COVID-19 Response and Updates

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE – 7/7/2020

I am writing this note after the Fourth of July. Certainly, it was like no other Fourth of July weekend we have had before! Even our little campus-wide celebration had to be canceled.

The coronavirus and avoiding its spread has put a damper on so much of what we do, but we can still talk about our heroes at Sierra View Homes. We have 150 employees who are going above and beyond to keep you safe, and taking care of you when things don’t go as planned. They work each day trying to make each person comfortable.  

For the past four months, with everyone’s help, we were able to keep the virus totally off the campus. We now have experienced a one-time spread in our Nursing Care Center, infecting 13 residents and six employees. We learned the virus entered our building by way of a resident. The family decided to take her out to eat following a doctor’s visit. The virus has been contained to this one section of the Nursing Care Center. Our aim is not just to contain it but to keep any symptoms that infected residents experience to a minimum. So we will expeditiously fight to treat any symptom and keep discomfort and serious complications down.

Even before the need was in sight, Barbara Alatorre, our Director of Nursing, had a running list of volunteers that would work the COVID Unit. These people knew that they would have to work long, 12-hour days and put themselves at more risk of contracting the virus. Yet, they stepped forward and said, “yes, I will do it.” In our time of need, we are seeing heroism at its finest.

We set up apartment 3 for the COVID Unit staff to have a place to go, rest, and relax, giving them a home away from home.  Apartment 17 has also been made available for any other staff who need to rest after a long shift.

Please keep our hard-working staff and our residents in your prayers. We thank God for these outstanding people in our lives! 

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:3-6

May God bless your summer!

– Ro Linscheid, Executive Director and CEO


IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE – June 28, 2020

Dear Friends,

As part of our commitment to transparent communication and keeping our residents, families, and staff informed, I am writing to make you aware that as of Sunday, June 28, 2020, we have identified 3 resident and 3 staff cases of COVID-19 in our Nursing Care Center. 

Sierra View Nursing Care Center’s strategic protocol is now in place. Trained staff are currently working to contain the infection and minimize its spread. Designated team members are moving quickly to isolate the infection, utilizing quarantine procedures and strict protective gear.

The staff involved were limited to the skilled nursing area, and did not have contact with our other care levels. The 3 residents impacted are roommates, and the residents in neighboring rooms have tested negative, which may indicate limited potential for spread.

The impacted rooms and nearby areas are currently undergoing an intensive cleaning procedure. We continue to practice widespread infection-prevention throughout our campus. We are in contact with the Department of Public Health and Medicare Agencies and are in compliance with their most recent guidelines.

While this is difficult news, I want to reassure you that our very dedicated staff is working tirelessly to keep our residents comfortable and healthy. I’ve been amazed at the many creative ways our staff is going above-and-beyond to meet our residents’ social and emotional needs, while complying with strict protocols to keep them safe.

We want to thank you for your continued understanding and for your prayers. Together, we will get through this. 

Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Sincerely,
Ro Linscheid
Executive Director/ CEO

As new information becomes available, or if public health officials change recommendations in ways that impact our services, we will post updates on our website at http://www.sierraview.org/covid-19-response/ and email them to our email list. You may add yourself to our email list here: https://mailchi.mp/a3a79aa4784a/svh_email


COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE – May 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

Thus far, we have successfully guarded our retirement campus from COVID-19. This is no small feat, as Sierra View Homes is home to 250 residents and a labor force of approximately 150. Thank you to each of you for your cooperation and good attitude as we work to protect each other! With the continued diligence of residents, families, and staff (and some help from Above) Sierra View should be able to keep the virus from entering our campus.

This particular virus seems to be very contagious and can cause greater harm in some individuals. Reports show that many people have the virus and show no signs or symptoms, which requires extra diligence in vulnerable populations like ours. 

We continue to practice widespread infection-prevention throughout our campus, with more restrictive procedures in our Nursing Care Center and Assisted Living. We receive continual updates from the Department of Public Health and Medicare Agencies and will comply with their most recent guidelines.

Sierra View has developed a strategic protocol that will be initiated in the event of an infection on our campus. If this occurs, our community and families will be notified immediately, and trained staff will jump into action to contain the infection and minimize its spread. Designated team members are prepared and ready to move quickly to isolate an infection, utilizing quarantine procedures and strict protective gear.

