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July 16, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative again!

The positivity rate in our County has declined recently which is good news!  At this time, the process for visits remains the same, please continue to call us to schedule visits.  Visitors who have been vaccinated do not need to be tested before coming in; you are not required to be vaccinated to visit, we are testing visitors who have not been vaccinated or prefer to not share their vaccination status.

Please wear a mask when you are dropping items off, this is still a requirement for us.  We understand that this has been relaxed in most other places, however, staff and anyone else who comes into the building from the community must continue to wear a mask.

We’re happy to let you know that pets are welcome to visit with you again!  If you plan on bringing a pet with you, please let us know when you call to schedule.  We do need to know that your pet is up to date on vaccinations that are required for pets and we will be asking for this information…not COVID vaccination, just in case you were wondering!  Please contact us if you have any questions about pets visiting with you.

Thank you for keeping our staff and residents in your prayers!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 9, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative!

Information is about the same regarding visitation at this point.  Visitors that have not been vaccinated, or prefer to not share their vaccination status, will continue to be tested prior to visits.  Visitors that have been fully vaccinated do not need to be tested before coming in to visit, we will be asking for confirmation of your vaccination status when you call to schedule.

I have just a couple reminders that I want to make sure are clear, you do not need to be vaccinated to visit and you do not have to share your vaccination status with us to visit, we simply are asking because it changes our process for when you come in.  Also, everyone coming into the building or just dropping items off should continue to wear a mask.

Please do remember to call and schedule your visits, we are not able to have open visitation yet.  There are still rules in place that we must follow regarding how many visitors are in the building at any one time, which is the reason that visits still have to be scheduled.

We appreciate your patience!  Sometimes the visitation schedule can get a little frantic and we thank you for your understanding, we enjoy seeing all of you in to visit!

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”  2 Corinthians 13:11

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

June 25, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative again this week!

The rate of positive cases in the County is improving, we’re thrilled to see this trend!  The improving situation allows us to make a couple changes related to visitation that I’m sure everyone will appreciate.  Beginning today, visitors that have been fully vaccinated no longer need to be tested before coming in; we will be asking for confirmation of your vaccination status when you call to schedule.  For our visitors that have not been vaccinated, we will continue to test prior to visitation.  As always, do not visit if you are not feeling well, no matter what you think the cause might be.  All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask when visiting indoors.  Just to be clear, you are not required to be vaccinated to visit.

We ask that you wear a mask as well when you are coming to the door to drop off items for residents.  People coming in the building for any reason will be screened for COVID symptoms.

A reminder, while we are happy to see the COVID situation improving in our community, if things turn for the worse, or, a positive resident/staff test, we will be required to implement more stringent visitation rules.  Please monitor our website and Facebook page for updates.

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 18, 2021

COVID update

The last update remains the newest information we have on visitation on this time.  Visits are available, please call us to schedule!

We’re all excited to see the easing of restrictions for the general population!  Please keep in mind that the relaxed guidance on things like mask use and social distancing do not apply to our campus and care settings.  We’re hopeful that we may see some changes in the near future, however, please continue to use the previously outlined precautions when visiting us.  This includes masks when you come to the door for drop offs or visits, we will continue to screen people for COVID symptoms when they come in and we will continue testing visitors.  Our staff continue to use all the protective equipment that we have always used to keep residents safe.

Just a reminder, visitors will no longer be required to wear a face shield during your visit.  If you have a face shield from visiting previously, please do not throw it away, we’re not sure what future guidance may hold in this ever-changing situation!

We’re looking forward to the day that we’ll be able to see visits when you choose and when our residents want them!  I feel like we are getting closer to that goal.  Keep us in your prayers!  “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” John 3:18

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 15, 2021

COVID update

All tests have been negative since the last update!

The positivity rate in our County has improved which means that we will begin to test just once per week for unvaccinated staff.  Testing will be done on Tuesdays, so we will not be scheduling visits on Tuesdays.  We will continue with the once per week testing until either the positivity rate goes up or in the event of a positive test.  Please call us to schedule a visit and please keep in mind that we are still testing visitors.

Some good news regarding visits, visitors will no longer be required to wear a face shield during your visit.  If you have a face shield from visiting previously, please do not throw it away, we’re not sure what future guidance may hold in this ever-changing situation!

The COVID trends are looking much better locally and nationally, however, there have been no recent updates in regulations affecting us at Thurston Woods.  Any updates that we receive, we will be sure to pass along to all of you.  In the meantime, thank you for supporting us through this difficult situation, our staff have worked very hard to ensure the best care for residents, they appreciate the support they’ve received from residents, family and the community.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 4, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative for this week again, we’re looking forward to this continuing!

I’m afraid this update may have some repeat information from the previous update.  Visitation continues for the Nursing Center and Villa, please call us to schedule a time for an indoor visit.  Testing of visitors is still required, so please keep that in mind when you arrive for your scheduled time.

At this time we do not have any additional updates for rules about visitation, testing, vaccination, etc.  The number of cases is on a downward trend and we’re all hearing about less restrictions for when we are out in the community.  We are hopeful that this will lead to some relaxation in visitation rules here, we will update you as information comes available.

Please contact us with questions and thank you for your understanding.  “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 28, 2021

COVID update

At the moment all tests are negative for this week!  Still waiting for a couple to come back.

Visitation is available in both the Villa and the Nursing Center, please call us to schedule an appointment to visit!  There are still some restrictions in place regarding the number of people we can have in the building at a time, so it’s still very important that you schedule your visit, we’re not able to accommodate unscheduled visits in the building.  As a reminder, when you come in for your scheduled visit, drive your vehicle under the canopy at the front entrance, park there and then call us.  We’ll come out to do your testing while you wait in your vehicle.  You can then park in the lot and we’ll call when your test results are complete.

Fortunately, there have been no rule changes this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or the State!!  All of us are happy about that!

Also, just a reminder, we will not have a Department Head on duty this week because of the holiday.  If you can hold deliveries to be during normal hours next week, that would be great.  If you do have a delivery that you still need to make this weekend, please come to do main entrance door and use the doorbell.

This Memorial Day weekend, we want to say thank you to all of our veterans, spouses of veterans and all who have sacrificed so much in service to our Country.  We’re honored to be able to care for and serve those that have defended the freedoms that all of us enjoy!  “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

May 26, 2021

The outbreak testing that we’ve been doing in the Villa has not produced any positive tests, which is great news.  This means that the Villa can now open back up for visitation.  We are thrilled to have both the Villa and Nursing Center open for visitation again!  Please call us to schedule a visit and please remember testing will be performed if you are visiting indoors.  Thank you all for your support!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 22, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative from our testing yesterday!!

At this time, the Villa remains under a pause for visitation and outside appointments should be limited to only essential appointments, please contact us if you have questions about this.  This does apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.  The Nursing Center is open to visits, please call us to schedule a visit, we will continue to do testing of visitors.

As the COVID rules and regulations begin to relax around the State and Country, please keep in mind that it will take much longer for these things to change at Thurston Woods.  An example is the mask mandate, while in much of the State people can go out without masks now, here at TWV our staff are required to continue wearing full PPE and visitors are still required to wear masks, etc.  We’re very hopeful that in the coming months we’ll also see the easing of rules specific to senior living, until then please understand that things may be different when you visit here.

I think we can be sure of one thing, there will be lots of changes over the coming months!  We will communicate these when we learn about them and let you know the impact it will have on how you visit your loved ones.  Let’s all pray for the COVID situation to continue to improve and for the end of the pandemic.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 19, 2021

COVID update

Our testing has revealed a positive test for a staff member in the Villa. All tests for the Nursing Center are negative.

The staff member who was positive in the Villa had very limited resident contact with residents, however, this is considered an “outbreak” and we must pause visitation for at least a week. Unfortunately, this applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated residents. We will be testing all residents and staff later this week and next as part of outbreak testing. Outside appointments for residents in the Villa should be limited to essential appointments only, please contact us if you have questions.

Great news regarding the Nursing Center, all tests being negative means that we are able to resume visitation in the Nursing Center. Please contact us to schedule visits and do keep in mind that testing will be required for all indoor visits. Outside visits are available, please call us to schedule.

Once again, we ask for your patience. We understand the frustration that this creates. Please contact us with any questions.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

May 7, 2021

COVID update

All tests negative for this week! Happy to be able to report that news.

The current status related to visitation remains the same as the previous update. Station two at the Nursing Center remains on quarantine for at least another week. Visitation for station one at the Nursing Center and visits at the Villa are available for all residents, please call us to schedule! Testing will be required for all visitors, so please plan accordingly. When you call to schedule a visit, please let us know if you’re traveling from a great distance, it will help us with scheduling. Sometimes the schedule is pretty full and we’re not able to accommodate people that are running late.

I know people have expressed some frustration with these visitation rules, please understand that these are regulations that we must follow and they are in place to keep residents safe. The TWV staff has been exceptional in the love and care they show to all residents. I think it’s safe to say that everyone (family, residents, staff, etc.) is tired of the strain that COVID has caused. Let us all be reminded to prop one another up during these difficult times and look for the good in all situations.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” Ephesians 4:29

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 5, 2021

Another update regarding visitation on station one in the Nursing Center.  Fortunately, recent admits that have come in have been fully vaccinated and this has now pushed our percentage of vaccinated residents up to 75%.  This means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents on station one may have visitors!  As always, testing will still be required for visitation.  Station two in the Nursing Center remains in quarantine and we’re unable to allow visitors there.

As a reminder, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates how we are able to handle visitation.  Required thresholds for visits with residents who are unvaccinated are: total vaccination rate for all residents must be above 70% or the County positivity rate must be below 10%.

I understand the frequent updates contribute to confusion, as do the rules around percentages.  Please understand that we are sharing this information as quickly as we can because we understand how important it is for everyone to see their loved ones.  If any questions arise about these issues, please contact us.

Thanks.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 4, 2021

All tests negative today! Quarantine can be lifted in station one at the Nursing Center and visitation may resume for residents who have been vaccinated! Testing will be required for indoor visits, so please call to schedule your visit and follow the procedure that we’ve previously outlined. We’ll be scheduling visits on days that we don’t do testing. Outdoor visits may also be scheduled and testing is not required. Just a reminder, station two remains in quarantine, we’re praying for the continuation of negative tests. Please contact us with any questions.

Thanks.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 3, 2021

We are nearing the end of the quarantine period for station one at the Nursing Center, if our testing tomorrow results in all negative tests, we’ll be able to resume visitation.  Please watch our Facebook page and website for updated information.

I do have an update regarding outside visitation.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated visitation rules again, outside visits are no longer allowed when residents are under quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.  Unfortunately, with both station one and station two under quarantine in the Nursing Center, we are not permitted to schedule outside visits.  Window visits may continue.

We understand the difficulty these regulations impose, we ask for your continued patience.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

April 30, 2021

COVID update

We’re so disappointed to report that we have another positive staff test from today’s testing.  All of our other testing for the week has resulted in negative tests, including all residents.

The staff member who tested positive works on station two at the Nursing Center.  We won’t be able to allow visitors at station two until we have no positive cases amongst staff or residents for 14 days.  This is the wording from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) memorandum QSO-20-39-NH: “The facility should suspend visitation on the affected unit until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing. Outbreak testing is discontinued when testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 infection among staff or residents for at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.”

As you are aware, we are still doing “outbreak testing” at station one at the Nursing Center, next Tuesday will be the 14th day of “outbreak testing” for station one.  Thus far, we have had no additional positive cases at station one.  We’re hopeful that this trend will continue and visitation may resume the middle of next week.

Compassionate care visits may continue anywhere in the Nursing Center, as may outside visits, please contact us to schedule a visit.  Visitation in the Villa may continue as normal.

We appreciate the continued patience from our residents, family and community: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

April 23, 2021

COVID update

Right now, we still only have the one positive staff test from earlier this week.  All residents tested have been negative, which is always great news.

The positive staff test does have an impact on visitation.  We won’t be able to allow visitation on station one at the Nursing Center, unless it is a compassionate care situation.  Visitation on station two at the Nursing Center and in the Villa will be able to continue.  We do have a change in the visitation schedule in the Nursing Center, we’ll be scheduling visits on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  The other days of the week are when we test and as a matter of prudence, we feel not visiting on these days will minimize potential schedule disruptions.

Here’s a reminder of  how Compassionate care visits are defined: End of life situations; A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support; A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away; A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration; A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past)

The weather is improving and outside visits are available anytime, no testing required, give us a call to schedule.

We certainly do deal with setbacks related to testing and restrictions, we should always be reminded that something better awaits us:  “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Roman 8:17-18

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

April 20, 2021

COVID update

Our testing for today has revealed a positive test for a staff member in the Nursing Center. We have tested all residents in the Nursing Center and they are all negative.

Unfortunately, this means that we must pause visitation in the Nursing Center, even for residents who have been vaccinated. So sorry to report this, we won’t be able to begin visitation again until we finish “outbreak” testing as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and confirm that the exposure is limited. We’ll be contacting people that are affected by the pause in visitation. Visitation for residents in the Villa may continue. At this time, visitations at Station 2 will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Please know that this is a fluid situation, and these meetings could change at any time.

As always, we ask for your patience as we work through these issues, these measures are in place to keep residents safe. Thank you!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Office

 

April 16, 2021

COVID update

At the moment, all tests are negative for this week!  After our back and forth updates this week, I don’t have too much more to add.

Positivity rates remain high in the area and we will continue testing for visitation.  To schedule a visit, call us during the hours of 8am to 430pm, Monday through Friday.  If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required.  Keep in mind, outside visits are available anytime, no testing required, give us a call to schedule.

At this time, we cannot schedule visits in the Nursing Center for residents that are not vaccinated.  If this changes we will get that information out as soon as possible.  We’ll keep Facebook and our website up to date on changes, please check those sources if you have questions.

I appreciate the continued patience and the support from all of you.   “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up”  Romans 15:2

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

April 15, 2021

COVID update

We have great news! After receiving further clarification, indoor visitation for residents who have been vaccinated can resume!
For those that already had visits scheduled when we stopped, we will be contacting you to reschedule the visit if the resident has been vaccinated. Visitors do not have to be vaccinated to visit, we will be doing testing for visitors as before. Unfortunately, for residents who are unvaccinated, visitation will remain on hold. Please contact us to schedule a visit.

I’m sure you struggle with the frequent changes as much as we do, we appreciate the patience from our family and friends, we know how difficult this is for all of you. The COVID rules and regulations we are dealing with bear the likeness of the weather in Michigan, constantly changing. Please keep our residents and staff in your prayers! Thank you.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

April 13, 2021

COVID update
I’m so sorry to report that we have to stop indoor visitation in the Nursing Center. I had shared the guidelines that we must follow regarding visitation in the last COVID update. Here’s a reminder of the guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
• Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated;
We have an issue on both sides of this, the County positivity rate is above 18% at the moment and unfortunately only 67% of the residents in the Nursing Center have been vaccinated. Visitation in the Villa may continue as over 90% of the residents in the Villa have been vaccinated. We will be contacting those that have visits scheduled to communicate this change.
Indoor visitation in “Compassionate Care” situations may continue regardless of these rules. CMS defines “Compassionate Care” as follows:
• End of life situations.
• A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
• A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away.
• A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
• A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past).
Vaccines are available to any resident if they choose to be vaccinated. Please contact us with questions about vaccination.
Anyone may still visit outdoors, please contact Sue in Activities to schedule an outside visit.
I can understand how difficult this is for those of you that have finally been able to visit again and for the residents here to not be able to see family and friends after so long. Please understand that we are required to comply with these rules and will monitor the situation closely. As always we will keep you updated when we have information to share. Thank you!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

April 9, 2021

COVID update

The positivity rate has risen above 10%, which means that we have to begin testing two times per week again.  At the moment, all tests are negative for this week.

The positivity rate being above 10% has the potential to impact visitation.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) words the visitation requirements this way:

Facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents (regardless of vaccination status), except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission. These scenarios include limiting indoor visitation for:

·       Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated;

Because enough residents have been vaccinated, we are able to continue visitation, CMS does consider the positivity rate to create a high risk for transmission as you can see.  Any staff and resident positive tests also may affect visitation.  I want to share this information so everyone can see the guidelines that we are working with and understand that things can change quickly.  As always, please be patient with all TWV staff as we work through these requirements.

To schedule a visit, call us during the hours of 8am to 430pm, Monday through Friday.  If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required.  Keep in mind, outside visits are available anytime, no testing required, give us a call to schedule.

We are still working out a plan for evening and weekend visits.  We will have some information soon.  Thank you again for your patience.

We’ll keep Facebook and our website up to date on changes, please check those sources if you have questions.

While we struggle and juggle the burdensome requirements for visits, we do understand that the goal is safety for all involved.  Let’s be patient with one another and faithful in service. “Confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.”  Acts 14:22

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

April 1, 2021

COVID update

All negative tests again for this week!

We’re keeping the visit procedure pretty much the same as it has been.  To schedule a visit, call Stephanie during the hours of 8am to 430pm, Monday through Friday (our offices will be closed April 2nd in observance of Good Friday). If she isn’t available at the time of your call, leave a message and she’ll return your call in the order it was received.  If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required.  Please be timely for visits, we’re unable to accommodate people who are running late because it affects everyone else who is scheduled after.  Keep in mind, outside visits are available anytime, no testing required, give us a call to schedule.

We have received questions about visitation in the evening and on weekends, we do understand that some of our friends and family can only visit during those times.  We are working on a plan for expanding the visitation schedule to accommodate these individuals, while still ensuring the safety of the residents.  We will have some information soon.  Again, I can’t thank everyone enough for the patience you’ve shown through all of this!

We’ll keep Facebook and our website up to date on changes, please check those sources if you have questions.

All of us here at Thurston Woods wish you a blessed Easter holiday!   “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

March 26, 2021

COVID update

All negative tests again for this week!

It is so nice seeing visitors come in, even if it is with some hoops to jump through. I see that the visits have had a wonderful effect on residents and our TWV staff. The schedule for visits has been full and it’s kept everyone hopping! I appreciate the dedication and effort of our staff who have been assigned the task of helping visitors, a big shout out to Stephanie and Sue, they have really been working hard! It’s definitely taken a team effort, many thanks to all involved.
Thank you to all of our visitors too, we appreciate your patience! If you’d like to schedule a visit, call Stephanie during the hours of 8am to 430pm, Monday through Friday. If she isn’t available at the time of your call, leave a message and she’ll return your call in the order it was received. If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required. Please be timely for visits, we’re unable to accommodate people who are running late because it affects everyone else who is scheduled after. We have some nice days coming up, outside visitation is available at any time with no testing required, give us a call if you’d like to schedule! Keep track of updates on Facebook and our website, we’ll post information there if things change.

Next Friday, April 2nd, our offices will be closed in observance of Good Friday, a blessed day of remembrance as Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Blessings to all of you during Holy Week! “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

March 19, 2021

COVID update

All negative tests again this week, which is great news for continued visitation.

Our first week of visits went well considering the conflicting messages that we have been receiving from governmental agencies. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes those of us that work at TWV to see residents reunited with family and friends! I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been to not be able to physically be in the same room as your loved one for a whole year. Trust that we’ll do everything we can to make visits happen in the safest way possible.

Just a reminder about the process for scheduling a visit, please call Stephanie during these business hours, 8am to 430pm. We are changing things up a little, you do not need to call just on Thursday’s anymore, any day Monday through Friday will be good and Stephanie will let you know where there is availability in the schedule. If she isn’t available at the time of your call, leave a message and she’ll return your call in the order it was received. If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required. Outside visitation is available at any time with no testing required, give us a call if you’d like to schedule!

I would encourage you to monitor our Facebook page and website for the most current information on visitation. Things do change quickly sometimes, which I know can be a frustration for all involved. Just want everyone to know, just one positive test result does change how we handle visits. Please be patient as we continue through this process.

