ESSENTIAL CAREGIVER PROGRAM – JULY 24, 2020 UPDATE

Hello St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Resident, Friends, and Family,

We are pleased to announce that we are creating a new program called Essential Caregiver – in accordance with guidelines released from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Our goal through this program is to help our residents who are missing care previously provided by a loved one or outside caregiver prior to the visitor restrictions required by state and federal guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy follows MDH guidelines and is a narrowly defined exception to visitor restrictions which may allow certain cares to be provided by a personal caregiver from outside our community. This new guidance is not intended to be a reopening of visitors, but instead is intended to provide essential care for high risk residents.

Below are some of the criteria we will use as we evaluate and designate Essential Caregivers in our settings:

  • Essential Caregivers will be determined based on consultation/assessment with our interdisciplinary team.  Residents will be consulted about their wishes to help determine whom to designate as an Essential Caregiver.
  • Essential Caregivers will be actively screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the building and must wear all necessary personal protective equipment while in the building. They must also perform frequent hand hygiene and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet with staff and other residents while in our building.
  • Essential Caregivers will limit their movement in our building, providing care and support in their loved ones’ room or a designated space in our building.
  • Essential Caregivers must inform us if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of a visit to a resident.

With this new guidance, it is important to know that Essential Caregivers cannot take a resident out into the community except for essential medical appointments and must not visit a resident during a resident’s 14-day quarantine and must not visit when a resident is positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic, unless the visit is for compassionate care.  Please know we do retain the right to restrict or revoke Essential Care status if the designated person fails to follow our established policies and protocols. 

If, at any time, it is deemed unsafe for Essential Caregivers to enter the building—due to a rise in the number of cases in our community, either within our walls or in the broader community—it is our obligation per MDH guidelines to revisit and reassess the program.

We recognize the concern you may have that not everyone will be able to serve as an Essential Family Caregiver. We also deeply feel the desire of our residents and their loved ones to be connected in a more meaningful way.

Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.

Michelle Hartmann, our Social Services Director, will be the main contact for the Essential Care Program.  Michelle can be reached at 218-338-1008.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly

Administrator

St. William’s Living Center

Kicking the Dog during the COVID-19

As the Corona virus continues, many of us struggle with sporadic, unwanted and unruly emotions that we don’t know how to deal with.   Most everyone doesn’t like to feel difficult emotions, and without good emotional management and a common-sense direction to file these feelings, emotions oftentimes relieve themselves in unhealthy ways through the use of volatility and aggression as well as the use of defense mechanisms, or unconscious ways individuals use to protect themselves from the intensity of these emotions. 

There are many ways our emotions can get us into trouble if not tended to, and the one emotion that speaks the loudest and is more socially acceptable these days, is anger.  For example, as cursing seems to be more of an accurate depiction of what one feels inside, it seems to be deemed as more acceptable.  Also, have you noticed more recently that Minnesota Nice is harder to come by, with sharper tongues, increased irritability, explosive tempers, elevated resentments, or more frequent complaints?  And, then there are those that are inspired to blow their gaskets, take on threatening swipes, roar at others, or get into another’s face after continued illustrations of aggression blasted in the TV news reports.  The intensity of emotion is ineffective and consequential.  In fact, managing the emotion of anger is a key to resolving the issues that may have brought on anger in the first place. 

And, then there is the type or expression of anger that contributes to the toll an emotion holds, despite its intensity.   Defense mechanisms are commonly used to deal with the emotion sideways, usually to protect oneself from internal anxiety or conflict.  Usually, anger takes on two common defenses:  Blaming others or situations directly without looking back at numero-uno; or displaced or projected anger in which one transfers the blame onto someone or something else that is really not directly involved.  Both expressions are damaging and give rise to increased animosity and deeper wounds.   However, at least with direct blame, one is able to defend or respond accordingly.  With displaced anger, the source of one’s frustrations are not clear or hard to directly impact, and thus seeking someone or something else less threatening is oftentimes a win if they can capture a vulnerable side-step as a replacement target.  A good example of displaced anger is… “kicking the dog” after a hard day’s work; a sad but heinous occurrence most dare not confess because of the absurdity of it all.

Blaming others or using displaced anger is a cowards’ way out.  There is no identified responsibility of self.  Both do damage, and the effects are lingering.  Displaced anger is unfair.  It gives rise to the wrong opponent.  Unfortunately, “Kicking a dog when it’s down” happens more than anyone wants to admit.  Yes, dogs can be annoying at times, especially when one is spent from the day.  However, when anger is at the door seething for a reason to blow, the dog, by its very nature, is at risk.   An unwelcomed greeting with continual licks, being underfoot, or demanding a head pat or a hug can indeed trigger oneself to go over the edge.  As the harsh words are expelled and the foot boots the dog, there may be a smitten of release only to later find Man’s Best Friend bruised and retreated, and guilt spawning.  

