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 over age 65 are asked to self-isolate.
VIDEOS, POSTS, AND OTHER MEDIA
For COVID-19 related interviews, videos, and blog posts from Heritage Ministries, click here.
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.”
View previous communications below
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.
President and CEO
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.
Heritage President and CEO
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Senior Chaplain, Heritage Ministries
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.
Regional Manager Skilled Nursing Operations
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.
- We will be offering grocery delivery services to our independent living residents to help mitigate risk by reducing your off-site travel
- 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
- 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:
- Avoid group gatherings over 10
- Self-isolation if over the age of 65
- Reduce unnecessary travel and appointments
- Utilize grocery delivery service as offered above
- If you must leave the building, a screening form must be completed upon re-entry
- There will be no group dining; meals will be delivered to apartment residents
- No group activities
- 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.
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team
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.”
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team
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.
Regional Manager of Skilled Nursing Operations
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.
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.”
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.