The TWV team has been amazing through the many, many changes that we’ve dealt with, I see that they are truly called to serve here. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” 1 Peter 4:10

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

March 12, 2021

COVID update

All negative tests again! It may sound like a broken record, but I’m sure everyone is happy to hear it.
We’ve been busy all week planning for indoor visits that will begin on Monday the 15th. We’ve based our plans on the changes to the State epidemic order last week. I had mentioned that we were pleasantly surprised by the change in course to allow indoor visitation to begin, and we’re moving ahead with this guidance. As a reminder, if you’d like schedule an indoor visit, you may call on a Thursday for appointments beginning Monday of the following week. You may call to schedule a visitation time by calling Stephanie during these business hours, 8am to 430pm. If she isn’t available at the time of your call, leave a message and she’ll return your call in the order it was received. If you will be visiting inside, remember, COVID tests will be required. Next Monday, the first visits begin, we’re looking forward to seeing all of you and more importantly seeing residents and family connect!

Just a reminder for everyone, changes with visitation can happen quickly; even since last week, there have been changes and additional guidance from the CDC. We’ll make every effort to keep our information up to date, we just ask for your patience as we work through this process. For our residents in the Villa, quarantine requirements have been relaxed for residents who have been vaccinated and go out of the building for appointments, etc. If you have questions, please contact the staff in the Villa.

Outside visitation is available at any time with no testing required, give us a call if you’d like to schedule!

Here’s another one of my favorite verses about how God guides us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

March 10, 2021

Visitation Reminder

As we continue making plans for indoor visitation, I just wanted to put out a reminder to everyone that outside visitation is permitted without required COVID testing.  We have had a great streak of warmer weather lately and with spring inching ever closer, it would be a great time to visit in our outdoor visitation area!  Please contact Sue in Activities if you’d like to visit someone in the Nursing Center and contact Virginia for the Villa.  Thank you all, keep our residents and staff in your prayers!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

March 5, 2021

COVID update
Our streak continues, all tests negative for this week!
With the recent announcement about visitation, continued negative tests will be even more important. We’re thrilled that the visitation restrictions have been eased and excited for our residents to be able to see their loved ones soon. I will say that we were a little surprised with how quickly this change happened, thank you to all of you who took the time to reach out to legislators on this issue. As we begin to roll out visitation procedures, please be patient, it’s our goal to help everyone reconnect with residents. It’s also our goal to make sure we do that safely, the last thing we want is for a resident contract COVID from a visit, so we’ll all need to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen!

We are posting information on the visitation procedure on our website and on our Facebook page. Additionally, we’ll be sending a letter out to the main contact person for each resident, you should receive those in the next couple of days. Please be aware that changes with visitation can happen quickly, we’ll make every effort to keep everyone up to date. Scheduling a visitation time and testing will be required for all visitors and we will be limited in the number of visitors allowed at a time, please review the visitation materials before coming to visit!

Visitation will begin the week of March 15th and you may begin to call to schedule visitation times beginning on Thursday March 11th. You may call to schedule a visitation time by calling Stephanie during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm on the 11th. If she isn’t available at the time of your call, leave a message and she’ll return your call in the order it was received.

I thought this verse fit the current situation well: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” Romans 12:12 Thank you everyone for your support and we look forward to seeing visitors soon!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

February 26, 2021

COVID update

Great news again this week, all tests are negative!  We are continuing with once a week testing.

Still nothing new on the visitation at this time.  We are working on some policies and procedures in anticipation of allowing visitors, we want to make sure that we are ready when the time comes.  Leading Age Michigan has continued to advocate on behalf of seniors to make sure their voice is heard.  I encourage you to visit the webpage www.giveseniorsasay.com if you’d like to see the issue of visitation addressed.  Please keep in mind that virtual visits are always an option, please contact us if we can help with this.  The great TWV staff is always working on creative solutions and rest assured we’re working on a way to have safe visits as soon as possible!

This verse came to mind and reminded me of our staff and the great work they do: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10   Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

February 19, 2021

COVID update

All tests are negative for this week! We are now testing just once a week!

I’m afraid we don’t have anything new to report regarding visitation at this time. Our State Association, Leading Age Michigan is communicating with legislators about the visitation issue and how it can be done safely. We will get information out to our family and friends as soon as we have information to share. We’re here for anyone that wants to visit virtually, please contact us if you’re interested in that. TWV staff continue to do a great job in providing a compassionate and loving home for our residents; they care deeply and it shows in their approach!

Vaccine

The second vaccine clinic for the Villa, Froh Manor and Homes and Gables residents and staff was held yesterday and just like the first, it was an efficient process. Most of the Staff/residents received their second dose yesterday, keep in mind that reactions to the vaccine may be a little more evident after receiving the second dose. The comment I’ve heard the most has been that people are more tired than usual and may have some aches, etc. Every vaccine moves us a little closer to getting back to “normal”!

I’ve talked to a few people who have told me how they have been praying for Thurston Woods, I just want to say thank you so much to all of you out there supporting us with prayer! Keep them coming, we can’t have too many! “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

February 12, 2021

COVID update

We’re in kind of the same position as last week, we still have testing results pending from yesterday, so we can’t yet say that all tests are negative for this week.  And again, just like last week, we can say that all tests from Monday’s testing were all negative!

I know some of you are wondering about visitation, so I wanted to share information from CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) who oversees the certification of nursing centers like ours.  Here’s a snippet from a question and answer session with the CMS Director:

Q: Now that residents and staff are being vaccinated a frequent question is, “When will visitation and other guidance be revised?”

A: It is the question of the hour and we are hearing it a lot. The answer is – not yet, not now – but we want to do it as soon as we possibly can because we understand the concerns. Here’s why we aren’t revising the guidance yet:

1.    It’s too early – we need to get everyone a second dose and wait two weeks after that and we aren’t there yet. The decline in cases began prior to vaccination – so it is not attributable solely to vaccines.

2.    We don’t yet know if vaccines prevent transmission. We do know that it prevents people from getting sick, but it is possible that a person who has been vaccinated can transmit the virus to others.

3.    It is too early to know if the vaccines protect against the variants.

Therefore, we can’t change visitation guidance yet, but we will as soon as we can. Remember – the guidance does not prohibit all visitation. As community cases fall, more visitation is possible.

While I’m sure this isn’t the response that our TWV family and friends were hoping for, I thought it would be helpful to see the information directly from CMS.

Please keep in mind that we are happy to Facetime visits for any of our residents.  You can get in touch with Activity staff in the Nursing Center or one of our Villa staff members for more information.

 Vaccine

Our next vaccine clinic in the Villa is Thursday the 18th and this will include our residents in the Homes and Gables.  Those that received the first dose will be getting the second dose!!  Anyone who didn’t get vaccinated the first time, may still get their first dose on the 18th, give us a call for more information.

Praise God for the encouraging COVID trends, not just at TWV, but also in our community.  We trust that all of this is in His hands and we pray that he will lead us through this difficult time.  One of my favorite verses:  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

February 5, 2021

COVID update

We still have testing results pending from yesterday, so we can’t yet say that all tests are negative for this week. We can say that all tests from Monday’s testing were all negative! Residents in both the Villa and the Nursing Center are out of quarantine and are VERY happy about it! It’s been so nice to see our residents together more. We’re hopeful that the improving numbers trend will continue in our area and in the State, as this will determine the course of action for visitation, which I know everyone is wondering about.

Vaccine

We had our second clinic day at the Nursing Center today and everything went great. The team in the Nursing Center did a great job in getting our residents through the vaccination process efficiently and more importantly with a calm approach. I’m sure there are more than a few sore arms from the shot, but definitely worth it to keep our residents safe! Please contact the Nursing Center or the Villa staff if you have questions about the vaccine.
While we have our challenges, we still understand that we are blessed and thankful for God’s grace. Thank you to all of you for the continued support, it means so much to us to have our community behind us!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

January 29, 2021

COVID update

All tests are negative again for this week! We’re thrilled with this great news! This makes two consecutive weeks for both the Villa and the Nursing Center! This may allow us to make some changes with quarantines on campus, however, it does not allow us to change our approach with visitation at this time. We won’t be able to do anything different with visitation until the positivity rates and risk levels improve in our area and in the State. Rest assured that TWV staff are working hard to keep residents safe!

Vaccine

Again, our next clinic day will be on February 5th in the Nursing Center. Some of our staff and residents will be receiving the second dose of the vaccine! First doses are still available as well, please call the Nursing Center with questions. The more people that take the vaccine, the closer we get to getting a better handle on the pandemic and the sooner we can all see each other again.
Keep our staff and residents in your prayers! We couldn’t be successful without the support we receive from the family/friends and the community. God’s blessings to all of you!

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

January 22, 2021

COVID update

All tests are negative for this week! We’re thrilled with this great news! This is the second consecutive week for the Villa, so we’ll be able to lift the quarantine. The residents who have not tested positive in the Nursing Center will remain in quarantine for at least another week.

Vaccine

Yesterday, residents in the Villa, Homes & Gables, and Froh Manor Apartments received the vaccine! Residents were glad to receive the vaccine and we’re thankful that we were able to include our residents in the independent living communities. Our TWV team had a great plan to make the vaccinations easy and quick for the residents. Their efforts really streamlined the process, transporting residents to the Chapel area, scheduling different times to minimize contact and setting up the waiting area for proper social distancing… very impressive!

The next clinic day will be in the Nursing Center on February 5th, where the second dose of the vaccine will be administered and first doses will be available as well for any resident and staff that want it. Please get any consent forms back and if you have questions about the vaccine, please call the Villa or Nursing Center.

We’re thankful to God this week and always for guiding our path. We pray for our residents who remain in quarantine and ask that they be strengthened by faith to persevere. Our thoughts are certainly with all family and friends of our residents too, we understand that State mandated restrictions are taxing on all of you. We appreciate your support of TWV through these difficult times.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

January 15, 2021

COVID update

All tests in the Villa are negative this week!  We still have the residents there in quarantine because of the 2 positive staff tests last week.  We won’t be able to lift the quarantine in the Villa until late next week at the soonest.

The Nursing Center had two positive staff tests this week.  One who tested positive doesn’t have any symptoms.  Unfortunately, this will extend the quarantine for our residents in the Nursing Center who haven’t tested positive.

Staff serving our residents have done a great job as usual keeping things positive and having some fun during these trying times.  Today was Hat Day and we had great participation!

Vaccine

Our next vaccine clinic day for the Nursing Center is February 5th.  The second dose of the vaccine will be administered and first doses will be available as well for any resident and staff that want it.  Next week is the vaccine clinic for the Villa as well, on the 21st.  Please get any consent forms back to us prior to these dates.  For the most part, those that received the initial dose of the vaccine have not had a negative reaction, some people reported feeling a little more tired and others had some different reactions, but overall the effects were short lived.  In my view, certainly worth it for the safety of our residents.  If you have questions about the vaccine, please call the Villa or Nursing Center.

As always, we thank God for watching over us, even though we have had positive tests, we can feel His presence.  We also thank Him for our committed staff and for the opportunity to do His work here at Thurston Woods.

 

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

January 8, 2021

COVID update

I know these updates are focused on what’s happening on campus related to COVID and they will continue to provide that communication that all of you appreciate.  I’d like to first start out by introducing myself as the new CEO here at Thurston Woods.  My name is Tim Stoll and I’m honored for the opportunity to serve a great organization like Thurston Woods.  I’ve lived in the Colon area my entire life and have worked in several senior care communities during my career, including most recently at the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging.  I also have a long personal history with Thurston Woods, several relatives of mine have lived here, I still remember visiting my great grandmother here when I was just a kid.  I had the benefit of spending some time with Theo during the month of December and echo the sentiment of many others who have expressed their appreciation to her for her commitment to Thurston Woods.  I’ll say what I’ve said to everyone else, I’m not here to replace Theo because there is no replacing Theo!  I’m just happy to be part of the Thurston Woods team and honored to serve the residents who live here.

On to our COVID updates:

Earlier this week, we were able to have remove the quarantine from the Villa, residents were able to come out of their rooms, which has been great.  However, unfortunately, we have 2 staff members who work in the Villa have tested positive.  This means that the Villa will now have to go back into quarantine; the residents (who previously have not tested positive) in the Nursing Center remain in quarantine from the positive staff test last week.  This bouncing back and forth seems to be how things have been going with COVID; we don’t like the quarantines but they are necessary to keep our residents safe, which remains our priority. As someone new coming in, it’s remarkable how hard all the staff works on behalf of the residents.  I’ve been very impressed in the short time I’ve been able to spend here.

Vaccine

Our first COVID vaccination clinic was held today for Nursing Center residents and staff.  We are very pleased with the number of vaccinations that were administered today.  We have additional vaccination clinics set up for the Nursing Center in February and March; you’ll recall the vaccine requires 2 doses 28 days apart, so the future dates will be for those that haven’t been vaccinated and those that require the second dose.  Good news for the Villa as well, a vaccination clinic is set up there for the 21st of January for residents and staff.  We’ve also been told that our residents in independent living (Homes & Gables and Froh Manor apartments) will be able to receive the vaccine on the 21st as well.  Consent forms will be needed for anyone to receive the vaccine, so please get these completed forms back to us as soon as possible to ensure that those that want to receive the vaccine are able to do so.

We thank God for the many blessings we are given, we find His grace even in these trying times.  We’re blessed to have such a dedicated group of staff to care and serve the residents.  We pray for resilience for our residents and for fortitude for our staff; and we understand that God never gives us more than we can handle.  Blessings to all of you as we begin this new year and new chapter at Thurston Woods together.

Tim Stoll
Chief Executive Officer

 

December 30, 2020

NEW STAFF POSITIVE IN NURSING CENTER

Just about the time we think we are going to get everyone off quarantine—the Villa has just one more test tomorrow to have everyone out, with all residents and staff testing negative in the Villa with Monday’s testing.  BUT, we had a staff member in the nursing home test positive, during our testing on Monday.  This requires us to put everyone who has NOT had COVID-19 (11 residents) in quarantine for 14 days.  We rapid tested and also did regular testing, while not all the tests are back—the rapid tests showed all the residents were negative.  We will test the residents again tomorrow with the regular staff testing.

VACCINES:  This is on everyone’s mind right now.  We have more questions than answers but right now we know Walgreens (our designated vendor) will be holding a clinic on January 8th, for the nursing center residents and staff.  Permission slips with information has been mailed out to the responsible parties.  Please make sure you return the signed forms.  If we do not have the forms we CANNOT have Walgreens administer the vaccine.  We do NOT have any information as of today as to when the Assisted Living and Independent Housing residents will have access to the vaccine.   Again, when we get the information, we will get it to the responsible parties as quickly as possible.  Just like COVID-19, this process is ever-changing.

We were blessed with so many expressions of Christmas cheer from the community for our residents—thank you to:
White Pigeon Central Elementary School Student Council for Christmas cards for the residents
Kylee Brock—for Christmas Cards for the residents
Lori Lambright—Christmas goodies –with the request to give them to residents who may not receive much for Christmas
And soooo many more!  Even with COVID people found ways of making a difference for our residents.

This will be my last official post as tomorrow will be my last day at Thurston Woods.    It is truly not the way I wanted my last one to be, but I know we have the most awesome staff who will continue to take excellent care of our residents in all areas.

As we go into the New Year, may you remember to give thanks for the many blessings, pray for God’s grace and continue to remember our residents in your prayers.

God bless you and thank you for the many years of love and support.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

December 19, 2020

VILLA POSITIVE RESIDENTS

Just about the time we think everything is going well  COVID-19 strikes again.   This time it is in the Villa.   As I said in yesterday’s post we have a positive staff member and were testing the residents.  Those results came in this morning  with five residents positive.   NONE have any signs or symptoms but it does require for ALL residents to be isolated and in their rooms.   Staff will continue to be in full PPE.

The staff have been informed on what additional procedures and where they need to come into the building to ensure the other residents and staff are not exposed.

The staff and residents will be tested on Monday.  The nursing center residents who have not had COVID will be tested on Monday with the nursing center staff as a precaution.

As we begin this Holy Week of celebrating the birth of  Jesus   I am asking once again for our prayer warriors to continue to pray for our residents and staff as we travel through this situation.  It is great comfort to know God is in control of all things including COVID-19.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

December 18, 2020

UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY

AFTER I posted that all staff members were negative we had a Villa staff member call to say she was having symptoms,  different than what we had been seeing and the staff member tested negative on Monday BUT as has been our practice Virginia sent the staff member to be rapid tested.   That result came back positive.

We immediately began testing residents and those results are not back yet.  Resident family members and staff were notified of the positive result. All residents were asked to stay in their rooms and staff are in full personal protective equipment.

If anyone knows me, you would know I have never tried to hide what is happening on our campus regarding the COVID-19 virus.

This is a ever changing environment,  making it difficult to keep you up to date in every minute.   People who needed to be made aware was, everyone else  I apologize if you felt I was not being forthcoming.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

December 17, 2020

SECOND WEEK ALL NEGATIVES!

Testing for the Villa was done on Monday, with all results showing negative results.  They will not test again until Monday of next week.  The nursing center continues to test twice a week per state requirements and results continue to have no active staff members testing positive.  We did have a staff member who was off for a week’s vacation test positive after being required to test prior to coming back to work.  However, the staff member was NOT in any contact with the residents and so it does not require resident testing at this time.

With the holiday season comes an outpouring of gifts for residents and staff—THANK YOU to the following:

Mrs. Hough’s first grade class who made Christmas Cards
Sturgis Middle School Woodshop—who created and donated wooden ornaments
Trinity Lutheran Preschool, Sherri Lahrman teacher—Christmas cheer donations of banners, pictures, canvas panels, and angels
Salvation Army—coloring books, magazines and magnify glass
Soooo many cookies, candy and assorted goodies for both residents and staff
Special thanks to the VanSike family for the weekly baked goods to station 1 in honor of their father
We continue to be blessed by your continued prayers.  As we look forward to the next week as we celebrate CHRISTmas may you enjoy the holidays with you and yours.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

December 10, 2020

A WEEK OF NEGATIVES!!!!

That’s right.  We have a full week of NO POSITIVES in either the nursing center and the Villa!   THE COVID WING IS CLOSED!    All the residents are back in their regular rooms in the nursing center.  With the positive resident in the Villa last week they are still requiring the residents to stay in their rooms, even though the resident tested negative this week.  The bottom line is, it is not worth the chance of someone getting exposed by an asymptotic positive resident.   The resident involved rarely leaving the room so the exposure would be the staff—which continues to use full PPE.  We are praying the test results from next Monday’s tests will be the same and we will be totally back to normal.  The nursing center will test again today and still required to test twice a week because of what is happening in our county.

PLEASE understand, St. Joseph and Branch counties are still experiencing outbreaks in the community.  Both counties are still in the Red zone which means to county’s positivity rates are over 10%.  So, if you are out, please do your part, wear a facemask and stay six feet away from anyone who you are not living with.

FAMILIES—-we are asking that you LIMIT the amount of items you are dropping off for your loved ones.  Some of you are dropping off large quantities of items—maybe for your convenience—but there is just so much room for the residents to keep the “treasures” and goodies.  We are very concerned with the Christmas holidays around the corner that the resident will not have adequate space for additional gifts.  We do not want to have to call you and ask you to pick up the excess products.   If your family member is asking for something—please check with the nurse’s stations to see if it is really needed.   A resident cannot drink 3 8-packs of Coke in a day!   Sometimes the resident doesn’t remember they have a supply in our pantry.   That said—we do appreciate you wanting to get your loved one their requests—especially since it is the only love language left at this time.    AND just a FYI—Thurston Woods Village has a supply of goodies and offer snacks to the residents every night.

As we prepare for the holiday season—remember  the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas.   One of the blessings of COVID-19 is the reminder that there are much more important things than gifts under the tree.  All of us will be having a “different” Christmas this year—but if we look for the blessings, we will enjoy it differently as well.   I would ask for your continued prayers for God to keep our residents and wonderful staff protected from this virus.

