COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

July 13, 2020 Letter

July 10th marked the 28th day without any additional residents or staff testing positive for COVID-19 at Medicalodges Great Bend. Our total positive cases remain at three residents and eight employees, all who have fully recovered.

On July 11th our employees discontinued the routine wearing of gowns and eye protection in the care of all residents. Employees will continue to wear face masks for the foreseeable future and will wear the appropriate protective equipment in the care of residents suspected of having COVID-19. Residents are no longer restricted to their rooms unless they develop symptoms and are suspected of having COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19. Residents who have no symptoms are now able to dine and attend activities as long as social distancing can be maintained.

Passing the 28 day mark with no positive cases of the virus allows us to being work towards reopening for visitors and other non-essential individuals following a phased approach. Medicalodges Great Bend will finalize their facility specific reopening plan taking into consideration the recommendations of the Barton County Health Department. Once we have a finalized plan which has been reviewed by the health department, more information will be shared with residents, responsible parties, family members and visitors. It is important to understand because the pandemic continues to evolve, reopening plans will also evolve based on COVID-19 in the surrounding community and the facility.

We know you are anxious to visit your loved ones, and we are anxious to see you too. But we also know those we care for are at greatest risk for serious complications and death from this virus. Our We encourage you to connect with your loved ones through phone calls, video chat, cards, letters and window visits. Our employees are more than happy to assist residents with technology or arranging for a window visit.

We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we plan to reopen following the recommendations of KDADs, CMS and our state and local health departments. And as always, please call the facility if you should have further questions.

June 22, 2020 Letter

Since our last update we have had no additional positive cases of COVID-19 in residents or employees. Our totals remain at three resident positive cases and eight employee positive cases. At this time, all who have tested positive have recovered without complications.

Last week the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) provided guidance for reopening nursing facilities and adult care homes in Kansas. Each nursing facility, in conjunction with their local health department, is to develop their own reopening plan. Medicalodges, Inc. is working with each of our facilities, including Medicalodges Great Bend on developing these plans which must take into consideration the specific recommendations of each county. Once our plan has been developed and reviewed by the Barton County Health Department, it will be shared with residents, families and employees.

It is important to understand because the pandemic continues to evolve, reopening plans will also evolve based on COVID-19 in the community and the facility. What we do know is, as recommended by KDADS, Medicalodges Great Bend will continue to restrict visitors until 28 days have passed since the last positive COVID-19 case. Barring any new cases of COVID-19, Medicalodges Great Bend will not reopen to visitors until July 10, 2020. Visiting at the nursing facility will certainly have limitations and we will provide an update on how we plan to proceed as we approach that target date. We encourage you to connect with your loved ones through phone calls, video chat, cards, letters and window visits. Our employees are more than happy to assist residents with technology or arranging for a window visit.

We know you are anxious to visit your loved ones, and we are anxious to see you too. But we also know those we care for are at greatest risk for serious complications and death from this virus. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we plan to reopen following the recommendations of KDADs, CMS and our state and local health departments. And as always, please call the facility if you should have further questions.

June 15, 2020 Letter

On Thursday June 11th all previously COVID-19 negative employees and residents were tested. Of those tests, no additional residents tested positive for COVID-19. One employee did test positive and has been restricted from work. This employee did not have any signs of symptoms of COVID-19 when tested. As of this date there have been three resident positive cases of COVID-19 and eight employee positive cases.

We continue to follow isolation precautions in caring for all residents and will do so until we receive further recommendations from the Barton County and Kansas state health departments. As a reminder, this means residents will continue to be restricted to their rooms, there will be no communal dining, no group activities and staff will be wearing all appropriate personal protective equipment in the care of all residents including eye protection, face masks, gowns and gloves. In addition, resident room doors will remain closed except for the entry and exit of employees from the room. We will continue restricting access to visitors except in compassionate end of life situations, requesting residents who are able to wear a mask when employees are providing care and using disposable meal service utensils and ware.

We have no plans for additional widespread testing at this time, but do understand that may change. We will continue to refer symptomatic residents and employees for testing and will continue to follow the recommendations of our state and local health departments. Please call the facility with any questions.

June 10, 2020 Letter

On Tuesday June 9th we were notified of a positive COVID-19 test result for an employee who had developed symptoms at the end of last week. This individual was restricted from work on Friday June 5th and completed testing over the weekend.

