Hamilton Grove During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Campus Updates

To find the update on daily numbers for COVID Cases on campus, please click here.


November 19, 2021

There are so many things that I love about Hamilton Grove. During this season, I so much enjoyed the changing colors and the beauty of the carpet of leaves that adorn some of our driveways. It is also a reminder of the changing season and a preamble to the winter that is about to come. The beauty of the leaves reminds me of the words written by Emily Jane Brontë, an English novelist and poet when she wrote:

Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

As the holiday season is among us, we have received numerous questions concerning visitation and celebrations during this time of the year. Recently, CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) and IDOH (Indiana Department of Health) issued new guidance concerning visitation at long-term health care facilities. We want to take this opportunity to update you on the Visitation During COVID-19 Pandemic policy. As we move into the holiday season, the following will be in place:

  1. Visitation will be allowed at all times. All visitors should use the front entrance to The Pointe building. There will be no limits in the lengths of the visits, but the core principles of infection control must be followed. The front door at The Pointe is closed from 6:00 pm to 9:00 am. If you are visiting during those times, please use the phone in the vestibule to call the West Unit at extension 2305 and they will come and open the door and screen you in. You can also call 574-654-2305 from your cell phone.
  2. There will no longer be a limit on the number of visitors (up to now, there has been a two-person limit) that can enter the facility at a time. Please note that there still needs to be adequate space in the room to allow for social distancing. Therefore, we may ask that only a few people enter at a time. Larger gatherings in which adequate physical distance cannot be maintained (i.e., parties, large family meals) cannot occur.
  3. Visitors should go directly to the resident's rooms. They should not be walking throughout the building or sitting in the common areas. One visitor at a time is allowed to walk the resident throughout the facility
  4. When the county level of transmission is high (it is presently high in St. Joseph County), masks must be worn at all times, regardless of the vaccination status.
  5. All visitors MUST screen in at the front desk using the electronic kiosk. If a staff member is not available at the front entrance, the kiosk MUST still be used before entering the building.
  6. While it is not recommended, residents who are presently in Transmission Based Precautions or quarantine will be able to receive visitors. Appropriate PPE (mask, gloves, gown, eye protection) based on the level of isolation must be worn at all times.
  7. Compassionate care visitation is allowed at all times.

Yesterday, you received a special update via telephone call informing you that four residents from Assisted Living tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, there is one staff member still out with COVID. The new visitation directives from IDOH and CMS mean that visitation will continue during this time. Visitors need to be aware of the potential risk of contracting COVID-19. Once again, I need to emphasize that visitors must wear face masks regardless of vaccination, practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing.

As the Thanksgiving celebration is upon us, we would like to encourage you to take your loved one to your celebration. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many times residents have felt isolated. Please remember that residents that are NOT vaccinated if they spent more than 24 hours outside the facility would be required to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

Some family members have inquired about reserving a private room to host a meal for your loved one at our facility. The new directives will allow this to happen. Adequate social distance must be kept, so meeting rooms will have a maximum number of people allowed at one time. If you are interested in reserving a space, please call the visitation reservation number at 574-654-2597 and leave a message. A member of the activities department will reach out to you.

As a community, we are glad that visitation policies are opening up. At the same time, we take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of being vigilant in observing and following all the principles of infection control. Visitors that have tested positive for COVID are experiencing COVID symptoms and currently meet the criteria for quarantine, should NOT enter the facility. Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred), masks (covering mouth and nose), and social distancing at least six feet between persons must be followed at all times. This is for the protection of your loved ones and our team members. Keeping the members of our community safe is a high priority

As we celebrate this time of the year, I will be grateful for many things, and one of them is the opportunity to serve each one of our residents. I thank God with my whole heart for the blessing of being part of Hamilton Grove and Greencroft Communities. As we celebrate together, I leave you the following verse as a blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations
 


November 5, 2021

A few Reminders about Visitation:

We are grateful that our building can have regular visitation for our residents. We know how much residents and their families enjoyed visits. It is essential to follow all infection control protocols and the Indiana Department of Health Guidance for the protection of residents and team members. We want to take an opportunity to remind you of a few important policies that need to be followed:

  • Masks are to be worn at all times. This is due to the combination of the positivity rate and the rate of transmission for COVID-19 in St. Joseph  County.
  • Visitors are to be in the rooms of their loved ones and not in the communal areas. The only exception is if they are walking the resident throughout the facility.
  • At this point, visitors are not able to participate in facility communal activities, including mealtimes. If they want to have a meal with their loved ones, it needs to be reserved in one of the private meeting rooms.
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, have recently been exposed to someone with COVID in the last 14 days, or are in quarantine, please do not visit.

 


August 20, 2021

As you may have heard, on Wednesday August 18, President Biden announced he is calling on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to require all nursing homes who accept federal reimbursement to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for team members. We recognize that this mandate will be met with mixed emotions. Some will be undoubtably relieved while others will be disconcerted and alarmed.

Since the COVID-19 vaccination availability, we have done our part to encourage all team members who are able to get the vaccine. We feel it’s the best way to maintain the safety and health of our team members, their families, and our residents. At the same time, in accordance with our CROFT values, we respect those who choose to think differently.

You may be asking what this mandate means? The answer is, we don’t know for sure. It appears we will receive communication as early as September. We ask for your patience as we await formal guidance from CMS and our state department of health with the policy and procedures. Once that is received, we will begin to process this guidance as an organization in conjunction with our team members

In addition, we are working with our state and national non-profit associations to advocate for team members who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious beliefs and/or medical conditions. We expect these protections will be included in the mandate but feel it is vital for us to have our voices heard now.

Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself or another member of the leadership team. In addition, you may also email your concerns or questions to covidquestions@greencroftcommunities.org.

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations


June 14, 2021

Dear Residents, Families, and Responsible Parties:

After the warm temperatures of this past weekend, there is no doubt that summer is around the corner! It feels that every day we are moving farther from the worst of the pandemic to a new normal for all of us. The CDC website indicates that the positivity rate for St. Joseph County today is 2.63%. This is the ninth week in a row that it has been below 5%, one of the lowest rates since the beginning of the pandemic.  The vaccination rate for the county continues to increase (presently, it is at 41.6% of the total population), where currently 78.4% of the population over 65 years of age are vaccinated!

The progress we are experiencing concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has led the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH, formerly known as ISDH) to provide new guidance to all Health Care facilities concerning the visitation programs at the institutions.  Based on the new directives, we would like to share the following changes and revisions to our Visitation program.

  • Effective today, June 14, the visitation hours at Hamilton Grove will be from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Sunday.

  • Visitation during this timeframe will no longer require an appointment. There will be no limit to the number of visits, and the length of the visit will no longer be limited to a maximum of two hours.

  • All visitors must continue to be screened. One must always sign in and out at the kiosk, no matter how many times a day you are visiting.

  • During the visit, if both the visitor and the resident are vaccinated and the resident resides in a private room for Healthcare or an apartment in Assisted Living, masks can be removed once all parties are in the resident's private room and/or apartment.

  • All visitors (regardless of vaccination status) must continue to wear masks at all times outside of the resident's private room/apartment, which includes while screening in at the kiosk, walking to and from the room, and at any time they are in a public area of the community.

  • If either the resident or the visitor is not vaccinated, or the resident has a roommate, or the visit takes place in a public area, all parties must keep a mask in place for the entire visit.