Special thanks to Mary Taylor for the Christmas themed facemasks—the residents will enjoy them.    And Deb Capman, Dianne Gorsuch, and Pam Keelsar—all TWV board members—have provided staff with awesome homemade goodies over the last few weeks—thank you.

Blessings,

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

December 4, 2020

VILLA POSITIVE??

We received the Tuesday’s  test results back from the Tuesday’s Villa residents.   We received a positive test result back from a resident who has not left their room in several weeks.  ALL staff members who the resident has been in contact tested NEGATIVE!  So the question is—how did the resident test positive?  No one knows.  We did do a rapid test to verify the positive results and that came back NEGATIVE.  But according to the guidelines we must consider the positive test correct.   So, we will error on the side of caution.  The resident will continue to remain in their room.  The staff will be in full Personal Protective Equipment and will continue to monitor the resident for any signs or symptoms.   All residents have been asked to stay in their rooms at least through the next week.  Under the new CDC recommendations, we can shorten the quarantine from 14 days to 10 or even 7 if there is no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 from a possible exposure.     All the residents will be tested again next Tuesday.

On the nursing center side—there are 2 residents in the COVID Wing and only one staff member who is still in their “isolation” stage but is working the COVID Wing until the last person comes out on Saturday—we actually they will not come out because they live in that area.

Please continue to pray for the residents, staff and our community.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

December 2, 2020

WONDERFUL NEWS:

We now have the nursing center testing results from Monday’s testing with NO POSITIVE RESULTS FOR BOTH RESIDENTS AND STAFF!  It has been a long time since I have been able to make that statement.  We have not had any resident positives in the last three tests and have had two staff members—both who were already quarantining at home due to a spouse testing positive, so although they are our staff members, it is considered a “community” positive and not a TWV positive.    We are still required to test twice a week in the nursing center and will test again on Thursday.  The Villa staff were also tested on Monday and those results also came back negative.  The Villa residents were tested yesterday, so not all results are in  yet.

The even better news is that we have THREE residents in our COVID Wing with one coming out each day for the next three days!  It is my sincere prayer that we do not have to start the process over with additional residents testing positive.  One of the staff members who is COVID-19 positive is working in the unit and the other staff member is to return to work tomorrow.

But the BEST NEWS is, according to CDC guidelines a COVID-19 positive is considered to be “recovered” 30 days after the outset of symptoms.  So with those guidelines we have 16 residents and 20 staff members who are considered fully recovered.   We will have 8 more residents and 6 staff members who will reach that threshold by the weekend!

While we are celebrating God’s goodness and grace, I am still reminded  we had to say goodbye to three of those who may still be with us if it wasn’t for this incredibly difficult virus.  They mattered and will always be a constant reminder in our battle to win the invisible giant we call COVID-19.

You may have heard something about a vaccine or two and now potentially three.  CDC just announced late yesterday that the “priority” will be healthcare workers and nursing home residents.  I also heard  it will not be available until after December 15th .  It will not be known for some time (hopefully before the 15th) as to who the “healthcare workers” are and how the vaccine will be distributed.  It is going to be interesting to see how the process will work with the requirement for the vaccine to remain *80 degrees below zero.    Time will tell.

Also, something new from CDC is the recommendation when a resident shows signs and symptoms of COVID or the flu that we test for BOTH at the same time.  The thought is the signs and symptoms are similar and they mimic each other.  That is why every time you turn around you are seeing advertisements to “Get a flu shot”.   We did have a staff member test negative for COVID but positive for the flu.

Again we continue to be blessed with a Board of Directors who have provided the staff with weekly treats since this lockdown began—this week being homemade Chex mix.  I am always reminded of how this community supports the residents and staff.

I continue to ask for your prayers as until this virus is under control, we still have residents and staff who may be exposed.  Specifically ask God to keep His hand of protection around this place we call home.  It truly is not a workplace but a place where we work.  Our staff continue to shine through this storm.  I am beyond proud of those staff members who, placing themselves at risk, were willing to care for the residents in the COVID wing.  We did NOT have to mandate anyone to work in those areas, they all volunteered.  Some now, who did not get sick but were exposed to COVID-19, are going to have to quarantine before they can come back out on the regular floors.   That truly is dedication.

Blessings,

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

November 25, 2020

GREAT NEWS……but

As I reported on Saturday, the Villa had to start testing the residents because of a positive staff member—those results showed ALL residents tested NEGATIVE.  The Villa will test the residents again next week and hopefully will have the same results.  The Villa staff tested on Monday and ALL staff tested NEGATIVE.

The Great news is that for the first test since this began in late October—testing twice a week for five weeks—we have ALL NEGATIVE RESULTS.    We did have a staff member who had been exposed by her husband and was quarantined at home test positive—BUT she had not been in the building for over a week and was exposed in the community so this is NOT a facility acquired positive.  Yes, we need to track her and she is off work for now another 10 days so she did not and could not have been exposed by ANYONE at Thurston Woods.   This is why tracking can be helpful.

In addition we have resident being discharged from the COVID Wing and do not have ANYONE going in.  The three residents who was admitted to the wing on Saturday still remain with no signs or symptoms which makes the last 7 residents who have tested positive have not had any signs or symptoms.  We did say goodbye to another resident who at age 99 got to have a great conversation with the family prior to going home.

Consequently we are praising God.  As we go into this Thanksgiving weekend we truly have a lot to be thankful for: the safe keeping of our residents; the staffs willingness to work to care for those with COVID and those in the regular units; to those team players who have come in and helped with the moving the residents in and out of the COVID Wing; to the community with their continued support; and to the Board of Directors who have provided weekly goodies since March.  AND so many others who I may have missed.  We are blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving—-as we celebrate these results, we will continue to test on Friday.  With that we will not get those results until Sunday.   Again the twice weekly testing continues as long as the community positivity rate remains in the “red zone” for the nursing center.  The Villa will test the residents again on Monday.   According to the Michigan Department of Public Health website, the entire state of Michigan is now in the highest level of outbreak.  So, again I ask you to do your part, wear a mask when in public, practice safe distancing, and wash your hands—or use sanitizer.

Blessings,

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

November 21, 2020

THE TRIALS CONTINUE….

Results from Thursday’s tests are back with three Nursing Center residents and two staff testing positive.   One staff member works in the Villa and one was off due to a family member having COVID and hadn’t been in the building for awhile as she was quarantined at home.

While we are moving three residents into the COVID Wing, we are also moving residents out.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is because of the Villa staff member,  the Villa residents are being tested today. Virginia is actually taking them to the lab to ensure we get the tests back as soon as possible. The residents will continue to be tested weekly until there are no positive results for both residents and staff for the Villa.   The nursing center will continue to test twice a week until further notice.

This has been the first week when we have seen fewer positive results in both the residents and staff.  The are cautiously optimistic we have reached the tipping point and we are on the downward side.   However we know that there is a 30 day window before a person is considered “recovered”. The really great news is we have three residents and two staff who will reach that threshold in the next few days.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you continue to wear a mask when in public, that you social distance and stay home if you have been exposed.   We all know of someone in the community who has this virus.  My husband and I just received word last night that a long time friend lost the battle of COVID-19 leaving behind a devastated family.   This virus impacts people in so many different ways it makes it difficult to get a handle on it.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this path.  I was reminded this week that God is bigger than our minds can comprehend and He knows what each of us is going through.  Even  COVID-19!  May you sense His presence today.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

November 18, 2020

RESULTS ARE BACK

First the great news!  The Villa staff all tested negative again this week.  That means the Villa residents can go another week without having to be tested.    They will continue to test weekly until notified of any change from regulatory agencies.   One of the Villa staff has to be quarantined at home for 14 days due to a family member testing positive but this happened when the employee was not working so there is no exposure to the residents.

The Nursing Center had the fewest positive in 3 weeks.  But we still have positives with both four residents and four staff.  At this time none of the positives are showing any symptoms.  Residents still move in and out of the unit.  Staff continue to either work on the COVID Wing while they go through the 10 days of isolation or are quarantining at home.  While we are encouraging them to work, we are not requiring anyone to work.  The only way staff can work in the COVID Wing is if their job responsibilities will allow them to work.  Consequently there are those staff member who have elected to not work and those that cannot work.  We also have staff off on quarantine because one of their family members have tested positive.   We continue to make every effort to mitigate the spread as much as possible.

I am convinced that we have the most amazing staff.  They continue to work with full PPE and meet the needs of our residents with loving kindness.  They truly are HEALTHCARE HEROS.  While the country, state, and community continues to struggle with this virus, I am awestruck at the dedication of our staff.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.  These are difficult times, but we believe we are turning the corner and better days are ahead.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

November 17, 2020

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

We continue to strive to be in compliance of all regulations and recommendations. One of CDC guidelines is to notify the community of 3 or more residents with respiratory issues. We had our third resident with those symptoms today. The families and staff have already been notified. Without going into details of who has what, please know that all of them remain in the facility and are being treated following physician orders.

We do not have the test results from Monday’s testing and with the statewide outbreak, the results are slow to come in. According to the CMS website, St. Joseph County is in the “red” (highest) category and reported a 15% positivity rate. I continue to urge you to be safe, follow the recommendations of wearing your mask and social distance when out in the community.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

November 14, 2020

MORE THAN WE HOPED FOR AT DAY 22

We got the results from Thursday’s testing in the Nursing Center. While we are still having positive results, the numbers are going down.
As I explained several times during this long outbreak  we are evaluating and testing constantly. And residents and staff continue to get better and go out of the COVID-19 wing and others are admitted to the wing. Today 6 residents tested positive with no signs or symptoms.  Two residents were rapid tested yesterday and came back negative.     We also have one staff member to test positive.

It is with great sadness that I was just  notified the resident who was in the hospital passed this morning.

It is my prayer this will be the last time I have to write those words.  This is one of those times when I am leaning on the promise that God is in control and wraps His arms around His children when we don’t know why.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

November 13, 2020

IT CONTINUES………

I have always tried to be as transparent as possible, sharing the good, the bad, and the very bad news regarding what is happening on campus with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We had the very sad experience of having to say goodbye to one of our residents who died from the complications of COVID, and another is in the hospital.   No one wants to say goodbye and this has been especially hard for our staff.   That is the very bad news.  The bad news is the Nursing Center continues to have more positive results with our bi-weekly  and rapid testing due to showing symptoms, both residents and staff.  The good news that as of today, there has been 15 residents who have been moved out of COVID isolation with one more scheduled for Saturday and 6 on Sunday. Some of the residents who have completed the isolation process are remaining in the COVID wing (which is all of station 2) because that is where they live or circumstances dictate their need to remain—not because they continue to show signs of infection but CDC guidelines mandate their roommate has to be quarantined for 14 days which someone with COVID-19 is required to be isolated for 10 days (the contagious time).   We continue to have the majority of the residents show NO signs or symptoms, however we are aware this could change at any time as they go through the 10 days of isolation.    Nursing Center staff continue to return from their isolation, or continue to work with COVID on the COVID Wing.  We have 19 staff who have returned to their regular schedules, with 4 either out of isolation or can return to their full schedule on Saturday and two on Sunday.  We will continue to test twice a week in the attempt to identify both staff and residents as quickly as possible.  And we are privileged to be able to do rapid testing via the hospital lab as symptoms are identified.

All Villa residents and staff  have tested negative for the last two weeks with the results from Wednesday’s testing arriving today.  Consequently we will not be testing residents again unless there is another positive exposure.  However, the Villa staff will continue to be tested weekly as mandated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

As you have undoubtedly heard COVID-19 is infecting people at a record breaking level.   This is true in the city of Sturgis, St. Joseph County, and in entire State.  You may have heard the Governor is considering another total lockdown.  This is why we are asking our staff to come to work and then quarantine at home.  We cannot MANDATE what an employee does but I can tell you the TWV team is committed to do whatever it takes—so the majority are doing what we have asked.   Yes, I know it only takes one person being exposed and it spreads.  And that is our dilemma, especially with asymptomatic people not even knowing they are positive.

Special thank you to the Burr Oak 4-H Club for the adorable Thanksgiving Turkeys and to Dianne Gorsuch, member of the Board of Directors for the awesome homemade brownies as the Board treat this week.  Again, thank you for your continued prayers.   Please pray specifically for those residents impacted by COVID-19 and the staff who continue to care for them.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

November 7, 2020

As I said in yesterday’s post I would let you know the results of Thursday’s testing.   This virus is absolutely so unpredictable it is frustrating beyond explanation.   We have another 6 residents who tested positive with NO symptoms.   That is the same result as the Monday’s test of residents who tested positive with no symptoms.   If you are counting that means the last 13 residents are totally without symptoms or what CDC said is asymptomatic.

We also have two new staff positive results from testing.   Both are asymptomatic as well.

The blessing is residents are moving out of the unit with others going in. Staff who have tested positive or have already had the virus are willing to help the positive residents.

We have isolated that wing. We do not allow the staff who are working on the wing in the main building.   They come in and out a separate door.

We are committed to do whatever it takes to make the best of a very difficult situation.   I am amazed at the dedication of our awesome staff.  When this started the entire therapy staff stepped up and said they could handle it.   AND they did!  Two of our positive staff are those who were willing to care for our residents even knowing the risks.   That is service above self and is a true example of the love each staff member has for our residents.

I ask for your continued prayers as I know even with these disappointing results that God hears the cry of His children.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

November 6, 2020

NO NEW POSITIVES ANYWHERE

Just wanted to let you know we have hit a milestone in our fight of this monster we call COVID-19.   We have went 48 hours without having to rapid test any of the residents, both in the Nursing Center and in the Villa.  We did do a rapid test on a Villa staff member this morning, and  one in the Nursing Center this afternoon—but they were negative.

We are still waiting results from the testing done yesterday on the Nursing Center residents and staff.  We hope to have results sometime this weekend.  And we will continue to test twice a week as long as needed in our attempt to keep ahead of this virus.    We were notified that the lab is backed up with testing  and it may take longer than normal to get the results. I will let you know as I know.      Good news is that residents are coming out of the COVID-19 wing and more are coming out of the quarantine from having a roommate test positive.  We have three more scheduled to come of the COVID wing on Sunday.

Keep praying!  It is working.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

November 5, 2020

ALL VILLA RESIDENTS REMAIN NEGATIVE!

As I indicated in my last post, due to the positive staff member and physician in the Villa we are required to do testing for all residents until there is 14 days of no new cases, either residents and staff.  Staff were tested again today and residents will be tested again next week.

We did not have any additional positive results for residents in the Nursing Center today.  That is an answer to prayer.  We did multiple rapid tests for staff today which resulted in three more staff members testing positive. Unfortunately they are all nurse aides, which is stretching our staff who is well and willing to pitch in.  Many of the positive staff are working in the COVID-19 wing, which is a blessing as well.

Thank you to those who are reaching out to offer goodies and support to our staff and residents.  Special Kudos to the Board of Directors who were willing to step up and distribute the Halloween candy on Friday, allowing the distance from the community and staff to be stretched as far as possible.  Their continued support with weekly treats and words of encouragement to our staff is appreciated.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

November 4, 2020

MORE POSITIVES FROM MONDAY’S TESTING

We are now 14 days from our first positive staff person that  required us to do resident testing and we continue to see more positive results coming for both residents and staff.      Twelve days ago I reported an asymptomatic resident, then we had two residents and nine staff members last Tuesday.   As has been our practice since this began and the tests were available, any resident or staff member who developed symptoms were rapid tested via the Sturgis Hospital lab.  This resulted in my last Friday’s post of six residents and 12 staff members.  Then we got the results from our Thursday’s testing over the weekend and other rapid tests were performed for both residents and staff, this resulted in a total of 10 residents and 16 staff members.   We have other staff members as precautions due to either their family or friends are positive with COVID-19.

Residents have been coming and going in and out of the COVID Wing and we were working on a plan to have additional temporary beds brought into Willowbrook.  Then we got the test results back from Monday’s testing.  We had 7 new residents (SIX with NO symptoms) and 2 (one with NO symptoms) staff test positive.  So, we had to rethink our program and decided to move the COVID Wing to Station 2 on Maple Hall.  This hall is the one on the right if you remember from the last time you visited.  This will allow for a couple of the residents to go back to their original hall, and will allow for additional bed availability should the outbreak continue.    ALL the residents who were on Willowbrook and the new positive residents have been placed in the COVID Wing, which is now in Maple Hall.    ALL the residents who were on Maple Hall and not having COVID-19 have been moved to other rooms off that hall.

If you have lost track of the numbers, right now we have had 18 nursing center residents with COVID-19, since this began on Oct. 21st.   Three residents have left the COVID Wing and went into their rooms—or close by because their roommate has to be quarantined for 14 days and the resident with COVID-19 has a 10 day process.   13 of the 18 residents HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.  Three others have minor symptoms like a cough, and there are two are being treated for respiratory issues unrelated to COVID-19.

Since the first positive staff person we have 20 positive staff members, 11 of which will be returning to work as tomorrow, Nov. 5th .  Of the eight additional staff, 5 were rapid test results, after reporting symptoms.  Some of the staff who tested positive have decided to work on the COVID wing.  Others cannot due to their positions, others have elected to remain off during their quarantine and a few have struggled with symptoms.

The above paragraphs tell the story of all the positive residents and staff.  What is not reported anywhere is the number of test results that are negative.  For example we did 196 resident and staff tests on Monday with the result of 11 positive cases with a positivity rate of 5.6%-which is much less than the county averages.    Is it too high—absolutely!  What we don’t tell you is the rapid results that are negative—which since we began this journey on Oct. 21, has been 29 resident rapids (some as many as three times) and 19 staff members.  All had signs and symptoms and tested negative.  And as I said on Friday’s post, some of them were tested multiple times and then tested positive.    I say all this to say, we are trying every way possible to protect the residents and staff.

FOR THE VILLA:  One staff person and a physician who came to visit a resident has tested positive.   This prompted ALL Villa residents to be tested and those tests were completed today.   We should have the results back by late Friday and will notify the responsible party and resident of any positive results.   We will need to continue to test residents until all residents and staff test negative for 14 days of testing (2 weeks).  All the Villa staff will continue with weekly testing at this time.   All the Villa staff are now in full Personal Protective Equipment.

Keep believing that God has His arms around us.  There are people who are in the hospital with COVID-19.  We are fortunate that the majority of our residents and staff are asymptomatic and those who have symptoms are not experiencing life-threatening symptoms.  The majority of our staff who are sick are reporting fatigue and body aches while the residents it is a cough.

I ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

November 1, 2020

ANOTHER POSITIVE RESIDENT

We have another resident who tested positive after the staff noticed a random cough and had the resident rapid tested even though the resident tested negative on on Thursday.  The family has been notified and the resident  moved to Willowbrook.   The baffling fact is that we rapid tested everyone on the hall where the first resident lived.  And everyone tested NEGATIVE.   So this resident  had three tests last week, all negative.  It’s not easy to understand or explain.

The most troubling thing about this virus is even a year ago we would have treated the residents with random coughs  (we now have 4 of 9 with only a cough) as if it was the common cold.  We have 4 residents with NO symptoms and one with a respiratory symptom that made us test the resident again. I have thankful for God’s grace and mercy of keeping the residents from being seriously ill from this unprecedented virus.

I continue to ask for your prayers.  God has His arms around Thurston Woods.   I believe that with all my heart.

As residents and staff members continue through the process of getting better and in and out of quarantine,  the numbers may get confusing.   This has to do with if there are symptoms and when those symptoms began,  all with different time frames.  Rest assured Joella has a schedule of who does what and when.   I am just mentioning the process so if numbers fluctuate you will have a idea of why  the discrepancy.

Thank you,

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 31, 2020

MORE  RESULTS ARE IN

I know I notified you of the six residents and staff members yesterday.  As you have to be aware we are committed to ensuring we do all we can to stay on top of this virus.   We do that several ways, including doing “rapid testing ” when a resident or staff has any symptoms and by doing the regular routine testing.  But because of the potential impact we have been testing twice a week.

