To comply with directives from local and state Departments of Health,
WE ARE RESTRICTING ALL VISITATION at our skilled nursing facilities and assisted living
communities at this time. Independent living residents are asked to follow phases of
reopening as directed by state and local governments.

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UPDATED 7/2/2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends of Heritage,

As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide, the safety and health of our residents and staff continues to be of the utmost importance. It has now been over three months since our skilled nursing and assisted living facilities have been closed to visitors. Staff continue to be monitored daily upon arrival for work and wear surgical masks and eye protection, such as face shields, to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from potential asymptomatic employees. Staff in our skilled nursing and rehabilitation and assisted living communities are nowreceiving mandatory COVID-19testing, as required by the state. We continue to regularly monitor residents for symptoms throughout the day.

Our COVID-19 response team is committed to acting in the best interest of all residents and staff. This group continues to monitor and implement the ever-changing guidelines and protocols of the CDC, as well as local, state, and federal authorities, as phases of reopening begin to emerge. We understand that many of you have expressed concern regarding visitation and seeing your loved one. The current reopening phases in many areas where our communities are located allow for small group gatherings. However, skilled nursing and rehabilitation and assisted living communities are held to a different level of regulation. Our teams continue to provide for both the physical and emotional care of those we serve during these difficult times through various resident engagement activities, to help all residents stay active and engaged. Phone calls, video chats, and window visits continue to be arranged through the social work and activities departments. We are happy to assist in scheduling these visits; however, we do request they be limited to one per day so that we can assure all residents have equal opportunity.

At this time, the following guidelines have been implemented at all of our skilled nursing and assisted living communities:

  • No group activities.
  • No congregate dining.
  • Residents who need assistance with eating can be assisted in the dining spaces with no more than two residents per table at least six feet apart.
  • No visitors, with the exception of compassionate end of life. Please contact your community directly for information.
  • Residents are required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to go outside if they maintain social distancing and wear a mask (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to leave the facility for essential medical appointments, and must wear a mask.
  • Residents are not allowed to leave the facility for non-essential reasons (visitation, beauty shop, dining, etc). Exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances, to be approved by the Heritage COVID-19 team.
  • No beautician services in facility.

At this time, the following guidelines have been implemented at all of our Assisted Living Communities:

  • No group activities
  • No congregate dining
  • No visitors with the exception of compassionate EOL (this includes residents visiting other resident’s rooms)
  • Residents required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated)
  • Residents are allowed to go outside if they maintain social distancing and wear a mask (as tolerated)
  • Residents are allowed to leave facility for essential medical appointments. Must wear a mask.
  • Residents are strongly encouraged not to leave facility for non-essential reasons (visitation, beauty shop, dining, etc).
  • Residents are required to quarantine if exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID. Quarantine length will be determined by State requirements.
  • No beautician services in facility.

At this time, following additional guidelines apply to Independent Living residents in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington only:

  • No group activities.
  • No congregate dining.
  • Residents required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Limit of one visitor per resident per day.
  • Visitor must be masked and screened.
  • Tours allowed, participants must be masked and screened.
  • Moving help limited to two, must be masked and screened.
  • Residents can go out of the facility as allowed by state reopening phases. Must wear a mask.
  • Residents must self-monitor for symptoms. Report any symptoms to administrator.
  • No beautician services in facility.

The following additional guidelines apply to Independent Living Residents in New York State only (*unless services are offered in a building that houses assisted living residents*).

  • Residents are required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Limit of one visitor per resident per day.
  • Visitor must be masked and screened.
  • Tours allowed, participants must be masked and screened.
  • Moving help limited to two, must be masked and screened.
  • Residents can go out of the facility as allowed by state reopening phases. Must wear a mask.
  • Residents must self-monitor for symptoms. Report any symptoms to the administrator.
  • Beautician services are allowed in the facility.
  • Limited to one resident in the beauty shop at a time.
  • Both the resident and beautician must wear a mask.
  • The entire beauty shop will be disinfected between residents.
  • Group activities are allowed.
  • All participants must maintain a six foot distance from each other and wear a mask as tolerated.
  • Gatherings are limited to 25% of maximum room occupancy, or 25 people, (including residents, staff, and guests) whichever is less.
  • Congregate dining is now allowed (diners must maintain a social distance of six feet)
  • Limited to 25% of maximum room occupancy, or 25 people, (including residents, staff, and guests) whichever is less.