  • If visiting in  a semi-private room, the number of visitors still needs to be limited to 2 so that social distancing can be maintained.  However, the resident can be taken to a common area to accommodate more visitors at a time as long as masks are worn.  If  all parties are vaccinated, masks may be removed only in a private area.

  • Groups visits larger than 5 and/ or group events still need to be scheduled due to needing to monitor how many visitors we have at a time.

  • If you need to visit your loved one outside of the regular visiting hours (9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Sunday), we ask that you call and make an appointment. You can make an appointment by calling 574-654-2597.

It is wonderful to be at this stage! It is also important for all of us to continue to be vigilant during this period. The new guidelines apply as long as we remain a COVID-19-free building. We realize that it has been a long time since COVID became part of the reality, and we all have been anxiously waiting to be able to move beyond the pandemic to a new reality.

As I sit at my desk this morning preparing this communication while enjoying the sunrise, it reminds me of the chorus of the well-known English Christian hymn:

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

It does feel that morning has broken as we look forward to the promise of a new day! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Alicia William, our Resident Services Manager, at 574-654-2200 or at alicia.williams@hamiltoncomm.org.

Blessings,

Carlos Romero


April 23, 2021

Greetings!

We are thankful that no resident or staff member has COVID-19 at this time. Our visitation program is open for residents and families.  Visitation has been a joyous time for our residents as well as for our team members.  We have loved seeing the interaction and time our residents and family members have with one another.   We want to remind you that if you are interested in scheduling an appointment with a resident, you need to call 574-654-2597 and leave a message. 

For those of you taking your loved ones out for excursions, proper infection control protocols must be observed at all times, including adequate social distancing, masking in the community to cover both nose and mouth, and frequent hand hygiene. Outdoor activities are preferred and encouraged. The next update will be Friday of next week.

Our residents and team members are thankful for your support and your prayers.


March 30, 2021

I write to you today as we are moving into the observance of Passover and Holy Week, a special time that serves to remind us of God's sacrifice and love for all of us. It is also a time of hope and promise of a new day as we look forward to the celebration of resurrection Sunday.

As visitation and excursions (for less than 24 hours) have opened up for our residents, this past week has felt like a new day. As we continue forward, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with further information. We rejoice with our residents and their families at the opportunities that have opened up for interaction; at the same time, we want to remind everyone of the importance of following appropriate infection control protocol, the use of masks, maintaining social distance, and regularly using hand sanitizer. As much as we are grateful for the new freedoms, we also realize that a COVID-19 positive case in our facility would very quickly impact this new openness.

All of us need to remain vigilant in a time like this.  As the pace of vaccination in our state and county continues to move forward in a positive way, there is still work that needs to be done. In the last week, we have observed an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates in St. Joseph County at a time in which some of the new variants are beginning to spread.

We want to remind you that "All visitation (in both Assisted Living and Healthcare) requires an appointment; no walk-ins will be allowed." Among a variety of systems that we have in place, the screening of all visitors and escorting visitors to rooms is included.  Although room visitation is now permissible, the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) as well as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Center for Medicare and Medicaid) (CMS) still prefers outside visitation since this type of visit generally poses a lower risk of transmission. To set up an appointment, please call the following phone number: 574-654-2597.  There is a limit to how many guests can visit at a given time as well as how many residents can have visitors at a given time. When you call, you will be asked to leave the name of the resident you wish to visit, your name and telephone number, and the date and preferred times to visit. Our scheduler will call you with a date and time.  For all visitation (Assisted Living and Healthcare), the following guidelines must be followed:

  1. Please always observe the social distancing of 6 feet. The new directives state the following concerning physical touch: “If the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.”
     
  2. When you arrive for your visit, you will first need to stop at the screening desk. There will be a set of questions (a COVID-19 screening form) that must be answered, and your temperature will be taken. There will be a Healthcare Visitor Guidelines Education document, which will need to be signed by all participants. Hand sanitizer will be provided and needs to be used before and after your visit.
     
  3. Please bring a surgical mask with you and wear it at all times during your visitation time. Visitation will not be allowed without the use of a mask.
     
  4. Food and drink cannot be shared with your loved one during the visitation.
     
  5. Only two family members will be allowed to visit each resident at a time. You must arrive on time for your visitation appointment.
     
  6. Visitors will not visit other residents other than those identified upon arrival. For those visiting residents in their rooms, you will need to remain in the room at all times, with the exceptions noted below.  Hamilton Grove personnel will escort you to the room. The same is true for end-of-life visits in Healthcare. In-room visitors can, weather permitting, take their loved ones outside for visitation and walks as long as they are not leaving the facility's grounds. If a resident is leaving the facility, then an excursion form must be completed and signed by the visitor. The resident must also sign out on the Kiosk. They must also sign in when they return.  Although in-room visitation is available, ISDH and CDC directives still indicate that outdoor visitation is preferred since it poses a lower risk of transmission. When the visit is finished, you will be able to leave the facility without an escort via the front entrance after signing out at the Kiosk.

The new directives that were put forth by ISDH also changed the communication requirements from daily to weekly. During this pandemic, you have been receiving a daily update call Monday to Friday, providing you with an update.  The new directives put forth by ISDH have changed the communication requirement from daily to once a week. Beginning this week, we will change from a daily call to a weekly call update.  Calls will be made every Friday. If there is a COVID-19 positive case, we will move back to a daily call until we are COVID free.

As we continue to celebrate Holy Week, it is our prayer and hope that each of you will have a good week as we look forward to Easter when we celebrate the Savior's resurrection!

"He is not here; He has risen, just as he said."

Mathew 28:6

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations

 


March 18, 2021

 

The last time I wrote to you I was looking out the window, and it was a beautiful day with a blue sky and the sun shining. Today the weather has changed, and it is a cloudy, gray day! I want to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on new directives given by the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) following the recent recommendations that were put forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). These new directives come as we acknowledge the first anniversary of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We are grateful for our county's continued lower positivity rate, although we realize that could change quickly. The new directives include the following areas:

Visitation: The new directives of ISDH concerning visitation programs (in COVID-19-free buildings and counties with a positivity rate of less than 10%) allow in-room visitation for all residents (Assisted Living and Healthcare). These new guidelines will begin tomorrow, Friday, March 19. We will continue our hours for family and friends' visitation Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. While the new directives indicate that outdoor visitation (as permissible by weather) is the preferred choice since it possesses a lower risk of transmission, in-room visitation will be allowed. Also, the new directives state that residents who are fully vaccinated may choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a face mask and performing hand hygiene before and after.

All visitation (in both Assisted Living and Healthcare) requires an appointment; no walk-ins will be allowed. To setup an appointment, please call the following phone number: 574-654-2597. There is a limit to how many residents can have visitors at a given time. When you call, you will be asked to leave the name of the resident you wish to visit, your name and telephone number, and the date and preferred times to visit. Our scheduler will call you with a date and time. For all visitation (Assisted Living and Healthcare), the following guidelines must be followed:

  1. Please always observe the social distancing of 6 feet. No physical contact can take place, except for the exception noted above.
  2. When you arrive for your visit, you will first need to stop at the screening desk. There will be a set of questions (a COVID-19 screening form) that must be answered, and your temperature will be taken. There will be a Healthcare Visitor Guidelines Education document, which will need to be signed by all participants. Hand sanitizer will be provided and needs to be used before and after your visit.
  3. Please bring a surgical mask with you and wear it at all times during your visitation time. Visitation will not be allowed without the use of a mask.
  4. Food and drink cannot be shared with your loved one during the visitation.
  5. Only two family members will be allowed to visit each resident at a time. You must arrive on time for your visitation appointment.
  6. Visitors will not visit other residents other than those identified upon arrival. For those visiting residents in their rooms, you will need to remain in the room at all times. Hamilton Grove personnel will escort you to and from the room. The same is true for end-of-life visits in Healthcare.