After my post yesterday we had 6 staff members who went for rapid testing even though they had all been tested on Thursday.  Five of the tests came back negative and one was positive (that one was included in my post yesterday).  We also tested 3 residents with one coming back positive.   That resident was sent to the hospital for evaluation and was sent back and is now in the COVID-19 area on Willowbrook.

We have the majority of the results back from Thursday’s testing  and we now have another casual PRN staff member with positive results and another resident who is asymptomatic.
Both are being notified.

The blessing is that we will begin moving our first resident back out of quarantine on Monday  with several more on Tuesday.   And 9 of the 13 staff will be back to normal work schedules by the end of the week.

I continue to be amazed by the dedication of  the TWV team who have stepped up to make sure our residents continue to receive the care they deserve.  Without their willingness to pick up extra shifts, work in the dedicated wing or just be willing to “run” for additional supplies, this outbreak would be much worse.

Just to be as reassuring as possible,  without violating confidentiality,  5 of the 8 residents have NO Symptoms, 2 have one minor symptom that resulted in the test to be administered,  and one has another medical issue that we are monitoring along with the virus.  None of our staff members who have symptoms are reporting being seriously ill. Seven staff members have NO symptoms.

I continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this path of ever changing results.   I believe God hears the cry of His people and He is answering our prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 30, 2020

WE HAVE BOTH RESIDENT AND STAFF POSITIVE OUTBREAKS

As you are aware, I have tried to be as transparent as possible during my updates regarding happening at Thurston Woods Village.  You must also be aware Sturgis is a COVID-19 “hotspot” according to state and local agencies.  That said, this has to have been the most difficult week of my 40+ years in long term care.  Just about the time we think we have things under control something else hits.   As of this morning, we have six residents and 12 staff members who have tested positive with the COVID-19.  Three are the residents came back from our testing and three others have been the results of staff observations that resulted in a request for a “rapid test”.  In one case the resident tested negative on last Friday’s test and then an alert nurse noticed a “change in her chronic cough” which resulted in a rapid test with positive results two days later. The residents have been quarantined in one hall (Willowbrook) with the Therapy staff and those who are also tested positive caring for them.  The staff are entering in from the door outside the front entrance and do not come in contact with any other staff and residents.  Four of the residents have NO symptoms and in fact two will be leaving the quarantine in the next couple of days as they have done their 10 days of quarantine (yes, it is 10 days for an asymptomatic COVID-19).  NO RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN SICK ENOUGH TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

The twelve staff members are from a variety of departments and some had little or no contact with the residents.  The 12 also include those I talked about over the last weekend.   There are some staff members who have a headache, some with the loss of taste or smell, but no one has reported serious symptoms (yes we contact them every day or so).   In fact, some of them are asymptomatic or with minor symptoms and have volunteered to work the COVID wing.  AGAIN THEY HAVE NO CONTACT WITH ANY OTHER RESIDENTS AND STAFF.  Others are quarantined in their homes and are still frustrated about having to stay home.  Most will be back to work by the end of next week.

What have we done to notify residents families and staff?   According to regulations we are to notify residents within 24 hours and staff within 12 hours of each new result.  That has created a lot of anxiety as staff may be getting a “robo” call every day, if not a couple of times a day.  Resident responsible parties are notified with the “robo” system of notification there is a positive resident or staff.  Positive results, whether resident or staff are notified with a personal phone call.   If you have NOT received a call, then your family, friend or yourself as a staff member is NOT positive.   BUT, we are NOT going to share with you the names of residents and staff.  To do that would be a breach of confidentiality that no one wants.

Where did this virus come from? How did it get into our building?   We don’t know.  What we do know is that we have asked our staff to self quarantine at home like they did in the spring when there was a Stay at Home order mandate.  However we cannot make them do it.  We are all experiencing what the experts are now calling COVID fatigue.  My husband and I was frustrated when we entered a restaurant and saw not one server was wearing a mask—why because there was a mistaken assumption that because the Michigan Supreme Court said that the Governor did not have the authority to do the lockdowns it meant everything was back to normal.     We are all asking ourselves—is it ever going to end—and we don’t have any answers—especially with what it going on around us.   What I do know is we are doing absolutely everything in our power to mitigate the situation.   Staff are in full Personal Protective Equipment—including gowns, face masks (respirators for staff assigned to the nursing home) and shields.

We are testing every Monday and Thursday—we don’t have yesterdays results yet but I wanted to get the information out to you of what has happened this week.  We are praying this will good results and should have them sometime before we test on Monday.  We will test every Monday and Thursday until further notice.  Not because of our outbreak but because of what is happening in the community.  As I said last week when I was talking about visitations, St. Joseph County is considered an “E” or the highest level of outbreak.  There are few people in the Sturgis area who do not know of someone who has or has been exposed to COVID-19.

NOW FOR THE VILLA:  We received notification from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that ALL Home for the Aged facilities must begin testing staff and residents.  Since we tested the residents as part of the positive Villa staff member response, we do NOT have to test residents until there is a positive in the Villa.   We have not allowed residents to go back and forth from the Villa to the Nursing Center and staff is not assigned to both areas.    We will use a similar process to notify residents, families and staff of any positive results.  Hopefully this will not need to be done.

We continue to be incredibly blessed with those in the community who support us in many ways—from McKenna Mercer, Linda Yoder’s granddaughter making painted pumpkins to cheer the residents; to the overwhelming  candy donations; for the pop cans that continue to come in; to the Board’s continued support of our staff with Cider and donuts; to the Employee Focus Group who attempted to make this week special with a pumpkin carving contest and donut holes—-to your many prayers.

Please continue to pray for God’s guidance in this troubled time.  Pray specifically that God will not allow those with the virus to have severe symptoms.  Stay safe.  Wear a mask—you never know what that small gesture can do to protect someone who is not as well as yourself.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 25, 2020

ALL RESIDENTS RESULTS ARE IN!

 

The results from the Friday resident testing are in with one resident has tested positive for COVID-19 with ABSOLUTELY no symptoms. ALL other residents were negative.

The family has been notified and we have the resident quarantined in a part of the building where there are no other residents as we work on the required process of finding a what the state calls a COVID-19 HUB to have the resident transferred to a facility that specializes in the treatment of COVID-19 residents.  Right now all the HUBS are full, just like some of the hospital.  We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our residents and staff members.

We will be testing all residents and staff again Monday, with the results expected back by Wednesday and then again on Thursday.

I will continue to attempt to keep you updated as the results come back or we have any more information.

Thank you for your support and prayers as walk this path.  It is a blessing to know that God is in control of all things.  I ask for your continued prayers for our residents and staff, those that are going through the process of getting better from COVID-19 and those that are taking care of the residents on a daily basis.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 24, 2020

ANOTHER POSITIVE TEST.

We just received notification of another staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member did not have any signs or symptoms when they were working.

The test results for the residents are not back yet. NO residents are showing any signs or symptoms at this time. We will let you know as soon as we have all the results back. We are asking you not to call for results. The staff do not have them. But please know that NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS. I know this is troubling information but I know the staff is working hard to keep everyone safe.

Please be careful as you are out and about. This is hitting staff members who have tried to do everything right.

Please continue to pray for God’s protection for those who we care about, both residents and staff.

I will continue to keep you informed as I get the information.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 23, 2020

A POSITIVE ASYMPTOMATIC STAFF MEMBER

It is with a broken heart I am notifying you that we just received notification that one of our staff members has tested positive of COVID-19.   She has no symptoms but unfortunately it requires us to test all the residents and staff until we have 14 days of no positive testing and because she was throughout the building, all residents are being quarantined.  What this entitles is that all staff will be required to be in full Personal Protective Equipment when in the resident areas.    The Nursing Center Nurses are testing residents as I am writing this post.  We hope to have the tests back by Monday and will notify families as appropriate.  Should we have the results back quicker we will notify you as quickly as possible.   Residents and staff will be tested again on Monday and again on Thursday of next week.  IF we have no more positive cases we will go back to our regular weekly testing of Wednesdays for residents and staff until there is the 14 days of no positive tests, then we will go  back to only staff testing.  I ask for your continued prayers for our residents and staff.  The staff are weary and the residents want to see their families.  It is a no win situation all the way around.

SO VISITATIONS ARE CANCELLED.  I know there has been a lot of discussions about the newest opportunities for inside visits.  Inside visiting is based on the COVID-19 percentage for each county.  Right now St. Joseph County (as well as Berrien, Cass, and Branch) are classified as an “E”-which means the community spread of COVID-19 is too high to allow for visitations at this time.  SO THE INSIDE VISITATIONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED UNTIL WE SEE A REDUCTION IN THE POSIVITY RATES IN OUR COUNTY.

 

We are getting the requirements in place,  which are many, including:

1) no outbreaks within the facility—so our positive staff member made inside visits delayed for at least 14 days;

2)the county has be at a level of A, B, C, or D—again restricted because of our county it as an “E” level—the highest outbreak of COVID-19;

3)the local health department has to approve the visitations;

4) must be by appointment only—which is the same as outside visits with the same information requirements

5)the limit of two (2) visitors at a time per visit

6)VISITOR TESTING—you, as a visitor, must be TESTED!  This is one of the things we are trying to get into place so that we have the ability to do testing on our campus.  The federal government was to get this equipment to all facilities in different phases but for some reason we were not in the loop to receive the equipment.  Joella has been working on getting this accomplished this week.  But, with all things government related, it takes time.

7)we are REQUIRED to exclude any visitor refusing to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the visit;

8)limit where the visitors can enter—to allow for proper screening questionnaire

9)Physical distancing must be maintained with NO physical contact and NO shared food

10)FACILITIES MUST: 1) make hand sanitizer or hand washing facilities available for each visitor; 2)ensure availability of staff to assist with the transition of residents, monitoring the visitation, and for cleaning to disinfect the surfaces in the visitation area after each visit; 3)educate and provide personal protective equipment, and provide PPE, should it be required for the visit; restrict visitor movement within the facility to reduce the risk of infection; limit the number of visitors in the building at any one time; monitor for food sharing and physical distancing and cancel visitation privileges for those visitors who do not comply to restrictions; prohibit visit to residents who are in isolation or are otherwise under observation for COVID-19 symptoms.

And unfortunately, this is the same for the VILLA.  While the Villa does not have a positive COVID-19 staff member—it is due to the county POSITIVITY rate that is stopping visits, as well as the testing requirements.

So, you can see, it is not just a matter of opening our doors and allowing families and friends to visit.  However, it is our hope to have all the processes in place in the next couple of weeks, and if the community contact rates go down, we will be ready to have indoor visits.

As you are aware:  Sue Gray and the residents have been working hard to provide a drive through Trick or Treat night for the community.  Since this will be done outdoors—we will still have that take place.

Again thank you to the Sturgis Hospital Guild who continue to supply magazines for the residents; to Sally Ann Taylor’s sister-in-law, Betty Taylor  and Beth Wiley, St. Clair Shores, Mi for the facemasks they continue to provide.  We continue to blessed by your kindness.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 16, 2020

ANOTHER WEEK OF ALL NEGATIVES!

We continue to be blessed with testing results of ALL staff testing negative again this week.  Not only is good news for the staff but it also means it is not necessary to test our residents.  You may have heard that there continues to be an increase in positive tests in the community and across the state.  Some are saying it is the “second wave”, others are saying it is because of colleges, others says its nursing homes, others say it is from the bars and parties or even churches and then there is the grade, middle or high schools.   Well, there are increases in all areas so we must still be diligent and do whatever it takes to protect our residents and staff.  Our staff continues to do an amazing job to do things right, every day in and out of the facility.

I know several of you are wondering what is going to happen when the cold weather hits.  Right now I can only tell you that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working on creating the rules and processes to allow for very restrictive in-door visits.   It appears the visits will be tied to what is happening in each “zone”.  We are hoping it will be changed to county specific data so that if St. Joe county numbers are lower than say Kalamazoo county, we would have a better opportunity to allow in-door visits.   I had thought it might be available this week, but there are still too many what if’s that need to be addressed before we move forward.   That said, if I believe it would cause even one resident to be exposed, then I would hesitate to allow visitations.  We continue to monitor what is happening in the community, county and state.  And right now our county positivity rate is 4.6%. That means for all the tests done, 4.6% is positive.  It was 3.8% on Saturday.  Three weeks ago it was holding around 2%.  Clearly we are going in the wrong direction to think this virus has run its course.

The “hugging station” is being used in the Villa area and we are expecting the nursing center one to be done by the first of next week.  We will attempt to let everyone know when we get it done.  The challenge is that the majority of the nursing center residents use wheelchairs.   Mike Eagan from our Maintenance department, had a brilliant idea and is working out all the “kinks” to make sure the residents can reach their loved one.

Although we will not have all the little ghosts and goblins in the hallways this year, we will be hosting a drive through treat night.  If you would like to donate for this, please drop it off at the front door or contact Sue Gray for more details.

Again, thank you for all of you who continue to support us in a variety of ways—from cakes and goodies, to cleaning supplies, to supplying masks.  We appreciate all you do.  Please continue to pray for our resident an staff safety.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 9, 2020

SIX WEEKS IN A ROW—ALL NEGATIVE

I am pleased to report that ALL staff have tested negative for the last six tests!  We continue to be grateful for very diligent staff who want to protect our residents at all costs.  We currently have two staff members off, because they have been in contact with family members who have tested positive.  So what happens?  The staff has called in to report the positive results, they are immediately removed from their schedule  and then we make arrangements to have that staff member test for the next three days (what is called a rapid test).  What that does is it determines if there has been any possible facility exposure—so far no exposure.  Remember—they tested negative the week or days before.  Then they are required to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from the time the family does not present symptoms for at least 24 hours.  Joella will continue to reach out to the staff who are off to ensure they are symptom free because should they come down with ANY symptoms the quarantine is extended.

Ok—now about the Supreme Court decision.  As always there are ways around any system.  For us, our Governor has had the Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Service as well as the Michigan Department Licensing and Regulations have issued the same restrictions that were under the Executive Orders.  NOTHING has changed, just the method in which the orders are received.  This is how it should be.  Whether we like it or not, there are people who are still getting sick and could be exposing our friends and families.  I am personally aware of two facilities struggling with outbreaks that has residents at risk.  Consequently we will follow those regulations until the State says it is safe.

We did have our test “Hugging Station” visit for the Villa .  So when you are scheduling your visit, if you would like that opportunity, please let us know and we will make it happen.

Thank you for all of you who have dropped off candy for our Drive by and treat program.   Sue tells us, the residents have watched and helped when able, that 450 bags are ready for those coming for the bags of treats.    And to the Burr Oak 4-H group for the decorated pumpkins spread throughout the building!   They continue to bring joy and sunshine with their creative skills.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.  We could not be

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

October 2, 2020

FIFTH TEST IN A ROW—NEGATIVE

We continue to be amazed by the dedication of our staff, willing to do whatever they can to ensure the residents safety. In addition to this notification, we reached another milestone, in that ALL staff and our one resident, is considered “recovered”!

We still do not know what is going to happen with the “visitation” practices as the fall weather becomes colder and our residents are more reluctant to go outside. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services indicated today they have still not received the clarification they needed for the “in-house” visitation. There is still a lot of politics with every decision made. The Governor issued another Executive Order on Wednesday regarding how residents with COVID-19 will be treated in long term care facilities. You may remember there was a mandate at the beginning of the pandemic that required nursing homes to take COVID-19 into their buildings, thus what some believe caused a lot of the nursing home deaths with the exposure to COVID-19 from outside residents being admitted. Then there was what Michigan Department of Health and Human Services called COVID Hubs, where they contracted with facilities to develop COVID units. Well, now the Governor, along with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, through her Executive Order, has deemed the creation of what is now being called Care and Recovery Center—in which one facility in each region will be named. There were over 20 facilities contracted with the state for the COVID Hubs, and now it looks like those numbers will be reduced to eight. We, do not feel we are equipped to handle additional COVID-19 residents, and at this time will not be applying to be considered to be a designated Care and Recovery Center.

What is happening, is Centers of Medicare and Medicaid is saying we can do more group activities—of course with social distancing, so Sue will be looking at doing some more small group activities—if she can get them to come out—they sort of like the one on one activities her staff have been doing—EXCEPT of course bingo! And the residents can be what is called communal dining-but we have been doing that right along as we spaced out our diners to ensure a six foot distance but allow them to get out of their rooms for dining.

In case you have not heard, we will NOT be having Halloween trick or treating in the buildings, but will be doing a “drive through” so the kids will be able to get their goodies. We are still accepting candy donations for the goody bags. Just drop it off at the front entrance and we will get it to Sue in Activities who has taken on this project of over 1000 bags planned. Our 31st Auction and Bazaar has been canceled for this year—hopefully it will be back bigger and better next year. But the cancellation that really breaks my heart is the necessary cancellation of our Annual Family Christmas Dinner. We had to make that decision based on the fact that as of right now, there is no end in sight for our lockdown.

As of right now we cannot even begin to guess when “things will be back to normal”. What we will continue to do is provide the residents with the best possible care and know our staff is doing all they can do to make sure our loved one is taken care of properly. There isn’t a day goes by that I am reminded as to just how special our team is—they do things that make me smile, whether it is going to get the resident a special treat—usually paying for it themselves, to sitting and holding their hand as they talk about something that happened years ago but to them it happened yesterday, to see them talk to them while they are eating—so many things. It is a reminder of the special blessing we are given by having the responsibility of taking care of these gifted, talented, seniors—or almost seniors!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I believe God has His arms around our facility because of so many prayers going up every day.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

September 25, 2020

FOURTH TEST—SAME RESULT—NO POSITIVES!

ALL results are in for this week’s testing with all Negatives!  We are blessed to have such an amazing staff, who are being so diligent in taking care of themselves, even when they are out in the community.  I just read another directive from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that the requirement for weekly testing will continue, even with the current CMS recommendation to test based on the community rates and not mandatory testing for everyone.  So, we will continue to test.

About visitation.   The major fight going on with the State of Michigan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid regarding visitation continues into the second week.   We, as facilities, are stuck in the middle, with past history being that the survey teams expectations are to survey with the most restrictive regulation.  Right now, that is outside visits only.     We will be testing our Villa Hugging Station this week, and if the results are positive we will be opening that up for those families and friends who just want to touch their family member.  The Hugging Station will have to be scheduled in advance.  If this works, our team will develop something for the Nursing Center.  Unfortunately we are struggling with where to put it and it still be accessible—but we will find a way.

Last week we had an focused Infection Control Survey.  After mountains of paperwork, hundreds of questions to staff, we are always looking for things for improvement.  What those surveyors found was, although we were asking staff about whether they had the additional COVID-19  symptoms, there was not place on our form to verify it and we were not asking those questions at the main entrance—so a new form was created; and there is now “approved” products for disinfecting on was is called the CMS N List—our policies and the product said for disinfecting some equipment of a two minute time and the N List said five minutes—and it didn’t matter that we were leaving it for much longer—and then another product on the list said one minute and we were actually saying three minutes—leaving the product on longer than what the N List says but according to the product literature.   The frustrating thing about this is NONE of this has anything to do with the positive resident test result.  It is paper compliance and not practice—BUT we will fix it.

On a personal note:  Thank you for the many well wishes expressed on my retirement.  I will promise you this, I will be working until the very last day to ensure your family and friends are provided with the best possible care, in the safest practical way by the most wonderful staff in healthcare.     There will be a part of my heart I will be leaving here as Bob and I look forward to the next phase of what God has planned for us.

We continue to ask for your prayers that God will surround Thurston Woods Village with His protection.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

September 18, 2020

NO NEW  STAFF POSITIVES!

Although we still do not have all the “official” results in, we do have the majority in and a verbal confirmation that all staff in the Nursing Center tested negative for this week’s testing.  The testing site is having computer issues that is preventing us from getting  all the results.  They have committed to rectifying the situation as quickly as possible.   We did not test the residents this week after having 14 days without a positive result.  If any staff member or resident tests positive, then we will be required to test all residents again until there is another 14 days of negative results.   It seems like it is a never ending situation, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our residents and staff safe.   We are now required to track the COVID-19 positive rate for our county—which is currently at 1.1%.  What that means, is for every 100 tests, there are 1.1% of the results being positive.