We immediately consulted with the Barton County Health Department and it has been recommended we implement isolation precautions for all residents until further notice. This means residents will continue to be restricted to their rooms, there will be no communal dining, no group activities and staff will be wearing all appropriate personal protective equipment in the care of all residents including eye protection, face masks, gowns and gloves. In addition, resident room doors will remain closed except for the entry and exit of employees from the room. We will continue restricting access to visitors except in compassionate end of life situations, requesting residents who are able to wear a mask when employees are providing care and using disposable meal service utensils and ware.

We have planned to test all employees and residents for COVID-19 again starting on Thursday June 11th. This testing will be completed by the Barton County Health Department and only residents and employees who have not tested positive at any time will be tested again this week. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the health department regarding testing and any additional actions they may recommend.

As we receive testing results, we will provide further updates. We remain dedicated to the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and employees and will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, CMS and our state and local health departments. Please call the facility with any questions.

June 5, 2020 Letter

We are happy to report we have had no additional residents or employees test positive with COVID-19 since our last update. This is due in part to the diligence of our employees in maintaining strict infection control measures and our residents cooperating with our isolation, quarantine and social distancing requirements. Since the original series of testing the total remains at three residents and six employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, all which have recovered fully.

At this time there is no plan for ongoing testing of all residents or employees. We will continue to screen and monitor both our residents and employees and refer them for testing when appropriate. We are maintaining our resident room, dining and activity restrictions for a total of four weeks from our last positive COVID-19 case as recommended by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

These are certainly trying times for our residents, families and employees but our efforts have been effective. Additional updates will be provided in the event we have new positive COVID-19 cases, but we are very hopeful additional updates will not be necessary. We thank you for your ongoing support and if you have any questions please call the facility. 

June 1, 2020 Letter

Dear Residents, Families, Friends and Visitors,

As our surrounding communities and businesses begin to return to normal and open up we want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support. This has certainly not been easy for anyone. We also want to provide information on how our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope locations will be impacted.

Many areas continue to see positive cases of COVID-19 and community transmission. As businesses begin to reopen, travel restrictions and gathering restrictions eased and eliminated, we can expect to see continued new cases in our communities. The individuals we care for remain at extremely high risk for illness, hospitalization and even death due to COVID-19.  It is estimated that 40% of the deaths caused by COVID-19 have been in those who reside in long term care facilities and other congregate living communities.  For these reasons, our Medicalodges, Gran Villas and New Hope communities will continue with our current processes to prevent as much as possible the introduction of the virus into our locations. These efforts include, among other things:

  • Restricted access to our locations to essential personnel only
  • Restricted visiting with the exception of compassionate and end of life situations only
  • Strict adherence to hand hygiene, cough etiquette and use of face masks for all who enter our locations
  • Social distancing for residents as much as possible including no communal dining or large group activities
  • Monitoring of employees and residents for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature
  • Restricted entry of any individual with a temperature or other symptoms of COVID-19, travel restrictions or potential exposure, including employees

We are currently developing reopening plans as an organization, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the CDC, CMS, state and local health departments and our state survey agencies. These plans will very likely include limited numbers of visitors allowed per resident, limited numbers of individuals allowed in our location at a given time, restricting visiting to specific areas of the facility and arranging for visits by appointment. As these plans are finalized, they will be shared with you. The health and safety of our residents and employees is of the utmost importance to us during this transition period.

You are encouraged to continue connecting with your loved ones through a variety of means, including letters, cards and notes, window visits, phone calls and video chat via google hangouts, Zoom and Facetime and Facebook chat. Our employees are available and happy to assist with arranging the use of technology devices for phone calls and video chats.

And a sincere thank you for your encouraging words sent through a variety of means to our employees. We know they are the heroes in all of this, and it is so meaningful when they hear it from you too. We will get through this and we all look forward to hugs, kisses on the cheek and handshakes.

Sincerely,

Shannon Lager, RN, BSN
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

May 29, 2020 Letter

Since our last update, we have had an additional resident test positive with COVID-19. This new positive result is associated with the most recent positive resident as these individuals were roommates. These residents were immediately placed in private rooms upon notification of the first roommate’s positive result on May 20th. We have no additional positive employees to report at this time.

Since the original series of testing we have had a total of three residents and six employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. Each of our employees have recovered fully and returned to work. Our residents have also recovered or had very minor symptoms. We do continue to screen and monitor both our residents and our employees and will refer them for testing when appropriate.

