COVID-19 Precautionary Information
As a premier healthcare provider in Pennsylvania and New York, United Methodist Homes continues to take a proactive approach to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. UMH has been diligently following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as our local and state departments of health following all precautions set forth to ensure that we’re adequately prepared and implementing measures to prevent its spread. We continue to take this seriously and remain dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our residents. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities we continue to follow all guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and state and local agencies. These guideline determine our ability to welcome visitors at any time.
Guidance has been set forth in both states on requirements that must be met for reopening, including limited visitations. Each of our facilities have developed reopening plans which can be found below in our COVID-19 Campus Communication Updates. Strict adherence to CDC guidelines on social distancing maintaining 6 feet between resident and visitor, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – masks throughout the visits and screening for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature checks will be conducted prior to permitting any visits. In our NY campuses new guidance also requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 7 days of a visit. No visitor with COVID-19 or under quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 will be permitted. Residents eligible for visits must also be free of COVID-19 and symptoms of COVID-19. Visitor guidelines and expectations are also posted below in our COVID-19 Campus Communication Updates.
The health, safety, and well-being of our residents and staff remain our number one priority. The senior population is most vulnerable to this virus, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they stay safe. We understand the importance of contact with family and friends; therefore, we’re offering other forms of visitation, such as virtual visits through FaceTime, Skype, emailing, texting, and of course, traditional phone calls. We have liaisons on every campus who will assist in keeping communications open and updating family members. Our activities and social services staff are also available in helping residents with connecting with families and friends.
Other measures in place to protect residents:
Communal Dining: The guidelines continue to change rapidly. We have closed all of our dining rooms in all of our levels of care and transitioned to meal deliveries to resident rooms. The nursing centers have been operating strictly based on CMS guidance and have had no communal dining or group activities since the transition from limited to no visitors. However, because we are seeing cases of COVID-19 increase in our counties, we have extended this dining restriction across our entire campuses to include all levels of care until further notice. A meal delivery service is provided for residents. We must be prudent and cautious to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.* Group Activities: As the guidelines have changed, we have adapted accordingly in each of our levels of care. No group activities have been occurring in skilled nursing areas. For a short time, we were able to conduct small group activities in our assisted/personal care and independent levels while implementing social distancing requirements; less than 10 participants and 6 feet between each of them. Due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the areas we operate in, most recent guidance has required that we extend the same CMS guidance of no group activities in the nursing centers to the assisted living/personal care levels of care. We are also implementing this in our independent living areas. Our activities staff are devoted to providing opportunities for residents individually via room visits by staff, solo activities (movies, books, audiobooks, virtual visits, live-streaming activities, outside window entertainment) for residents to engage in. We continue to encourage FaceTime, phone calls, and Skype with families and friends.* Staff Screenings: All of our campuses are conducting active staff screening and testing per state guidelines. Every staff person is screened to ensure they remain healthy and asymptomatic before being permitted to start their shifts. Any staff with symptoms of any kind are asked to return home to recover and, if necessary, seek medical attention. In PA, staff screenings are conducted, as per the Department of Health guideline, at the start and end of every shift. Employees on all of our campuses are wearing masks. Common Areas: All clubhouses, cafes, dining rooms, library, wellness centers, exercise rooms, and beauty salons will continue to be evaluated on a weekly basis. Upon request, activities staff can provide residents with books, puzzles, craft kits, or movies to their rooms.*
*Exceptions- Where our facilities have safely begun their reopening processes, some communal dining, and limited group activities have been permitted in accordance with CMS and DOH guidance following all infection control measures recommended by the CDC including social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, and group size limitations.
It is essential to understand that these restrictions and common area closures are temporary measures. We must take every precaution to protect those in our care. It is unknown exactly how long these precautions will be in place. However, we remain in constant contact with local and state departments of health, and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will lift these restrictions. Many of our residents and families are very appreciative that we are taking such precautions to protect them and their loved ones. We all must stay informed, take precautions, but not panic.
Irene Raeder Community Center at Brooks Estates
We have begun our Three Phase Reopening Plan for the Irene Raeder Community Center. As part of Phase One, the Exercise Room and Library at the Community Center is available for Individual/Same Household use. We are now safely entering Phase 2 of our Activities Programs for Brooks Estates.
Highlands Community Center
In keeping with the latest NYS guidelines, we have begun our reopening plan for the Highlands Community Center. The Exercise Room at the Community Center will be available for Individual/Same Household use and some activities will resume as of Monday, October 1.
It is of utmost importance to us that we not only educate our residents and staff but serve as a resource to our communities we serve. For more information, we will continue to update this page visit this webpage as our social media.
For resources related to coronavirus, we recommend the following sites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus Disease – www.cdc.gov.
- How to Protect Yourself – Tips from the CDC
- FDA Consumer Tips for Shopping
- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes.
COVID-19 CAMPUS COMMUNICATION UPDATES
James G. Johnston Memorial Nursing Home
Hilltop West – Assisted Living & Adult Care
Hilltop Independent Living
Important Announcement – April 18, 2020: JGJ Nursing Home remains free of COVID-19