So, there has been some legislative discussion revolving around whether there can be “monitored” in house visits.  This may hit the major news feeds this weekend. The latest instructions are contradicting and frustrating because although there are some states ready to allow visits, Michigan has through their Executive Directives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is restricting in house visits.  That is the same division of the State government who just allowed the outdoor visits this week.  It is believed this is a trial to make sure there are not any negative outcomes from these visits before they allow in house visits. Those results are weeks away as it takes that long for the tracking to be conducted.    I can tell you that when the in house visits are allowed, there will be many hoops to jump through, such as monitoring for symptoms, and facilities being required to have a ”visit room” with cleaning protocols between each visit as well as the number of visitors allowed at any one time.  Some there isn’t an end in sight.

We continue to ask for your prayers to surround the residents and staff with God’s protection.    I am so grateful for the confidence you have placed on us to care for these precious wonderful, delightful (most of them) residents.  We have the best staff in the world!  I am constantly amazed at the way they care for those who they are in contact with each and every day.

If you haven’t checked out the latest fundraiser please feel free to contact Jessie Leathers or Carol Holmes and they will get you the link to The Naked Shirt.

Also, we will be doing some sort of trick or treating for the community—it will be a drive-through treat station—and we are expecting a big crowd.  Consequently, we are accepting wrapped candy donations.  Call Sue Gray for more details.

Blessing!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

September 11, 2020

GREAT NEWS!  ALL NURSING CENTER RESIDENTS HAVE TESTED NEGATIVE FOR TWO WEEKS!

The resident who tested positive has returned to the facility (and is now in the new admission quarantine) after spending the required days in the COVID-19 hub.  The resident returned WITHOUT EVER SHOWING SYMPTOMS, and is delighted to be home.  That was an answer to prayer—Joella and I were on pins and needles until we got the resident back.    Both staff members who recently tested positive have returned to work, ALSO WITHOUT HAVING ANY SYMPTOMS DURING THEIR QUARANTINE.  The facility wide tests done the Friday before Labor Day took until Thursday (yesterday) before we got all of those results—showing all negative.   And while we do not have all the results in from our testing from Wednesday of this week (yes as crazy as it is, we tested again before we had all the results from the last testing) we started getting tests back yesterday afternoon. We do have all the residents back and all staff except about 15 members with everyone coming back negative so far.  Consequently we will not have to test the residents again until we have another positive staff test.

We have opened up Dogwood Hall this morning and will open up Maple Hall again by Tuesday of next week.  We have to wait for Maple Hall for the two weeks to expire from our positive (no symptom) staff member.

You may have heard the federal government is providing all nursing facilities with what is called “rapid tests”.  However, there is a real hiccup.  They are providing the facilities (we have not gotten one yet) with the equipment, but not the test kits and there is a problem with getting the test kits.  Nothing is ever easy.   There was also an announcement that the Assisted Living facilities would be getting a supply of the Abbott tests.  Again, we have not seen any of those.   Hopefully there will be a possibility for us to purchase those tests.  They are easier  (they are supposed to be as easy as a home pregnancy test) and are cheaper.  There are no delivery dates for anything at this point.

Now on to visitation.   Did you hear it on the news that we were going to be allowed to do visits?  Well it is the outside visits we have been doing for awhile.   As you know, I am a resident advocate.  It made sense for us to do what we did.  And, evidently we were doing it right because much of what we were doing was adopted by the State.  However, not everything.    So, here are the new rules:

We will be able to have outside visits as long as there are no new COVID-19 cases, including residents and staff within 14 days.
Visits will be by appointment only—but NEW is that logs of arrivals and departures, and visitors must provide contact information and attest in writing to notify the facility if you have any signs or symptoms.

NEW—LIMIT the number of visitors to TWO persons or fewer per scheduled visit.   That means whole family visits will not be allowed.
IF you are UNWILLING or UNABLE to wear a face covering or adhere to hand hygiene who WILL NOT be able to visit and will have to do remote visits.
The facility MUST screen all visitors, have hand hygiene signs available as well as provide hand sanitizer for family use, and assist with the visits.

There will probably be some minor changes as we digests these changes.   Visits will begin again in the nursing center on Wednesday.   Please call Sue after Monday afternoon, as we have paperwork and instructions to staff to perform before we can open up again.  Also, please know if we have ANY positive results, either resident or staff we will have to shut down visits until there is another two weeks period with no positive tests.

VILLA residents—while you have the same limits of TWO visitors, we, at this time, are not required to do weekly testing and so unless we have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in either resident or staff member, we will not be testing.  Consequently the possibility of positive testing is less likely.

But at this point, there are no plans for INSIDE visits.   I believe this will be a test to see how facilities respond, and if by allowing outside visits will increase positive test results.   We know we cannot do this during the winter months, so does the state.    Time will tell.  All in God’s timing.

I am very disappointed to tell you that right now we cannot allow the HUGGING STATION.  Although we have it set up for the Villa, the new regulations explicatively states NO physical contact.   We are hoping to get further clarification from the State within the next week or so—stay tuned.  I promise as soon as it is feasible, I will let you know.

We continue to be blessed by the community in providing us with their time and talent.  Thanks go to:

Burr Oak 4-H Club—again for crafts made for our residents
Beth Wiley from St. Clair Shores—who provided us with some awesome cloth facemasks.  I love the Mickey Mouse one!

We continue to be asked what the community can do or what we need:  the biggest need right now is disinfecting wipes, if you see them, please buy them and we will reimburse you for them.

Also—we have amazing, talented team members who we call our HEALTHCARE HEROES!  There is now a fundraiser established by a couple of our team members and done in conjunction of a local shop called The NAKED SHIRT.  You can purchase long and short sleeved shirts as well as hoodies in a variety of colors.  You can get all the information on our website and Facebook post.

Thank you for your continued support and your many prayers.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

September 4, 2020

ANOTHER STAFF POSITIVE

As you know we had a resident and staff member test positive last week with no symptoms.  The resident was discharged to what is called a COVID-19 hub facility and is doing great and will return next week.  As part of our plan was to test everyone on Monday, those test are starting to come back as we had to get regular tests and not the rapid result tests.   We received notification by the lab of another positive staff test with no symptoms yesterday.   Consequently, we have another hall in total lockdown.  As of this writing we have NO additional resident positive tests.  Even though we do not have all the results back, we tested all residents and staff again today as we are required to test within a time parameter according to state regulations.  Those results should start coming back sometime Monday.

On Wednesday we will test again, using a new lab out of Kalamazoo.  They guarantee results within 72 hours but other facilities are reporting much faster turnaround times.  Time will tell.  Unfortunately the tests are more intense, with swaps on both nostrils for a longer period of time.

Now for the good news.  Our hugging stations should be available by the end of next week.  While there are positive tests in the nursing center, we will be looking at when we can allow for the station to be active there but the Villa’s station will be available.  You will need to make an appointment, just like with the visitations stations because there will be processes put in place for disinfection after each visit.

It is my prayer that as you reflect on this upcoming holiday, that you will remember to say a special prayer for our awesome, amazing, talented, dedicated—need I go on—staff who labor in love for our residents.  This holiday is in their honor.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

August 28, 2020

IT FINALLY HAPPENED—RESIDENT POSITIVE, ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER POSITIVE—BOTH ASYMPTOMATIC

As hard as we tried we now have an asymptotic positive resident and another asymptomatic staff member. The resident was located on Dogwood Hall and was sent to the hospital for evaluation. With HIPPA regulations we are not going to reveal the residents name, just as we would not reveal your family members name. BUT the family member involved was notified within minutes of our notification and has been involved in every step of this process. Due to having no symptoms the resident could not be admitted for treatment. However the resident has been referred to what is called a COVID-Hub.  While we have paperwork requirements to get this admission completed, we will be placing the resident in isolation in the wing called Willowbrook—with staff and family volunteers to be in that closed wing to ensure the residents personal safety should it take longer than today to have the resident admitted into the COVID-Hub. We did do a rapid results test of the resident’s roommate this morning and that test came back negative, as did the weekly test result.

PLEASE NOTE: IF WE DID NOT CONTACT YOU, YOUR FAMILY MEMBER’S TEST RESULTS CAME BACK NEGATIVE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE FACILITY WITH QUESTIONS OF WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW. WE CANNOT TELL YOU! You have to trust us that if it was your family member you would know.

The staff member was not at work at the time of finding out about the positive test and was called immediately when the results were delivered. They will remain off work as required by the CDC guidelines. All staff with positive results are contacted by the Infection Control Nurse on a routine basis during their quarantine to track the progress should symptoms develop.

What happens now? We are working on getting all residents and staff tested again on MONDAY. Dogwood Hall has been closed, just as we did with Cottonwood and Maple for the staff’s positive tests. Joella and I began work this week on changing labs to a lab in Kalamazoo who can produce results within 48 hours. Again paperwork is required which means we will be going to the Kalamazoo lab the week of September 7th.

To add insult to injury, Governor Whitmer signed another Executive Order that continues the lockdown with no visitations until September 30, 2020.

And yes, we are devastated, with many tears shed due to these positive results. But we know God is in control. We know we have done everything possible to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings and we absolutely know we have AWESOME staff members who care deeply for each and every one of our residents and your family member.

We will keep you updated as we fight this battle in which we see no end in sight. But we also know we have prayer warriors who will continue to pray for the residents and staff of Thurston Woods Village for which we will be forever grateful. We appreciate the continued support from family and friends like: Betty Taylor for the fun cloth masks; the Burr Oak 4-H Club for another donation of crafts, the Thurston Woods Board of Directors for their weekly snacks for staff; the Employee Focus Group who provided lunches for all staff on Friday; and to Modern Woodmen and Dianna Elkins for 12 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Thank you for your continued support.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

August 22, 2020

ANOTHER POSITIVE STAFF MEMBER!

We received 12 results back from Wednesday’s testing of over 225 residents and staff with one coming back as positive.  Again with no symptoms.

Since we do not have the results back we are taking the additional precautions of all staff who have contact with the residents for at least 15 minutes will wear face shields in addition to their masks.  This will  provide another barrier between the residents and staff members but also will add to the ongoing frustration of personal contact.

I will update my post should there be any additional positive results.

As we are now just over 5 months into this ever changing process we continue to be grateful for God’s protection of our residents and our ability to provide our staff with the resources to help them when this virus hits home.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

August 17, 2020

ALL NEGATIVE!!

It took longer than expected to get the tests results back from last weeks testing but we are pleased that God continues to answer the many prayers for the safety of the residents and staff members of Thurston Woods Village, with all results being negative.

As you know we continue to have Maple Hall closed from the results of a week ago, and will test everyone again on Wednesday. It is our prayer that we will have the same results as from last weeks tests. If the residents and staff on Maple Hall test negative we will be able to open up the hall to allow the residents to move more freely in the building.

You may have heard the State of Michigan had over 1100 positive cases last Thursday. What you might not have heard was we also had a record amount of tests done–over 40,000 with a infection rate of 3.1 percent. This rate is lower than has been the average of 3.4 percent. I tell you this in an attempt to put this in perspective. Yes, there were more positive tests but over 13,000 more tests results that day.

We know the Governor has restricted visitors until at least September 4th. I look for her to extend that time. Consequently we are working on two different things to hopefully make a difference. First, we are in the process of making a hugging station where you may be able to have greater access to your loved one. And second, we cannot bring our contractors back including our hairdressers so we are attempting to hire one as our employee!

We fully understand your frustrations and disappointments. Please know we are just as frustrated and disappointed. We at TWV, whether it be our awesome team members, the department head team, or the Board of Directors, care deeply about doing everything possible to ensure the residents and staffs safety.
Again we ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

August 10, 2020

UPDATE FROM FRIDAY’S POST

First, kudos for Aaron Gates, IT Director for the post.  There was some confusion in my request as I asked him to notify staff via our link, and he interpreted that to mean the public posting.   HOWEVER the details are correct.  We did have another staff member who tested positive as the result of our weekly testing.  The staff member has tested negative every time for the last six weeks of testing, but came back as a asymptotic positive.  The staff members assignment is on Maple Hall at Station 2 — thus our closing of that hall on Friday.

We had to wait until all the test results were back and showed no other positive results to OPEN Cottonwood Hall at Station 1.   That was done on Saturday.  If it seems like we are opening and closing wings every two weeks—that is what has happened.  First the Villa for two weeks, opened on Friday and we closed Cottonwood Hall for two weeks and now we had to close Maple Hall and open Cottonwood  Hall.  The absolutely most positive result is that there continues to be NO RESIDENT positive results.   I believe this is the result of our staff continuing to follow Infection Control protocols, the decision by Joella Martin, DON, to have all staff with resident contact to wear medical masks, and the constant prayers from our prayer warriors, among other reasons.

Under CDC guidelines, we will continue to test the residents until there are NO POSITIVE RESULTS for both residents and staff.  We will continue to test all nursing center staff weekly under a state mandate from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

There appears to be some movement with visits.  Keep your fingers crossed and keep praying.  The Governor has assigned a task force to look at options for face to face visits.  The task force is to make their recommendations to the Governor by August 31st.   That’s within the next three weeks.  In the meantime, I have asked Mike Eagan (he built the visitation stations) from the maintenance department to investigate the ability to add “sleeves” for hugs or physical contact.  We realize and agonize over the residents lack of family touch.   I cannot tell you the amount of time and effort expended as we attempt to tell those in control of the decision making, the impact of being on this “lockdown”.

I ask for your continued prayers as we are now in day 152 of this lockdown.   If you remember, back in March, we were telling you that the Governor has said it would be for “just a couple of weeks” in order to get the hospital capacity under control.  Now, it is for other reasons, with honestly, no clear end in sight.

The one thing I know—God is in control of all things and things will get better in His timing, not mine, not Governor Whitmer, not Dr. Facci or even President Trump.  That knowledge gives me great comfort as we strive to do our best to keep our residents and staff safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

August 7, 2020

Due to a positive asymptomatic COVID-19 test result from an employee, we are locking down Maple Hall at Station 2. Please stay tuned for more details and thank you for your continued prayers as we work to keep our residents safe.

July 31, 2020

ALL RESIDENTS AND STAFF ARE NEGATIVE!

Yes the results are in!  We just received the test results back from Wednesday’s tests of all of the nursing center residents and staff, with them ALL NEGATIVE.  We are so thankful for God’s protection.   As you may remember I reported last week of a staff member who tested positive but was asymptotic at the time they were working on Cottonwood Hall.  We immediately locked down that hall, had all staff who care for the residents in Cottonwood be in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a half dozen other things.  As hard as this is for both the residents and staff, it appears our immediate actions have had positive results.    Cottonwood will remain in quarantine until we have the test results from next Wednesday and  IF those results are again negative.

We continue to thank the awesome group at the Sturgis Hospital lab for their hard work in providing us with testing supplies and working to get us the test results as quickly as possible.  These results are the fastest results ever, coming back in less than 48 hours!  Kudos to the TWV nursing team who was able to get the tests done quickly, to the staff who came in to get the tests on their time off, and again, the Sturgis Hospital team who got them shipped to the appropriate lab and then relayed the results some timely.

We did get notified via another of the Governor’s Executive Orders that we are still required to be “locked down” until August 31st.   Please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director, to schedule a face-time visit with your family member or friend.  We have put Ipads in Cottonwood for staff to assist the residents in those visits, so everyone has the opportunity to reach their loved ones—whether they are in quarantined or not.

We also want to thank those in the community who continue to think of ways to support our residents and staff.

To the Sturgis Dairy Queen, whose manager is Jessica Angelo, for donating ice cream cups to make Root Beer Floats for the Villa residents.

To the VanSike family who provides a special “treat” EVERY week for the staff at Station One.

To the Board of Directors for their weekly employee treats—the staff look forward to finding out what the “treat of the week” will be.

To the Activity staff for the Life of a butterfly day—what a special event for the residents!

To the Burr Oak 4-H Sunshine Craft and Lilliput Learning Center in Constantine for the butterfly magnets—-yes it was a butterfly week!

And I am sure I have forgotten someone—but thank you!

We ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 25, 2020

ANOTHER ASYMPTOMATIC POSITIVE—NURSING CENTER

We go from being done a 14 day lockdown in the Villa to having to have a 14 day lockdown of Cottonwood Hall in the Nursing Center. While we are still waiting for one staff results of the 226 tests done on Wednesday, July 22nd, we received notification of a positive test result for a staff member. The staff member is a part-time, casual employee, who has been tested in all of the five weeks of testing. The staff member tested negative last week. The staff member was working on Cottonwood Hall when we were notified of the test results, after going through the normal requirements of having her temperature taken, and answering a series of questions before coming into the building. The staff member has NO symptoms and was shocked to learn of the positive test. Upon learning of this test result, the Infection Control team immediately met to begin putting processes in place, including contacting several resources to ensure we had done a thorough assessment of the situation.

The following steps have been taken to attempt to prevent the spread: 1)Cottonwood Hall will remain closed for the required 14 days; 2) staff working on Cottonwood Hall will be in full Personal Protective Equipment; 3)residents will have their meals in their rooms; 4)additional monitoring of signs and symptoms has been implemented; 5)per regulations we will continue to test all residents and staff weekly until there is 14 days of no additional positive results: 6)as we have always done, should a resident or staff member have any signs or symptoms we will test immediately—however we have made arrangements for those tests to be what is called a “rapid” test with results back within a couple of hours: 7)visits will be discontinued for a minimum of 14 days; 8)additional Ipads have been made available to allow for families to do “face-time” visits.

And, as has been our practice since this began, we will do everything possible to keep you informed of what is going on at TWV as our main goal is to keep our residents and staff safe.

We rest assured that God is bigger than anything, including this virus and ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 24, 2020

GREAT NEWS!  ALL VILLA RESIDENTS AND STAFF ARE NEGATIVE!

What better news to be able to share on a bright Friday morning, then to report t the tests are back and all of the residents and staff have tested negative.    Due to the two tests coming back negative, it is the CDC recommendation not to test again.  We will continue to do the daily monitoring for signs and symptoms and test accordingly on an individual basis.  And, of course, should there be any exposure, we will begin the testing process all over again.   We will continue to have new or returning residents be confined in their rooms for 14 days per CDC recommendations.

The residents are out and about in the hallways, and visiting with their neighbors.  We are going to continue to serve meals in their rooms through the weekend. Activities and outside visit will return at the first of next week.  Yes, the residents are really looking forward to BINGO!

Thank you for those of you who continue to shower us with your prayers.  We believe that God is in control and He hears our prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 22, 2020

POSITIVE TEST

What a difference a few hours make!  Earlier today I posted that all staff in the Nursing Center had tested negative during last week’s testing.  That is true.   Earlier this week we were notified by one of our staff members of a spouse’s co-worker had tested positive last week, and the spouse was showing signs and was going to get tested.  As per our procedures, we instructed the staff member to remain at home until the spouse’s results were back.  Unfortunately, this morning the employee called to say they were also showing symptoms.   The staff member was instructed to go to a facility that performs a “rapid test”.  We just got those results back and they are positive.  The good thing is there is very limited exposure to the residents.

However, per regulations we are now required to test the residents, and will have to continue to perform weekly testing until there are two weeks of no positive results of both residents and staff.  The residents will be tested today along with the staff testing.

While it is easy to give God the praise when everything is going well, it is with great comfort to know we can rely on Him when things are not what we want.

Please know we will continue to do everything possible to keep the residents and staff safe.  Unfortunately, it is the unknowns that are always the issue.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

NOT THE LOCAL HOSPITALS!  ALL TESTS NEGATIVE!

Two weeks ago I wrote that one of our Villa residents returned from a two week hospitalization and tested positive with COVID-19.   There has been some confusion that the resident was at a local hospital.  The resident was not.  The resident was actually at a hospital out of state.  Consequently, if anyone has indicated an unwillingness to go to any of the local hospitals, physician offices or clinics because of your fear of “catching”  COVID-19 from a local hospital, it is my sincere hope with this further clarification the fear will be eased.