Additionally, in response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in certain states, and to protect New York’s successful containment of COVID-19, the state has joined with New Jersey and Connecticut in jointly issuing a travel advisory for any individual returning from travel to states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. Based upon Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205, issued June 25, 2020, the following states meet the criteria for required 14-day quarantine. This order will apply to anyone interacting with any of our New York state communities.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

As more details are made available to us by state and local governments regarding time frames for the reopening of visitation in our communities, we assure you, we will immediately reach out to you with any information. We understand how difficult this separation is for you and your loved ones. Our compassionate staff continues to provide care, comfort, and love to each of our residents, and we thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, and support you have offered them during this uncertain time.

We continue to seek God’s wisdom and pray for His supernatural protection for those whom He has entrusted to our care, as we seek to keep each resident safe and to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Lisa Haglund
President and CEO

View previous communications below

COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends of Heritage,

As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide, the safety and health of our residents and staff continues to be of the utmost importance. It has now been over three months since our skilled nursing and assisted living facilities have been closed to visitors. Staff continue to be monitored daily upon arrival for work and wear surgical masks and eye protection, such as face shields, to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from potential asymptomatic employees. Staff in our skilled nursing and rehabilitation and assisted living communities are nowreceiving mandatory COVID-19testing, as required by the state. We continue to regularly monitor residents for symptoms throughout the day.

Our COVID-19 response team is committed to acting in the best interest of all residents and staff. This group continues to monitor and implement the ever-changing guidelines and protocols of the CDC, as well as local, state, and federal authorities, as phases of reopening begin to emerge. We understand that many of you have expressed concern regarding visitation and seeing your loved one. The current reopening phases in many areas where our communities are located allow for small group gatherings. However, skilled nursing and rehabilitation and assisted living communities are held to a different level of regulation. Our teams continue to provide for both the physical and emotional care of those we serve during these difficult times through various resident engagement activities, to help all residents stay active and engaged. Phone calls, video chats, and window visits continue to be arranged through the social work and activities departments. We are happy to assist in scheduling these visits; however, we do request they be limited to one per day so that we can assure all residents have equal opportunity.

At this time, the following guidelines have been implemented at all of our skilled nursing and assisted living communities:

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Communities:

  • No group activities.
  • No congregate dining.
  • Residents who need assistance with eating can be assisted in dining spaces with no more than two residents per table, at least six feet apart.
  • No visitors, with the exception of compassionate end of life. Please contact your community directly for information.
  • Residents are required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to go outside if they maintain social distancing and wear a mask (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to leave facility for essential medical appointments, and must wear a mask.
  • Residents are not allowed to leave the facility for non-essential reasons (visitation, beauty shop, dining, etc). Exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances, to be approved by the Heritage COVID-19 team.
  • No beautician services in facility.

Assisted Living Communities:

  • No group activities.
  • No congregate dining.
  • No visitors, with the exception of compassionate end of life. Please contact your community directly for information.
  • Residents required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to go outside if they maintain social distancing and wear a mask (as tolerated).
  • Residents are allowed to leave the facility for essential medical appointments, and must wear a mask.
  • Residents are strongly encouraged not to leave the facility for non-essential reasons (visitation, beauty shop, dining, etc).
  • No beautician services in facility.

The following additional guidelines apply to independent living residents only:

  • No group activities.
  • No congregate dining.
  • Residents are required to wear a mask while outside of their room (as tolerated).
  • Limit of one visitor per resident per day.
  • Visitor must be masked and screened.
  • Tours allowed, participants must be masked and screened.
  • Moving help limited to two, must be masked and screened.
  • Residents can go out of the facility as allowed by state reopening phases. Must wear a mask.
  • Residents must self-monitor for symptoms. Report any symptoms to administrator.
  • No beautician services in facility.

As more details are made available to us by state and local governments regarding time frames for the reopening of visitation in our communities, we assure you, we will immediately reach out to you with any information. We understand how difficult this separation is for you and your loved ones. Our compassionate staff continue to provide care, comfort, and love to each of our residents, and we thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, and support you have offered them during this uncertain time.

