April 9th – Letter to Families
Dear Family and Friends,
Good Afternoon. I hope this letter finds everyone safe and healthy. I would like to thank everyone for their continued support as we navigate these stormy seas of this war. I said this yesterday and I will say this every day, our staff members that are here now are the cream of the crop, the bravest, caring, dedicated and selfless human beings on the planet! To put themselves in the front line of the battle like that is truly an act of heroism that needs to be applauded. So please take comfort knowing these are the special people taking care of your loved ones today. Here is an update on the current cases, both confirmed and pending, that we have in the building.
Current positive cases in Alameda: 15
Current positive cases in the hospital: 2
Current pending cases in Alameda: 8
Current pending cases in the hospital: 5
Total COVID-19 related deaths: 5
I would like to address some of the concerns that have been brought to the public attention recently.
- Staffing– Yes, it is true- Alameda center, like many other nursing facilities across the country, is experiencing a staffing challenge. Since the onset of the pandemic we have had many staff members request to be taken off the schedule. Unfortunately, 24 of our staff members have symptoms of COVID-19 and have either tested positive or have tests pending. The remaining staff members that have asked to be removed are looking out for their safety and the safety of their families, UNDERSTANDABLY SO! Fighting a war at the front lines of the battle is not for everyone. In order to combat and address these new challenges we have begun an aggressive recruiting and hiring campaign, offering nearly double the current rates for new employees as well as our current employees. Since we’ve begun the campaign, we have had almost 100 RN, LPN and CNA applicants. 15 new employees have already been hired and will start this week. In the meantime, the staff members that are here have been doing a tremendous job caring for our residents and making sure everyone is well fed, clean, dressed and happy. It has been a challenge, but we are doing our very best to get through it. As always- we are open to any ideas and suggestions from anyone that that has anything to offer.
- Communication– On March 12th we had a conference call with all the families to discuss the need to close Alameda to all visitors. On that day we set up a new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org for family members to reach out to us and to schedule facetime or telephone calls with their loved one. We know that there have been some delays in responding to these emails, due to the high volume of requests, but our staff has done an amazing job tracking all requests and setting up the calls to the best of their ability. In addition to all this, we have taken the suggestions of some of our family members to heart and we will be setting up conference calls for each floor separately. Having the entire contact list on the call was chaotic and we were not able to communicate the way we wanted to. We hope to be having these calls at least weekly for all floors. We have also set up a schedule where we reach out to each of our residents contact directly for a one on one conversation. As always, you can continue emailing me or calling me directly and I will respond as quickly as I possibly can. Since our first positive case was confirmed on Friday, April 3rd, we have followed the direction of the Department of Health by sending daily letters to all family members, residents and staff residents via the ConstantContact email blast software and CallFire mass text, updating all on number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, pending cases, and deaths. We have also updated all our staff on our exact par levels of our PPE.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)- From the onset of this virus we have followed the guidance and the direction of the CDC as well as local and state Department of Health exactly as to how to use and distribute PPE. At no point have we ever deliberately and intentionally withheld ANY PPE from an employee who should be wearing them. On the contrary. On Friday March 27th we were able to source and purchase N95 masks for our entire staff. At that point in time there was no order or even recommendation from the CDC or any other governing official or department for everyone in the facility to wear N95 masks. We wanted to go above and beyond the recommendations for the safety of our staff. We are fully stocked on all PPE items such as gloves, masks, gowns, face shields and eye protectors. ALL OUR STAFF MEMBERS HAVE ACCESS TO THE PPE THEY NEED. Any such reports suggesting otherwise are unequivocally false and slanderous and serves no purpose other to sow fear and unrest amongst our staff, residents and their families.
- Isolating COVID-19 positive residents- Initially we had assigned a separate wing for all our COVID-19 positive residents. Unfortunately as the number of cases grew we were instructed by the Department of Health that being that all of our residents are being treated with the presumption they are positive, and all our staff are wearing full PPE to treat every resident, there is no need to move the residents, rather keep the patients isolated in their room.
I would like to take his opportunity to thank the Mayor’s office and the OEM for being in touch with us every step of the way. Their guidance and assistance have been most valuable and appreciated, especially with providing some additional face shields for our staff member.
Alameda Centers main goal and mission statement is and always has been to provide top notch care to our residents, 24/7, no matter the circumstance or situation. Our commitment to that mission has never been stronger! At times like these we will continue to fight and pray for the safety and wellbeing of our residents. Not that we need any validation, but since the onset of the pandemic we have been in contact with the local department of health every single day, many times a day. Over the weekend the facility was visited by Nick De Stefano, a Registered Environmental Health Specialist working for the Middlesex County Office of Health Services. He surveyed what was going on in the building, was satisfied, and left with no concerns.
Thank you all so much for your continued patience and support as we work TOGETHER to fight off and beat this virus and to keep our residents safe and healthy.
God Bless you and Happy Holidays to all that are celebrating!
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