News and Events

Stay Safe MN

Since the pandemic first began, our staff have been working tirelessly to prevent transmission within our care centers and prepare for the day we provide care for those who test positive. As of today, we still have no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. We carefully monitor all residents for symptoms, screen all staff at the beginning of each shift, use PPE, and conduct audits of our infection control practices, providing further education as needed. 

It is expected the new Stay Safe directive from Governor Walz which involves steps to re-open Minnesota, as well as the President’s desire to open our communities, will increase the spread of COVID-19 in the weeks ahead. We remain committed to taking all precautionary measures to restrict this spread of the virus in our care centers. Because those we care for are at high-risk for COVID-19 infection, federal and state guidelines restrict us from relaxing rules for visiting and other group activities at this time. 

We, like you, are anxious for a time where visitors are warmly welcomed in our settings and warm smiles and human touch are not masked or guarded.  We know this is a difficult time for all concerned and that we continue to do all that we can to connect our residents and families in a safe way.

Additional updates and information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

5 Point Plan

Last week Governor Waltz announced a 5 Point Plan to support residents and long-term care providers. He has addressed the need for more testing, personal protective equipment and adequate staffing in senior care settings. We are realistic about this challenge. As testing expands, more cases will be discovered. We will need to depend on this statewide collaboration to address the growing care needs. The 5 Point Plan includes:

  • Expanded testing for residents and staff.
  • Providing testing support.
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Ensure adequate staffing levels.
  • Leverage partnerships with local public health.

This week Governor Waltz announced Minnesota will let the Stay at Home Order expire on May 18th, 2020. Minnesota will follow up with a Stay Safe MN Order. Following this order, we continue to social distance and remain closed to visitors to protect all who live and work within our communities.

As of today, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This week residents and staff celebrated National Skilled Nursing Care Week. The usual dress up days, treats, and festivities were held despite the pandemic. Residents and staff have embraced the change and have created new norms in our communities.

As always, updates and information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

5/07/2020 Update

As of today, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Staff are completing full vital signs daily on our residents. Temperature checks and respiratory assessments are being done on separate shifts. All staff continue to be screened before coming into work and are required to wear masks and eye protection. In the event we do have a confirmed case in our community, we will notify our residents, family members, and our staff. We will also be reporting any COVID-19 infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Minnesota has successfully slowed the spread of the virus during the Governor’s stay at home mandate. This has given us time to prepare and plan for the possibility of an outbreak in our communities. We have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide protection for your loved ones and staff. Although the idea of a loved one or staff being diagnosed with COVID-19 may be scary, we want to assure you, we are prepared.

Last week Governor Waltz extended the stay at home order through May 18th, 2020. We continue to encourage all visitors to follow the stay at home mandate. If you choose not to and are planning to make a window visit with your loved one, we ask that you call ahead so we can assist the resident during the visit. We appreciate our residents and their family members for adapting to the precautions we have set in place to ensure everyone’s safety. As always, updates and information on our preparedness for COVID-19 can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org) or Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Coronavirus Update

As of today, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This week we implemented another layer of defense in our care centers; our direct care staff will not only be wearing masks while on duty, but also protective eyewear. We continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our residents and staff.  We are continuously researching best practices to maximize our infection control protocols for the segregated COVID-19 units within our buildings in the event they are utilized.  These protocols include:

  • Using N95 respirators and PPE for all staff working with COVID-19 patients.
  • Enforcing strict donning and doffing PPE procedures.
  • Ensuring we have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Designating strict travel paths and entrances/exits for staff.
  • Assuring extensive communication internally and externally.
  • Ensuring we have appropriate staffing levels.

As you may be aware, the Governor has allowed some non-essential businesses in Minnesota to return to work. While restrictions are being lifted for some businesses, the Stay At Home Order is still in place and the best option.  Our care centers continue to restrict visitations.  Please be assured our activities staff continue to find creative ways to entertain and engage our residents while maintaining social distancing. Pictures and updates of your loved ones activities can be seen on our care center’s Facebook page.  In addition, all information regarding our Planning and Preparedness for Coronavirus can be found on our website (www.sfhs.org). We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions and concerns.

4/22/2020 Cohorting Update

            This week we have implemented another recommendation from the Minnesota Department of Health. We are asking all residents to wear surgical masks while receiving care from our staff in their rooms and while they are in any common areas. This is another preventative measure to ensure the safety of our residents and staff.

