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Dear Family and Friends,
Southwest Healthcare Services is committed to keeping your loved one safe from the COVID-19 virus and updated about important information impacting the Long Term Care facility.
As you are aware, the ND Department of Health (NDDoH) has issued guidance regarding facility internal activities, visitation, and testing parameters that are dependent upon two factors:
1. Our county positivity rate and
2. Facility status of “routine” (no positive cases) vs “outbreak” (any positive case).
When the county positivity rate escalates, the facility immediately adjusts to the correlated higher risk plan. However, in order to move to a lower risk plan, the lower positivity rate must be maintained for two weeks. At this time, the county has maintained a rate of less than 10% for two consecutive weeks, so effective 11/23/2020 we were able to implement the following changes:
- Communal dining and group activities resumed with social distancing and limited group size. Residents have been encouraged to wear a mask when they are around others; and are reminded and assisted to wash or sanitize their hands often.
- Testing frequency of residents and staff changed from twice weekly to weekly. We are required to continue testing both staff and residents due to positive staff cases.
o Our testing event on November 24th resulted in no positive staff or resident cases.
o Our next scheduled testing event will take place on Tuesday, December 1st. An additional tentative testing date has been scheduled for December 4th in the event the county positivity rate increases next week and twice weekly testing is again required.
We continue to implement the following safety measures:
- Screening: All residents’ temperatures and oxygen levels are checked three times a day and are assessed for any COVID-19 symptoms. Staff continue to be screened prior to their shift.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Staff wear surgical facemasks in the LTC facility, and also wear a full face shield when caring for residents. Additional precautions are followed when indicated.
- Visitation Limitations: Unfortunately, under our current facility conditions, door and indoor visitation (with the exception for end of life/compassionate care) is not permitted. The facility received new guidance from CMS that outdoor visitation is allowable, however, requires that these visits take place in “a distinctly different structure from the facility.” We do encourage families to arrange virtual visits.
We will keep you informed about any new precautions we take to keep your loved one safe.
Thank you for your support and patience during this time.Sincerely,
Amber Umbreit (Chief Operating Officer / Long-Term Care Director of Nursing)
Update On Coronavirus and Long-Term Care
Dear Family and Friends,
Southwest Healthcare Services is committed to keeping your loved one safe from the COVID-19 virus and informed about positive cases in the Long Term Care facility.
We have had a total of 3 positive healthcare workers identified from our test on November 20th. The workers will complete the required isolation period. There were no positive resident cases. We will continue to test all staff and residents so we can quickly identify any new cases.
The facility internal activities, visitation, and testing parameters are dependent upon our county positivity rate and facility status of “routine vs outbreak.” Because we moved from >10% to <10% and have maintained this rate for two weeks, we are only required to complete once weekly testing. However, because we have had positive staff cases, we are considered to be in “outbreak” status, and therefore must continue to test both staff and residents. The positivity rate is updated every Monday, so each week is subject to change in practices.
In addition to decreasing the frequency of testing this week, other changes we are able to make include the following:
- Group dining and group activities may take place at this time with social distancing. Residents have been encouraged to consider wearing a mask around others to keep everyone safe and will be reminded and assisted to wash or sanitize their hands often.
Resident Screening: We will continue to monitor all residents’ temperatures and oxygen levels three times a day, and assess for any symptoms.
Visitation Limitations: Unfortunately, indoor and door visits are still not allowed at this time. The facility contacted the Department of Health (DoH) to clarify whether door visits would qualify as outdoor visits, which are the only in-person visits allowed at this time. The DoH referenced new guidance from CMS that requires visits to take place “in a distinctly different structure from the facility,” and therefore advised again door visits. Staff can help you arrange a virtual visit with your family any time.
We closely monitor the situation in our region, and will keep you informed about any new precautions we take to keep you safe. Thank you for your patience during this time.