During the next couple of weeks, as testing becomes more available, the numbers of reported COVID-19 cases will increase. Please remember that, while those with health issues may be more severely affected, there are many people who will have little-to-no symptoms and can recover quickly. 

We are extending our shelter-in-place procedures and will keep our residents and community informed through the MessageNow channel 2 and through letters such as this.

We have very dedicated staff working hard to keep our residents as comfortable and healthy as we can. We want to thank you for your continued understanding and for your prayers. Together, we will get through this. 

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

Sincerely,

Ro Linscheid, 
Executive Director/ CEO


COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE 4/9/20 – CALL FOR MASKS:

Seamstresses and quilters, bring us your masks!
Sierra View Homes is seeking sewn, fabric masks for our staff. Current guidelines require all nursing home staff to wear masks

While we do have a stockpile of PPE for the protection of our staff, we are reserving its use for the care of possible future COVID-19 patients. In the meantime, we are in need of washable, reusable fabric masks for our staff to wear in compliance with the new guidelines.

‣ Masks should be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven “quilter’s cotton.”
‣ Please wash and dry your fabric on high heat before sewing in order to reduce shrinkage in commercial washers.
‣ Masks can be with ties or elastic. Some people are using Jersey material to stretch over the ears, since elastic is hard to find. We will take whatever you are making.

Here is a link to a mask pattern which we recommend: https://www.instructables.com/…/AB-Mask-for-a-Nurse-by-a-N…/
However, once again, we will take whatever you are making. Thank you for your efforts!


COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE as of 3/26/20:

Dear Sierra View Homes Friends and Family,
Governor Newsom has ordered all of California to shelter in place. Here at Sierra View Homes, we are working very hard to assist the people living on our campus to do just that.

Here are just some of the ways we are working to safeguard the health of our residents:
• We are now delivering meals to our residents with meal plans, and have discontinued the extra charge for meal delivery.

• While our weekly shopping trips have been canceled, we have a new system in place to meet our apartment residents’ needs: designated employees are making routine, scheduled contact with each resident to assess how they are doing and identify any grocery or medicinal needs. For those who have no family support, we will make sure their needs are met.

• We encourage families to keep their loved-one supplied, but in order to comply with social distancing requirements, family members delivering goods to the independent apartments must remain outside of the building.

• Our assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing are closed to visitors, except in cases of essential visitors (emergencies or end-of-life visitation). Essential visitors must go through a nursing pre-screening before entry.

• While we always in-service staff on infection control, these past two weeks we have in-serviced to an even higher level with COVID-19-specific healthcare best practices in mind. The staff know what to do to keep themselves healthy and how to watch for signs and symptoms.

• Housekeeping has equipment to disinfect and extra staff hours to do so. We are proud of the diligence with which our housekeeping staff are cleaning all areas, paying extra attention to public areas and surfaces.

We are doing everything we can to keep our staff and residents as safe as possible, while complying with governmental recommendations and keeping our residents’ and families’ social needs in mind. We understand the burden that lack of visitation and required isolation puts on our families and residents, and we are working tirelessly to find ways to mitigate that.

Finally, I’d like to encourage us to guard our thoughts during this time of social and economic upheaval. Philippians 4:6-9 reminds us: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

In the face of social distancing, each of us must consider the many blessings that we are experiencing during this time, focus on the good we see all around us, and ask ourselves what good works God is calling us to in the service of our neighbors.

Sincerely,
Ro Linscheid
Executive Director and CEO
Sierra View Homes

As new information becomes available, or if public health officials change recommendations in ways that impact our services, we will post updates on our website at http://www.sierraview.org/covid-19-response/ and email them to our email list. You may add yourself to our email list here: https://mailchi.mp/a3a79aa4784a/svh_email


Sierra View Homes COVID Response Update as of 3/16/20: 

Dear Sierra View Homes Friends and Family,
As guidelines are rapidly changing, so are our policies. 

