COVID-19 Precautionary Information

 
As a premier healthcare provider in Pennsylvania and New York, United Methodist Homes has been taking 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 are taking this very seriously and remain dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our residents. In response to the increased spread of COVID-19 across our states and country, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated their guidelines, recommending a strict no visitation policy for all nursing facilities. Therefore, as mandated, we are implementing a Restriction on Visitation on all of our campuses.
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. At this time, the only exception to restricted visits, are those in which involve compassionate care situations, meaning end-of-life care. In those scenarios, visitors are screened using Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and infection control protocols, and given personal protective equipment (PPE).

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 hope that this restriction will be short-lived but 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 screenings. 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. Closing of Common Areas: All clubhouses, cafes, dining rooms, library, wellness centers, exercise rooms, beauty salons are temporarily closed and 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 and that we hope will be short-lived. 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 will be available for Individual/Same Household use as of Friday, July 10. We are now safely entering Phase 2 of our Activities Programs for Brooks Estates.

Guidelines for Phase One & Two Use of the Exercise Room and Library
Guidelines for Phase One & Two Events at Irene Raeder Community Center
Highlands Community Center

Per the NYS Governor’s mandate, the Highlands Community Center is closed. It will remain closed until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.

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.

• 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.

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