If visitors pose a risk for transmitting COVID-19 to the residents, facility, and/or staff, we will request the visit to be canceled. Our visitation's success depends upon the cooperation of our visitors, so please adhere to the guidelines. If there is one positive case of COVID-19 among our residents and/or among two or more healthcare staff at any time following the beginning of visitation, then visitation will cease by order of the Indiana State Department of Health. Besides, we want to remind you that our activities department can arrange a FaceTime call with your loved ones. If you are interested in scheduling a FaceTime call, please contact our activities department at 574-654-221.

The updated directives that we recently shared with you will continue. Those residents needing to leave the building for medical visits (transported by either Hamilton Grove staff or family/friend) will not need to quarantine for 14 days when they return. Residents can continue to participate in outings/excursions (for less than 24 hours) with family members and will not have to quarantine upon their return. Residents will need to check out when they leave and check-in on their return.

We are grateful that we find ourselves in this place. We know that many of you with loved ones in Healthcare have wanted to visit them in their rooms. It has been a long year. As much as we need to continue to be vigilant, we look at the future with hope. I leave you with the following verse of hope and blessings:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Romans 15:13

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations
 


March 8, 2021

As I am writing this note, I am looking out the window and enjoying a beautiful morning. The temperatures are higher than what they had been, and the sky is bright blue; it feels like spring is around the corner. It has been a long year. This coming March 11 will be the first anniversary of the COVID-19 global pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). As we have commented many times before, the world has changed, and very few of us could have anticipated what COVID-19 was going to mean for us, particularly for each of our residents and their loved ones.

The biblical scripture of Psalm 30:5 has been significant in my life as we've faced the ups and downs and the challenges that are part of our daily living. I have always held tight to the words in the second part of the verse where it states, "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." We know that during this period, there have been many tears and frustrations. Part of what I love from this verse is the promise of a new day and that we will be able to rejoice once more. By this means, I would like to update you on new directives given by the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) that I believe begin to point us to the new day in which we will be able to rejoice! The COVID-19 vaccines, the lower positivity rate in our county and adjacent counties, and the decreased COVID-19 related hospitalization in our local hospitals indicate that we are moving in the right direction. The new directives include the following areas:

Visitation: The new directives of ISDH concerning visitation programs (in COVID-19 free buildings and counties with a positivity rate of less than 10%) call for the expansion of hours. It also allows for the in-room visitation of residents living in Assisted Living. (It still does not allow in-room visitation in Healthcare except in end-of-life situations or if the resident is bedridden). We understand for those of you with a loved one in Assisted Living that this is a welcome update, while for those of you with loved ones in Healthcare, it will most likely be frustrating that ISDH is still not allowing in-room visitation. These new guidelines will begin Tuesday, March 9. We will be expanding our hours for family and friend's visitation. Our new hours will be:

Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Indoor visitation, per the direction of ISDH for Healthcare residents, will continue to occur in the designated visitation areas. All visitation (in both Assisted Living and Healthcare) requires an appointment; no walk-ins will be allowed. To set up an appointment, please call the following phone number: 574-654-2597. There is a limit to how many residents can have visitors at one given time. When you call, you will be asked to leave the name of the resident you wish to visit, your name and telephone number, and the date and preferred times to visit. Our scheduler will call you with a date and time.  For all visitation (Assisted Living and Healthcare), the following guidelines must be followed:

  1. Please always observe the social distancing of 6 feet. No physical contact can take place.
  2. When you arrive for your visit, you will first need to stop at the screening desk. There will be a set of questions (a COVID-19 screening form) that must be answered, and your temperature will be taken. There will be a Healthcare Visitor Guidelines Education document, which will need to be signed by all participants. Hand sanitizer will be provided and needs to be used before and after your visit.
  3. Please bring a surgical mask with you and wear it at all times during your visitation time. Visitation will not be allowed without the use of a mask.
  4. Food and drink cannot be shared with your loved one during the visitation.
  5. Only two family members will be allowed to visit each resident at a time. You must arrive on time for your visitation appointment.
  6. Visitors will not visit other residents other than those identified upon arrival. For those visiting residents in Assisted Living, you will need to remain in the room at all times.  Hamilton Grove personnel will escort you to and from the room. The same is true for end-of-life visits in Healthcare.

If visitors pose a risk for transmitting COVID-19 to the residents, facility, and/or staff, we will request the visit to be canceled. Our visitation's success depends upon the cooperation of our visitors, so please adhere to the guidelines. If there is one positive case of COVID among our residents and among two or more healthcare staff at any time following the beginning of visitation, then visitation will cease by order of the Indiana State Department of Health. Besides, we want to remind you that our activities department can arrange a FaceTime call with your loved ones. If you are interested in scheduling a FaceTime call, please contact our activities department at 574-654-221.

Medical Visits: Past regulations have required residents to isolate for 14 days after returning from a medical visit. The new guidelines put forth by ISDH will no longer require 14-day isolation after a medical visit. This would be true whether the resident is transported to the visit by Hamilton Grove staff or by a family member. For a visit, the resident must be wearing a mask for the appointment duration, including transport. It is expected that the staff at the doctors' office, facility, or hospital ER should be in appropriate PPE during the appointment. It is the expectation that these guidelines will be adhered to that have allowed ISDH not to recommend the quarantine for 14 days upon return to the facility.

Outings/Excursions: The new guidelines allow for outings/excursions with family members (for less than 24 hours). The resident will not need to quarantine at their return to Hamilton Grove. It is expected that during the outings, all precautions will be taken, including maintaining appropriate physical distancing, hand hygiene, and mask-wearing. Hamilton Grove personnel should be notified in advance of planned outings.

We are thankful for these new directives that will allow more interactions between the residents and their loved ones. At the same time, all of us must remain vigilant in behaviors that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The use of a mask, maintaining social distance, washing your hand often, and using hand sanitizer are behaviors that help prevent the spread and help keep your loved one safe. We recognize that it has been a long year, but these guidelines help reduce the virus's possibility. All of us need to adhere to the core principles for infection prevention. Following these guidelines protects us all. I leave you once again with the words of the psalmist, "rejoicing comes in the morning."

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations

 


February 10, 2021

With the pandemic still very much in our lives, we continue to keep our CROFT values at the forefront of what we do. Our values guide us in everything from how we treat one another to the decisions we make each day. As January has turned into February, we have completed the second and even third vaccination clinics for our residents and team members at each campus in the Greencroft system. 

This news is exciting as it means that most of our residents have gotten their second dose of the vaccine and are on their way to developing the needed immunity to COVID-19. While the number of team members taking the vaccine was not as high as our residents, we still had a good number of team members who decided to take the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory for our team members. We will continue to make this a voluntary action. 

The vaccine is now available to more and more age groups in each state which will bring us closer to the level of immunity needed in order be able to make changes in our routines. We have heard from many of you asking when restrictions will be removed. Our answer is that we must continue to follow the same guidelines put forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and CMS (Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services) and our State Department of Health. We are unable to offer visitation until county positivity rates remain under 10% and we are COVID free for residents and team members. We wish that answer could be different. Truly, we do.  We are happy to report that some of the Greencroft Communities’ campuses will be able to have visitations restored now that county positivity rates are below 10%. We celebrate the joy this brings to our residents and family members.