We continue to seek God’s wisdom and pray for His supernatural protection for those whom He has entrusted to our care, as we seek to keep each resident safe and to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Lisa Haglund
President and CEO

Letter to Residents, Families, and Community Members

Dear Friends of Heritage,

It has now been three months since our facilities have been closed to visitors. Staff are being monitored daily upon arrival for work and have been wearing surgical masks and eye protection to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from potential asymptomatic employees. In several states, our employees, as well as our residents, are being tested for COVID-19. Our New York state employees are now being tested once a week per state mandate.

Our COVID-19 task force continues to monitor and implement the ever-changing guidelines and protocols of the various agencies that have oversight of our facilities. While many states are currently in a phased reopening plan, our guidance comes from the CDC primarily, with other state and federal guidelines. For our nursing homes and assisted living communities, the guidance to reopen will come through the state Department of Health as directed by the CDC. For our independent living communities, we are following CDC guidance for retirement communities. This guidance differs from the state specific guidance that apply to general businesses. As such, what you are hearing in the news about reopening of services may not apply to you and your loved one in a certain level of care.

In accordance with these guidelines, we are still unable to allow for group activities, congregate dining, and visitation. Our teams continue to provide for both the physical and emotional care of those we serve. Phone calls, video chats, and window visits are being arranged through the social work and activities departments. We are happy to assist in scheduling these visits; however, we do request they be limited to one per day so that we can assure all residents have equal opportunity.

We continue to seek God’s wisdom and pray for His supernatural protecting for those whom He has entrusted to our care, as we seek to keep them safe and to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Rutter
Chief Clinical Officer
Heritage Ministries

Current Visitation Policies

At this time, the following guidelines have been implemented at all of our communities:

  • Visitation at all skilled nursing and rehabilitation and assisted living communities continue to be suspended until further notice.
  • Common areas, including handrails and door knobs, are disinfected frequently.
  • Masks are being worn in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines at each location.
  • Social distancing must be observed at all times.
  • All pet visits continue to be suspended.

The following additional guidelines apply to independent living residents only:

  • Independent living residents are to follow the phases of reopening as directed by state and local governments in their community. We encourage these residents to continue to follow the best practices of social distancing, and to wear a mask when unable to social distance.
  • Independent living residents may not enter skilled nursing and rehabilitation or assisted living communities due to continued visitor restriction.

Download letter to independent living residents
Download letter to assisted living and skilled nursing families

Heritage to Reopen Admissions

Jeremy Rutter, Heritage Chief Clinical Officer, announced today that Heritage skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities in Chautauqua County will begin to admit residents on May 27, 2020. Previously, Heritage had temporarily ceased all admissions effective Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in response to the New York State mandate to test all nursing home employees for COVID-19. This admission halt affected three Heritage communities: The Village in Gerry, NY, The Park in Jamestown, NY, and The Green in Greenhurst, NY.

“We were notified on Tuesday, May 26, of the results of our first round of COVID-19 employee tests in our Chautauqua County skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities,” he stated. “The 100% negative employee test rate is a direct reflection of the hard work, dedication, and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines by all of our Heritage staff members. We have communicated with our local hospital, and all our referring partners, that we will begin taking admissions this Wednesday, May 27, at all of our Chautauqua County skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities.”

Heritage Ministries President and CEO, Lisa Haglund, shared, “The health and safety of our staff and residents are of the utmost importance. As we were directed to move into mandated testing for all employees by Governor Cuomo’s office, we needed to determine how we could implement that efficiently, while complying with all regulations, and preventing any impact to resident care. Our COVID-19 response team is committed to acting in the best interest of all staff and residents. The temporary admissions halt allowed us to determine if our staffing would be negatively impacted by test results. We needed to be able to ensure that our residents would continue to receive the same compassionate care that is standard at Heritage. The 100% negative results of our COVID-19 employee tests support our decision to reopen our skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities to new admissions. We commend all of our healthcare heroes for their roles in helping to keep our residents safe and healthy as we continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living.”

Letter to Friends of Heritage

I reach out today to share many updates with you.

On May 11, 2020, the Heritage Ministries Board of Directors confirmed me to lead as permanent President and CEO for Heritage and its affiliates. I am honored and blessed to have been chosen to lead Heritage through this unprecedented time, and look forward to working with each member of our staff as we continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living to all those entrusted to our care.