Amber Umbreit (Chief Operating Officer / Long-Term Care Director of Nursing)
Southwest Healthcare Services is asking for help from the community in turning bed sheets into reusable isolation gowns for our staff. Any size or color of sheets will work, and below are links to sewing instructions! Please sew to size extra large as we can always tighten to fit our staff!
We are also asking for donations of flat or fitted sheets to help in making these gowns. These donations are much appreciated!
Donations of sheets or completed gowns can be dropped off at clinic reception, there will be a drop box.
Thank you again for the generosity during these difficult times!
Call 701-523-4122 with questions.
UPDATE 3/23/2020 3:56 p.m.
To the community,
We are working diligently to ensure you receive the best care, whether for COVID-19 or other concerns, that you’ve come to expect from Southwest Healthcare Services and Southwest Medical Clinic.
We are still open and here for you and your families to help keep you healthy, safe and informed. Whether it is a cough, a sore back, or an allergy shot, we have providers available to help you feel better.
The ongoing safety of our patients, staff and communities will remain our primary focus. With that in mind, here’s some important information about receiving health care in the upcoming weeks:
If you are showing any sign of possible COVID-19 symptoms that include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, please call the clinic first and you will be directed to follow certain precautions.
If you have concerns about entering the facility, please let the receptionists know and we will try to accommodate your requests.
Thank you for your help with infection prevention.
UPDATE 3/20/2020 - 8:11 p.m.
Our top priority at Southwest Healthcare Services has been and always will be the safety and health of our patients, residents, and staff members.
We want to ensure the public that we are taking appropriate precautionary measures and following guidelines set by the North Dakota Department Health. We screen all employees for symptoms of COVID-19 every day. We also require our staff to self-quarantine for the recommended 14 days if they have traveled to an area deemed high risk by the Center for Disease Control.
These screening procedures apply to any and all staff members of Southwest Healthcare Services. Be it a provider, housekeeper, nurse, or administration, etc., there will be no exceptions.
We are diligently monitoring the situation and continually evaluate and adjust our procedures based to align with the governmental guidelines to ensure the well-being of the citizens of this community. Thank you for your help with infection prevention. If you have any questions please call 701-523-5555.
UPDATE 3/19/2020 - 5:56 p.m. MST
At Southwest Healthcare Services, our highest priority is to provide a healthy and safe environment for our patients, residents, and employees. As a result to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have implemented the following restrictions:
• Visitor access to the facility will be limited to the Clinic and Emergency Room entrances
• Visitors to the hospital will be screened for signs of respiratory illness including fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath
• Long-term Care visitors will be restricted to “end-of-life” visitation only and are still subject to screening for signs of respiratory illness
We are continuously monitoring the situation and will adjust the restrictions based on guidance from the Department of Health and other government agencies.
UPDATE 3/20/2020 - 5:55 p.m. MST
Expanded Visitor Restrictions
We want to continue to make a healthy and safe environment for our patients, residents, and employees. In an effort to uphold those standards we will be expanding our visitor restrictions to the hospital. The following restrictions will begin immediately:
- Visitors will be restricted to 2 visitors in the building per patient at any time
- All Visitors will be screened for signs of respiratory illness and will be asked about recent travel.
- Visitors under the age of 16 are not permitted
We are continuously monitoring the situation and will adjust the restrictions based on guidance from the Department of Health and other government agencies. Thank you for support in the effort towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses.
The North Dakota Department of Health has reported new cases of the Coronavirus.
Southwest Healthcare Services has again expanded their visitor restrictions due to influenza and potential future coronavirus. As of March 16, and until further notice, all long-term care visitors are restricted with the exception of certain compassionate care such as end-of-life situations. Southwest Healthcare Services will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. If you have flu-like symptoms and wish to be seen in the clinic or ER please phone ahead 701-523-5555 and they would be happy to take care of you and your family’s healthcare needs. Southwest Healthcare Services would like to thank the community for their help with infection prevention.