For the time being, we must continue to social distance, wear masks, keep washing our hands, and avoid gatherings until we, as a society, can reach a level of immunity which would make those actions less important. Trusted resources tell us that while even after the second dose of the vaccine, we can still contract COVID-19, and thus we can still transmit the virus to others. The vaccine may keep recipients from experiencing the severe symptoms of COVID-19 but not from transmitting the virus to those who have not been vaccinated. Therefore, we must adhere to the safety protocols we have in place.

We are thankful for the protection the vaccine offers to our residents as they have suffered the most severe of the effects of this virus. To know they have protection is a blessing. We continue to educate and answer questions for our team members and families so you may make an informed decision on whether to accept this protection for yourself when you are eligible.

Should you have questions specific to our campus, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Should you have questions about COVID-19 or the vaccine, please don’t hesitate to email covidquestions@greencroftcommunities.org.

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero, VP of Operations
 


December 23, 2020

In a few days, we will be celebrating the birth of the Messiah! This is a period usually associated with family gatherings, bountiful tables with food, happiness and celebration, special candle-light church services, and much more! Yet, this period is coming at a time of significant challenges and heartbreaking events. The COVID pandemic has made terms like isolation, 14-day quarantine, and loneliness part of the new realities for this holiday season.

Our hearts are saddened that this will not be a typical Christmas. The restrictions brought to healthcare facilities by guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) regulations mean that it will not be a typical Christmas with many of the things and activities we are used to. At Hamilton Grove, we will do our best to provide a festive and caring atmosphere for your loved ones. We are grateful for the new Carlisle community's generosity that has provided many Christmas gifts for our residents to receive this Christmas Eve! We express our profound thanks to many of you that have brought treats of cookies and other Christmas goodies to share with the residents and team members! It might be a different Christmas, but the spirit of giving and gratitude is very much alive!

Sadly, the pandemic will not allow many of you to get together with your loved ones; and calls, Facetime, and Zoom replace hugs and kisses. The challenges around us are real. This week the positivity rate in St. Joesph County went up to 19.2%! The high positivity rate means that the transmission of COVID-19 is not under control. We have learned that small gatherings have been one of the main contributors for the spread. I know that all of you, just like me, wish and hope to return to the pre-COVID days. The vaccines provide us hope, but we need to continue to be vigilant and follow the guidelines put forth by the CDC to keep us all safe.

For the residents of Health Care and Assisted Living, we want to remind you of the consent form for the COVID-19 vaccine. We expect that the vaccines will be available soon, and it is important to have the signed consent form. Please return the signed form as soon as possible. If you need another consent form or have questions, please contact Renee Meyers at 574-654-2250 or email at renee.meyers@hamiltoncomm.org for a form to be emailed or mailed to you. If you (or your loved ones) have decided not to take the vaccine, please inform Renee about the decision. This information is important as we plan for the vaccination of our residents. 

We would like to make you aware of the special schedule for the front desk during the Christmas Holidays;

December 24: Front Entrance/Welcome Center will only be open from 9a - 3p.

December 25: Front Entrance/Welcome Center will only be open from 9a - 1p.

December 31: Front Entrance/Welcome Center will only be open from 9a - 3p.

January 1: The Front Entrance/Welcome Center will be close. Families will need to call the unit directly.

We pray and hope that each one of you can find meaning and significance during this very different holiday period. At Hamilton Grove, we are grateful for the opportunity and blessing to serve your loved ones. We do not take this for granted. As the year comes to an end and in the context of our present reality, I invite you not to lose the sense of hope and anticipation that is part of the essence of this time of  year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In this holiday season, let’s allow our hearts to be full of love, peace, and hope as the promise of the birth of the Messiah became a reality!

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

It is my hope and prayer that each one of you will have a blessed Christmas! May the star of David that one day guided the magi to where the Savior was born guide each one of our lives  as we continue to move forward.

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
VP of Operations


November 27, 2020

I would imagine that for all of you, this Thanksgiving holiday was different! It indeed was for my wife and I that for over 15 years, we were used to hosting a 20+ people holiday celebration in our house. It did not happen that way this year. I found myself Wednesday evening engaged with what was taking place in our community as we began to receive results back that some residents in Healthcare had tested positive for COVID-19. It was not how I expected to spend that evening.

As you have heard me say before, if there is one thing we have learned during this pandemic, things can change quickly! At the end of that night, we had six residents who tested positive, and we decided to re-open our COVID unit.

I am sure that many of you, like me, were saddened and heartbroken by this reality. As we move forward, I would like to ask each of you to continue to be careful and monitor yourself. Any symptoms that you might have, please report them immediately to your supervisor. It is important to follow CDC guidelines both at and outside of work. Please remember the PPE protocols and policies in place need to be followed for your safety and the safety of our residents. As the positivity rate in St. Joseph and surrounding counties continue to increase, such needs to be our heightened sense of awareness and precautions.

It would be comfortable during this time to feel down; I encourage you to not. I invite you to focus on each and everything thing in your life for which you are grateful. It does not need to be huge things, but most likely, by placing some of your energy in those things you are thankful for, you will discover many things to be grateful even in a year like this! In a recent article in the USA Today, David de Souza, a mediation expert, was quoted as saying, “It doesn’t need to be. In fact, the smaller the better, as it helps to uncover things that you may never have noticed, giving you the opportunity to show appreciation and be happy.”

I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul, who in 2 Corinthians wrote:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Let each one of us allow God to be our comfort, so we can go on and fulfill our call to be of comfort to those we serve.

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
VP of Operations
 


November 11, 2020

It is hard to believe that we are already in November, and the current year is coming to an end. It has been a year of surprises, disappointments, and hardships as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we knew it. I imagine that none of us could have imagined what was ahead and how the year will end! We continue to trust God and in the hope for a better tomorrow.

In our correspondence from November 2, we informed you that we require by regulations of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) we were required to institute a 14-day lockdown because of the positive COVID result of one of our team members. The regulations require Long Term Care facilities to begin a new 14-day countdown each time a staff member who provides direct care test positive. We continue the mandatory regular testing for all healthcare team members.  In yesterday’s testing, a staff member tested positive. It means that we need to start a new 14-day countdown. We know how disappointing this news is for each of you to hear. The lockdown requires us to continue to suspend visitation and communal dining. We shared your frustration and disappointment. We are grateful that at this time, none of our Heath Care or Assisted living residents are positive for COVID. We will continue to update you and let you know when we will re-start our visitation program.

The frequency of how often we test the staff is determined by the positivity rate in the county. Today we learned the 7-day positivity rate for St. Joseph County increased to 10.8%. The increase in the rate will require us to move to twice a week testing for all of our staff. The rate in our adjacent county of La Porte increased to 10.5% and Elkhart County to 19.6%.

Today it was announced that the Indiana Governor is expected to announce a re-imposition of COVID-19 restrictions in 87 of the 92 counties. The restrictions focus on those counties that are considered to be at the highest risk for spread of COVID-19. The increase in cases in Indiana aligns with what is taking place throughout the country.

