News and Events

Updated Best Practices for CoVid-19

As of 07/17/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We know that you share our concerns about efforts to keep residents in our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A new, optional program called Essential Caregiver was released from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with guidelines last Friday.  While we welcome this opportunity to make necessary exceptions to the visitor restrictions for those previous to COVID-19 providing essential care, we must all continue to be vigilant.  We ask for patience as we consider the concept of the Essential Caregiver, what components make up the design of the program and when the time is right to implement this in our care center; balancing the safety, health and wellness for all who live and work here and for those who serve in the Essential Caregiver role.

We continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding infection and prevention control (IPC).  The following list identifies best practices currently in place at our care center:

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Indoor person to person visits are not allowed unless considered under the Compassionate Visit criteria.  Alternative opportunities for visits by appointment include,
    • Virtual visits.
    • Open or closed window visits with social distancing.
    • Outdoor patio visits with social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required upon visitor successfully passing the visitor screening. All outdoor visits must be monitored by staff.
  • Volunteers.  In some cases, volunteers have been specially trained and specifically assigned screening or monitoring duties and have limited access to the care center with PPE use.
  • Non-essential health care providers (HCP).  In some cases, depending on ability to use telehealth methods and certain procedures required, HCP are allowed access.

Other Infection Control Practices

  • Residents are monitored for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.
    • Resident(s) presenting with respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be recommended for testing and quarantined while awaiting test results.
    • Dependent on outcomes, point prevalence testing (PPT) of the entire resident population and employees will implemented.
  • Residents are quarantined
    • upon admission,
    • if exposed to individuals with COVID-19 or those with exposure risk,
    • or upon return from medically emergent appointments out of the care center.  Some medically necessary appointments may not require quarantine upon re-entry to the care center.
  • Essential health care providers (HCP), who cannot use telehealth methods for treatment or are providing specific procedures will be allowed access using PPE and using specific ICP.
  • Essential HCP, Compassionate Criteria visits and employee entrance to the building will be limited to one location when possible.
  • Employees/contractors are screened upon entry and actively monitored while in the care center.
    • Any staff or contractor showing respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be asked to be tested and not allowed to enter the building and expected to quarantine at home while waiting for test results.
  • Social distancing is practiced throughout the building.
  • All Staff are required to wear PPE including a surgical masks and eye protection.    Additional PPE is required if a segregated unit is used or outbreak occurs.
  • Residents are required to wear masks while receiving cares or are out of their room, unless medically exempt.
  • All deliveries are left at the care center designated delivery door or in the vestibule where possible.
  • Cleaning protocols are met for COVID-19.

Updated 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.

Weekly Update

In the past week, GAH has created opportunities for more meaningful connections for our residents and loved ones through open window visits and outdoor patio visits. Our entire team enjoys seeing our residents and loved ones visiting and look forward to the days when we are once again able to welcome visitors into our care center.  We ask that you schedule your virtual visits, open window visits, and patio visits ahead of time due to high demand and safety of our residents.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) set strict guidelines for our care centers including prohibiting communal dining. We have now received revised guidelines and reviewing all of the requirements to safely implement communal dining.  Look for more information on this subject in the future.   

As of 06/26/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). As the state agencies loosen restrictions, please know you are a key partner in preventing the spread of CoVid-19 in our care center. We ask that you understand the requirements and procedures we have put in place, and work with us as partners in caregiving to abide by them.

Your messages of support, prayers, and patience will not be forgotten. If you have and questions, concerns, or ideas for make visiting better, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  Thank you again for being partners with us in fighting the COVID-19 virus.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page.

Happy Father’s Day

CoVid-19 Weekly Update

Happy Father’s Day!

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, we would like to extend our appreciation to all Fathers for all they do and continue to do for us. Father’s Day is a time to honor the men in our lives who have influenced us and protected us when needed. This year, CoVid-19 has had an influence on how we can visit our loved ones on this special day.  However, we are thrilled to announce that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has distributed guidelines allowing outdoor visits. 

If you wish to participate in an outdoor visit, visitors must agree to:

  • Schedule visits with the care center.
  • Must not enter the care center and stay in the designated visitation location.
  • Sign in and provide contact information.
  • Allow staff to screen you for signs and symptoms of CoVid-19 and attest to CoVid-19 status, if known.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rub when entering the visitation area.
  • Wear a mask or other face covering at all times.
  • Allow staff to be present to assist with outdoor transfers of residents, wipe down visitation areas and maintain visual observation.
  • Social distance at least 6 feet between all persons at all times.
  • Control all children under 12 and assure their compliance with social distancing.
  • Control all pets at all times if present.
  • Reduce the risk of exposure by not having any physical contact with a resident; no holding hands, hugging, kissing or other physical contact.

