Date set for Routine Staff Testing

Last week we learned about the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) testing requirements that include routine staff testing. Based on our current county positivity rate provided by CMS, our care center is in the low category.  CMS recalculates the county positivity rate weekly and we will keep you updated if our category changes. This category requires us to routinely test staff monthly. Our first round of routine testing for staff will be 9/28/2020. We continue to test symptomatic residents and staff as symptoms arise and perform entire-site testing during an outbreak (positive case in our care center). Should a confirmed case come from any of these tests, we would promptly notify our residents, staff and their families.

The threat of this devastating and deadly virus is still with us. Minnesota is experiencing an increase in the number of positive cases in areas across our state, which can pose a greater risk of exposure to both our residents and our staff. As of 9/11/2020, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

We continue to offer outdoor visits, window visits and virtual visits. As a reminder, all visitors must comply with our screening protocols and other infection control measures when they visit their loved one. Please contact our activities department to schedule your visit in advance.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. Please contact our care center for more information or visit www.jobswithus.org to apply.

Thank you again for being partners with us in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Brittany Loosbrock, Administrator, at 952-239-6638 you have any questions or concerns. Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page.

New CMS Testing Requirements

As of 9/04/2020, we have no current cases of COVID-19 in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

This week, CMS and MDH released new testing requirements for our care center’s staff and residents that are effective immediately. “Facility Staff” is defined broadly, to include employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and caregivers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility, and students in the facility’s nurse aide training programs or from affiliated academic institutions.  The requirements outline routine testing depending on our county positivity rate:

  • Low: Monthly testing in counties with less than 5% positivity
  • Medium: Weekly testing in counties with 5-10% positivity
  • High: Bi-weekly testing in counties with greater than 10% positivity

The rule also requires testing in three scenarios: (i) symptomatic individual identified; (ii) outbreak (new case arises in facility); and (iii) routine testing.  While CMS does not recommend routine testing of residents unless the resident leaves the facility regularly, it does require routine testing of staff.

As providers of senior care, we know how important family and friends are in supporting the physical and mental health of our residents. We continue to review our visitation policy on a weekly basis. In the meantime, we welcome patio visits, open and closed window visits, and virtual visits. As a reminder, you can help limit exposure in our community through appropriate hand hygiene, mask use, and social distancing.

If you or someone you know is looking for ways to help, our residents and staff enjoy receiving letters and cards from the community. We also have a variety of open positions that can be found at www.jobswithus.org.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brittany Loosbrock, Administrator, at 952-239-6638.

No new Positive COVID Cases!

8/28/2020

All Franciscan Health Center residents and staff were tested for COVID-19 for the 4th time on August 24th. These results are reflected in the graph below. We had NO new positive cases of COVID-19.

 Tests PositiveTests NegativeTests PendingTotal Tested
Residents042042
Staff059059
Results from 08/24/2020 testing

Franciscan Health Center has now gone two consecutive weeks with no additional positive cases of COVID-19. Following these results and all recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we will discontinue weekly testing and will be lifting the precautions we introduced during the threat of COVID-19.

If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a healthcare hero, visit www.jobswithus.org. We have a variety of positions to start or continue your career in senior care. Plus enjoy flexible scheduling and compelling benefits as you care for our seniors on the front lines of this pandemic.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Brittany, Administrator at 952-239-6638.

3rd Round of Testing Results

Date 08/20/2020

Franciscan Health Center completed its 3rd round of testing on 08/17/2020. The results are show in the chart below. We will be testing again on 08/24/2020. As a reminder, we have to go 2 consecutive weeks with no additional cases before we can discontinue weekly testing.

 Tests PositiveTests NegativeTests PendingTotal Tested
Residents043043
Staff060060
Results from 8/17/2020 testing

We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Residents are being monitored throughout all shifts. All staff continue to be screened prior to entering the building and are required to wear surgical masks and eye protection.

After the confirmed case of COVID-19, we immediately suspended all open-window visits and patio visits. Due to the most recent entire-site testing results, we are able to allow these visits again starting August 24th. Please call activities at 218-302-6994 or Social Services at 218-302-6991 to schedule your visit.  We also encourage alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc. We have obtained additional equipment to meet the demands of these virtual visits and staff are able to assist residents as needed.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

1st Round of Testing Results – NO POSITIVE CASES OF COVID-19!