For the FOURTH week, the staff in the Nursing Center, ALL TESTED NEGATIVE.  I am actually reporting last week’s results as the staff are being tested for the fifth time today.  As you are aware, more people are being tested and this has created a “backlog” in getting test results—adding additional days.  Due to the continued delay in results in all states, the National Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., announced last week that nursing homes would received the ability to provide “rapid tests” in the near future.  According to the press release, the plan is to immediately equip the facilities where major outbreaks have occurred, which is around 2000 facilities nationwide.  So, time will tell when we need to get the ability to test with automatic results, it may be weeks but more than likely months.   However, we do appreciate all the efforts from the Sturgis Hospital lab department in assisting us with the hundreds of weekly testing, and getting the results to us as quickly as possible.  They have done an outstanding job.

We tested the Villa residents and staff yesterday.  If we receive the same results as we received last Friday, we will be able to allow the residents the ability to more around the facility more freely.  We feel fortunate, both for the infected resident and everyone else involved that the resident still is not showing any signs or symptoms of the virus.

We will continue to test all residents showing any signs of symptoms, as well as any staff that shows signs or has been exposed from an outside community source.  We will continue to follow the constantly changing CDC, local, state and federal guidelines as we attempt to keep the residents and staff safe and informed of the latest information.  I think we are on the 19th change to our COVID-19 policy.

We continue to praise God for His mercy and protection and ask for your continued prayers.  We feel blessed by those in the community who continue to find ways to encourage our residents and staff:

Alieen Morrison who continues to provide staff with cloth masks
Bob Cary who dropped off Gladiolus for the residents and staff to enjoy throughout the Villa and Nursing Center
The Board of Directors for their weekly “treats” to the staff
The Department Head team who provides weekly “sack lunches” to the staff
The Prayer Warriors who stop me wherever I go to say “we are prayer for Thurston Woods”
The different clubs who share their talents and skills to make the residents feel loved and remembered

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 17, 2020

RESULTS ARE IN FOR THE VILLA:  ALL NEGATIVE!

God hears the prayers of His children.  Thank you for everyone who prayed for the residents and staff of the Villa.    As you are well aware, we notified you of a asymptotic positive COVID-19 result for one of our Villa resident who returned to us after a two week hospital stay.  We told you we would be testing all the residents and staff that day.   We did.  We  are pleased to announce the baseline tests all came back negative.

Next steps will be to test everyone again next Tuesday, and then again the following Tuesday.  According to CDC guidelines, should both those tests have the same results, we will not have to test the residents again.  As a safety precaution, we will continue to test the staff on a weekly basis.   Again, according to CDC guidelines, residents will be asked to remain in their rooms for the next week.  If next week’s results are the same for the residents (no positive results) we will be able to allow the resident to move more freely throughout the Villa.

We are still asking for your patience and understanding as we struggle to maintain this campus with all the challenges of this ever changing Pandemic.  Should you want to have a face-time visit with your loved one, please contact Virginia to set up a convenient time.  We do have several Ipads available that can be taken to the resident rooms and Aaron Gates, IT Director can work with the resident and you to make the connection.

As we are now on day 128 days, and long past the time Noah was in the Ark, (40 days and 40 nights)  we appreciate all you do to support our residents and staff.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 14, 2020

RESIDENT DROP OFF DELIVERIES CHANGES!

Due to the recent quarantine in the Villa, it is necessary to change the hours of delivery drop off to from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 3 pm on the weekend.  If you would like to drop off items after those hours you may do so by leaving the items in the foyer with the resident’s name on the items, and they will be delivered the next day.  Please understand the foyer is not secured and so we would recommend that you do not leave expensive items (or something someone else would want) in the foyer.  We cannot be responsible for items left in the foyer.

We anticipate this to last until we no longer have a quarantine issue in the Villa.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST—VILLA RESIDENT

It is with a heavy heart I have to announce we have our first positive resident  COVID-19 test.  The circumstances are this.  A Villa resident returned after an extended stay in the hospital (almost two weeks).  As has been our practice, upon admission or re-admissions, we test residents for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure, the resident was tested on Friday.  This precautionary measure was taken even though the resident had absolutely NO SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS.  The resident continued to show no signs of any symptoms throughout the weekend and continues to show no signs today.    We received the results back this morning indicating a positive result, what has been termed an asymptomatic positive.

This is what we have put into place to hopefully prevent the spread:  1)   Every effort will be to confine the residents into their rooms;  2)  All Villa residents and staff will be tested today and for the next two weeks;  3)  Meals will be served in the resident rooms;  4) Additional monitoring for signs and symptoms will be done;   5) Outdoor visits will be discontinued until there are at least two weeks of no new COVID-19 cases (both residents and staff); 6) Activities will be provided in resident rooms.

We will keep you informed as we work through these processes and notify you of any additional preventative measures.

As always, I ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 13, 2020

THREE WEEKS IN A ROW!

It is with great pleasure I can report that for the third week in as many testing dates, the staff of Thurston Woods Village have ALL tested negative for COVID-19.  As stated to the staff when I made the announcement this morning, these results are the continued efforts of the staff who are doing everything in the power to ensure the residents are safe.  I am very proud of their efforts.    We will continue to test all the nursing home staff on a weekly basis as is required by the State of Michigan.  I have been asked repeatedly when the testing will stop.   The answer is always the same, when the State Department of Public Health tells us we are no longer required to do the weekly testing.  What hasn’t changed and will not change after the mandate, is our practice of testing anyone with any symptoms.   This is true with both residents and staff.  To date we have had three staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.  All three staff did not have any opportunity for resident exposure, mainly due to the requirement for staff to stay home, report symptoms and get tested before returning to work.

In other news, we have just past our FOUR MONTH – that’s 122 DAYS of lockdown.  I wish I had a magic ball to tell you when this will end.  What I can tell you is there is more and more discussion at the state and federal level regarding the negative effects of a prolonged period of lack of contact.  Just as there is a lot of questions revolving around what the school year will look like, with the worst case scenarios being the most talked about, so is the discussion regarding healthcare.  We will continue to do all we can to help the residents have contact with their families.  One of those ways is through the newly purchased IPads.   Kudos to Aaron Gates, our IT Director and Derek Betts, CFO, who filled out the application to receive a $3000 grant from the State of Michigan for five new iPads.  Please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director in the Nursing Center, or Virginia Jordan, Residential Services Director, to schedule the face time visit with the residents.

As you are well aware, the Governor ordered through Executive Order, 2020-144 the requirement for all people to wear masks when in a public setting.  AGAIN, please know that the wearing of masks has been a requirement for staff  for months.  All staff are required to wear them when they are in the building, regardless of whether they are providing direct resident care or not. Consequently this Executive Order will not have any impact on Thurston Woods but will be another precaution for our staff when they are in the community.

We continue to be blessed with community support.   The Thurston Woods Board of Directors continues to supply staff with weekly snacks, and the Department Head team has had the privilege of providing weekly lunches.

Special thanks to Aileen Morrison who dropped off 75 cloth face masks last week.
We also had two anonymous donations of face masks and disinfectant wipes.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

July 7, 2020

WEEK TWO RESULTS ARE IN!  ALL NEGATIVE RESULTS!

It took longer to get the results this week—I think because of the holiday—but the results are the same as last week!  NO positive results for both residents and staff testing.  We are so extremely proud of our staff who are committed to do the “right” things when they are away from the facility to do everything possible to prevent COVID-19 from coming into the building.

Next steps:   The residents are done with testing, unless we have a positive resident test from our on-going symptomatic  testing program.   For staff, we are required to do weekly testing on all staff until notified by the state to stop.  There is a concern that asymptomatic staff may bring the virus into the building unknowingly.

So, as we celebrate the results, we are mindful there is an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in St. Joseph County and the Sturgis Community.  Please know we will continue to do everything in our power to keep the residents and staff safe in this ever-changing environment.

NOTE:  We have had to remind family visitors during the outside visits to PUT ON THEIR MASKS.  If this continues, we will be forced to discontinue these visits as we will NOT put our residents in jeopardy for any reason.  It is not too much to ask for you to protect the resident you are visiting.  Also, PLEASE come at your scheduled time.  We are having families showing up late, and then expecting to visit with their loved one for the full half hour.  How is that fair to families waiting?  AND…….one more thing, we have asked that you bring food and gifts to the front entrance.  If you want to celebrate an occasion, do it the right way.  There is NO WAY you can keep the social distancing requirements and give mom or dad, grandpa or grandma, friend or foe, gifts or even birthday cake!  We will do everything possible to assist you in your celebration, but you must follow the rules.    PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME CANCEL THIS OPPORTUNITY—BUT I WILL IF YOU CANNOT OR WILL NOT FOLLOW THE RULES.    I fully understand this is not the best way, but right now, it is our only way.  In fact, I am stretching the guidelines to allow these visits.

We ask for your continued prayers as we going into another round of testing staff tomorrow.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 29, 2020

THE RESULTS ARE IN:  ALL TESTING DONE ON RESIDENTS AND STAFF ARE NEGATIVE!

We are one test down—with the results we were hoping and praying for.  According to the regulations we must do another round of testing for both residents and staff on Wednesday of this week.  If the test results are the same for the residents, we will not be required to test.  As has been our practice since March, should a resident show signs or symptoms of any respiratory illness, we automatically test.  If, for any reason, we have a positive resident COVID-19 test, then we would be required to test all residents again.    For staff, we are required to do weekly testing until they notify us differently.

So today, we celebrate the great care and infection control that has been established under the direction of Joella Martin, DON, Infection Control.    The programs we have mandated for staff, and the daily shift monitoring for residents is making a difference.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this uncertain, ever-changing path.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 26, 2020

UPDATE:  NOT GOOD NEWS!

We just received word that Governor Whitmer just signed Executive Order 2020-136, effective until JULY 24th, that states we cannot allow visitors into the facilities.  I expected she would do something to this effect, but am surprised it is this long.  The concern continues to be the “Second Wave”.

Please know we are doing the best we can to comply with all the regulations, whether they make sense or not.  It is my sincere hope that the Task Force she also established via Executive Order, 2020-135 will do something to make her understand the need for families to be able to see their loved ones.

 

WE ARE IN A WAITING GAME! STILL NO POSITIVE RESIDENTS AS OF DAY 107

We now have our third COVID-19 positive staff member. She works in the nursing center and notified us of a family member being positive. As is our protocol we took her off the schedule and requested she get tested during the 14 day automatic quarantine. She called and reported her tests came back positive as well. We are grateful that she is getting better and should make a good recovery.

WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS: On Wednesday, June 24th, we tested all of our residents and staff, with the exception of two staff members who refused to be tested. While residents have the right to refuse—with the understanding they would immediately go into a 14 day quarantine, staff refusal had stiffer implications. According to regulations, anyone who refuses to get tested, cannot be in the nursing center. One of those refusals was a nurse aide, who was taken off the schedule and cannot return until the state mandated testing is done, or the staff member chooses to be tested next week, the other staff member does not work primarily in the nursing center, but covers from time to time. They have been removed from the nursing center schedule as well. We are expecting to get the majority of the test results on Monday, June 29th. PLEASE DO NOT CALL FOR THE RESULTS. We have informed our staff that if we do not call, it means your tests are negative. We will attempt to get in touch with the nursing center families the same way.

We will be testing all residents and staff again next week. We have to have 14 days of no new positive COVID-19 residents before we can stop weekly testing of residents. There are not time limits right now for the weekly testing of staff to stop. And, of course, these requirements are not paid for by anyone at this time. There is a bill that has passed both the Michigan House and Senate that is sitting of the Governor’s desk that will provide some funding for testing. But, even if she signs it, we must wait for the processes to be put into place to apply for the money.

As of today, there is not any discussions that will mandate testing in the Villa. That can change. The one thing we have come to understand, is that nothing remains the same for very long.

WAITING FOR THE GOVERNOR TO DECIDE: Today is the final day of the Executive Order 2020-103 that mandated we remain closed for visitors. We expect her to issue another Executive Order sometime today. As I am writing this, we have not heard anything. We have an Executive Order 2020-123 that talks about the creation of special facilities called HUBS, that will care for COVID-19 residents. That Executive Order expires on July 12th. While we cannot even begin to guess what our Governor will do, we do know that today she will announce the creation of a Nursing Home Task Force. We don’t have a lot of details as to what their tasks will be and how long it will be utilized. It is my hope that it will be tasked with the challenges of opening our doors to visitors.

MONDAY IS GOING TO BE A VERY BUSY, HECTIC DAY—Hopefully giving us some positive results!

We continue to be grateful to the many ways the community continues to support Thurston Woods:

Our Board of Directors and Department Head team continues to provide weekly snacks and meals respectively.
The Burr Oak 4-H Club provided craft window decorations and “bugs” for the residents.
Betty Taylor, daughter of a resident, provided some pretty awesome cloth masks.

Thank you for your continued support. We ask for your continued prayers to keep our residents and staff safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 18, 2020

 

MANDATORY COVID-19 TESTING FOR ALL RESIDENTS AND STAFF TO BEGIN JUNE 24 –ANOTHER STAFF MEMBER WITH POSITIVE RESULTS

As you may have seen in the news, the State of Michigan, along with our regulatory agencies, has stated we must do COVID-19 testing for all NURSING HOME residents and staff.  This mandatory testing does not include the VILLA or any other area on our campus.  The regulations state that we MUST test all residents and staff.  There are consequences for not testing—for the residents we are required to “assume” they are positive and have to go into immediate quarantine into their rooms, and for staff they cannot work—again state and CDC guidelines and NOT our rules.  And because it is their refusal, they cannot receive COVID-19 pay.    We look for additional requirements in the VILLA to come out soon.

We made the decision to do the testing using Sturgis Hospital and the South Bend lab.  Their turnaround time is less than 72 hours.  If we let the state do the testing, using the National Guard, the tests are taking as much as 10 days coming back.   According to a webinar I attended yesterday, some facilities who were tested in May are still waiting for the results.   This is unacceptable for the purposes of timely turnaround especially when we have to test weekly.

PLEASE do not attempt to call us for the results.  We will notify you as they come back.  With doing approximately 250 tests in one day, they may not all come back the same day.  We will notify you of YOUR results and if there are any positives, we cannot and will not give you the names of the residents involved.  And REMEMBER IF THERE ARE POSITIVE TESTS, THEY ARE ASYMPTOMATIC RESULTS because we have been doing symptom testing since day one.

So what happens when we get the tests back?   FOR RESIDENTS: We will have to test all negative residents weekly if we have any positive results until we do not have any positive results for 14 days.   FOR STAFF:  We are mandated to test staff weekly until further notice.   The Executive Order is scheduled to expire on July 12th, but we all know the Governor and State regulatory agencies have signed extensions after extensions.

The purposes of these mandatory testing are many:  1) is there is a belief there are many asymptomatic residents and staff in the facilities and because the World Health Organization cannot decide if those residents can transmit the virus, it may be an issue; 2) the CDC has stated that there could be up to 50,000 of the recorded deaths coming from long term care facilities, with Michigan’s latest statistics being almost 2,000 (or 23%) of the deaths were long term care related;  3)  President Trump instructed states to do mandatory testing in every nursing home in the country in May; 4) political fallout from the states that required nursing homes to admit residents with COVID-19 even if there were no COVID-19 positive residents in the facility at the time; and while I am sure I haven’t listed all the other reasons the MOST important reason for me is this MUST be done before we can open our doors for visitors.

As you are aware we have been testing residents and staff with symptoms.  UNFORTUNATELY we were notified today of  what we called PRN (works when they want and once a month) staff member in the nursing center has tested POSITIVE.    She did not work with any symptoms and did the testing by herself after she wasn’t feeling well over the weekend.   Her first test came back negative, but her symptoms showed a fever so she went yesterday and was tested positive.    She has reported to us that again—she did not have ANY SYMPTOMS WHEN SHE WAS WORKING.   According to the Health Department, who Joella Martin, DON and Infection Control Director, spoke to this morning, the testing next week will be adequate for testing and more important than ever to ensure resident safety.

Please know we will continue to do everything in our power to keep the residents and staff safe.  It is my firm belief we need to get these tests behind us, showing the State and Federal regulators that TWV should be allowed to open their doors to visitors.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 12, 2020

THERE ARE STILL NO POSITIVE COVID-19 RESIDENTS AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE as we are in day 93 of this lockdown.

Shhhh!  It has been a very quiet week as for as new mandates and requirements from the federal and state governments.  As you are aware, we are still being restricted as far as visitations are concerned until at least the 26th of June.  The good news is that according to two webinars I listened to this week, the State of Michigan as a whole has continued to see a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.  Time will tell how much the recent unrest will cause a rise in those numbers as there was not any social distancing being practiced during those times.   This MAY have an impact if the numbers increase dramatically, causing additional concern of the spread, which could mean an additional time in lockdown for us.  Time will tell.  The one thing I know,  is that God has a plan.

Kudos to those of you who participated in the family Parade on Thursday!  We had 58 vehicles including the fire department and a military vehicle.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for this event.  It was so heart-warming to see the excitement on the faces of the residents as they recognized their loved one and the yelling and waving of all the residents regardless of who it was.   One of our staff said it was the best event she has ever attended with the residents, she said she cried as she watched the residents.  It truly was an amazing event.    Residents asked if this was going to be a weekly event!

Several people has asked that if we would be opening our beauty shops soon.  The short answer is no, we can’t.  Because of the visitor restrictions, we cannot open.  The beauticians are not our employees, but contractors.   If this continues for very long, it may be worth jumping the hurdles it would require for be able to have the beauticians for the residents.  It will all depend on whether the June 26th deadline for the lockdown continues.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine—its suppose to be a great week in Michigan.

Blessing to each of you, as we ask for your continued prayers to keep our residents safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 6, 2020

STILL NO POSITIVE COVID-19 FOR OUR RESIDENTS AND ONLY ONE STAFF MEMBER

As I said on Tuesday we are creating “Visitation Stations” for our residents and families.  We created a total of four areas, two in the nursing center and two in the Villa.  You can start calling tomorrow.

There are three very important items we need to put right out in the beginning.  For this to work and continue the following MUST be understood.  You CANNOT CROSS THE BARRIER, NO PERMANENT RESERVATIONS  and the most important is RESIDENT RIGHTS.  We will not force a resident to come out and visit.  If a resident refuses to come, we will inform you of their decision.    We have already had family members calling and saying “ I want to be scheduled for every day at 2 pm”.  That is not going to happen, at least not in the beginning.  If we find there are not any other requests for that time frame, that’s a different story.  If you cross the barrier—even to give mom a hug or the resident asks you to, you will lose your privilege of visiting, but more importantly you will have caused that resident (your mom or dad, grandpa or grandma or aunt or uncle—whatever relationship) to go into a 14 day isolation as a possible COVID-19 resident.  No one wants to see that happen.  If the resident is currently in isolation they would not be allowed for visits until isolation ends.

The nursing center and the Villa have two different requirements—these are:

FROH COMMUNITY HOME:  1) Schedule the visits through the Activity Department—269-651-7841 ext. 326;  2) Visits can be scheduled during the following times:  Monday through Friday 9-11 and 1-4:30  Weekends: 9-11 and 1-3; Visit are limited to 30 MINUTES;  4) Please arrive on time for your visit—if running late call  and if it is too late you may have to reschedule for another day; 5) Visitors must remain behind the area marked off; 6)Visitors must wear masks and maintain the 6 ft. social distancing at all times; 7) Visitors must manage your children—that includes not climbing on the railings and around the pond area; 8) We will try to accommodate every family equally—we ask large families to gather together to visit at one time—you cannot have three siblings requesting three different times; 9) NO physical interaction.  Please continue to drop off items for the resident at the receptionist desk.