At this time it is undetermined the full extent of additional testing to be conducted in residents and employees as a result of this most recent positive resident result. The Barton County Health Department does plan at a minimum to test employees who have worked directly with the most recent positive resident.  We will continue to follow the guidance and direction of the health department regarding ongoing testing of our residents and employees.

We continue to be appreciative of the assistance and support of the Barton County Health Department throughout this process and the ongoing support of our families. We look forward to the day we can all be together again. As always, please call the facility with any questions.

May 21, 2020 Letter

Since our last update, the Barton County Health Department re-tested all residents and staff whose initial results were negative. This testing was conducted on Monday May 18th.  This series of testing resulted in an additional resident testing positive despite having no symptoms. Upon notification of the test results, this resident was immediately moved into a private room and placed in isolation. No additional employees tested positive and one employee test result is pending. Since the original series of testing we have had a total of two residents and six employees test positive for COVID-19. Some of our employees who tested positive never developed symptoms and several have completed their quarantine and returned to work.

The Barton County Health Department has been a great partner throughout this process. At this time we have no plans for additional testing, but should that change you will certainly be informed. In the meantime, we continue to screen and monitor both our residents and our employees and will refer them for testing when appropriate. Thank you for all your kind words and support and as always please call the facility with any questions.

May 15, 2020 Letter

Since our last update, we have received all results from the initial resident and staff COVID-19 testing and re-testing conducted on May 7th, 10th and 12th. From that series of testing we had a single resident and five staff test positive. Through our increased screening and monitoring measures, we identified an employee with mild symptoms who had initially tested negative. The employee was referred to and tested by the Barton County Health Department on May 12th. We were notified on May 14th the individual now tested positive. This employee is a non-direct care position, has had very limited resident contact and is currently restricted from working.

We continue to work closely with the Barton County Health Department and have coordinated with them to schedule all residents and staff, who initially tested negative, to be tested again on Monday May 18th. As we receive results from this new series of testing, we will keep you updated. Rest assured, we will continue to be vigilant in screening and monitoring of both employees and residents. We encourage you to call the facility with any questions. 

May 12, 2020 Letter

Since our last update, all COVID-19 test results have been received with the exception of one asymptomatic employee who was tested again this date. We have had no additional positive results leaving our total COVID-19 positives at five employees and one resident. We continue to screen and closely monitor employees and residents at this time and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, including conducting additional testing on any employee or resident who might develop symptoms. We are thankful for the ongoing assistance and support of the Barton County Health Department as we navigate this situation. And as always, if you have additional questions, we encourage you to call the facility.

May 10, 2020 Letter

Since our last update, employee and resident results from the COVID-19 testing have been coming in from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment state lab and all but ten results have been received. Of the results received to this point, two additional employees and one resident have tested positive. Eight of the ten outstanding tests had problems with the specimen which prevented them from being tested. Staff from the Barton County Health Department are re-testing these eight individuals this date. The other two results are pending

To date, 118 individuals have been tested. Five employees and a single resident have tested positive for the virus. All employees testing positive have been restricted from work, and the resident testing positive has been placed in isolation. Other than the original employee who tested positive, no other positive employee or resident had symptoms or have developed symptoms. We continue with restricting all residents to their rooms as much as possible and increased frequency of screening for symptoms in residents and employees.

As the remainder of results are received we will continue to provide you with updates. You are encouraged to contact the facility with any questions.

May 8, 2020 Letter

Late on May 7th we were informed of an additional two positive COVID-19 cases in non-direct care employees of Medicalodges Great Bend. These two new cases are associated with the original positive case we reported to you on May 7th. Each of these employees, and other close contacts within the facility have been restricted from working until they each meet the CDCs return to work criteria.

On May 7th, all staff and residents were tested for COVID-19 with the assistance of the Barton County Health Department. Residents and responsible parties will be notified of testing results as they are received. We will continue to work closely with the health department.

Additional precautionary measures we are taking at this time include restricting residents to their rooms as much as possible, including for meals, and offering residents the opportunity to wear face masks if they wish. We are also making preparations in the event we have a larger outbreak amongst employees and residents but are hopeful it will not become necessary.

Should you have additional questions, we encourage you to call the facility.