            As of today, there are no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. We continue to monitor all residents and staff for signs and symptoms of illness that could indicate a COVID-19 infection. In an effort to be transparent, we wanted to share our plans with you in the event there may be an outbreak in our care center. While we hope that we are not impacted by COVID-19, we are prepared for it.

  • We will follow all recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, CMS and CDC.
  •  If a resident has a confirmed case, the resident – unless they are hospitalized – will be transferred within our care center to our designated isolation unit. The entrance to this unit will be used only for these residents and the staff that will work in this area.
  • Once the resident is placed in isolation they will receive the recommended levels of care from designated staff who will not have contact with other residents in our care center.
  • We will contact the family members of residents who are placed in isolation as soon as possible.
  • We will also contact residents and families (the first-listed responsible party) by telephone, letter, or Bright Arrow text that we have a confirmed case in our care center. Please ensure we have updated contact information in your loved one’s medical record.

            We truly appreciate your continued support and understanding as we navigate through this pandemic. We will update you as this situation progresses. Feel free to forward this letter on to family and friends that wish to stay informed and remember to follow us on Facebook and our website (www.sfhs.org) for more updates. As always, reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

4/09/2020 Governor’s Stay at Home Order Extended

MN’s Governor, Tim Walz, instituted a stay at home order beginning Saturday, March 28th, 2020 which has now been extended to May 4th.  St. Francis encourages all visitors to honor the stay at home order.  We also recognize how difficult it is not to see your loved one and how difficult it is for our residents to not see their loved ones. 

Prior to the governor’s stay at home order, we encouraged visiting with residents through windows. While these visits are a creative way to bring joy to our residents, we encountered some difficulties. Throughout Minnesota, windows were opened and items were passed through the window to a resident potentially exposing not just the resident being visited, but other residents and staff of the care center.  Residents are also at greater risk of falling in their attempt to try to get to a window without assistance.  Privacy issues occurred as visitors were walking by windows of other residents. 

Again, we encourage you to follow the governor’s stay at home mandate.  As indicated in the governor’s address, the stay at home mandate has successfully bought Minnesota time to better prepare for the imminent outbreak. 

If you choose not to follow the governor’s stay at home mandate and plan to make a window visit to your loved one, we ask that you call ahead and schedule the visit so an employee is available to assist the resident at that time.  We encourage you to use alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc.  Thank you for your patience as we learn how to navigate visitors in these unprecedented times. Our highest priority is reducing the risk of occurrence and transmission within our communities.

3/30/2020 Employee Update COVID-19

Thank you for your work during these incredibly challenging times. Please know you are very important to us and especially the residents you care for. 

The information and resources below is offered to assist you in managing through these times. Our residents and your co-workers depend on you to continue to remain healthy. We know that you are well trained on Infection Control, but if you have any questions please see the care center’s Infection Preventionist nurse or the Administrator.  A copy of the policies and procedures specifically related to COVID-19 can be accessed by through this link.

Many people around the country are having challenges managing the many stressors associated with COVID-19c. Please know the following resources available to you:

  • St. Francis Health Services’ Employee Assistance Program: Offers no-cost confidential assistance. This services provides you with direct, 24/7 access to a Guidance Consultant, who will answer your questions and, if needed, refer you to a counselor or other resources. 

            Phone: 800.460.4374 TDD: 800.697.0353

            Online: guidanceresources.com

                        Web ID: EAPEssential

            App: GuidanceResources® Now

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has set up a free toll-free line to assist with managing stress during the COVID-19. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

Website: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

Phone: 1-800-985-5990

Text: TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • If you are having difficulty finding child care: Minnesota has set up a child care

information hotline open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Metro number: 651-297-1304

Greater Minnesota: 1-800-657-350

What you should know about COVID-19 taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. Close contact can occur while caring for a resident, including:

  • being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a resident with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time.
  • having direct contact with infectious secretions from a resident with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets.

Please practice social distancing, as able, in your interactions both at work and at home.

Our care centers are following the recommendations of the CDC on using basic contact precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Current information from the CDC and local and state health department is being shared when it occurs. We are committed to following these recommended CDC guidelines.