THE VILLA:  1) Schedule the visits from Virginia Jordan—269-651-7841, ext 312; 2) Visits can be scheduled during the follow times:  Monday through Friday 9-11 and 1-4:30.  Visits are limited to 30 MINUTES; 4) Please arrive on time for your visit—if running late call and if it is too late you have to reschedule for another day; 5) Visitors must remain behind the areas marked off—if you do not comply with this request we will ask you to leave and you will forfeit future visits during the quarantine; 6) Visitors must wear masks and maintain the 6 ft social distancing at all times—a “X” has been placed on both sides of the barrier that will allow for maintaining that distance; 7) We will try to accommodate every family equally—we ask large families to gather together for visit at one time, allowing time for other residents to be scheduled.

We are not trying to be difficult we are attempting to allow for residents to see their families—their greatest request—while maintaining compliance with the regulations.  While these are the “first set of rules” they may change as regulations change, hopefully for the better, soon.     Right now, we know we are totally restricted until June 26th.  You may have heard the Governor has loosen up restrictions for hospital and doctor office visits in recent days.  This does NOT pertain to  the long term care facilities.  That was clear in her newest Executive Order.

We continue to be blessed by gifts from families of beautiful floral arrangements, and to the BETTS FAMILY providing Little Caesars Pizza for our staff.
A special thank you to Tami Hedden for some pretty awesome face masks—from Star Wars, to U of M, to Avengers to peppers and butterflies!  She made over 50 masks!
AND—the Burr Oak 4-H club dropped off some more pictures for the Villa residents.

Once again, I ask for your continued prayers that God will continue to put His arms around this organization.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

June 2, 2020

GOVERNOR’S ORDERS

While many of us received the news with gladness at the lifting of the “Stay at home” Order by Governor Whitmer from yesterday’s press conference, it is not the same for our facilities.  What was lost in the press conference was Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-108 which she did on SATURDAY, May 30th,  extending the no visitors for all senior service providers until June 26th.

Take Heart.   As I am writing this I have our maintenance staff working on creating what I call “Visitation Stations”.  What we are creating is Plexiglas barriers in which you will be able to see your loved one, will be able to talk to them and still have the barrier to protect the resident and you as well.  We hope to have these done by the end of the week and are working out the details of how to schedule the time for your visit, where they will be located, the limits to the amount of visitors, the requirement of the six feet social distancing, the wearing of masks—both for you and your family members and unfortunately the requirement that should these areas be violated the lost of privileges.   The resident’s safety and well being is always our primary obligation and we will not tolerate anyone putting ANY resident at risk.

I believe with all my heart  these “Visitation Stations”  will be the best option as we continue to deal with complying with the state and federal mandates.  Watch for details to follow.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

May 29, 2020

THERE ARE STILL NO RESIDENTS WITH COVID-19 AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

This was a quiet week.  It was only necessary to have two residents and one staff tested for COVID-19.  All test came back negative.  The Governor continues to mandate we are not to receive visitors, even though we are now through week 10.  There has been some discussion coming from the state regarding how we can use the outdoors to visit, using social distancing.  They are promising additional information as to how we will be able to comply with the lockdown requirements and still allow for visits within the next couple of weeks.

The State of Michigan is still attempting to test all nursing home residents and staff.  We are still waiting for our turn, but as of this week St. Joseph, Cass, and Branch counties are not on the list so we know we are at least a couple of weeks away.   Some of the hardest hit facilities are being tested multiple times as they attempt to get the virus under control in those facilities.  Continue to pray for God’s grace on our facilities as we attempt to do everything we can to keep the virus from entering the doors of Thurston Woods.

You may be aware that the Sturgis High School Seniors are planning a car parade on Sunday at 2 pm in honor of the time they would have been walking across the stage to obtain their diplomas.    They contacted me today to request they drive through the front parking lot.  I have asked the staff to have as many residents as possible to watch the parade either from their windows or from the sidewalks with staff attending.

The State of Michigan has reached out to ask that we continue to request the families and friends of our residents fill out the Census 2020 forms.   We have actually counted the residents here for the nursing center, as we were contacted by the Census department before we went into lockdown.  They set us the forms instead of the planned face to face meeting but our residents were counted.  What they wanted us to remind families and friends to do is fill out YOUR forms.  If you did not get a Census 2020 form, please contact the State of Michigan at Michigan.gov and submit on line.   Now I have done my public service announcement!

Again we have people in the community that support our residents and staff in very special ways.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU—TO LYN NASH FROM STATE FARM who provided Subway sandwiches and cookies to our staff for lunch today.
AND—to the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for another week of great snacks.
AND—to the Department Head team for their weekly meals.
AND—to the families and friends of our residents who continue to send in cakes, cookies, fruit and just about anything you can think of, as encouragements to the staff.
AND—Betty Taylor—who continues to make awesome masks for the residents and staff.
AND—to you for your continued support.
AND—TO OUR AWESOME STAFF—for their continued care and love they give each and every day!

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 22, 2020

UPDATE FOR THE WEEK:  STILL NO COVID-19 POSITIVE CASES FOR RESIDENTS AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE.

As I reported last week, we are still blessed with the news of no positive tested residents anywhere on our campus.  We continue to test as signs and symptoms warrant the testing.  This week we tested two residents and three staff members-all came back negative.  So when is the state going to get around to test?  That is a very good question.  I sat in on another webinar this morning in which they identified the next group of testing, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Berrien counties were included with this group.  The interesting thing is this group of counties are not connected but are all over the state.  It appears the state is looking at data where the most cases of COVID-19 are at and are testing in those counties first.  So, what we do know is our county will not be tested for at least another couple of weeks.

The CDC and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has now set guidelines for the “opening” of Nursing Homes.  It is going to be a long complicated process, with the requirement of weekly testing, (and some of us have not been given the base-line test yet) as well as strict requirements for visitors and limits to how long visits may last, where visitors are allowed to go, and just about everything else they can think of.  In order to open up completely a facility has to have four weeks of no positive COVID-19 cases of residents or staff.  As I said in the last paragraph, we are not even scheduled for the first week of testing.  However, what is being debated right now is, who is going to pay for all this required testing?  If the federal or state government are requiring it, are they responsible for the expense?  It always comes now to the money.  So, time will tell when we will be able to give you a ‘grand opening” date.  When we know, you will know.    You may be able to hear the shouts of joy!

Again, we have had another week of community support:

Special thanks to the Burr Oak 4-H Club for making crafts to brighten the resident’s days and to Aileen Morrison for donating 80 cloth masks.  Both gifts were received and enjoyed by the residents.   AND Mary Beth Yoder donated awesome lap robes and blankets for the residents in honor of her mother, Alice Yoder.

And again, the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors provided snacks, and the Department Heads provided a brown bag lunch with grilled hot dogs for the staff this week.

As we go into this holiday weekend, may you enjoy time with family and friends—keeping the social distancing and the 10 person limit in place of course.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this ever changing path.

 

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 15, 2020

TODAY  IS DAY 65 OF OUR LOCKDOWN—WITH NO END IN SIGHT!

THERE ARE STILL NO RESIDENT COVID-19 IN THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

While the headline state no resident COVID-19, as I stated last Saturday we do have one staff member who tested positive.  She continues to do well and remains off work without symptoms per our policy.   We did test another resident with respiratory symptoms this week, with negative results.    A resident from the independent housing was hospitalized and also tested negative.  That particular resident was tested at two hospitals using two different methods with the same result.  This is encouraging since if you heard the headlines today there is some concern about the accuracy of the quick test.  All testing that has been done has not been the quick test due to the lack of availability of those types of tests in our area.  We had  three additional staff members get tested, with all coming back negative.

As I stated on Monday, there continues to be discussion regarding the testing of all nursing home facilities and staff.  I attended a webinar today where the State of Michigan has now outlined what counties will be tested during the next couple of weeks.  St. Joseph, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, and Kalamazoo counties are NOT on that list.  As you can imagine, the first testing will be done where the virus has been identified.   I will attempt to let you know when we will be scheduled because it is now the state’s stated policy that all nursing facilities will be tested.  We just don’t know when.   BUT, rest assured, we will continue to test as it is appropriate.

We did get notified that FEMA is planning on shipping Personal Protective Equipment to all nursing homes in the State of Michigan the week of May 18th.  We are not sure what day our equipment will arrive but we are scheduled to receive eye protection, masks, gloves and gowns.  At one time we were told we would receive two shipments, two weeks apart.  Now we are not sure if that is still the plan.  Time will tell, but whatever it is it will be greatly appreciated and will ease a lot of anxiety regarding our PPE.

As Spring turns into Summer, along with warmer temperatures, we are planning a “Resident Parade” for families and friends!   Understanding we must maintain social distancing, we are thinking it would be great to have the residents outside at various areas along the sidewalks and grassy areas and have families and friends do a drive by parade.   Details to follow!

We continue to be blessed by the community support.  Special thanks to LITTLE CEASAR’S  of Sturgis, who in recognition of NURSE’S WEEK AND NATIONAL NURSING HOME WEEK, provided pizzas for our staff on ALL THREE SHIFTS!    WALMART – just donated several hundred masks for our staff.
We also had Riverside Church provide roses, and Lindsay Johnson provided daisies for Mother’s Day for our Villa Residents.
Betty Taylor, a family member from one of our nursing center residents, provided cloth masks for our staff.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we continue to move through this unprecedented path with the faith that God is in control.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

 

May 11, 2020

UPDATE FROM SATURDAY’S POST:

The Health Department has recommended we continue to follow the CDC guidelines and did not recommend we test all residents and staff at this time. That said, I was listening to Governor Whitmer this afternoon in which she stated there has been testing completed in the UP of both prisons and nursing homes and the next step is to engage in finishing the prison testing and begin testing in “ nursing homes and other care facilities”. Consequently if the state requires testing then we will do what is required. The White House has also made the same recommendation and has committed to increasing test availability. However, if the Health Department recommends the testing of all residents and staff we will do it prior to the state or federal mandate. Bottom line: we must follow the recommendations.

This positive test has given us the opportunity to review what we were doing and we have made a couple of updates to our practices. They are: all nursing staff in the nursing center went from wearing the cloth face masks to surgical masks and the Villa residents, who have been eating using the 6 ft distancing will now eat in their rooms and temperature and symptom monitoring will be twice a day instead of once a day for the Villa; it has been twice a day for the nursing center. And encouraged our staff to take the necessary precautions to wear masks in public and adhere to the same criteria at home as at Thurston Woods Village.

Please know we have been doing the following since March 12, the day we started the lockdown (ahead of the requirement): 1) All entries into the building was closed and visitors were limited to end of life visits. 2) ALL staff must enter in the building via one entrance and must take their temperature, and answer a series of health questions prior to entering the resident areas and must use hand sanitizer after taking their temperature and clean thermometer and pen with disinfecting wipes: 3) All staff are to practice social distancing at all times in break areas and whenever possible when providing care; 4) Staff are being in-serviced on a continual basis regarding the CDC requirements and encouraged to practice the same social distancing and hand washing practices at home; 4) Residents are monitored twice daily with temperatures taken and symptom monitoring and documented accordingly; 5) Group activities have been cancelled and residents are provided with limited 6 ft distancing activities or one on one activities; 6) Residents have been utilizing the 6 ft distancing rule when eating in the nursing center; 6) the increased requirement of cleaning/sanitizing equipment; 7) any resident being admitted must be quarantined for 14 days prior to being allowed into the general population and finally but certainly not the least important is the constant recommendation of hand washing and the use of sanitizers for all staff and residents.

Again, if you missed the post of two weeks ago, please know the State of Michigan Survey team was at Froh Community Home on April 29th for an Infection Control Surveillance Survey. The result of that three person team was they found NO citations of infection control. Since Infection Control is a major issue in making sure the resident’s are safe, this survey results is just another indication of our commitment to do what is necessary to protect the residents.

As I stated on Saturday evening, there were co-workers who were tested. ALL those results have came back negative. And again, as hard as it is right now, the requirement is that in order to be tested, there has to be signs and symptoms or a presumed contact exposure. I expect that requirement may be relaxed some as more test kits become available.

I understand your concern and appreciate the out-pouring of support and the constructive criticisms as we strive to ensure our residents and staff are protected.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 9, 2020

FAMILY and FRIENDS of THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

As I have always said when there is COVID-19 information I would do my best to keep you informed.

On Thursday, May 7th we were notified of a staff members husband testing positive as part of his employer’s plan to test all employees. We informed her that she needed to get tested and could not work until the results came back. We recommended that her entire family be tested as well. We have been notified that her husband’s factory has closed after the testing results were released.

Late this afternoon we were notified that she has tested positive as well. She currently has no symptoms but will have to remain off work until 14 days on showing no symptoms.

While HIPPA laws prevent us from giving any personal information please know she has been diligent in making sure she has worn her mask while at work and washing her hands.

While this news is not what anyone wants to hear and will cause some anxiety please know we are continuing to monitor staff on a daily basis and will keep you informed.

We ask for your prayers as we walk this path.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 8, 2020

THERE ARE STILL NO COVID-19 CASES AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

Although there isn’t much more to report since my post earlier this week, I wanted to let you know that after eight weeks – yes eight weeks – of being on “lockdown” we are still getting information almost on a daily basis from state and federal governments, the CDC and CMS, sometimes frustratingly contradicting each other.  Now we get to add  FEMA to the list.  We were notified by them that we will be the recipient of gloves, masks, gowns, and shields – sometime in the future!   We just don’t know when.   If we get what they have said we would, be will be set for Personal Protective Equipment for quite awhile.    The major point is:  IF.  Time will tell.  There is some discussion about mandating testing for all facilities and staff for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.  I will attempt to notify you of that mandate if it happens.

This week has been a week of honoring our Nurses.  A video was done by Wellspring Lutheran Services from the Frankenmuth area.  They are a non-profit continuing care retirement community but also deal with children services as another branch of their operation.  I posted the video earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to look at it, please do.  It honors those in long-term care for the work they do.    This is also the week that many of you will honor your mother, sister, aunt, grandma, or friend.  We thank you for allowing us to care for these women.  It is a privilege and a blessing (for the most part) to hear their stories,  and to see their love for you in their eyes when they talk about you.

In honor of our Nurses and with next week being National Nursing Home Week—LITTLE CEASAR’S STURGIS– will be providing lunch for our staff on Monday.  So if you go to Little Caesar’s, thank them.  This is a awesome gesture and the staff have been delighted with the announcement.    Also, TACO BELL worked with the Department Head team by providing tacos and burritos at 1/2 price for our staff meal today!

Special thank you go out to:
Kendra Lipscomb—who dropped off mask extenders-TWICE this week
Susan Carter and Jim Rojeski for masks and providing pizza to our Villa staff
Leslie from BOFA for providing us with a care package of gloves, bleach, paper towels and Kleenex

And to the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for their weekly snacks

Happy Mother’s Day for those of you who are celebrating this weekend.  Stay safe and continue to pray for God’s hedge around our buildings as we fight COVID-19.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 4, 2020

ANOTHER UPDATE FROM OUR GOVERNOR

Last night around 9 pm our Governor issued Executive Order 2020-72.  What the order states that “Temporary restrictions on entry into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities” must remain closed to all visitors; must perform a health care evaluation for all individuals, and staff must wear face masks along with social distancing through May 31st, at 11:59pm.  What does that mean:  it means we are still required to do what we have been doing since March 12th for the lockdown and performing health screenings for all people (staff) entering our facilities and continue to wear the face masks were have worn for the last month or so.     If you remember when they first began talking about “opening up Michigan” I stated we would be the last to open.   So this Executive Order didn’t surprise me.

Please remember you can still contact you loved one by:  calling them either on their cell phone or by calling 651-7841 and asking to speak to them; by contacting the activities department or Villa desk to schedule a face-time visit; letters are great and delivered daily; and of course going to the windows to see them.  Just remember even with the better weather, the resident cannot open the window at this time.

We will continue to try to keep you updated as situations change constantly.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

May 1, 2020

UPDATE:  THERE ARE STILL NO COVID-19 AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

We continue to feel blessed to say that statement.  That said, we continue to screen for not only the Influenza but we tested three residents and one staff members this week—ALL came back negative!  We are taking every new regulation seriously. Between Joella Martin, DON and our Infection Control Specialist and I we are continually scouring all the resources we can find from the CDC, state and federal governments, and the most important resource of LeadingAge Mi, our not-for-profit State Healthcare Association.

We had the privilege of having three state surveyors in our building for what is called an “Infection Control Surveillance Survey”.  You may have seen articles on these surveys with the latest from the Grand Rapids Press last weekend.  They talked to staff, they looked at our policies and procedures, they looked at our equipment, our cleaning processes, whether we were wearing our masks properly—yes there is a proper way to wear a mask—ask them, and then left stating they had to do some work on their end.  That statement created another round of emails of requests for more documentation.  Bottom line:  THEY FOUND NOTHING OUT OF COMPLIANCE.  I cannot tell you how very proud I am of the Thurston Woods Village staff.   They know their stuff and they proved it by demonstrating to these surveyors what proper techniques are about.  They do it every day regardless of whether any one is looking or not.

Also we have the most giving and supportive community.  Special thanks to the following:

To our Board of Directors who week after week are providing snacks for our staff.

For masks:
Nancy Ross-missed you a couple of weeks ago
Susan Warner from Holland, Mi
Debora Carr-crocheted expanders

Julie Kennard-thanks again for the disinfecting wipes
Emerald Peterson for pictures for the residents
Faith and Jamie Wilson—flowers for the tables in the Villa
Claire Propst, Mackenzie Kelly and Everlee Kelly for May Day flowers.  Special Note:   Mackenzie is a daughter of Rochelle Kelly, a staff member in the Villa.

Haylett Consulting Group for their continued monetary support
Modern Woodmen for the $1000 gift for PPE

AND A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO HANNAH WOODS- a 10th grade student from Sturgis High School who named Thurston Woods Village as her recipient of her choice for winning an student contest on how the current health crisis has impacted them.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we travel these uncharted days.   Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 29, 2020

ATTENTION MASK MAKERS!

While we have enjoyed the fruits of our labors with our staff having access to the wonderfully different designs of both elastic behind the ear and the tie masks.    We have now made the decision to offer masks to our nursing center residents to wear when they are outside of their rooms.  The majority residents have decided that was a good idea.  We will be offering the same to the Villa today.  So, some of the residents prefer the elastic behind the ear but others with oxygen, glasses and hearing aids like the tie.  However, if you are thinking about the residents, some of our ladies are very petite and so the masks are too large.   Consequently, if we could get some smaller masks we would appreciate those as well.   Due to the generosity of so many, we do have enough to start the resident mask project, we don’t have enough to give each of the residents multiple masks.

And yes, we do have medical grade masks to wear should we need to but want to keep those for emergencies.

Thank you for all your efforts.  The staff and residents are enjoying the different designs and all your many talents!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

April 28, 2020

The following letter was mailed to the responsible parties of our residents.  We wanted to share it with other family members and friends as well.

Dear families:

I wanted to thank you again for your trust in Thurston Woods Village as we continue to be on this journey called COVID-19.  We continue to get daily (sometimes hourly) updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as well as the federal and state governments.    We strive to comply as quickly as possible, fully understanding the requirements are put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

As you are aware, Governor Whitmer and President Trump are working to safely open the state and country, with each having opinions on how and when that may happen.  What is obvious to everyone is the senior population is the most vulnerable and consequently it is being suggested to continue to restrict access to that population until the last—commonly called Phase Three.

With the expectation that hospital, assisted living and nursing facilities will be the last to open up for visitations, I wanted to reach out to you to remind you of the alternatives we have put in place for you to have access to your loved one.  They are:  1) we have always had the ability to allow for private conversations by calling the facility and request us to transfer the call to the private phone room in the nursing center and at the desk in the Villa; 2) we provide you the ability to “face time” with the resident by calling Sue or Peri in the nursing center and the desk at the Villa to schedule a time that is convenient for you; 3) come to the windows—you are always welcome to come see the resident  at the resident’s window.  HOWEVER please do not ask the resident to open the window; 4) write letters—the residents love hearing from you, if you don’t want to mail them, drop them off at the front entrance and we will get them to the resident;  and last but not least, call and check with the staff—they know what you are feeling because many of us have the same situation with our families.