I began my career with Northwest Bank, a ten billion dollar corporation, for over twenty years, prior to joining the Heritage organization, where I have most recently served as the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Sales. I truly believe in giving back, and have been an active member of the community throughout the years, with involvement ranging from Chautauqua Leadership Network, PTA, St. Susan Center, Family Services, and the Bemus Point United Methodist Church. My husband, Jason, and I reside in Bemus Point, NY, along with our four children, Allison, Brennan, Madelynn, and Michael in Bemus Point. We are active members of the Bemus Point United Methodist Church.

Additionally, Jeremy Rutter, Heritage Vice President of Skilled Nursing Operations and Executive Director of Hearthstone Communities, a Heritage senior living community in Woodstock, IL, has been named Chief Clinical Officer of our organization. He previously served Heritage as the Administrator of Record at The Village in Gerry, NY and Administrator at The Park in Jamestown, NY, two Heritage rehab and skilled nursing communities.

It has now been over two months since our skilled nursing and assisted living facilities have been closed to visitors. Staff are being monitored daily upon arrival for work, continue to wear surgical masks, and are now wearing eye protection, such as face shields, to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from potential asymptomatic employees. We continue to regularly monitor residents for symptoms throughout day.

The health and safety of our staff and residents are of the utmost importance. As we have been directed to move into mandated testing for all employees by Governor Cuomo’s office, we needed to determine how we could implement that efficiently, while complying with all regulations, and preventing any impact to resident care. Our COVID-19 response team is committed to acting in the best interest of all staff and residents.

As a result, Heritage skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities in Chautauqua County temporarily ceased all admissions effective Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in response to the New York State mandate to test all nursing home employees for COVID-19. This temporary admission halt will affect The Village in Gerry, NY, The Park in Jamestown, NY, and The Green in Greenhurst, NY. We will not accept admissions into our skilled nursing communities until we have sufficient test results indicating that our staffing will not be negatively impacted by our compliance with the executive order.

Our COVID-19 task force continues to monitor and implement the ever-changing guidelines and protocols of the CDC as well as local, state, and federal authorities. At this time, the following guidelines have been implemented at all of our communities:

  • Visitation at all skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, and independent living communities are suspended until further notice.
  • Common areas, including handrails and door knobs, are disinfected frequently.
  • Masks are being worn in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines at each location.
  • Social distancing must be observed at all times.
  • All pet visits continue to be suspended.
  • We continue to discourage any non-essential trips or errands for our independent living residents. We do have a grocery delivery system in place to protect our residents and staff from exposure. If you are interested in using this service, please contact your community directly.

Our teams continue to provide for both the physical and emotional care of those we serve during these difficult times through various resident engagement activities. Phone calls, video chats, and window visits are being arranged through the social work and activities departments. We are happy to assist in scheduling these visits; however, we do request they be limited to one per day so that we can assure all residents have equal opportunity.

In an effort to offer more expedient and transparent communication, we have implemented an auto call system, so all families can be notified immediately, in the event we have a resident with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test. We ask that you send your current email address to questions@heritage1886.org so we may also contact you via email, or call 1-833-623-0162 with any questions.

We continue to seek God’s wisdom and pray for His supernatural protection for those whom He has entrusted to our care, as we seek to keep them safe and to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living in these difficult times.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
President and CEO

Temporary Halt to Skilled Nursing Admissions

Jeremy Rutter, Heritage Chief Clinical Officer, announced today that Heritage skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities in Chautauqua County will temporarily cease all admissions effective Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in response to the New York State mandate to test all nursing home employees for COVID-19. This temporary admission halt will affect The Village in Gerry, NY, The Park in Jamestown, NY, and The Green in Greenhurst, NY.

“Starting Tuesday, we will not be accepting admissions into our skilled nursing communities until we have sufficient test results indicating that our staffing will not be negatively impacted by our compliance with the executive order.” he stated.

Lisa Haglund, newly confirmed Heritage Ministries President and CEO, shared, “The health and safety of our staff and residents are of the utmost importance. As we have been directed to move into mandated testing for all employees by Governor Cuomo’s office, we needed to determine how we could comply with all regulations and prevent any impact to resident care. Our COVID-19 response team is committed to acting in the best interest of all staff and residents.”

Heritage Designs COVID-19 Testing Stations

As mandated testing of employees in long term care facilities has been ordered across New York State, two of Chautauqua’s largest providers of skilled nursing services, Heritage Ministries and Lutheran Jamestown, have begun working together to ensure employees and residents within both organizations remain safe throughout the new testing process. This includes a newly designed testing station created by the team at Heritage, with the help of a locally owned small business.