08/07/2020

Franciscan Health Center began proactively testing all residents and staff of on August 3rd. The results from this initial round of entire-site testing are shown below.  No additional positive cases were found during our first entire site testing. We will be testing again on August 10th. We will continue weekly testing until we have gone two consecutive weeks with no positive tests.

 Tests PositiveTests NegativeTests PendingTotal Tested
Residents 42 42
Staff 68 68

Results from 08/03/2020 Entire-site testing

Due to the COVID-19 situation in our care center, we will not be able to allow patio visits or open-widow visits at this time. We are continuing to schedule closed window visits with residents. Please contact our care center to schedule your visit.  We also encourage alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc. We have obtained additional equipment to meet the demands of these virtual visits and staff are able to assist residents as needed.

As we are currently experiencing, open window visits, patio visits, and the soon coming Essential Caregivers’ program come to an immediate halt if any resident or staff member test positive for COVID-19. It is crucial that we all remain vigilant on social distancing, face masks and proper hand hygiene. The healthcare heroes in our community need you. This week we are calling on the friends and family of all who live and work here to partner with us and our affiliates, as we keep face masks and social distancing as important in our everyday lives as it is in our care center. Post a picture of you wearing a facemask and tag our Facebook page @Franciscan Health Center using the hashtag #MaskingWithSFHS. Tell us and the rest of our community why you continue to wear a facemask and be proud of helping protect our seniors and those who care for them.

We appreciate all the support, prayers, and offers of help that we’ve received. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Brittany Loosbrock, Administrator, at 952-239-6638.

Partner with us to Protect Our Residents and Staff

As of 07/24/2020, we have no known cases of COVID-19 in our care center. You continue to be a key partner in keeping our residents and staff safe.  We have made incredible progress together in slowing the spread of the virus, but the threat is still very real and we have seen the devastating impact this virus has on our industry. We stand with Governor Walz and ask you to continue to partner with us in wearing a face mask when unable to social distance. This face mask is a simple and effective way we can protect our dedicated staff and those who are most at-risk for this virus.

The COVID Pandemic has created new employment opportunities in our care center for people wanting to help our most at-risk population combat this virus. If you or someone you know may be interested in working side by side with us as we truly make a difference in the lives of our residents, call Drew at 218-302-6999 or visit www.jobswithus.org for more information.

One of the most difficult things about COVID-19 for our residents has been the prolonged separation from families and loved ones. We recognize the critical role family members and other outside caregivers, such as friends, volunteers, private personal caregivers, often have in the care and support of our residents.

Realizing both the potential benefits of the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) new Essential Caregiver program and risks of allowing additional essential caregivers into the building, we are carefully considering this guidance as well as other criteria such as the current status of COVID-19 in our setting and local communities and the overall health and safety of all who live and work here. At a briefing by Governor Walz this week, it was shared that 24% of Minnesota’s 368 nursing homes currently have an outbreak, which is defined by MDH as having at least one case. In the 1,692 Minnesota assisted living settings, only 8% currently have an outbreak. We ask for your patience as we review this data and MDH’s guidance and determine our next steps in terms of how it aligns with our infection control practices and diligent commitment we have to combat this virus.

Please know that it is our policy to continually evaluate the presence of positive COVID-19 cases in our communities and nearby counties and recognize the desire and need of our residents and their loved ones to be connected in a more meaningful way. We are carefully considering our options, evaluating our policies and protocols and sharing updated information with you as frequent as possible. In the meantime, please reach out to Brittany, Administrator at 18-302-6988 or bloosbrock@sfhs.org if you have any questions.

Updated Best Practices for CoVid-19

As of 07/17/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We know that you share our concerns about efforts to keep residents in our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A new, optional program called Essential Caregiver was released from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with guidelines last Friday.  While we welcome this opportunity to make necessary exceptions to the visitor restrictions for those previous to COVID-19 providing essential care, we must all continue to be vigilant.  We ask for patience as we consider the concept of the Essential Caregiver, what components make up the design of the program and when the time is right to implement this in our care center; balancing the safety, health and wellness for all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role.

We continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding infection and prevention control (IPC).  The following list identifies best practices currently in place at our care center:

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Indoor person to person visits are not allowed unless considered under the Compassionate Visit criteria.  Alternative opportunities for visits by appointment include,
    • Virtual visits.
    • Open or closed window visits with social distancing.
    • Outdoor patio visits with social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required upon visitor successfully passing the visitor screening. All outdoor visits must be monitored by staff.
  • Volunteers.  In some cases, volunteers have been specially trained and specifically assigned screening or monitoring duties and have limited access to the care center with PPE use.
  • Non-essential health care providers (HCP).  In some cases, depending on ability to use telehealth methods and certain procedures required, HCP are allowed access.

Other Infection Control Practices

  • Residents are monitored for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.
    • Resident(s) presenting with respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be recommended for testing and quarantined while awaiting test results.
    • Dependent on outcomes, point prevalence testing (PPT) of the entire resident population and employees will implemented.
  • Residents are quarantined
    • upon admission,
    • if exposed to individuals with COVID-19 or those with exposure risk,
    • or upon return from medically emergent appointments out of the care center.  Some medically necessary appointments may not require quarantine upon re-entry to the care center.
  • Essential health care providers (HCP), who cannot use telehealth methods for treatment or are providing specific procedures will be allowed access using PPE and using specific ICP.
  • Essential HCP, Compassionate Criteria visits and employee entrance to the building will be limited to one location when possible.
  • Employees/contractors are screened upon entry and actively monitored while in the care center.
    • Any staff or contractor showing respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be asked to be tested and not allowed to enter the building and expected to quarantine at home while waiting for test results.
  • Social distancing is practiced throughout the building.
  • All Staff are required to wear PPE including a surgical masks and eye protection.    Additional PPE is required if a segregated unit is used or outbreak occurs.
  • Residents are required to wear masks while receiving cares or are out of their room, unless medically exempt.
  • All deliveries are left at the care center designated delivery door or in the vestibule where possible.
  • Cleaning protocols are met for COVID-19.

Updated information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Technology Grant

Our care center has been awarded a COVID-19 Technology Grant. This grant was developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and administered by the MN Department of Human Services in response to the challenging visitor restrictions caused by COVID-19. This grant is to be used for communication technology to improve our resident’s virtual visits with family and friends; and telehealth visits with physicians.

This equipment, added to the communication devices we have already been using, will greatly enhance our residents’ virtual visits. If you wish to set up a virtual visit, window visit or patio visit, please contact our care center. We ask that you schedule this visit ahead of time to ensure we have staff available to assist your loved one if needed.

As of 7/10/2020 there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).  We are continuing to monitor information related to new cases in our rural communities and the impact this has on our ability to provide further access to residents within our care centers.  Updated information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July is a very special day on the American calendar. As such, our staff have a variety of fun activities planned for our residents to enjoy. Our residents and staff continue to find unique ways to have fun and rejoice in life under the new normal amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please note, if you plan to do a patio visit, open or closed window visit, or virtual visit this holiday weekend, we ask that you schedule ahead of time. You can schedule your visit by calling our care center.

As of 07/03/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

As we monitor the care centers in MN surrounding us who have experienced caring for residents testing positive for Coronavirus and a loss of staff due to the outbreak, we continue to refine our plan to manage an active case in our care center.  In the event your loved one is diagnosed with CoVid-19, we must transfer them to a segregated and quarantined unit to properly meet their care needs and protect other residents from further outbreak.  There are many issues to consider related to maintaining the segregated unit but the greatest concern is staffing, both within and outside of the segregated unit.  Our hope is that our staffing would remain constant, but care centers that have experienced an active case, see as much as a 20% loss of their nursing staff due to exposure or requested Leaves of Absence.  For that reason, it may be necessary to transfer the resident who tests positive to a nearby location or affiliate care center that has the necessary equipment and staff needed to care for CoVid-19 patients. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this in person with you.  If you have concerns or questions related to this, please contact us.  If you do not speak to someone, please leave a message and you will receive a follow up call.

If you know of an RN or CNA who would be interested in working at {insert care center} either PT or FT, please provide them the following link:  www.jobswithus.org.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.