We encourage you to continue following the guidelines that help prevent the spread of COVID-19; use a mask, maintain social distance, wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer. These guidelines help to keep us safe and reduce the possibility of spreading the virus. We want to remind you that our activities department can arrange a FaceTime call with your loved ones. If you are interested in scheduling a FaceTime call, please contact our activities director, Tomme Owens, at 574-654-221.

I would like to finish by sharing with you the following verses that always remind us of God’s protection, but especially in a time like this.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:1012

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations
 


November 2, 2020

It is amazing how things can change very quickly! For many of us, yesterday was the day we experienced the first snow flurries of the year! Today I am sitting in my office looking out the window to blue skies and the sun shining! This period of COVID-19 has felt like this many times, with situations changing quickly with very little advance notice.

As part of the mandate and the regulations put forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Indiana State Department of Health, we continue the mandatory regular testing for all healthcare team members. The frequency of testing is based on the COVID-19 positivity rate for St. Joseph County. Presently it means that all of our staff are being tested every week. During the testing today, we learned that one of our team members received a positive result. The positive results mandate us to temporarily close our building for 14 days. During this period, we are required to suspend the visitation program and communal dining temporarily.

We are sorry for our need to implement this guideline. We know how important the visitation program is for both our residents and their families. Please remember that this action is necessary to protect your loved ones. Please know that we do not currently have any residents who are displaying signs or symptoms for COVID-19. If your loved one was exposed or is being tested, you will be contacted. Additional measures include the use of N95 masks by our team members and face shields when providing direct care to our residents. These precautions are for the safety of our residents and team members. We want to be as careful as possible.

We realize that this is difficult news for each one of you. Many of you had scheduled visits during the next 14 days that will need to be rescheduled. Our staff will be reaching out to those of you that scheduled visitation. We are equally saddened and disappointed by this news. In the midst of this, our team members are grateful for your continued support and prayers.

We will remain vigilant and continue to monitor all of our residents for signs and symptoms and test for COVID-19 as recommended. We hope that you understand our primary focus is to provide for the health and safety of your loved ones and our team members.

As always, we appreciate your prayers for strength and guidance for our residents, team members, and families as we continue to provide excellent, compassionate care to each one of our residents.

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
VP of Operations

 


 

October 1, 2020

The lower temperatures of the last several days and the changing colors of the leaves are a visible reminder of the change of seasons in front of us. We are grateful for your continued support and prayers for our residents and team members of Hamilton Grove.

In our daily phone message you received yesterday, we informed you that one team member had tested positive. Following the guidelines of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Indiana State Department of Health, we continue the mandatory regular testing for all healthcare team members. The positive test result required us to temporarily suspend the visitation program for 14 days. 

Today, we learned of a second team member who received a positive test result. We believe the number of residents who were exposed is low; therefore, we believe there is a low risk of exposure throughout the facility. Even though this is the case, we will still implement the following guidelines for the next 14 days.

  1. All visitation, as well as communal dining, has been postponed until October 14.
  2. All team members will be required to wear N95 masks. Those that provide direct care or enter a resident’s room will also need to wear eyewear (googles and/or shields).

Following the mandatory CDC and ISDH guidance, we will have all residents sheltering in place and are conducting testing for all residents in health care who have not previously tested positive. We know you want us to do this to protect your loved ones. Please know that we do not currently have any residents who are displaying signs or symptoms for COVID-19. If your loved one had an exposure or is being tested, you would have already received a phone call. 

The guidelines above will be effective until October 14, unless any other team member or resident would test positive. If this happens, the 14 days will start anew. These precautions are for the safety of our residents and team members. We want to be as careful as possible. As part of our CROFT Values, we are committed to transparency with you regarding anything which may impact you or your loved ones.

We understand how difficult this news is for each of you. We are equally saddened and disappointed by this news. Our staff has appreciated your understanding as we have contacted those of you that had visitation appointments for the next two weeks. We will continue to monitor our residents for signs and symptoms and will retest as recommended. We hope you understand our primary focus, as well as yours, is to provide for the health and safety of your loved ones and our team members.

As always, we appreciate your prayers for strength and guidance for our residents, team members, and families as we continue to provide excellent, compassionate care to each one of our residents.

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
VP of Operations

 


 

August 9, 2020

As I was doing my evening walk on Monday night, my mind was thinking about the many tasks ahead: the new federal regulation concerning testing for all team members, and how we could implement to be in compliance! I suddenly looked up and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have seen. It was almost like a reminder of God's creation; a reminder that sometimes we can get so involved in the issues in front of us that we do not see the beauty around us!

The reality is that the tasks are many, and they are complex. Still, it is my prayer that we do not get so absorbed by everything around us and the things that we have to do, that we lose the ability to take a step back and allow ourselves to enjoy the beauty around us; whether it is a sunset, or a smile from a thankful resident, or the assistance of a team member that stepped in to help us in a time of need! I'd encourage all of us to look around at the many blessings that God has given us.

As I mentioned in my note last Monday, the federal government put forth a mandate through the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to all healthcare facilities that all "Facility Staff," which includes employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and caregivers, who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility, must be tested for COVID per the frequency in the table below.

Routine Testing Intervals Vary by Community COVID-19 Activity Level

Community COVID-19 Activity

County Positivity Rate in the past week

Minimum Testing Frequency

Low

<5%

Once a month

Medium

5% - 10%

Once a week

High

>10%

Twice a week

The regulation with its requirements came out on late Thursday with the implementation of the new requirement to be made immediately. The positivity rate for St. Joseph County is 8.7%, which means that Hamilton Grove needs to perform weekly testing. The regulation also indicated that Team Members that are not tested will not be able to work. An important part of the regulation is that testing results need to be back in no more than 48 hours. Team members who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to be retested until 90days from the original diagnosis.

As you can imagine, it is a huge undertaking to organize all this work in such a short time. In coordination with Greencroft Communities, we have been working with Southfield Village and Greencroft Goshen to organize the testing. We are grateful for the partnering and the assistance of a healthcare system in such a time like this.

Arrangements have now been made for testing this week. Testing will take place in the State Room, according to the following schedule:

Thursday, September 3, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Friday, September 4, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Personnel from the Goshen Hospital Community System will be here to perform the test. We realize the challenges this might create for a number of you. This arrangement is for this week as we work at complying with this new federally mandated requirement. We will continue to review our processes and hope to be able to add additional times for future testing. A sign-up sheet has been placed at the screening desk. If you are not working today, you can call the front desk at 574-654-2200 to make an appointment. If you cannot make it to those testing times, you need to contact your manager.

If you are working in another healthcare facility also undergoing weekly testing, you can bring documentation of the test and the results and you will not need to be tested here again. Under no circumstances can more than seven days go by from the time of testing to coming to work.

We appreciate your cooperation, patience and grace during this time.

Blessings,
Carlos Romero
Administrator


August 7, 2020

A few weeks ago, in a conversation with a resident, I asked them how they were doing; they responded by saying they were missing a big summer picnic with family that was going to take place that weekend. Here we are in August, and I believe most people will agree that this has not been a "normal summer"! The reality is the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many lives, and we find ourselves thinking and hoping for when we will have a day that will feel somewhat normal again. At Hamilton Grove, these have been challenging and stressful days. Many times, we’ve held on to the words from Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Mark when He said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."  A father whose son had a difficult health journey, recently wrote, "If I could offer advice to any family today, it would be to stick by your faith. Know that your God is with you and will take care of you all the way through." Perhaps those words are incredibly appropriate for all of us.