Lisa Haglund, newly confirmed Heritage Ministries President and CEO, shared, “The health and safety of our staff and residents are of the utmost importance. As we have been directed to move into mandated testing for all employees by Governor Cuomo’s office, we needed to determine how we could implement that efficiently, while complying with all regulations. We have to balance these changes with the actual realities of supply chain challenges, increased prices of personal protective equipment (PPE), the impact to staffing ratios, and preventing any impact to care.”

Haglund also expressed that she and Tom Holt, President and CEO of Lutheran Jamestown, share the same thoughts, and will be working together to continue providing a safe environment for the residents, staff, and families of each organization. “Tom and I have spoken at great length, and we are both committed to the continued support and protection of our staff and residents as we navigate through these new policies.” The collaboration efforts will include best practices for COVID-19 prevention, advocacy with state and federal officials, as well as other infrastructure needs, as it relates to testing of staff.

Randy Jackson, Heritage Vice President of Facilities Management, and his team, led by Glenn Williams, have been working with a local Chautauqua County business, D & S Glass, to meet these new testing needs. A mobile testing booth has been designed that will provide the ability to safely administer COVID-19 tests on-site while limiting exposure in both directions. D & S Glass will be providing materials for the project to allow Heritage to quickly implement the new testing process with their staff and residents after product testing.

Jackson explained that the booths will be adaptable to allow staff members to adjust to the height of each staff person or resident, accommodating for those who are unable to actively sit up or stand easily. The booths will feature a plexiglass wall with a small access panel for test administration. The wall will protect both residents and staff from exposure, and will also help preserve valuable, and sometimes difficult to obtain, personal protective equipment (PPE), which would normally have to be changed out after each test and potential exposure. Heritage is also developing a plan to effectively clean and disinfect each station after use with the help of their certified infection control nurse.

“I am thankful for our team and Michael LaTone at D & S Glass for working quickly to develop a solution to protect everyone.” Haglund went on to say, “It is this collaboration of local businesses that is so important now, as we all come together to protect our county and move forward.”

Haglund also discussed that in the same spirit of cooperation, Heritage will be sharing this design with Lutheran so they may also quickly implement in their senior living communities in Chautauqua County.

“At this difficult time in our industry, it is important that we work together to protect our most vulnerable population, our seniors. Working with our fellow senior living communities is essential in order to provide the absolute best care for all of our residents,” she stated.

Tom Holt shared, “Working together has never been more important. We need to protect our most vulnerable population: our seniors. It is the right thing to do and it is the thing we must do in order to provide the best care to those who have been entrusted to us. Kudos to Heritage and D & S Glass for the creative design. We look forward to implementing its use on our campus.”

Lutheran, located in Jamestown, New York, offers a continuum of care that supports an individual’s journey through life with compassion, dignity, and respect. Lutheran’s vision for the future is to be an innovative leader and first choice for employment, living, and care.

Homestead Stables COVID-19 Policy

Heritage has spent a lot of time communicating the steps we are taking to assure the safety and well-being of the residents and staff of our senior living communities. We have also taken steps to assure that Homestead Stables, which is classified as an essential business, is following appropriate protocol to curtail any spread of the virus.

New York State has issued guidance stating that owners of horses that are boarded should only be visiting the facility if they are directly responsible for an essential component of the care of their horse. Due to the requirement to cease providing lessons and various other services, Homestead stables has been forced to reduce the amount of staffing working to a level sufficient to provide only the bare minimum amount of care. This includes cleaning stalls and feeding.

Many horses boarded at Homestead Stables require additional care, especially as it relates to their need for daily exercise. With the reduction in staff and the elimination of lessons, horses that were regularly ridden for lessons are now reliant on their owners to lunge and/or ride their horses in order for them to have the physical exercise that is needed. Homestead Stables does have turnouts and pastures for exercise, but we do not currently have enough staff to assure that all horses can be taken outside without the assistance of their owners. The health and safety of our residents, staff, and boarders is our first priority, but we also have to assure that our horses receive the proper care and attention they deserve.

A strict schedule has been developed to assure that no more than three owners are on-site at any given time. All persons entering the barn are required to complete a screening form similar to the one used by our employees before they come to work in our senior communities. If there is any indication that they are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, they will be denied admission to the barn. Masks are available and their use is encouraged.