May 7, 2020 Letter

To Our Residents and Family Members:

We want to inform you we have received confirmation that a non-direct care employee with little to no contact with residents at Medicalodges Great Bend has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This employee has been restricted from working until they meet the CDC required return to work criteria. Resident safety is our top priority and we are doing what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please know we are strictly adhering to guidance from the CDC and directions from the Barton County Health Department to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps.

Over the next couple of days the Barton County Health Department will assist us in testing all employees and residents at Medicalodges Great Bend. We will contact you if your loved one is suspected to have, diagnosed with or tests positive for COVID-19. We have increased the frequency of monitoring residents and employees for COVID-19 symptoms and we have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

We know you may have questions and we encourage you to contact us at 620-792-2165. We also understand connecting with family members is important to our residents. Family and friends are encouraged to connect with their loved ones through video chat, calling, texting, or other social media formats and our employees are here to help facilitate those connections.

Medicalodges Great Bend remains true to our mission to serve and enhance the lives of others. We are very appreciative of all the support and understanding we have received from resident families, friends, employees and the community as we do our very best to serve this vulnerable population through this worldwide epidemic. Thank you all for the cooperation and support.    

May 1, 2020 Letter

A letter to our Residents & Families

In this time of unprecedented pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our staff and residents.  As our surrounding communities begin to open up, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facilities, including restricting visiting and non-essential personnel. Below you will find what we will continue to have in place to prevent and manage the COVID-19 risk.

First, rest assured we are following the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and our State and Local Health Departments. While we are doing everything possible, you or your loved one may come in contact with someone who is unknowingly contagious.  The CDC has stated that individuals without symptoms may spread the virus.  As a precaution ALL of our staff and anyone entering the facility to conduct essential services for our residents are required to complete a screening regarding their travels and, potential encounters with anyone who has been diagnosed with the virus, and they have their temperature taken.  ALL individuals who enter the facility are required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth, perform hand hygiene and are required to notify us if they later develop symptoms consistent with the virus.

We are doing everything possible to reduce the risk of the virus entering our facility; however, nothing is guaranteed.  Some people who have the virus do not have any symptoms and can still spread the virus.  We are doing our best with the tools we have, and we will make it through this pandemic apart but together.

Here is a brief description of what we will continue to do to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus in our facility even as the surrounding community begins to open up:

  • Entry to the facility is restricted to staff and essential personnel only.
  • Every resident has their temperature taken and reviewed by a licensed nurse every day.
  • Medical providers (Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants) are encouraged to conduct visits using telehealth technology so residents do not have to leave our facility and risk exposure to the virus.
  • Residents who leave our facility and risk exposure in the community are restricted to their room for a period of time afterwards to monitor for the development of symptoms.
  • Isolation precautions are initiated for any resident who develops symptoms. They are restricted to their rooms and staff wear protective equipment when providing their care.
  • Communal dining and activities have been suspended. Activities are provided in-room. Dining occurs in-room, or in small groups where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Deliveries are made without entry of vendors into to the facility. Staff bring our deliveries into the building.
  • Every staff member has their temperature taken every day and are screened for symptoms, travel and contacts which may place them at risk for exposure to the virus. Staff members who are sick or meet any of the exposure criteria are restricted from working in the building.
  • All staff and essential personnel wear masks while in the building.

What can families and friends do to help?

  • Write letters or send cards to your loved one, and ask your friends and relatives to do the same.
  • Have grandchildren make pictures and mail them to your loved one.
  • Make copies of photos and mail them in a letter to your loved one.
  • Send blank cards and envelope sets so your loved one can write to family and friends.
  • Bring pets to the resident’s window; seeing a pet is a great way to lift spirits.
  • Hang a bird feeder outside your loved one’s window, and refill it every time you visit. Ask your loved one about the birds that come to eat.
  • Bring chairs to sit outside the window and visit at the window on pleasant days.
  • Send gifts such as hand lotion, cologne, candy, books, puzzles, etc. A surprise gift is always welcome.
  • Print a copy of the hometown newspaper and mail it to your loved one. News from the childhood home of your loved one is welcomed and keeps them connected.
  • We have technology which allows residents to visit loved ones via video chat technology such as Facetime, Google Hangouts or Zoom. Pease make an appointment, as our staff can help residents utilize the technology.
  • Send a note to our staff too; let them know you appreciate their hard work.

Remember, these restrictions will not last forever, but until they are no longer recommended, we will continue to do what we can every day to reduce the risk of the spread of this virus to our residents and your loved ones. We love you like our own family and we will get through this together but apart.