We acknowledge how difficult this has been for many of you, not being able to see your loved ones for such an extended time.  Very few of us were able to predict six months ago what the ramifications of this pandemic were going to mean. Today, we are delighted to announce that we are making plans to begin outdoor visitation this coming Tuesday, August 11. We have and will continue to follow the guidance of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), our state regulatory agency, and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). One of the first criteria that we must comply with is being COVID-free for 14 days before beginning outdoor visitations. If we do not face any unforeseen circumstances, we believe that we will be COVID-free for the required two weeks by next Tuesday.

We know that we have many families and friends who have been eagerly anticipating the re-opening of some kind of visitation.  The success of our outdoor visitation program will depend greatly on the cooperation of each one of you and the need to adhere to the guidelines that have been established.

Please remember that the following guidelines have been put in place to provide a safe environment for your loved one. To keep our residents, staff, and yourselves safe, please observe the following:

  1. The outdoor visitation schedule remains as follows and is subject to change as needed:

Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. EDT to 11:00 a.m. EDT and 6:00 p.m. EDT to 8:00 p.m. EDT

Saturday and Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  1. Please always observe the social distancing of 6 feet. We will have the areas where the chairs are located marked off. Please do not move closer as it could jeopardize the visitation schedule for everyone. No physical contact can take place.
  2. When you arrive for your visit, you will first need to stop at the screening desk. There will be a set of questions (a COVID-19 screening form) that must be answered, and your temperature will be taken. There will be a Healthcare Visitor Guidelines Education document, which will need to be signed by all participants. Hand sanitizer will be provided and needs to be used before and after your visit.
  3. Please bring a mask with you and wear it at all times during your visitation time. Visitation will not be allowed without the use of a mask.
  4. Food and drink cannot be shared with your loved one during the visitation.
  5. Only two family members, and NO ONE UNDER 12 YEARS OLD, at a time will be allowed to visit each Resident for 30 minutes. You must arrive on time for your visitation appointment.
  6. All visitation will take place at the entrance to our main building, The Point. You should park in the parking lot on either side of the building. The locations for visiting will be sanitized in-between visits.
  7. No walk-ins will be allowed. You need to have a scheduled appointment to visit with your loved ones.

We know that many of you are ready to visit, and your loved ones are ready to see you. Please be patient with us as we try to accommodate all of you that will want to visit. We will do our best to accommodate the first choice in times and provide availability for everyone to have a visit who desires it. Visitation will be canceled if weather conditions prohibit outdoor visits. Please keep an eye on the weather forecast.

If visitors pose a risk for transmitting COVID-19 to the residents, facility, and/or staff, we will request the visit to be canceled. The success of our outdoor visitation depends upon the cooperation of our visitors, so please adhere to the guidelines. If there is one positive case of COVID among our residents and among two or more healthcare staff at any time following the beginning of outdoor visitation, then outdoor visitation will cease by order of the Indiana State Department of Health.

A detailed process has been established to schedule an appointment. Hamilton Grove activities department will be coordinating the outdoor visitation program. The following phone number 574-654-2597 has been established for this purpose. When you call, you will be asked to leave the name of the Resident you wish to visit, your name and telephone number, and the date and preferred times to visit. Our scheduler will call you with a date and time.

During this time, we will continue to provide opportunities for video and telephone calls. You can contact the Activities Office at 574-654-2217 to arrange for a call. We are also planning to re-start communal dining next Wednesday, August 12. Arrangements are presently being made to also begin to offer limited Beauty Salon services as allowed by state regulations.

We appreciate your patience and the many words of support and encouragement that we have received from many of you during this time. We know it has been such a hard time. I’d like to remind you of the words from the Psalmist that provides us with comfort:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

(Psalm 46:1)

We are excited to offer visitation to our family members and residents. We know how happy many of our residents will be to have this interaction again. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Administrator and VP of Operations


July 2, 2020

We, in conjunction with our Medical Director, have determined that any resident on the COVID unit will need to have 2 negative tests conducted within 24 hours of each other before the resident is deemed recovered.  With that, you will see new tests being conducted.  These reflect residents who have been tested to determine if they are fully recovered.  One resident has completed the first test and is awaiting the second result while 10 other residents are waiting to see if the first test is negative.  We hope to be able to report this good news next week.  We do still have a few team members with tests results outstanding.  We hope to have those results next week as well.

Please have a wonderful and safe holiday celebrating our countries independence.


July 1, 2020

We have conducted the first round of testing on another 11 residents who could be ready to leave our COVID Unit.  Yesterday, we conducted the second test on 1 resident.  We have decided with our Medical Director that we would need two negative test results administered within 24 hours to be confident in a recovery.  By next week, we hope to see more recoveries of residents.  We are thankful for your prayers and support for our residents and team members. 

This pandemic has brought great heartbreak along side the celebrations of negative test results and recovers.  We have had 12 deaths due to this terrible virus.  It has taken a toll on our residents and all family members as well as our team members.  The lively healthcare center we once freely walked thru is now quarantined for the safety of everyone.  Hamilton Grove is known for its family events.  The summer cookout, Halloween trick or treating have long been occasions where everyone shows up to enjoy one another and break bread.  We desperately miss your smiling faces and ready laughter.  We look forward to those bright days ahead of us.

Each morning the leadership team of Hamilton Grove comes together to discuss the needs of the day.  We always begin with a prayer for one another, for our residents and for you.  These verses resonate today.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. - Nehemiah 8:10

Do do not hear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  - Isaiah 41:10
 


June 30, 2020

We are currently conducting the second test on ten residents on our COVID unit.  We received the first negative test result and are now conducting the second one.  We expect to see those residents in our recovery line this week!  We feel grateful to be able to report this to you today. 

We are also in the process of our second round of testing for all team members.  You will see those numbers as we receive the test results.  This is part of the state mandated testing for all team members. 

Our assisted living residents have been able to go outside to get fresh air and walk around.  We have asked them to socially distance and make sure they wear masks.  We feel this has done wonders for their mental well being.  Please do not attempt to visit with residents while they are outside.  This could jeopardize the ability to continue to outdoor time for residents.  Once we are past our COVID status in healthcare and can remain COVID free in our assisted living, we will begin outdoor visitation.  We absolutely look forward to that day!

We continue to appreciate the well wishes and support received from members and businesses in the community.  Our team who comes to work each day to serve our residents are truly Heroes! 

Thank you!


June 19, 2020

Dear Family, Residents and Team Members,

While driving to work today, the sunrise was once again glorious.  It reminds us all of the beauty in the world if we choose to see it.  It also serves as a reminder of God’s creation and the hope for a new day. As I write this note today, it has been 10 days since we informed you of our first COVID-19 positive case in our campus. As we have had additional residents testing positive and also have had five residents whom we have cared for and loved as our own pass away succumb to COVID-19, there are times when we can become disheartened.  Our heart is broken for those residents that will no longer be with us and for their families as they say goodbyes to a love one during a time like this and all the limitation and constraints that are part of living in the middle of a Pandemic.

Yet, as the sun announces the beginning of something new, the small and big signs that God is with each of us renew our spirit and put the smiles back on our faces for the residents and families who we continue to serve.   We must also take time to watch out for one another.  Be the joy, give the smile, as it will be each of us working together as a team who will help us get thru these challenging weeks and months ahead.  There are no easy paths or shortcuts, we have to continue to move forward with compassion, love and the determination to remain focus on our primary mission; the well-being of each resident that has been entrusted to us for their care. The following scripture provides us with a path forward.

“Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS, do not be afraid or tremble a them, for the LORD your GOD is the one who goes with you.  He will not FAIL or FORSAKE you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

As we have spoken with of you, the words of encouragement, the little notes and gifts that many of you have shared with us, and your support have been received with gratitude as they provide us with strength for the journey.  We feel your prayers for us and your loved ones.  The gifts of food and the expressions of thanks have lifted spirits and commitments of the team members who choose to come to work each day to serve their residents with love and care. I am grateful for our team members that are coming day after day to with loving hearts to take care of our residents.  Recently members of our Board of Directors place various signs around campus, including “Heroes work here”. That is indeed so true.

As far as an update for the building, the number of residents who have tested positive has increased. Any resident who begins to show signs or symptoms is being re-tested as needed.  We currently have enough space for residents on our COVID unit and are putting plans in place should we need additional space.  We are installing phones for each resident as those spaces didn’t originally accommodate that.  You will be contacted by Renee Meyers to provide you with the phone information. We have also provided an iPad to the COVID unit to allow for Face Time (Video conference calls) for the residents. If you want to plan for a Face Time call, please contact our activities director Tomme Owens at 574-654-2217. 

I realized that this is a scary and stressful time. The knowledge that we have the COVID virus in our building, the spike in positive cases in and surrounding countries, and the fact that there is still so much that is not known about this virus creates a context of uncertainty and fear.  I can be assured of our commitment in serving your loved ones.

 Testing for the virus has become part of our work. We are still awaiting a few test results for team members.  Earlier the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) had announce a testing program for all healthcare workers in the state.  Although we had our staff recently tested, we will provide the option of being tested again when the State agency comes to our facility. At this time, we do not have a firm date on when the mandatory testing of all team members will occur but are expecting it in the next week or so. 

As always, please reach out to us as you have questions or concerns.  We want you to be informed of the actions we are taking and how we are caring for your loved ones. We will continue our daily phone updates, but I wanted the opportunity to reach out to each of you in more detail.   You can also visit our website at www.greencroft.org to find more detailed information about the numbers of cases and test results.

I have found that in difficult times, we can always find comfort in God’s words.  I leave you with the following scripture which I hope provides you with comfort and reassurance in such a time like this.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14.

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Vice President of Operations


June 15, 2020

We are saddened to report we have had 2 deaths in our healthcare center from COVID 19 since we last reported an update.  We wish these residents God speed and pray for their families as they mourn their loss.  As for our team members, we are still awaiting 47 results.  We have had 63 test negatives and 6 healthcare team members who have tested positive.  One of the six was reported weeks ago and is recovering at home, 3 are asymptomatic at this time.  The numbers in the chart currently, do not reflect the change in the additional negative test results for team members.  We will take the time to update where those team members were working on campus in the next few days.  We did feel it was important to share with you the good news about the additional negative results. 

We are living thru the a difficult part of this outbreak but we know God is with each of us.  We pray for God’s continued strength and peace for all the Hamilton Grove community.

Thank you.


June 13, 2020

As of today, we have received additional results from the COVID tests we have administered this week.  We received 51 results back today 41 were negative with 10 healthcare residents who have tested positive which brings us to seventeen total residents.  We received 39 results for assisted living residents with 1 positive test result.  In addition, we received 29 team member test results of which 2 were positive.  While we are happy to know that the majority of our residents are celebrating good news, we acknowledge that some of our residents and families are receiving concerning news today. 

In order for us to provide the right accommodations for our residents to keep them isolated away from other residents, we have increased our COVID unit which means some residents have been moved within our healthcare center. 

If your loved one has received their results, you will have heard from us directly to let you know if your loved ones test has come back negative or positive. If you have not heard from us, your loved ones result has not came back to us.

During trying times like these it takes a hero to step up to the challenge of caring for others in need. Our team members are those heroes.  We hope you will join us in prayer for our residents and for our team members as we navigate these times together.

Thank you.


June 12, 2020

Today we are deeply saddened to report that a second resident has lost their battle with COVID-19.  As you know, the staff team at Hamilton Grove has worked tirelessly to contain and respond to this viral outbreak.  Families, friends, and staff members have been impacted by this global pandemic and now by this loss.  

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this resident and the many staff members who have been touched by their life.  Please join us in offering prayers and support to the family and staff that were involved with their care. 

As we mourn the loss of our residents, we also look to the things in our day for which God has blessed us and we can be thankful.  We pleased to report that we have not had any new positive cases since yesterday.  We were also able to complete testing for healthcare and assisted living residents as well as 82 of our team members.  We have 65 assisted living residents who are waiting for results and 51 healthcare residents waiting.  The effort it took organize this level of testing has been amazing.  The pride in the team at Hamilton Grove is tremendous.  When it was determined that we would need to secure our own test kits and administer the tests, we did not faulter.  We were able to get test kits from LabCorp and our staff stepped up to do all the testing.  It happened over the course of about a 2-day time period.  Being able to quickly get the tests and administer them was critical for us to be able to determine the best level of care needed for our residents.

We have a total of 7 residents receiving care in our COVID Unit.  We felt strongly that we wanted to make sure we can provide care for our residents whenever possible.  Should our residents need us and we can provide the level of care needed, we feel it’s our calling to do so.

As we move forward, we are committed to keeping you informed and up-to-date. We will let you know of any significant events, or if there are changes in policies and procedures. Thank you for your patience with the restrictions which are in place. Although they are difficult, they help us ensure the safest environment for residents and staff members alike.

Thank you.


June 11, 2020

We have had a busy day of testing all residents in assisted living and healthcare as well as all our team members on campus.  When looking at the numbers above, some past negative results are included in the numbers.  Anyone who had previously been tested has now been retested to make sure we have a firm handle on the status of the virus on campus.  One of the residents who had tested positive on campus is at the hospital receiving care.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to provide for our residents as well as making sure we communicate with each family regarding testing status. 


June 10, 2020

One resident who had tested positive has been transferred to the hospital with the approval of the family.  We are also working on testing the remaining 48 healthcare residents who had not been tested in the past few days.  We will also test all  the assisted living residents.   In addition, we have tested 31 of our team members and are working to have all our team members tested. 

If you have not received a call directly from us, your loved one has not been tested yet.  We have been working on obtaining the appropriate number of tests.  The tests available from the State will not arrive soon enough so we have purchased tests from LabCorp on our own so we can begin the testing process as quickly as possible.   We also have state surveyors in the building working with our Director and Assistant Director of Nursing on our infection control processes. 

We thank you in advance for your prayers and support as we also pray for you.


June 9, 2020


It is with a heavy heart that I report to you that one of the residents we reported as positive for COVID-19 yesterday, lost their battle with the virus. In addition, we reported another resident who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Yesterday morning, it became apparent that the resident needed a higher level of care, so the decision was made in conjunction with the family to initiate a transfer to the hospital. Our hearts and minds are filled with prayers for the families and friends of our residents and for the team members who served them while in our care. 

Yesterday, we worked diligently with a surveyor from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISH) who came to Hamilton Grove to help us determine the best course for testing in light of the new positive diagnosis in our healthcare. We had been working with set up testing of all staff in accordance with the state mandate to test healthcare workers. Through the course of the day, we found out that having a team come on campus to test would not occur before 3 weeks. Therefore, we obtained tests for LabCorp on our own and our nursing team conducted the tests late afternoon and evening yesterday for residents on our East Unit to start. We began the process of notify families late yesterday that the testing would occur. 