Additionally, there are never more than ten persons in the barn at a time, and a minimum of six feet of distance between persons is required at all times. Other than owners, Homestead Stables’ doors are locked to the public and the facility is under 24-hour video surveillance.

Homestead Stables did recently have a small group of its boarders volunteer to help unload a load of hay. This occurred at the separate hay storage facility, and appropriate social distancing was enforced throughout the work.

I also want to thank our Stable Manager, Heather Payne, and her daughter, for providing a unique life enrichment activity for The Village residents when they visited outside with their horse, Lucy. Residents not only enjoyed seeing Lucy through the windows, but it was such a nice day that some were able to go outside for a visit. Of course appropriate precautions were taken relative to distance and the wearing of masks.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
President and CEO

UPDATED 4/1/2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Residents, Families, and Community Members,

We are grateful to report that as of this writing, none of our Heritage or Heritage affiliated communities have any positive cases of COVID-19. We continue to work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.

As mentioned in my last communication, residents of our skilled nursing facilities are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms. We continue to check temperatures three times per day. The same is true in our assisted living communities with temperatures being taken twice daily. We continue to reach out to those who reside in our independent living communities to check on their health and have expanded our services to include meal delivery and grocery pick up.

The leadership teams of our communities have completed table top drills and each community currently has the necessary personal protective equipment in place for the safety of our staff, should we have a positive case. In the event of a positive case, each skilled nursing facility has a dedicated location for those individuals. Staff are aware of the procedures that will be followed to assure their safety and to avoid any potential spread throughout the facility.

I want to remind you that we are now going on 18 days since our communities essentially went into a quarantine scenario. All visitation was stopped and all congregate dining and large group activities were discontinued. Staff have been wearing surgical masks anytime they are working in direct care areas. All of these steps have been taken to avoid unknowingly introducing COVID-19 into our facilities.

In addition to the steps being taken to assure the health of your loved ones, our teams are working diligently to provide opportunities for life enrichment and connection with those under our care. Please feel free to contact the appropriate facility if you want to arrange a virtual visit. Additionally, in some of our communities, window visits may be possible.

We have been blessed to receive many donations from the community, and we know that many of you are praying for our residents and staff. Words cannot express how important your support is to our care teams! We continue to seek God’s supernatural protection for our residents, staff, and communities.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
Heritage President and CEO

UPDATED 3/20/2020

How Churches Can Help

We are walking through all kinds of changes impacting our communities in these days. One part of our local communities that could receive special care and ministry these days are our local skilled nursing facilities and retirement communities.

Here are a few ways your church could help:

  1. PRAYER: Pray for our residents. Many of them are in situations with ever-changing restrictions, with visitors banned and group activities extremely limited. Pray for encouragement. Pray for all of our workers in senior care facilities — that God would strengthen, encourage, and use them to be a blessing to others. Pray that chaplains and Christian workers would be able to share the love of Jesus with co-workers and residents. Pray for Lutheran, Tanglewood Manor, Magnolia (Frewsburg Rest Home), Absolut Care, Heritage Ministries, Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and many other facilities in our region.
  2. CARDS AND PHONE CALLS: If your church has a connection to someone in a nursing facility, call them. Check in on them. A “thinking of you” phone call goes a long way. Also, letters are a phenomenal source of encouragement. Perhaps your church could “sponsor a local facility.” Church members could write encouragement notes, even sharing about themselves and their family, like a pen pal introductory letter. These would be a welcome respite for many residents. A church could call the front desk or activities office at most facilities and make these connections.
  3. CHILDCARE: Many staff members in senior care also have to navigate school closings and determine how they will balance work and childcare. If people in your church have friends, neighbors, or family members who work in senior care/nursing, pleaseconsider how you might provide some childcare to them, if you are able to do so safely and responsibly. This is a ministry that multiplies in its impact. In providing childcare, you are allowing someone to have the time to continue to work and serve our seniors.

If you’d like to discuss these ideas further, need a starting point, or have other suggestions, please contact me. I look forward to how we can pray and serve together.