CLOSING TO VISITORS
In response to the CDC’s guidelines for nursing homes, we have chosen to limit visitors to Sierra View Homes Retirement Community. We will be screening and accepting essential visitors only (such as end-of-life and other emergency visits). This limitation will include family, friends, volunteers, CNA Training/LVN training program students, and any non-essential consultants. All visitors will be required to check in at the nurses’ station for screening.  

Additionally, we have implemented separated eating options to limit contact in dining rooms, and increased the number of take-out meals from our kitchen. 

In accordance with Governor Newsom’s directive that people aged 65 and older should practice home isolation, we are in the process of securing resources for the delivery of groceries and other needed items to the seniors in our independent apartments.

Once again, I would like to encourage you to lean into the Lord as we face this time together. Psalm 46:1 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God never promises us a lack of suffering, but He does promise to be with us through it. That allows us to take the counter-cultural action of not being afraid, even as we see hardships coming. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)

Blessings,
Ro Linscheid
Executive Director and CEO

As new information becomes available, or if public health officials change recommendations in ways that impact our services, we will post updates on our website at http://www.sierraview.org/covid-19-response/ and email them to our email list. You may add yourself to our email list here: https://mailchi.mp/a3a79aa4784a/svh_email


 Dear Sierra View Homes Friends and Family,

As COVID-19 begins to have an increased impact on our Reedley community, we wish to share more about the steps Sierra View Homes Retirement Community has been taking to keep all of our residents and families safe and infection-free.

Challenges of this nature are not new to the long-term care community environment. As a result, Sierra View Homes has a long-standing routine of diligence in the prevention of infectious diseases. We assess our residents and staff on a daily basis and encourage family to stay away if they are feeling ill. Signs posted on the entryway doors to the Nursing Care and Assisted Living remind anyone entering to be cautious of entering if they do not feel well. We have hand sanitizers placed in common areas and hand washing is encouraged. Staff are highly trained and encouraged to monitor everyone they encounter for signs and symptoms of any type of infection such as colds, flu, etc.

OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE

In response to the COVID-19 issue, Sierra View has gone over and above our standing procedures and implemented multiple additional preventative measures:

· Canceling or postponing large group events such as the Kiwanis Crab Feed. The Kiwanis Crab Feed is postponed to a date yet to be announced.

· Adding extra staff training, ongoing team briefings, and enhanced operating procedures.

· Increasing the frequency of cleaning public areas and high-contact surfaces, including restrooms, lobbies, door handles and handrails with an approved disinfectant.

· Increasing Housekeeping staff hours to accommodate a more intensive cleaning regimen.

· Increased testing of dietary dishwasher sanitizer levels to ensure maximum sanitizer levels are maintained while washing of dishes, pots, and pans.

· Increased deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizer stations throughout assisted living, skilled nursing, and the Terraces.

· Increased monitoring of all residents who return from physicians’ offices or hospitals for signs of illness or infection.

· Encouraging families to limit the number of visitors to just two at a time.

· Informing and instructing our independent living residents on proper infection prevention.

· Working to establish video-conference options to allow families to connect without the chance of infection.

GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES AND VISITORS:

YOU play an important role in helping us keep your loved-ones safe. If you are considering coming to visit, please do not come if you have any symptoms of a cold, flu, etc. Please check yourself for fever before your visit. Likewise, if you have traveled within the last two weeks, attended large events, or have any reason to suspect your own health, please refrain from visiting.

We also request that you limit the number of visitors to just two at a time. Please wash hands thoroughly before entering our facility, use hand sanitizer while you are there, and refrain from hugging, kissing, or touching residents or staff during your visit.

If you are unable to visit due to illness or out of an abundance of caution (THANK YOU!), we may be able to accommodate a video-conferencing call with your loved one.

Sierra View Homes Retirement Community takes the well-being of our residents very seriously, and will continue to monitor the situation and adapt our rules and policies as appropriate. Please contact us at (559) 638-9226 with any questions or concerns.

As new information becomes available, or if public health officials change recommendations in ways that impact our services, we will post updates on our website at http://www.sierraview.org/covid-19-response/ and email them to our email list. You may add yourself to our email list here: https://mailchi.mp/a3a79aa4784a/svh_email

While this information can be concerning, I would like to encourage you and your family to turn to God and lean into 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline,” and Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Thank you for your partnership!

Sincerely,

Ro Linscheid,
Executive Director