As of this morning, we have been able to test 17 residents. Of those tests, 7 have come back positive while the remaining 10 are negative for COVID-19. All families have been notified today of the results. We also began this morning with testing 30 team members who work in healthcare. We will report on the status of these tests as we receive the results. We will not however share names of individuals.

We have worked through the night and this morning to expand our COVID unit to accommodate our residents and create a quarantine area to further minimize the spread. We have also worked with team members who will be dedicated to work only on that unit. Our team members who work on the COVID unit will not work anywhere else as long as we have positive cases. We have offered increased pay incentives as well as overnight accommodations should that be needed. 

We currently have a good supply of PPE and are monitoring levels to make sure we do not run out. We have sister facilities who can assist us with needed supplies should that be needed. We will continue with the solid practices recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) as well as working with the surveyor from ISDH who will be on site working with us through this outbreak. 

As I am sure you can understand, our attention will be to provide for the health and safety of your loved ones and our team members while also making sure you are informed about our actions. The families who have a resident who is being tested will receive one-on-one communication from us prior to the test and when the result is received. We will continue to rely on our daily automated calls to keep everyone informed of the status of COVID-19 cases on campus and our website for additional information. We will of course continue to send communication via the mail however the website will be the quickest way to receive communication.

We ask for your grace and understanding in getting back with you regarding your questions as we prioritize the order of responding to individuals. Please do not hesitate to call me at 574-654-2314 or email me at carlos.ramero@hamiltoncomm.org.  You can call our Director of Nursing Kim Torma at 574-654-2320, kim.torma@hamitoncomm.org  or Assistant Director of Nursing Kari Daniel at 574-654-2224 or kari.daniel@hamiltoncomm.org. You may also reach out to Aimee Riemke, Vice President of Marketing at Greencroft Communities at 574-537-4150 or aimee.riemke@greencroftcommunities.org

We pray for our minds to hear God’s wisdom, for our hearts to be filled with grace for one another and for our hands as we go forward in His service to our residents.

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Administrator


June 8, 2020


I am writing to you during these difficult times that we are living and experiencing in our country. The world pandemic has changed so many things, affected so many people, and its impact will be long beyond the times when COVID-19 continues to be front-page news. I must inform you that despite our best efforts and preparation, COVID-19 has found its way into our facility. Earlier today, we received notice that one of our healthcare residents as well as one of our team members have tested positive.

We have been following our plans based on the direction of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). Our staff was prepared for this eventuality. We had designated a separate area in our building (where Physical Therapy was located) as our COVID-19 Unit. We have begun to take care of our resident in that space.

I imagine this news will cause concerns among many of you. We realize that our residents are your family members and that you have entrusted us with their health and well-being. As team members, we never lose sight of our sacred responsibility and obligation for the wellbeing of each one of our residents.

We will continue to be vigilant, monitoring our residents, and looking out for any signs or symptoms. Our staff will continue to follow all the protocols in place, including the wearing of surgical or N95 masks and additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as appropriate. We recently had a state inspection of our infection control protocols and were found to be in compliance with the guidelines set forth by ISDH and CDC. You might have heard that last week the ISDH had determined that workers in Long-Term Care Health Facilities in our state will be required to be tested. We have been in communication with the state in the planning of future testing of all our team members.

Considering the present situation, we will continue with the safety protocols that we have in place. At this time, we will need to temporarily, stop until further notice, communal dining in Assisted Living. Meals will be delivered to our resident's rooms. In healthcare, we will continue our present practice of also taking the meals to our resident's rooms. 

To all our residents in Healthcare and Assisted Living, we want to recommend that you stay in your apartment/room as much as possible, coming out only for emergencies. If there is anything that you need, feel free to contact a staff member. For our independent living residents, we take this opportunity to remind you to continue to follow all the safety protocols as well, to ensure your safety and that of your fellow residents. Please feel free to call the staff to respond to any of your needs. For all residents, if you must leave your apartment/room, new guidelines in place mean that you must always wear a mask. When you are interacting with staff inside your apartment, you must also wear a mask. With that being said, if you need a mask, please see a staff member.

Some of you might be aware that the ISDH just issued some guidelines for beginning to allow family visitation for Long-Term Care facilities as long as a set number of criteria was met. One of the requirements is “there must be no new COVID cases that originated within the facility within the last 14 days”. We will not be able to begin outdoor visitation for at least the next 14 days. We will keep you updated when we are ready to start to implement outdoor visitation. In the meanwhile, we encourage you to contact our activities staff to arrange for a "FaceTime" (video call) call with your loved one. You can contact them at 574-654-2217. 

We understand how difficult this pandemic crisis is for all of you. Before this period, so many times our interactions with you were surrounding celebrating birthdays, special holidays, and other festivities. Not only our residents, but we as team members have felt the absence of our residents' families since we needed to implement a no visitors policy.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. You can call our Director of Nursing Kim Torma at 574-654-2320 or Assistant Director of Nursing Kari Daniel at 574-654-2224.

In the midst of all of this, we want to give you our assurance that our staff continues to care for our residents. The last several months have robbed us of many positive and joyful experiences, but we trust the time will come when things will change. We are not sure when that might be, but we know the time will come when we will be able to enjoy each other’s company again and find ways to celebrate that. Perhaps the words of the Psalmist are appropriate at this time:

“…weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning." - Psalms 30:5

Sincerely,
Carlos Romero
Administrator


March 24, 2020

Yesterday, the Indiana State Department of Health has recommended that no resident be allowed to leave our healthcare or assisted living areas except for emergency medical services. If a resident and/or family does not comply, the facility may refuse to allow the resident back into the building because of the risk that they pose to others. Our Medical Director on campus supports this policy as well. Any time an assisted living or healthcare resident leaves our campus, they risk exposure to COVID-19.  This policy does not apply to our independent living residents. However, the Governor has implemented a stay at home order which restricts travel for non-essential reasons. Therefore, independent living residents should practice self isolation and restrict visitors from their homes.

While we understand that this is a difficult time to be apart from your loved one, it is for the protection of your family member as well as all the other residents on our campus. 

Thank you for understanding and patience. 


March 16, 2020

As a precautionary measure to protect our residents and in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have canceled all public events on each of our campuses. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page and/or website for additional updates and information on when we will reschedule these events. 

For additional information about the prevention of COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/…/2019-…/about/prevention-treatment.html.

We thank our visitors and residents for their cooperation with these temporary protocols and for your understanding as we work to ensure the safety and well-being of all who live in, work at and visit our communities.
 


March 13, 2020

 

To all Hamilton Grove families and visitors,

Hamilton Grove is limiting visitors to the Nursing Care Center and Assisted Living buildings on campuses. Limited visitation means no visitors will be allowed to come into our facilities, except for end-of-life and emergency situations. We will be screening all vendors and other support personnel for essential visitation.

These limitations are being put into effect based on the recommendations from the CDC and CMS.

Our number one priority at Hamilton Grove is the well-being of our residents. We understand this is a potential hardship for families and residents, but we must be vigilant about protecting this vulnerable population.

We have also canceled public events at Chicago Trail Village as well as our main building.  Notices have been placed on our Facebook page as well for each event. 

We appreciate your understanding and will keep you informed of further updates. If you have any questions, please call us at 574-654-2200.

We pray for God's comfort and guidance in this time.


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