In Christ,
Larry Petry
Senior Chaplain, Heritage Ministries
(716) 490-5480
LPetry@heritage1886.org

UPDATED 3/19/2020

Letter for Skilled Nursing

Residents, Families, and Friends of Heritage,

I am glad to be able to reassure all of our residents, staff, families and friends at this time that all of our facilities still do not have any confirmed cases of Coronavirus. We have followed all of the guidelines put into place by local, state and federal departments and organizations and are confident we are as prepared as we can be to deal with this pandemic as it continues to grow in our regions. In an attempt to keep families well aware of the most recent recommendations by regulatory bodies, below are some of the most recent directives:

  • No Visitation – Multiple agencies have prohibited all visitation to Skilled Nursing facilities and Assisted Living/Enriched Housing Facilities. We continue to diligently work to ensure we have sufficient and effective methods of communication in place so residents can communicate with their families during this time.
  • No Communal Dining – The Federal Government has prohibited communal dining in the Skilled Nursing Setting. While there are a few exceptions to this as medically necessary, all meals in our Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living/Enriched Housing Facilities are being served to our residents in the comforts of their room. We are enlisting all of the staff we can to ensure everyone has the assistance they need to eat and continue to receive the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
  • No Group Activities – A directive has also been given by the Federal Government to prohibit all group activities. Our residents need just as much if not more socialization during this period so all of our activity and facility staff are working together to ensure residents have individual activities to do, and remain actively engaged.

While these are just a few of the near overwhelming guidelines and precautions we are facing, I wanted to ensure all of our residents, families, friends and employees that Heritage Ministries is continuing to put the safety of our residents at the forefront of everything we do. I would encourage you to continue to check our Facebook page and websites for important updates.

Heritage Ministries has had the pleasure of serving members of our community throughout its 130 years of history. There have been trying times in the past and there will be many more difficult times in the road ahead. The constant during that time has been the unwavering support of our residents and their families, the dedication and passion of our employees, and God’s faithfulness in every situation. As we expect this virus to have even more of a direct impact on our communities in the coming weeks, we will continue to need that same dedication, support and prayers to ensure the health and wellbeing of all of those entrusted to our care.

Sincerely,
Mark Smeltzer
Regional Manager Skilled Nursing Operations

UPDATED 3/18/2020

Letter to Friends of Heritage

As COVID 19/Coronavirus is an ever-changing, fluid situation, we want to provide an update of new restrictions that will be implemented immediately. These are in addition to the steps we outlined in our letter to you last week. Please know, our response team is diligently monitoring updates and recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary changes to continue to ensure the health of our residents.

Effective immediately*:

  1. We will be offering grocery delivery services to our independent living residents to help mitigate risk by reducing your off-site travel
  2. At this time, we are asking for non-medically necessary visitation to stop. In the case of essential visitors, a screening form must be completed. Any exceptions to the screening or this practice will be at the sole discretion of the facility administrator
  3. At this time, we are asking our residents to adopt the following best practices and guidelines as they have been communicated from various governmental bodies:
    1. Avoid group gatherings over 10
    2. Self-isolation if over the age of 65
    3. Reduce unnecessary travel and appointments
    4. Utilize grocery delivery service as offered above
    5. If you must leave the building, a screening form must be completed upon re-entry
    6. There will be no group dining; meals will be delivered to apartment residents
    7. No group activities
    8. IL residents in cottages or homes may order take-out meals which can be picked up outside the main entrance if applicable

At this time, there continues to be NO confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in any of our communities. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able, and we encourage you to monitor our websites and Facebook pages for the latest facility information. Administrators will also be communicating updates as they occur.

We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and have put these measures in place to keep our residents safe. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this virus on our community and continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living to each and every resident in our care.

*Please note, these guidelines are specifically for independent living residents, and do not apply to other levels of care.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/14/2020

COVID-19 Update

We are closely watching the events unfold surrounding COVID-19. The situation is evolving quickly and we are working around-the-clock to stay on top of it. Expect continued communication, to keep you all up-to-date on the ever-changing needs and requirements for staying ahead of this situation.

Our residents, the children,and families we serve are counting on us to help them today and in the future. Our teams have mobilized and created a COVID task force to quickly share information and implement changes as needed.

Below is a recap of what Heritage has implemented across all communities, as well as how our employees can help to keep everyone safe and well-cared for.

