COVID-19 House Closing EMail
E-MAIL TO FAMILIES REGARDING CLOSING OF HOUSES
MARCH 20, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for our local community, our nation, and around the world. Lack of solid information creates stress and uncertainly, which makes our days harder. During these uncertain times, we can all take comfort in the strength of our community and our steadfast mission. Extraordinary times require everyone to come together in a concerted effort to achieve a common goal; it is in that spirit that this letter outlines how each member of the Larmax Homes community can do their part.
What Is Larmax Homes Doing Right Now?
For our part, we are laser focused on keeping our essential employees not only healthy but as stress free as possible. We are helping them arrange babysitting groups and contributing to their extra expenses while schools are out. We are working with the few of them that take public transportation to consider alternative means of travel and, if that is not possible, how to keep themselves safe. We have added extra staff in both Maryland and Virginia so that when a staff member is not feeling well, he or she does not feel compelled to come to work to help other team members. Sick employees receive paid leave, so they do not have to worry about adverse economic consequences. Our nurse is sewing face masks because we cannot get any additional personal protective equipment right now. All non-essential administrative staff are working hard from home, conducting business by phone and video calls. Our staff is the most critical part of the continuing quality of care and we are going to do anything it takes to support them!
We are delighted to say that Atta received 25 test kits this morning from a lab that she has been closely working with. These test kits will be immediately available to staff and residents, upon a doctor’s order, who are showing signs of potential exposure. Access to these tests gives us the ability to quickly respond to situations in any house.
What is Changing?
Based on the medical information currently available, it is time to temporarily close the houses to all visitors, including family. We know that this is very difficult to hear but the science is overwhelming — having the fewest number of people moving through the house lowers the likelihood of infection. Consequently, as of 8:00 PM on Saturday, March 21st, the houses will be closed to visitors for 14 days, at which time we will revisit the latest available information on COVID-19’s trajectory and CDC guidance and update this decision.
During this 14-day period, on days that are warm enough for a visit outside (not on the porches), we will schedule, in advance, up to three resident outdoor visits per day, each visit for one family member. Weather dependent (fortunately, we are moving into spring with better weather on the horizon), a family would be able to visit about three times each week. Social distancing will still be practiced during these outdoor visits. More details about how to take advantage of this opportunity will be posted on the family section of our website (password: familymember) by Saturday night. Please do not come without first scheduling your visit through the online signup.
We understand that there may need to be “compassionate” exceptions to this policy. We will do our best to facilitate those if they can be conducted in a manner that does not put others at risk. This is an evolving concept and could change with future governmental requirements but, as of today, we are working towards enabling the following:
- Families will be able to schedule limited visits with residents who are closely approaching the end of life. Coordination of those visits should be made with plenty of time through Atta. (Please start with an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- If there are special occasions (for example, birthdays) taking place in the next two weeks, we will work with families to have an opportunity to celebrate these occasions either virtually or at a later date.
- If there are other “compassionate” exceptions you would like to discuss, please contact Janet (again, please start with an e-mail: email@example.com)
What Can Families Do and How Will Communication Change?
We recognize that communications both with and about your loved one are paramount to a feeling of security and stability. There is power in knowledge and connection. Therefore, we are implementing several new communication protocols which will keep everyone together, if not physically, at least emotionally. Some are new ideas that may work really well for some residents and not so well for others; in either case, we will do our best, given limited in-house staff presence, to find a way to make each work in the best possible way.
On our part, among other things, we are going to:
- Make sure that every family receives additional updates and pictures at least 2 times per week from our house and engagement staff
- Set up a way that you can view online videos we post (probably through a private channel on YouTube). We will do our best to post these at least every other day for each house.
- Continue our general daily updates (if anything is new or different) on the website
- Work with you on a schedule for video calls with your loved one
- Ensure that religious needs are met for those residents previously attending services through livestreamed religious services based on each resident’s religious affiliations
We are asking that all families identify a single point of contact that will receive all of these communications. Please use this link (which can also be found on the family website page) to identify your family’s point of contact. We want to focus on getting out more communications and leave the distribution to the right people up to you.
For those of you who are interested, we are implementing the use of Alexa Show devices in bedrooms. Using the tools of the Alexa app, if you will send us pictures of your family we will create a slide show that plays throughout the day on the Alexa Show (as well as the television if there is a FireTV or smart TV with Fire stick). Additionally, we can use Alexa for additional video calls (not all residents will be able to do this) and we invite you to record “bedtime” messages or “morning” messages for your loved ones that we can play over the Alexa as they are preparing for bed or getting up in the morning. We are also working on how to play bedtime “videos”! In the past, several families included reading a bedtime story in their recording. If you would like to participate, we will take care of all set-up. All you have to do is order an Alexa Show (no smaller than the 8” please) and have it sent directly to the house. As time permits, we plan to expand the use of this technology (including creating some family-to-resident activities you can do online using this technology) so it should be a worthwhile investment. If you are interested or have questions, please write me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We will continue to share with you throughout this time and greatly appreciate your offers of assistance and kind words. Even if we can’t be together physically, we can draw strength from this extraordinary community and how, in these trying times, the bonds between our staff have strengthened in an effort to ensure the safety, security and happiness of your loved one. Let’s all reach out to each other for support.
We will be here for you, and we know you will be here for us.
We wish you and your families health and well-being in the coming weeks.
Owner, Larmax Homes