Medicare and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the quarantine period following a medical appointment or resident outing will be contingent upon the vaccination status of the resident, total vaccination status of the resident population, county positivity rate, and vaccination status of any close contacts during the outing. Please complete the Outing Education & Agreement document with a campus team member prior to taking a resident out of the campus for any reason.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and a time where farmers start planting their crops, gardens are planted, animals come out and everything comes back to life. How timely that it aligns with these significant changes and opportunities for our residents, family members and team members. We look forward to seeing you smile with your eyes as you begin celebrating within our environments again and appreciate your support and trust in our services. Our mission is to “Celebrate Life” and this is definitely a time for celebration!
Thank you to our residents, family members, and team members for your continued support and patience as we navigate the ever-changing information related to Covid-19 management. We are nearing a year that we have been fighting this battle and the restrictions on visitation for our residents. Within the past few weeks, we have experienced a renewed energy amongst our residents and team members while receiving their Covid-19 vaccines. We are thankful to report we have completed all of our first and second vaccine clinics and are in the process of awaiting the third and final clinic date for anyone who attended the second clinic for their initial vaccine.
To those of you who have received your Covid-19 vaccine, thank you! You are part of the solution to this global pandemic. We appreciate your continued support to keep our community safe and healthy.
As we go back to our lives with the new vaccines on board, it is important to remember the following facts.
Information about your vaccination:
- You must get two doses to attain the full effect of the vaccine.
- It takes a few weeks after the second dose to build immunity.
- The vaccine protects most people from getting ill or sick and becoming hospitalized, but it is still possible that you could carry the virus and be contagious to others.
- We are still learning how long immunity will last with this vaccine.
Other information about the vaccination process:
- Although people have begun to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, experts say we’re still facing a long road with the virus.
- Please expect many restrictions to remain in place for some time as we all work together to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
- It will take a long time for the vaccine to make a big difference while the pandemic persists.
- We need to see a large portion of the population get the vaccine- remember the long-term care staff and residents were the first to receive it in a 4–6-month long line.
- COVID visitation and testing policies in all medical facilities, including long term care and assisted living, may stay the same for many months as researchers continue to learn more about the vaccine and the immunity gained from it.
As we continue to learn, we continue to improve and modify. We are committed to living our mission and creating an environment where “People Live & Work Happy Here.”
If you have questions, please contact the campus administration directly or send your questions to our COVID email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have received updates and timelines specific to the Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan from our pharmacy partner. The pharmacy staff will provide and administer the vaccines to all residents and team members who have consented to receiving the vaccine. The pharmacy anticipates scheduling vaccine clinics for our residents and team members the week of 12/28/20. We will not know the specific date and time of the vaccine clinic until next week.
We know that there may be hesitancy about receiving the vaccine, but we are trusting the science and encourage participation to get us one step closer to hugs, singing and celebrations. We have attached multiple documents from our pharmacy for your review:
In order to ensure we are in compliance with the State Vaccine Plan, we have specific requirements that must be met in order to receive a vaccine, including obtaining verbal or written consent for every individual. Our team will be reaching out to the resident’s Responsible Party via phone to review the consent form.
This is definitely a hopeful time and reason to celebrate during the holiday season, but please be aware that our current guidelines including wearing face masks and personal protective equipment, social distancing and visitation processes will not change upon receipt of this vaccine without further guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services.
If you have questions, please contact the campus administration directly or send your questions to our COVID email: email@example.com.
To respond to the pandemic, we have partnered with area hospitals to establish COVID-19 neighborhoods on our skilled campuses to care for patients with COVID-19. Hospitals are facing increased demand for beds and the need to find care for those patients who are COVID-19 positive but don’t need hospital-level care is growing. These neighborhoods are a way that we can continue to provide the very best care to our residents and seniors in our community.
We are fortunate that the layout of our campuses allows us to create isolated COVID-19 neighborhoods with dedicated equipment, supplies, and designated staff that don’t intermingle with any other part of our campus. Our success rate has been very positive due to the dedicated team members who choose to work in COVID-19 neighborhoods.
Brenda has been working for Nye for 18 years and was one of the first team members to join our COVID-19 unit in Fremont, Nebraska.
She shared, “When the COVID-19 neighborhood opened on our campus, I instantly knew I needed to be part of that team. I knew it would be challenging, physically, and mentally but I did not give it a second thought. I care so much about all of the residents. A COVID-19 diagnosis can be really scary for the residents and I wanted to be there for them, make them smile, and feel cared for.”