What Heritage is doing:

  • We are continuously monitoring the situation to ensure we have the latest information to share with all of our locations.
  • We have increased the cleaning schedule and sanitizing at all of our locations.
  • We have analyzed our supply chain to identify any potential shortages and are working to shore up potential gaps.
  • We are utilizing multiple contact methods to communicate with employees, residents,and families.
  • We have a number of online collaboration tools that will be used in the absence of face-to-face meetings.
  • We have capabilities currently in place at a majority of our locations to promote “virtual visiting” for residents and families. We have additional solutions coming soon to enhance the systems already in place.
  • We have provided adjustments across each community to effectively do our part in flattening the curve and risk.

Heritage is dedicated to ensuring our communities, employees,and those we serve remain in a safe environment. We are taking what we believe to be the most proactive approach in an ever-changing situation. Our goal is to continually assess the situation and take the necessary actions to prepare for any changes. We are deeply grateful for, and humbled by, our employees, residents, families, and communities who are working together to ensure the safety and well-being of those we serve – thank you! Now more than ever, we will embrace our mission with grace, love, and compassion,while we continue to promote “Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living.”

Sincerely,

Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/13/2020

Letter to Friends of Heritage

Dear Friends of Heritage,

As you are aware from news reports, there are confirmed cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19 occurring in our state. Heritage Ministries is committed to taking the appropriate steps and precautions in order to keep our residents and employees safe. Although there are no suspected or confirmed cases here in our community at this time, we are taking proactive steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our residents and staff. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local Health Departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed.

To comply with directives from Governor Cuomo and New York State Department of Health, we are, effective immediately, restricting all visitation at our Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities at this time. We are actively trying to reach out to families personally to inform them of this change. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able but encourage you to monitor our website and Facebook page for the latest facility updates.

All facility staff are working on systems to be able to allow family members to communicate with their loved ones via telephone or video conferencing. Please contact the facility to have them assist in setting up specific times so we can ensure all residents and families have the ability to do so.

The facilities are now limiting larger gatherings of employees and residents and keeping them to small groups at this point to limit possible exposure. Our activity and dining service staff are working with facility staff to ensure we are still promoting each residents’ highest well-being and making all of their nursing and non-nursing related needs continue to be met daily.

Heritage Ministries is committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and has put these measures in place to first and foremost keep our residents safe. We have a team in place that is diligently monitoring news updates and guidance from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary updates to continue to ensure the health of our residents. Please do not hesitate to reach out the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community and continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living to each and every resident in our care.

Sincerely,
Mark Smeltzer
Regional Manager of Skilled Nursing Operations

UPDATED 3/13/2020

Visitation Update

To comply with directives from local and state Departments of Health, WE ARE RESTRICTING ALL VISITATION at our skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities at this time. Visitation hours for independent living communities are 10am to 7pm.

 

UPDATED 3/10/2020

Statement from Heritage Regarding COVID-19

David Smeltzer, Heritage president and CEO recognized this week that Heritage is prepared should COVID-19 coronavirus reach Chautauqua County. Heritage presently serves over 1,200 seniors in their independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing communities throughout the county.

Smeltzer stressed that while Heritage currently has NO confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, they are taking precautions.

He shared, “At Heritage, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. The health and safety of both our residents and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change. We are not holding events that bring outside groups of people, and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure. Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.”

Presently, visitors are being limited at all Heritage communities, and any individuals, including vendors and employees are being screened daily before entering a Heritage building. Those who exhibit any symptoms, have recently traveled, or have been near anyone ill with symptoms are not currently being granted entrance.

Heritage staff has prepared extensively for any potential cases in the area. Lisa Haglund, Heritage vice president of sales, marketing, and development, explained that she has confidence in the team. “Heritage has taken a proactive approach to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 within its communities. Heritage has formed a COVID-19 task force, including experts in the fields of nursing homes, and senior housing, and includes a CDC certified infection preventionist. I have the utmost confidence that this team of experts have prepared Heritage to respond in a manner that keep our residents, staff, and families safe.”

UPDATED 3/4/2020

Statement from Heritage Regarding COVID-19

At Heritage, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. We would like to assure the public that we currently have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at Heritage. The health and safety of both our community members and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all.

The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change.

  • Effective immediately, we are asking visitors to not enter our communities if they are exhibiting any type of symptoms or have recently traveled to any area of concern.
  • We are limiting events that bring outside groups of people to Heritage communities and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure.
  • Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.

We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation. Working together we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community.

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