Open window visits are also allowed at this time. Residents and visitors must agree to wear a mask at all times, practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet from residents and other visitors and refrain from reaching out to touch your loved one or passing anything through an open window.

As stated you will need to schedule your outdoor visit or open window visit.  We expect high demand and ask that you please contact your care center to schedule your visit ahead of time. 

As of 06/19/2020, there have been no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center. We continue to follow all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Residents are being monitored throughout all shifts. All staff continue to be screened prior to entering the building and are required to wear surgical masks and eye protection. 

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care center can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. 

SALONS ARE OPEN

GOOD NEWS – SALONS ARE OPEN!!

We appreciate the patience our residents and their families have had with us as we adapt and enhance our response to COVID-19. In the past few months, we have learned a great deal about this virus, how easily it spreads, and the tools needed to combat it. As of today, we have no known cases of Coronavirus in our care center.

We are excited to announce the first step towards relaxing restrictions in our care center. This week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued the following guidance regarding resuming salon services inside our care centers:

  • The beautician will be screened for fever and symptoms of COVVID-19 prior to entering our building.
  • The beautician will wear a surgical face mask and eye protection.
  • Residents must wear facemasks throughout their appointment.
  • Surfaces will be disinfected between each resident. 
  • Only one resident at a time in the salon.
  • The resident will complete proper hand hygiene upon entering the salon.
  • The beautician will complete proper hand hygiene before and after contact with the resident.
  • No COVID-positive residents or residents showing symptoms will be allowed in the salon.
  • If the care center is experiencing an outbreak, the care center will suspend salon services until there are no longer residents testing positive or showing symptoms of COVID-19.

These guidelines along with our infection control practices will help ensure the safety of all who live and work here as we resume salon services inside our care centers.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care centers can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Outdoor Visits

We continue to have no known cases of Coronavirus in our care centers. The health and wellness of the people we serve and our staff continue to be our top priority. You may know that our staff provide one-on-one companionship to residents and many creative hallway and door to door activities are conducted to help boost resident spirits, contributing positively to their mental health and well-being.

As the weather improves, we receive many questions regarding outdoor visits. You may have heard restrictions for socializing are beginning to ease in Minnesota and businesses have been allowed to open in outside environments or other restrictions.  However, the state and federal guidelines for us have not yet changed. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) continue to advise no care center visits or open window visits at this time.

As of right now, we are continuing scheduled, closed window visits with residents. We also encourage alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc. We have obtained additional equipment to meet the demands of these virtual visits and staff are able to assist residents as needed. We are very grateful to families for their understanding as they help us to do everything we can to put the well-being of your loved ones and others who reside with us above all else; even when compliance with the rules keeps you from personal contact. 

Directions and guidance from governmental agencies are changing daily and we are preparing for the day we are able to lift these restrictions with specific visiting guidelines in their place. St. Francis Health Services has formed a committee, made up of care center leadership, charged with developing methods in which we could safely allow person to person visits, identifying the barriers that exist and brainstorming methods in which we could mitigate risk of our residents’ exposure.

Updated information on our planning and preparedness for Coronavirus and our activities within our care centers can be found by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Visitor Restrictions Update

With the days becoming warmer, our residents have been able to enjoy being outside more. While outdoors, residents are accompanied by staff and follow strict social distancing protocols requesting residents wear masks.

As you may have heard many senior living communities in Minnesota are conducting entire site testing of both residents and staff. The priority for the entire site testing has been those locations where there has been an outbreak.  Throughout this pandemic, we have followed governmental guidelines and test residents that display symptoms similar to the Coronavirus-19 symptoms or have been exposed to employees who have been directly exposed in their personal lives to Covid-19. As of today, none of those tests results have been positive for Covid-19. In the event we do get a confirmed case in our care center, we are prepared to complete entire site testing. Residents and family will be consulted prior to any testing.

We continue to evaluate visiting restrictions, salon services and group worship. There is discussion at the state level regarding when these services should be allowed but we are encouraged to stay the course knowing those we care for are at higher risk for developing more serious complications.  The Minnesota Department of Health is gathering data from the implementation of expanded testing as to the level of ongoing community transmission as part of its process to potentially revise guidelines in visitation. We do know that any decision to lessen visitor restrictions will be accompanied by requirements to protect our residents and staff and prevent potential transmission of this virus. 

We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work. Help us keep family and loved ones informed by visiting our website (www.sfhs.org) or our Facebook page. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.