Team members are incentivized to courageously work in our COVID-19 neighborhoods and compensated at a higher rate of pay for partnering with us to provide care to those residents in need. If you are passionate about serving seniors and would like to hear more about working in a COVID-19 neighborhood or one of our non-COVID neighborhoods, please apply here.
If you have any questions about our COVID-19 neighborhoods please contact us here.
I want to share some good news about the response to COVID-19. This virus has turned our world upside down and much of the news coverage is negative, depressing and frightening. Health care workers on nursing facility and assisted living campuses have been asked to shoulder the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, our elderly.
You are the unsung heroes in this fight, who come to work every day because you are passionate about protecting our residents. You leave your families at home, don your masks, get your temperatures taken, and go into battle armed with a bottle of sanitizer. You are willing to have swabs shoved up your noses every week or more. You do this because you care about our residents while also quietly hoping that you will not be the person who accidentally brings the virus on campus. You deserve to have a light shown on you to celebrate your hard work.
You make a difference and significantly impact the lives of our elders. You improvise to bring joy and laughter to our residents who have not hugged family and friends for many months, you cry with residents and families when illness and death occurs, and you remain committed to protecting yourselves and your family when you are off work so as to not contract the virus. You are warriors, fighting this battle for over 6 months with no near end in sight. An average person does not take on this kind of work, this requires a special person who is strong and committed. I am humbled by your valiant efforts every day.
COVID 19 is an insidious virus that can find its way onto any campus through individuals who are positive but asymptomatic and may be on a campus before the next round of testing occurs. You have been successful at minimizing COVID occurring on our campuses and aggressive at managing it when it occasionally has occurred. In those rare occurrences, I have seen the spirits of our team members sink when a person is diagnosed with COVID, but your resilience to rise to the occasion is awe-inspiring. “We’ve got this,” “COVID is not going to get the better of us,” are rallying cries I hear as you bravely face each day.
This is heroic work, this is honorable work, this is impactful work, this is stressful work. I want to personally thank you for your on-going dedication to this calling. You are good news in the midst of this devastating virus.
Nye Health Services
September and still in the throes of the worse pandemic in our lifetime. Some experts are saying that we are entering into the second wave of COVID, which is likely to be more significant that the first wave. I would tend to agree with that as we are seeing an increase in positive cases in the communities where we are located and a slight uptick in team members testing positive. We realize that our team members have a life outside of the campus and we encourage them to be extremely diligent when they are off work to protect themselves from getting the virus because we know that if the virus gets on a campus, it is likely to be an asymptomatic team member who will bring it in.
You have read or heard about the stringent infection control processes we have in place. When a suspected or positive COVID test result occurs we immediately put that campus or area of the campus into isolation protocol until we can determine if it is truly a positive case and the extent of any exposure. One challenge we face is that we are finding a fairly high false positive rate on the testing we are doing using the machines that were provided to us by the Federal government. For this reason, backup tests are utilized to verify results. As you know, when there is a confirmed positive case, you have been notified and updated on the situation.
As this battle has gone on, we are seeing the impact on the psycho-social wellbeing of our residents and families. We know it has been so hard to not be able to visit face-to-face, hug your loved one, or share a cup of coffee. It breaks our heart to see that too. Our team members have been doing everything they can to make life special for our residents. We have had ice cream carts going down the hall, socially distanced carnivals, drive-thru parades, outdoor concerts, and themed dress-up days for our residents and team members.
As we go forward, we are currently doing much more frequent testing based upon the community rate of positive cases. We continue to explore ways to positively impact each resident’s life, we are providing as much access as we can to family members, and reinforcing the infection control measures that are still critically important to protect the lives of our residents.
I want to thank the family members of our residents for their understanding and kindness extended to us. Not only has this been difficult on you but this has been a very tough battle for our team members. They have been warriors who go into battle every day armed with their mask, thermometer, and sanitizer because they believe in our mission and care about the residents they serve. I encourage them that we will emerge triumphant over this scourge.
The key to manage this virus is better therapeutic medication and effective vaccines. They are on the horizon, hopefully sooner than later. My friends have asked how long this will last. I am now telling them that by next March we will have a much better handle on this virus. Until then we will foremost protect the safety of our residents to the best of our ability and secondly, do everything we can to promote the quality of life of our residents.
Thank you again for your patience, grace and trust in us as we care for your loved one.
If you have questions, please contact the campus administration directly or send your questions to our COVID email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Facebook.