Look for more information as we attempt to schedule a “parade” for you and your family member.  While we are still in the planning phases, it is our hope that as weather gets warmer we will be able to have residents outside (with the 6 ft distance ruled applied) and you are able to do a drive by parade for them.  We will keep you posted as to the date (with a rain date scheduled) by putting the information on our website and Face book page.

Again, thank you for your continued trust in us as we care for your family, friend and loved one in these trying times understanding as always God is in control.

Sincerely,

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 24, 2020

UPDATE:  THERE ARE STILL NO COVID-19 CASES AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

As facilities across the country remain in the news it is with gratitude to our awesome staff we can say today we are a COVID-19 free facility.  There has been systems put into place throughout the state as the most impacted by the virus need placement into long term care rehab facilities.  The State of Michigan has been working with facilities where COVID-19 is the most prevalent to develop Regional “Hubs” for those residents.  Every facility in the state has been mandated to make arrangements for a isolated “wing” or floor for COVID-19 positive residents.  We have complied with those mandates and are attempting to get the necessary supplies in place should the need arise.  It is fortunate to had made the decision years ago to stock more emergency supplies than required which has allowed us to be better equipped than some.

Some have been asking if we have done any testing.  The answer is yes.  We have tested one resident with respiratory symptoms and two staff members.  All have came back negative.  The resident was put in isolation and staff were not able to return to work until the test results came back.    Again, the State and Federal governments have stated multiple times their desire to have more people tested.  We have been told that at some point the requirement may be to test everyone.  If that is the requirement, please know we will comply.  Right now, we will continue to test as symptoms warrant.

Again we have been blessed with the outpouring of support:
Pastor Sue Babb from the United Methodist Church—Bible verse pictures for the residents

Crystal Updyke from Wyoming (family member)-cowboy masks
JoAnne Pantale and the Sew You Care group—masks
Candy Harris—three weeks in a row—masks
John Dresser and Mike and Debbie Doe—donuts for the staff
The Thurston Woods Board of Directors –weekly snacks for staff
The Department Head team—weekly meals for staff

So what do we need?  I get that question often.   We continue to need disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers and gloves.   KUDOS to all the mask makers.  While we have a limited supply of masks, as time goes by we may need more.  Especially as the Governor announced the requirement for everyone to wear a mask in box spaces.

Again, we ask for your continued prayers as we thrive to care for the residents we love.

 

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

 

April 17, 2020

UPDATE:  THERE ARE STILL NOT COVID-19 CASES AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

What is now our five week of “shut-down” we feel blessed to be one of the facilities in the country without the COVID-19 virus in the building.  I know you are hearing a lot of information on the news about the cases in nursing homes across the country.  The latest numbers are over 6000 COVID-19 cases being identified in nursing homes, with several facilities experiencing multiple deaths.  One of the most telling comments I saw was “we are overrun with it”.  It appears once the virus is in the building it spreads very rapidly throughout the unit.  Some facilities has multiple floors and have been able to contain it to one floor while others are experiencing it throughout their campus, even independent housing residents.  EVERY report I have received, EVERY conversation I have had with facilities with the virus and EVERY national leader who is dealing with it in their state has said the same thing:  NO one wanted the COVID-19 virus to hit their building and are looking for solutions to prevent the spread.   That said, there are facilities who have embraced the virus and have trained staff and are admitting residents into COVID-19 Units across the state.

You may have seen the newest Executive Order from our Governor.  This deals with “Enhanced protections for residents and staff of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic”.  What the bottom line of this executive order does, it says that should a resident with COVID-19 being treated for the virus, is able to be treated at the facilities from which they came from AND the facility has the appropriate and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), then the facility is required to admit them.  But if they cannot be treated at the facility, then when they are virus free and can be discharged back to their usual facility, the facility must take them back.   It is protecting the residents from being sent to other facilities without the ability of returning.  This will mainly impact the people in the Detroit area, where they are estimating 90% of all the long-term care residents will need placement.  This is important because families are still not being allowed to visit the resident in any facility.

Again, I want to say a great big THANK YOU to the many different groups who have reached out to our residents this week.  The cards and notes of encouragement continue to arrive, and the residents LOVE them.  In addition to the cards, we have had goodies delivered by staff and resident families, and the masks have kept coming in!    It is so encouraging to not only the residents but to our staff to see such an outpouring of support.  Again, the list is long and I sincerely hope I did not forget someone and if I did I would ask forgiveness from my senior moment.

NOTES AND CARDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Deb Adamski
Centreville Seventh Day Adventist Church
Miley and Mckenna Holden-4-H project
Radiant Life Church
Constantine Wolf Scouts pack 410

MASK MAKERS
St. Joseph County COVID-19 Mask Crafters
Cathie McKenzie
Joyce Weber
Deb Capman
Karen Wegner
Candy Harris
Lindsay Lipscomb
Kendra Lipscomb

OTHER GIFTS
Betty Troyer—Lularoe gifts for the Villa staff
Sue Jensen and Angelic Edgerton and the families for staff goodies
Pam Keeslar and Eastwood School for the disinfectant wipes and sanitizers
Bob Weitting for the cash gift to offset the costs of the take out containers

And last but certainly not least the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors and the Department Head team who have provided weekly goodies for our staff—your support is appreciated.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we strive to care for the residents and staff at Thurston Woods Village.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

 

April 9, 2020

THERE ARE STILL NO COVID-19 CASES AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

First as we are in the midst of the holy week of Easter, may we never forget to give God the glory for His wonderful gift as we go into this weekend of celebrating Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, which we celebrate on Good Friday and then His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, proving that we have nothing to fear because Christ conquered death by raising again on the third day!  May you have time to celebrate this season with family and friends in a confines of this stay at home order.  Phones and face time are really our only option but thankfully they haven’t restricted those options.  It is my understanding that the Easter Bunny is an essential business and will not be stopped on his rounds.

As you may remember I shared with you last Saturday of the RECOMMENDED usage of face masks and asked for community support.  Those of you with the sewing talents went to work—and we are overwhelmed with your generosity.  Some of you took of us up on the offer and stopped by for fabric, but many did not.  The face masks started coming in first thing Monday morning and are still arriving.    I have made a conscience effort to make sure I wrote down everyone, but IF I forgot someone in this recognition, I apologize.  It isn’t that we did not appreciate it but in the midst of everything I forgot to write down your name (or you elected not to give us it).

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT OF MASKS

Lori Gray
Bonnie Carpenter
Cindy Horvath
Pam Keeslar
Gerri Schwartz
Connie Gochenaur
COVID-19 Mask Crafters of St. Joseph County
Deb Capman
Kathy McKenzie
Martha David
Sheryl Smith
Candy Harris
Christine Stutzman
Joann Browning
Riverside Church

Special thank you to the STAFF of THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE, you continue to show just how amazing you are as I watch you take care of our residents and each other; the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for your continued show of support, for the donuts delivered this week, and for the words of encouragement with the cards and notes; to the families and friends of our residents who continue to shower their love with visits—windows have never been more important, and their willingness to drop off goodies and supplies; and last but certainly not least, Pam Keeslar and the Sturgis Schools, with their donation of the disinfecting wipes from the classrooms and other supplies.

As we continue to look for ways to combat the COVID-19 virus, we have been holding mail for 24-hours and spraying packages that come in and holding them for the same time.  If you are able to do the same thing prior to dropping something off for the residents, it would be appreciated.  Just take the items and spray with Lysol or something similar and let it set for at least 6 hours prior to bringing it in.  If you can let it sit for 24 hours, it would be best.  However, if the resident has requested something from you and they “NEED IT NOW” do not worry, we will get it to them immediately.  We are just trying to be as proactive as possible, always looking at recommendations with an open mind.

May you be blessed as you have blessed us.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

 

 

April 4, 2020

THERE ARE STILL NO COVID-19 AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE.

The CDC just announced a RECOMMENDATION for all staff working in health care to wear masks when caring for residents. We are NOT required to use the specialized equipment they use in the hospital. We anticipated this earlier this week which is why I asked for assistance in making cloth masks.

Our staff will be using masks starting this morning and throughout the weekend with supplies we have on site. However we still need the cloth masks, which is the CDC recommended masks for non-COVID-19 contact.

For those of you who have reached out to me to let me know you are making masks-thank you. We hope to be able to distribute those as quickly as they arrive.

We have staff in the building attempting to notify and calm any anxiety this may cause our residents. Should your family member or friend contact you with this new development, I would ask that you tell them it’s a precaution and not to because we have the virus.

Please know that the staff is being educated about the mask usage and that this precaution does not replace the single most important preventative measure which is hand washing!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the facility or myself. The staff has my cell phone number and I can be reached anytime.

I continue to ask for your prayers as we navigate through this ever changing process.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 2, 2020

UPDATE FOR COVID-19  –THERE IS STILL NO COVID-19 CASES AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE

As we go into week three of our “lockdown” I wanted to let you know that it appears to be working as we have not had any cases of COVID-19 on our campus, nor have we had anyone with the symptoms that warranted us to test them.  We are very grateful to each of you who continue to bathe us with your prayers; who are reaching out to their families with face time options and bringing in supplies almost daily; and the continued outpouring of support with goodies for the residents and staff.  The staff of Thurston Woods are grateful to the Board of Directors who are willing to help in any way possible, including providing our staff with weekly treats.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  As we continue to have a statewide shortage of supplies, and it is important to save those supplies for the residents and staff should be need them to care for a COVID-19 resident.  To date we do not have clear guidance from the CDC as when it is appropriate to wear masks for everyday use.  However we want to be prepared for when that recommendation does take place.  We are now looking for the community to help in making cloth masks for our staff.   We currently have about 210 staff working, some full time and we are very thankful for those part time staff willing to continue to come to work when called or scheduled.  Right now there is not any discussion about having our residents wear masks at the state or federal level.  Time will tell if that changes.

I know it is a lot to ask, but those gifted with sewing talents (leaves me completely helpless) we would like to give our staff at least two masks—one they can wear and one they can wash.  We do have some fabric available here, we will just need to get it out of storage.  Consequently please call either Theo Omo or Brenda Blucker if you would like some supplies.

 

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

March 30, 2020

THERE IS STILL NO COVID-19 ON THE THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE CAMPUS

In the midst of all the uncertainty and frustration of life changes—we are blessed.  We have families who trust us, staff working tirelessly to ensure the residents are not just being cared for but making sure they are loved and comforted as they struggle with understanding why the visits have stopped, and a community that has not forgotten the needs of the residents.  Our staff continues to “shine” as beacons of hope for each resident and fellow staff member , and hopefully to the families as well.

A special thank you to those in the community who continue to think of our staff from homemade cookies, to the TWV Board of Directors for the continual weekly goodies and from Christine Eckleberry (resident family) for pizza.  Your thoughtfulness during this difficult times are encouraging and very much appreciated.

Additional  community thank you acknowledgements are:

Julie Kennard—disinfecting wipes

Tracy Pittenger–disinfecting wipes

Kendra Lipscomb—disinfecting wipes

Dianne Warnement—disinfecting wipes

Dr. Fernando Castro—disinfecting wipes

Brittany Gold, her mom and nephew–colored cards encouragement

Pastor Sue Babb—colored Easter pictures

Cindy Bradshaw and Courtney Mercer—snacks pop, and candy—YES we are still doing BINGO—just creatively!

Riverside Church, Three Rivers—50 Activity Bags—assorted games, puzzles and coloring pages for the residents

Cathie Thomasma—craft kits for the residents

Anyone else I might have missed—thank you!

Also, THANK YOU, for you many thoughts and prayers.  Please continue as we are now told it may be another month before we can open our doors again.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS:   If you would like to sign up for a face to face time with your family or friend please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director for the Nursing Center or Virginia Jordan in the Villa.  They are taking the lead on this project.   Contact Sue at sgray@thurstonwoods.org and provide the CODE WORD, or Virginia at vjordan@thurstonwoods.org and provide the CODE WORD.  If you do not know what the code word is for the resident, please contact the family member in charge as we cannot give it to you.    This protects the residents and families from outside influencers having access to the resident without family knowledge.

Again, thank you for all you do.  You are making a difference.

 

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

 

 

March 25, 2020

Dear Families and Friends of our Residents:

I cannot count the number of times I have heard the phrase “we are in unprecedented times”.  We are.  Things are changing so fast that just about the time we think we are well versed, something else happens.  What hasn’t changed is there are still no COVID-19 at Thurston Woods Village.

The most recent information we have is we have not reached the tipping point yet.  There appears to be a gradual movement of the virus from the Detroit and thumb area into the lower counties.  St. Joseph County still is COVID-19 free.  There are not timelines in place in which we can tell you when our Visitor Restrictions will be lifted.

Consequently, I wanted to remind you of how you can continue to communicate with your family member or friend.

  • First, by phone, many of the residents have personal phones, but should they not, we have a designated room in which we can transfer the call to allow for private conversations—just call the main number at 269-651-7841 and we will get you to the right wing of the nursing center or to the Villa.
  • Second, by the old fashion way of written letters—some of the residents are sharing with staff the importance of waiting for those letters to arrive.
  • Third, we have several iPads and other devices in which we can schedule “face time” with your family.  Contact the desk where your family member is located and we should be able to set that up.  (Kudos to Sturgis Schools who has graciously allowed us to use some of their Ipads)  Some staff has also expressed their willingness to have the residents use their personal phones to communicate with you.
  • Fourth, continue to check out the different posts on the Thurston Woods Village Facebook page.  Resident activities are continuing and we are attempting to capture as many events as possible.
  • Fifth, call US.  We will make every effort to keep you informed on what is happening.

What you CANNOT do is ask your loved one to open the window to talk to you!  This defeats the purpose of attempting to prevent the virus from entering into the building.  While some of you want a face to face meeting and that is understandable, please do NOT ask the resident to open the window and remind the resident should they open it to close it immediately.  If your family member does not have a phone and you want to communicate with them via phone at the window, please call and we will make the arrangements for that request to happen.

We are all in this together and together we will survive with God’s grace and adhering to the restrictions put into place by the state and federal governments.

With great regard,

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

 

Thank you!

A special thank you to those of you in the community who are thinking of our residents:

Ron Sprowl from Burr Oak Tool—for masks and sanitizers

Michael Slone from Infinity Ink—for gloves, sanitizers, masks and wipes

Hollywood Nails –for several cases of gloves

Dianne Warnement—Disinfecting Wipes

Kendra Lipscomb–Disinfecting Wipes

Jessica Rutenbar from Wall School—Disinfecting Wipes

Kim Hamlin from Wenzel School—Disinfecting Wipes

Julie Kennard—Disinfecting Wipes

Christina Persing—Disinfecting Wipes

 

God bless your thoughtfulness!

 

 

March 20, 2020

THERE ARE NO CONFIRMED CASES COVID-19 AT THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE.

Please be assured there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 anywhere on the Thurston Woods Village campus.  In fact no one has been tested for the virus.  There has been confusion with some staff misinterpreting the Influenza virus for the COVID-19 virus.  They are two very different strains of infection, have different symptoms and treatments.  We currently have two cases of Influenza A on our campus.  Both are being treated with antiviral medication.  Additional precautions have been put into place including asking the residents to remain in their rooms and staff are adhering to the CDC guidelines.  Activities and meal options are being provided.

Our staff continues to carry out our mission—living it every day in every way possible.   “Teaming together—residents, families, associates and community, Working to provide responsible healthcare and services, Valuing every individual in the spirit of Christian love.”  The staff are committed to our residents and our families.  They are amazing.

Should you have any concern please contact Virginia Jordan,  Residential Services Director,  Joella Martin, Nursing Center Director of Nursing and head of the Infection Control-COVID-19 response team, or Theo Omo, Chief Executive Officer.

March 19, 2020

Employees:

Due to the federal mandate limiting group meetings to 10, we are postponing our Annual Employee Meeting scheduled for March 26th.  We will post the meeting date once we have confirmation of the lifting of those restrictions.

The highlight event of our annual meeting for the past several years has been the recognition of employees and the distribution of our “Stay-On” Bonuses.  Those employees who have reached specific milestone anniversaries will be given their check (or check stub if you have direct deposit) by their department head after 2 pm on March 26th.   We will also recognize these milestones when we actually have the Annual Meeting.  We just didn’t want you to wait for your bonus!  A list of the eligible employees will be available at the time clock by March 20th.

Please keep checking  for the posting of the Annual Employee Meeting, we will have all the longevity, Employee Focus Group, the Employee of the Year, and Suggestion of the Year awards at that meeting.

Please know every employee is making a difference in the lives of our residents and we appreciate your efforts.  Thank you for all you do!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

 

March 16, 2020

A letter from our CEO:

Dear residents, families, visitors and staff:

We are coping with an unprecedented situation of attempting to avoid the COVID-19 from entering onto the Thurston Woods Village campus. We continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we  limit our visitors, we require those entering our campus, including vendors and staff, to show no signs of infection via temperature monitoring and are constantly monitoring websites for additional updates.

Please rest assured we have an amazing staff that has already shown in too many ways to count their commitment to ensuring our resident’s safety remains our top priority.  Some have already volunteered to remain on-site should the need arise. Yes, they are AMAZING.

We have an emergency plan in place; are in constant contact with vendors for supplies-yes, we too, have to deal with toilet paper issues; and are meeting on a regular basis to update policies and procedures to ensure we are following the constantly changing state and federal guidelines/mandates.

Please feel free to drop off any items in the MAIN office for any resident on our campus and we will get those items to your loved one.

If I could ask one thing from the community it would be not to forget those are being quarantined in their areas, assuredly for their own protection but sometimes difficult for them to understand. Now, they are not being allowed to even eat together or play bingo together (today’s mandate). A simple phone call or a card goes a long way to ease their potential isolation.

We will attempt to keep you updated as information is provided.  If you have any questions,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

**Homes and Gables Residents:  Effective Wednesday, March 18th, we will no longer have dining room services.  Please call by 10 am each day you would like to pick up a “to-go” meal.  IF you have questions, please call Jessie Leathers, Independent Living Director.   We will notify you when regular dining room services will resume.  ALL activities have been cancelled until further notice.

 

**EASTER EGG HUNT CANCELLED.  Due to the new mandate of no more than 50 person group contact, we have decided to cancel this year’s Easter Egg Hunt.  Please look for information of other events when the COVID-19 crisis is over.  Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you next year.

 

 

March 12, 2020

To Our Residents and Family Members:

We know many of you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may impact us here at Thurston Woods Village. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our first priority. At this time, we do NOT have any cases in our center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help in battling COVID-19. Below are some examples of how you can help protect the residents, as well as prevent the spread throughout the community.

At this time, we request that family and friends do not visit the center. Out of an abundance of caution, we are limiting all visitors to our facility unless absolutely necessary. According to the CDC, older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract the COVID-19 virus. This means that most people in our center are at a higher risk. We are posting signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of this policy and actively screening individuals, including staff, who need to come into the building.

We understand that connecting with your loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider communicating with them. These may include telephone, email, text, video chat or social media. If you believe a visit to the center is necessary, we request that you contact us by phone prior to your arrival.

Please make sure we have your most current, emergency contact information. We want to make sure we efficiently communicate with you should there be any new developments. Please reach out to us with your updated contact information. Additionally, we will be updating our Facebook page and digital newsletters. You can sign up to receive these on our website.

Residents, please help prevent the spread of infection by exercising proper hand washing hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. We offer hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, which you are welcome to use. Please also avoid shaking hands and hugs with any individual. If you are experiencing a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, please let a staff member know immediately.

Our center is following the recommendations of the CDC on prevention steps, including following strict handwashing procedures, and in many circumstances, wearing gowns and gloves when interacting with residents who present symptoms. We also are staying up to date with the CDC recommendations as they may continue to change. In addition, our center is in close contact with the local and state health department, and we are following their guidance.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our center at: 269-651-7841

For the latest developments, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Sincerely,
Thurston Woods Village