If we are willing to be afront to a dog, how much easier is it to displace anger onto family members or friends who likely can’t find reprieve because of being homebound from the pandemic? How about those we work with or spend our time with?  How much anger can be spent without some sort of consequence?  We need to learn how to manage our emotions and reactions, and know what to do to deal with them as we cope with ourselves during the stressors of COVID-19…. And for goodness sakes, don’t kick the dog!  

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW

Out-patient psychotherapist

MDH Essential Caregiver Update July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020

Hello St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Friends and Family,

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently released guidance which allows for Essential Caregiver for nursing home and assisted living residents.  Please see the MDH guidance found here and below.

Although social distancing and physical separation are still important to keep residents safe, we are taking steps to combat the unintended consequences of prolonged social isolation and to maintain overall health and wellbeing.

St. William’s Living Center will complete a policy for an Essential Caregiver program by July 25 and the program will be implemented shortly after.  The policy will follow MDH guidelines and is a narrowly defined exception to visitor restrictions which may allow certain cares to be provided by a personal caregiver from outside our community. This new guidance is not intended to be a reopening of visitors, but instead is intended to provide essential care for high risk residents.

If, at any time, it is deemed unsafe for Essential Caregivers to enter the building—due to a rise in the number of cases in our community, either within our walls or in the broader community—it is our obligation per MDH guidelines to revisit and reassess the program.

Prior to finalizing our policy, we are waiting for feedback from the Minnesota Department of Health and Leading Age MN.  When our policy is complete, we will distribute it on our website at www.stwilliamslivingcenter.com, by email, and by mail to each resident’s point of contact. 

Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly

Administrator

St. William’s Living Center

Our Physical Therapy Clinic is Open!

Did you have to give up your regular physical therapy visits because of COVID-19? Or have you sustained a new injury that needs more attention to heal?

Aches, pains, and other physical ailments don’t go away because there’s a global pandemic. If you need physical therapy, we have good news for you. The physical therapy clinic at St. William’s Living Center is open!

Here’s what you need to know about physical therapy and the precautions we’re taking to keep you safe during the pandemic.

Do You Need Physical Therapy?

Mobility issues are caused by many things including arthritis, falling, overuse, and surgery. They can happen suddenly or may evolve over time. 

Physical therapy can help restore range of motion in stiff and sore joints through stretching and other exercises. These same exercises can make muscles stronger and more supportive. The stronger your muscles, the less likely you’ll re-injure yourself.

Therapy is also great for those recovering from surgery. Surgery often means a prolonged period of bed rest, which can cause the rest of your bones and muscles to weaken. Physical therapy can get you back on your feet again with less downtime and less pain after surgery.

If you suffer from any type of mobility issue, or are experiencing pain through regular movement, physical therapy might be just what you need.

Therapy Options

At St. William’s, we have several options to administer physical therapy treatment. Traditional or in-clinic treatment is ideal for those who have sustained a recent injury or had recent surgery. This is where you’ll receive the hands-on treatment you need in the first few days after the event. 

In-clinic treatment is also ideal for those who need a higher level of assistance during physical therapy sessions. This includes patients who are less steady on their feet or prone to falling. 

Another option is a virtual or telehealth session. If you have limited access to transportation, this is a great option for you. It allows you to visit with a physical therapist and learn practical exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home.

Also, if you’re uneasy about venturing out in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a telehealth session is a great option. You’ll receive the treatment you need while maintaining social distance.

For those patients who are somewhere in the middle between telehealth and in-clinic visits, our therapists can create a personalized program that’s a hybrid of the two options. You can come in for certain therapies and work with your therapist to continue your program at home while checking in through virtual visits.   

Safety Precautions at SWLC Physical Therapy Clinic

We’ve taken extra precautions during this pandemic to ensure the safety of our patients, residents, and staff members. 

Upon entering the clinic, a staff member screens you by taking your temperature. Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees will be asked to leave and contact their doctor. 

Then, you’ll answer a series of questions related to COVID-19 symptoms to ensure you are not carrying the virus. Nobody who exhibits symptoms will be allowed into the St. William’s facility, and that includes staff members. If you do feel like you have any symptoms, we ask you to reschedule your therapy appointment and call your doctor.