As employees, we will:

  • Complete the screening information upon reporting for work. If becoming ill any time during the shift report to the charge nurse.  Screening of temperatures may increase to checking prior to leaving work, dependent on community illness.
  • Use proper hand washing hygiene including washing hands for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol upon entering the building and before and after interaction with residents. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty, before and after meals, and using the restroom.
  • Cover our mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze in your sleeve/elbow.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No special cleaning is necessary for COVID-19.
  • Assess and monitor residents with acute respiratory symptoms for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the resident and placing them in a room with the door closed.
  • Use the determined standard precautions when caring for residents with confirmed or possible COVID-19.
  • Practice proper use of personal protective equipment (ppe) to prevent self-contamination.
  • When we return home after work, remove and wash clothing immediately and continue to practice social distancing as much as possible. This assists in managing virus exposure outside of our care centers.

 Your health and well-being is important to us, please let any of us know if there is anything more we can do to support you in this time of uncertainty.  Thank you for being a part of St. Francis Health Services and your care center.

3/30/2020 COVID-19 Update

St. Francis Health Services of Morris is dedicated to assisting each of our care centers providing direction and support as we work through the steps required to provide care in the event we have a COVID-19 outbreak in one of our care centers.  Given this virus especially can affect those we serve within our care centers, we ask that you continue to cooperate with us restricting your visits and focus on other methods of reaching out to your loved ones.  As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Minnesota and our communities, we believe it is inevitable that at some point we will be managing cases within our care centers.

Please know that our corporate office and care centers have been proactively working on an outbreak plan and have instituted several steps and processes to address this if/when it comes to fruition. 

We continue to focus on and actively follow infection control protocols and other guidance provided by reliable sources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies) holding the goal of reducing the risk of occurrence and transmission within our communities as our highest priority.  Those measures are:

  • Complying with the Governors orders to “shelter in place” with the exception of all essential workers.
  • Restricting visitors; with the exception of allowing a very limited category of essential visitors determined on a case by case basis and screened prior to entry.
  • Completing resident screening for any changes that may identify any illness.
  • Monitoring all employees at entry and for signs and symptoms of the virus that may develop at work.
  • Eliminating group activities except where social distancing can occur and be maintained.
  • Identifying and setting up segregated areas of our care centers that will be used if any resident develops COVID-19 symptoms, to minimize the risk to others.
  • Determining staffing changes needed in the event of an outbreak to meet the needs of those in our care.
  • Providing ongoing communication with those we serve and our employees.

Please know that we continue to find ways to share joy and fun with those who live within our care centers. If you have not had an opportunity, please take time to visit the specific care center’s Facebook page. We are providing many pictures that will allow you to see all we are doing to provide the best service we can for those you love.  Especially in these challenging times, our focus is to provide opportunities for each person to stay connected with their loved ones and their community.

Many community members have been motivated to give of their time, money, and other resources for our care center communities. We appreciate this so much and want you to know this makes a difference to residents, families, and staff. THANK YOU!

Please continue to stay connected and let us know if you have any questions or concerns by reaching out to the administrator, social worker or activity personnel. 

We are stronger together!

Resource Links:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services : https://www.cms.gov/

Minnesota Health Department: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Covid-19 Plan

We at St. Francis Health Services of Morris take caring for your loved ones very seriously.

In response to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have aggressively implemented prevention and preparedness activities in all of our care centers (nursing homes, assisted livings, and group homes).

These interventions are intended to address the risk for our residents and employees from contracting and spreading the COVID-19.  We continue to follow guidelines provided to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies.

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Restricting all visitors effective immediately, with the exception of compassionate care. Essential visits are determined and evaluated case-by-case.
  • Restricting all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel.  Some volunteers have been assigned to screening tasks and limited to entry.

Infection Control Practices

  • We are monitoring our residents for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection and will work with our providers if someone becomes symptomatic.
  • We are following the guidelines of quarantine when a resident is newly admitted, been out of the care center, or been exposed to individuals at risk.
  • We have limited essential entrance to the building to one location.
  • We are actively monitoring and screening all employees/contractors upon entry into each of the care centers.
  • We have cancelled all group activities including communal dining.
  • We are practicing social distancing within each of our care centers.
  • We ask all deliveries be left at the care center identified door exterior entrance.

Status of COVID-19 Monitoring

  • We continue to monitor for updates, changes, and recommendations on a daily basis from all legitimate sources.
  • We have a designated team that is reviewing and updating infection prevention practices and emergency preparedness activities.
  • We are in contact with our local and state health department and emergency preparedness contacts.
  • We will continue to update residents, families, and this website as new information becomes available.

Trusted Resources for Official Updates:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-new-measures-protect-nursing-home-residents-covid-19 

Minnesota Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html