All physical therapy patients and therapists wear surgical masks and eye protection during treatment sessions. Staff sanitizes therapy equipment after every patient. In addition, nursing home residents do not share the therapy facility with out-patient clients so you’ll have no worries about picking up the virus from others. 

Are you ready to get back on your feet? Contact us today to make your appointment at St. William’s physical therapy clinic!

How Are Our Children Doing?

Many adults know what it feels like to be traumatized as a child because they have experienced it themselves while growing up, be it tornados or floods, accidents, death of a close family member or friend, poverty, peer teasing, or difficulties at home.  However, in our lifetime, most of us have not experienced a world-wide trauma, like a pandemic or world war.

World-wide events are different than more localized traumas as there is some sense of normalcy still standing outside the disaster.  However, when the whole world is dealing with a pandemic, it is hard to find the anchor.   There is no knowledge as to where the COVID-19 will take us, how bad it will get and how long it will last.  Most of what we do know is that there have been pandemics in the past and we have survived them.  It is at least a reference point.   

How do we help our children if the adults in the room aren’t able to gain perspective themselves on how to move forward?  Even though most of us adults are struggling with heightened anxiety and fear ourselves about the pandemic, that dread is quickly infiltrated to our children.  Overall, children are mostly vulnerable as their developing brains are easily overwhelmed with raw emotions of which a filter has not yet emerged.  They haven’t gained a perspective as to how to survive, and without logic or guidance, children can easily become prey to their own explosive emotions and the trauma itself is absorbed into the fabric of their own development, with lifelong influences.  

Nearly 5 months in and children have already experienced the surge of emotion that comes with traumas.  It can take the form of anger, irritability, clinginess, sleeping difficulties and nightmares, and isolation. Along with life or death worries and fears, their lives have also been disrupted with no school, limited contact with their friends and extended families, the scarcity of activities they have become accustomed to, their parents’ own struggles with increased demands, the change of structure at home with parents having fluctuating work schedules and environments, budgeting changes, a lack of structure and much less stimulation than their previous life before COVID-19.  Children need to know that despite the trauma, a part of their lives are still indeed normal, and life goes on.  Children need their parents or guided adults to help them realize that their whole world isn’t caving in. 

Parents need to manage their own stressors so that they can be good role models for their children.  Parents need to be perceptive to their children’s needs and avail themselves accordingly.  Parents need to give their children the love and attention they need to help them find ways to express themselves and direct their fears and anxieties to a level that they can manage.  Parents need to be honest with their children, explaining what is happening in a way that they can understand, even if they are young.     Parents need to provide structure and routines to their days so that their children can find some anchor.  Parents need to find a sense of “normalcy”, so that their children can grasp it as well.

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW

Can Garage-Saling Turn you into a Hoarder?

Shopping at garage sales is a lot of fun; especially when you are able to accumulate things you’ve “always wanted”, especially at a good price. Garage saling can also take on a life of its own. Usually, it is a time for women to get together, have coffee or brunch and do something light-hearted and casual on a Friday or Saturday morning.  Cruising the streets for sale signs, dropping in for a look, putzing around, bartering and then leaving with an armful of good stuff and pocket change only to go at it for another round. 

As these treasures accumulate and as the years go by, it is fairly common to find a buyer in their packed home where there is no more room to spare.  It is a dilemma for sure, but then again garage sale buyers usually beget garage sale sellers!  Buying and selling is the draw, and the social get-togethers remain steadfast; unless of course buying without selling becomes a stickler.   

Unfortunately, there are indeed some who just cannot part from all those treasures they have collected throughout the years; and as the problem merges further, they find themselves in cramped living conditions with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter.  Countertops, book cases, sinks, stoves, desks, stairways, and all other surfaces are piled high and can fall in domino fashion with a simple nudge.  And then, if there still isn’t room, there is always the garage, storage units or even stacks of stuff piled outside. 

Individuals with a Hoarding Disorder have a very difficult time discarding their possessions because of their belief that they need to save.  Even thinking of parting with their items brings them significant stress and anxiety, regardless of the actual value of the items.  Common characteristics for those that hoard have difficulty planning, organizing, and making decisions, procrastinate and avoid ways to deal with arising issues, and struggle with getting rid of things or wasting anything that could be used later.  They also tend to have an emotional connection with the objects collected, reminding them of previous times they felt happier or safer.  There are treatment efforts available to reduce hoarding behavior and one finds they have grown out of their own home.  However, many also can learn to stop and take action to reduce the clutter once they realize the problem.  Keep garage saling fun by managing its potential aftermath!

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW