VISITATION MODIFICATION CHANGES BEGINNING AUGUST 31, 2020

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

We are very excited to share news that we will soon be able to resume visitation in our setting and warmly welcome visitors back in our buildings! After carefully developing a safe and comprehensive reopening plan, we expect in-door visits to resume on August 31, 2020.

As of today, we have not had any positive cases of COVID-19 in any staff or residents.  We developed a testing plan that includes ongoing surveillance testing of direct care staff through an agreement with the Mayo Clinic.  We are taking an aggressive approach to test residents and staff with symptoms by utilizing rapid testing available through Sanford Clinic in Parkers Prairie. 

INDOOR VISITS MUST BE SCHEDULED IN ADVANCE

Guests may schedule an indoor visit online at https://stwilliamslivingcenter.simplybook.me/ or by calling the business office at 218-338-4671 during business hours Monday – Friday 8am to 4:30pm.

VISITORS MUST BE SCREEND PRIOR TO ENTRY

All visitors entering the facility will be actively screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at a screening station prior to the visitor walking through the facility.  All visitors to the nursing home should enter door A to be screened.  All assisted living visitors should enter door E to be screened.  Do not come for an indoor visit if you are ill or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.  

VISITATION RULES MAY CHANGE

Visitation rules may change for several reason’s including if a resident or staff person tests positive for COVID-19, if the case activity level in the community increases above an incidence rate of 10:10,000 in Douglas or Otter Tail county, or if the facility does not have adequate staffing or PPE

See below for a visitation guide to explain the process for Level 2 visitation at McCornell Court and St. William’s Living Center.  Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 218-338-4671. 

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

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

Is It True? Common Misinformation About the Coronavirus Outbreak

We are fortunate to live in a time when we don’t have to wait for the morning paper for our news. It’s easy to get the breaking news we need through twenty-four-hour cable news outlets, social media, and the internet.

This fast news cycle has its drawbacks too. Misinformation about the Coronavirus outbreak tends to get spread around just as quickly as facts. Sometimes, even legitimate news sources make mistakes in their reporting and spread misinformation about this deadly disease.

In this article, we’ll address some of the recent pieces of misinformation floating around out there. We’ll also tell you what you can believe during these uncertain times.

Recently Reported Misinformation

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently made claims that asymptomatic spread, or spread of the disease by those who carry the virus yet exhibit no symptoms, is a rare occurrence. A day later, they went back on this claim and said that much is still unknown about asymptomatic spread.

In early June, the Star Tribune reported a story that grossly misrepresented the impact of the disease in the state’s long-term care facilities. The article miscounted death totals and made no mention of the measures taken to care for those with COVID-19.

Some of the facilities mentioned in the article opened up entire wings to the care of COVID-19 patients and have high recovery rates. This information was completely omitted from the original article and only a small correction printed in the next day’s paper.

There have also been many reports about how the virus spreads. In the initial stages of the outbreak, scientists believed the virus was spread by touching surfaces. Now, some news outlets are saying that it can’t be spread this way, rather, it spreads by being close to someone who has the virus.

The truth? It’s more complicated than these limited online stories cover.

What We Know About the Coronavirus Outbreak

The examples we’ve given in this article are just a few recent examples of misreporting on this topic. Let’s concentrate on what we know to be true at this time.

1. We Don’t Understand the Disease Yet

Despite all the information out there on COVID-19, scientists really don’t know much about it. From the beginning, we’ve operated assuming asymptomatic spread and surface spread are dangerous to our residents. Until we have hard, scientific facts about how the disease spreads, we plan to air on the side of caution to protect our vulnerable residents.

2. It Is Deadly to Our Residents

We might not have scientific data about the disease, but we do know one thing for sure – it is deadly to the elderly and to those with compromised immune systems. The statistics verify this as a fact and we need to continue diligent safety measures to protect the residents of St. William’s Living Center.

3. Masks DO Help

Wearing a cloth mask won’t necessarily prevent you from contracting the virus. However, wearing a mask does protect others if you happen to be a carrier of the virus or if you haven’t developed symptoms yet.

In fact, disposable masks are now readily available at many major stores and pharmacies. Disposable masks provide a better fit, which gives you more protection. They are also more comfortable to wear than heavy, cloth masks.

4. Testing Is Very Important

Testing is the best way to prevent outbreaks in long-term care facilities. By testing our residents and staff, we can identify those who carry the virus, even if they do not show symptoms. We can keep infected staff out of the building, and we can isolate infected residents to prevent further spread.

At this time, St. William’s has had no positive cases of COVID-19.

5. Excellent Hygiene Works to Prevent Outbreak

We know for certain that practicing excellent hygiene is the best way to stay safe during this pandemic. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Avoid touching your face.

Use hand sanitizer throughout the day as an added precaution. Hand sanitizer is now readily available in most major stores. Buy a bottle to keep in your car and use it every time you return from a trip out. 

What We’re Doing to Keep Our Residents Safe

Our top priority is keeping our residents safe from a Coronavirus outbreak. All St. William’s staff wear surgical masks and protective eyewear while on duty. We are also screening all employees before they enter the building to ensure someone with symptoms doesn’t come to work and infect others.

We worked with the National Guard to complete three rounds of testing on all residents and staff members. So far, we have had no positive cases of Coronavirus at St. William’s.

We are well-stocked in personal protective equipment for our staff members and we have plenty of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies on hand. Employees that develop COVID-like symptoms are immediately asked to leave work, consult their physician, and get tested before returning to work.

Residents who report symptoms are isolated in their room and immediately tested. If a resident tests positive, we’ve prepared a separate area of our facility to act as a COVID unit. That resident will be separated from healthy residents and only COVID designated staff will care for them. Healthy residents will never share space or staff with the COVID unit when that time comes.

St. William’s is strictly following all Minnesota Department of Health and Center for Disease Control guidelines. If you have questions or concerns, please call us.

What Does “Getting Old” Mean?

What is the definition of “Getting Old”?  Is “getting old” about a person’s age or maybe it really has nothing to do with the number of years a person lives? 

There are good and bad connotations about “getting old”.  There are true hallmarks of becoming older, such as doing things slower than usual, forgetting more easily, getting wrinkles, and needing more rest than before.  No doubt, age usually begets a breakdown in our physical and mental capabilities; but, does that actually mean we are “getting old?”.  Does “getting old” really have to do with declining health and succumbing to its struggles or is it more about life experiences and the value of what you have to offer? 

Maybe “getting old” has more to do with the characteristics developed after being around for a long time.  After battling through the thicket of life’s circumstances and succumbing to the many bumps along the way, what kind of outlook does an older person develop over the years?  Of course, we are all different and respond uniquely as we journey down the road. 

Those who have aged have a choice of “getting older”.  Maybe “getting old” is when you are absorbed with the loss of what you had before or what you don’t have now?

Or, maybe the choice is to experience the maturity and thoughtfulness of this life.  There is definitely some truth to the saying, “Wisdom Comes with Age”, although this is really determined by the one “getting old”.  Wisdom is about looking through the lens of what really matters; yielding to a backlash of experiences, seeing the forest and not just the trees, summarizing life’s issues, and deriving conclusions by gaining perspective or a well-rounded view of what is important. “Getting old” can be about building tolerance, patience, fortitude, understanding, focusing on what truly matters, having more confidence and feeling a calling or moral responsibility to speak up for the sake of the upcoming generations.  “Getting older” may be a beautiful thing.  What a ripe moment to enjoy life, if you choose to. 

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW

Seniors Facing COVID-19

Putting yourself in the seat of a senior, what would it feel like to be constantly reminded about the fear of contracting COVID-?  While facing the reality that grave illness or death for themselves or their friends may be just around the corner, the curve of anxiety takes a steep turn upwards.  Not only is the mind turning various possibilities of “What if’s”, they are also more prone to constant worrying, sleeping and eating problems, concentration difficulties, increased irritability and frustration, and likely fear the worst-case scenarios – all symptoms of clinical anxiety; and all normal in the face of a pandemic. 

On top of this, seniors, as is the case for most Americans, are authorized to isolate themselves or practice social distancing during the course of this virus.  Overall, seniors struggle significantly more with isolation compared to the general population.   As isolation persists as a constant, loneliness oftentimes begets depression.   Being alone can be debilitating, with a high suicide rate among those over 65, noting that 18% of all suicide deaths are from the elderly population.  Depression among the elderly oftentimes shows itself with common symptoms, including staying in bed and sleeping too much or too little, not eating well, losing interest in a usual routine, having little energy to do even pleasurable activities, postponing contact with others, and of course isolating.  Actually, if you have visited your area nursing home or senior living facilities, it is evident that there is an epidemic of loneliness among its residents.

On the flip side, not only do seniors isolate themselves when depressed, the truth is that they are isolated as a forgotten generation while the rest of the world stays busy with all its distractions.  Their isolation comes from within as well as in a large part, prompted by the reality of being left behind as an after-thought or one of the last “things to do” on their adult children’s “to do” list. Isolation is a daily reality for most seniors, and likely much more so with the COVID-19 virus.

As we all face being home-bound, missing our friends and those family members not living with us, isolated in a sense from normal living, let’s pause and empathize with those seniors that live like this as a matter of routine.  Reach out and connect.  Seniors need the support, comfort, and alliance during this difficult time.  They are a special generation of people with strong values and faith, hardy by history, and have been our leaders and role models for the generations after them.  They are next in line as the lost generation.  Let us respect, appreciate and value their worth, and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Now that life hurriedness has taken a stop with quarantine for most of us, let us take time and reflect on what really is important.  Reach out and virtually touch a senior, including those that are isolated as well as those more vulnerable and are especially dealing with heightened anxiety and depression.  If you were sitting in their seat, isn’t that what you would want?  

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW

Mental Health Professional

Cover That Cough! Stay Safe with These Flu Prevention Tips

When was the last time you had the flu?

The flu is no fun, but fortunately for most people, it isn’t life-threatening, it’s just really annoying.

This changes as we age, however. Our immune systems lose steam and our bodies take longer to fight off common viral infections. The flu is extremely dangerous for the elderly, especially those who live in close quarters with others, like in a nursing home or senior living center. 

There are a few things we can all do to help prevent the spread of these diseases. Stay safe this spring with these flu prevention tips.

Cover That Cough

If you’re suffering from a cough, always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. According to the CDC, the proper way to cover a cough is by using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose while you cough. 

Immediately discard the tissue and use a brand new tissue when you need to cough again. If you can’t find a tissue, cough directly into the upper part of your sleeve. Never cough or sneeze into your hand. Hands are the worst place to spread germs.

Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash

Practice Good Hand Hygiene

You may not realize it, but almost everything you do on a daily basis involves using your hands. This makes them the perfect breeding ground for collecting and passing along germs. Hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent contracting the flu. 

Proper hand hygiene starts with hand washing. Here’s the right way to wash your hands:

  • Wet hands with warm, clean water. 
  • Apply soap and rub hands together to work up a good lather. 
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds, getting the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails.
  • Rinse hands with clean water and dry them using a clean towel or an air drier.  

Always wash your hands after you sneeze or cough, even if you use a tissue. Wash your hands after you use the restroom and after changing dirty diapers. Also, wash hands before you eat anything or prepare food. 

Leave Your Face Alone

Germs get into our bodies through our faces, including the eyes, nose, and mouth. Be conscious of how often you touch your face and make an effort to touch your face as little as possible. 

If you do need to touch your face, make sure to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before you do. This is especially important if you’ve been around someone who is ill. 

When In Doubt, Stay Home

If possible, stay home when you believe you’re getting sick. This tip is especially important when it comes to keeping elderly family and friends safe from this dangerous disease. Skip your weekly trip to the nursing home if you have any symptoms of illness or have been around anyone who’s sick.

Follow These Flu Prevention Tips for a Clean Bill of Health!

By following these easy flu prevention tips, you can seriously reduce your risk of contracting and spreading the flu. And that’s what we call a win-win situation!

At St. William’s Living Center, we take flu season seriously. Our facility consistently receives a 5-star rating from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare program. This rating includes criteria for flu prevention measures. 
Call us today if you have any questions about the flu prevention tips we’ve outlined here.

Prevent Falls with These Senior Exercises for Balance

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults?

Falls happen at all ages, but as we grow older, we lose muscle tone and our balance suffers. This leads to a higher risk of falling. Fortunately, balance, like any physical ability, can be improved with regular practice and exercise.

In this article, we’ll go over four senior exercises for balance that, if done regularly, can help prevent falls and keep your body strong and healthy for years to come.

The Tight Rope Walk

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight out at your sides, parallel to the ground. Pick up one foot and place it in front of the other to form a line, like walking over a tight rope. Pause for a second or two to make sure you’re balanced and then repeat with the next foot.

See how far you can go across the room with this exercise. It’s a great exercise for helping your brain and feet coordinate and developing strength in your feet and ankles. And, as an added bonus, you’ll develop strength in your arms and shoulders by holding them out at your sides.

Tree Pose

Tree is an ancient yoga pose that’s known to help improve balance. There are many variations of this pose, so you can adjust it to your skill level and increase the difficulty as you improve.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left, holding your right foot just above the floor. If you have the ability, turn your right foot in, placing the sole of your right foot on your left inner calf to form a triangle wiht your right leg.

Once you’ve mastered this, pick your arms up and raise them straight out at your sides, fingers stretched wide to mimic a tree leaf. Then reach your arms up over your head and touch your palms together.

Again, if you can’t do this on the first go, it’s okay to only do a portion of this pose to start. Finally, hold the pose for several seconds, then repeat on the other leg.

Sit, Stand, Sit

This simple exercise can make a big difference in your leg strength over time. Your legs are the base for your body, so the stronger your leg muscles, the more steady your base and the less likely you are to fall.

Start by sitting in a chair facing a wall. Leave enough space between your legs and the wall to allow you to stand up comfortably.

Touch the wall with your palms to steady yourself. Then rise up out of the chair to a standing position. If you need to, you can place your hands on the arms or seat of the chair and use them to help push you up.

Once you’re standing, sit back down in the chair and repeat the process 10 times, or as many times as you’re comfortable.

Mountain Pose

Mountain is another ancient yoga pose designed to help with balance. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands down at your sides. Face forward and close your eyes.

Mentally check in with your feet and legs. Feel your feet root to the ground to form a strong base for your body or “mountain”. Stand like this with your eyes closed as long as you like.

This seems like a simple exercise, but it’s very important for keeping your mind connected with your feet. The more aware you are of your feet and legs, the less likely you are to fall when you’re caught off guard.

Try These Senior Exercises for Balance

These senior exercises for balance are a great way to improve your balance from home. However, if you have a history of falls or recurring injuries, you should talk to your doctor about physical therapy to help with balance.

At St. William’s Living Center, we have a physical therapists on staff to help you with all of your exercise needs. Contact us today to learn about how physical therapy can help you recover and prevent falls in the future.

What Is Hospice Care? 5 Facts to Know

Did you know that 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries receive hospice care annually? And that number is increasing with each passing year.

End-of-life care isn’t an easy subject for most of us to think about, but it is something that’s important to discuss with your loved ones. Many people don’t understand the many benefits of hospice care.

If you find yourself asking “What is hospice care?”, we’re here to help. Here are five facts to know about this special type of healthcare.

1. Hospice is Supportive Care

Rather than treating the underlying illness, hospice care focuses on supporting the patient through day-to-day life. Symptom control is the number one priority. By treating the symptoms of the disease, hospice caregivers make patients more comfortable so they can live their final days to the fullest.

A care plan is established for each patient by hospice professionals. This care plan is tailored to the needs of the patient and offers 24-hour support.

2. Hospice Helps with Daily Life Activities

Hospice is more than just healthcare. Care professionals help the patient with simple tasks like bathing, preparing food, doing laundry, and cleaning their home. They can also help family members learn how to do these activities so they can support their loved ones during difficult times. 

3. Hospice Care Includes Emotional Support 

It’s not uncommon for terminally ill patients to suffer from high levels of anxiety and even depression. Hospice care workers are specially trained to offer emotional support to those dealing with a terminal illness. They can even offer spiritual guidance if that is what the patient needs.

Hospice care workers are also a great source of companionship to the patient and their family members. They can provide some needed time off to family members who take on the brunt of the caregiving responsibilities.

4. You Can Receive Hospice Care in a Nursing Home

Most people believe that a loved one must be at home to receive hospice care, but that’s not true. If your family member lives in a nursing home, they too can receive hospice benefits. 

Nursing home residents that opt for hospice care will receive regular visits from hospice nurses that are specially trained in end-of-life care. They’ll work with the nursing home staff to ensure that the care plan is working as it should and they’ll offer suggestions for therapy and other care procedures that can improve the resident’s quality of life.

5. Hospice is for the Entire Family

Hospice can be a benefit to the entire family, not just the patient. The hospice service will provide access to counselors during the illness and even after death, to help family members cope. 

They’ll keep family members in the loop during the entire process and ensure that everyone’s wishes are respected. Daily meetings with hospice caregivers can offer family members hope and stress relief during these trying times. 

What Is Hospice Care? It’s Your Choice

Hospice care is an excellent choice for those who are looking to live a more comfortable life during their final days. Talk to your loved ones about choosing hospice care when the time comes. 

At St. William’s Living Center, we understand the difficulties surrounding end-of-life care decisions. Call us anytime to discuss hospice care options in Parkers Prairie.

4 Reasons Why Assisted Living is Better Than Living Alone

Home is where the heart is.

While this statement is absolutely true, it can be tough to take the leap and leave your home behind for good. This is especially true as we age. We become set in our routines, making change difficult and overwhelming.

But sometimes change is exactly what we need to improve our lives. A little assistance can go a long way toward a more healthy and social lifestyle.

In this article, we’ll give you four good reasons why assisted living is better than living alone.

1. Maintenance? What Maintenance?

Do you love shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, repairing leaky faucets, and fixing a broken A/C in the heat of summer? Not so much!

Home maintenance can become a big burden as we age. It becomes harder to keep up with even the most minor of tasks like cooking and cleaning.

When you join an assisted living community, these chores are taken care of for you. The best part is, you can choose the level of assistance you need. There are a variety of optional amenities to add to your daily routine. They include nursing care, in-house doctor visits, bathing assistance, and personal laundry.

2. Leave Loneliness at the Door

Socialization is a wonderful way to keep your mind sharp as you age. If you spend much of your day alone, an assisted living community is just what you need to improve your social life. There are regular social functions planned on the community activity calendar.

Join in when you want to or opt to stay in your apartment for some alone time if you want to. You have the option.

3. Move It or Lose It

Regular activity is essential for your physical and mental health. Assisted living communities offer lots of extra amenities like whirlpool baths, fitness centers, and even in-house occupational therapy to help you recover from illness or surgery.

There are lots of activities planned to get your out and about. And there are plenty of indoor and outdoor common areas so you can easily take a walk to get your blood pumping.

4. Great Food? Yes, Please!

Some of us love to cook… some of us don’t love it so much. That’s okay! In an assisted living facility, you have the choice to cook for yourself or to enjoy regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided by the kitchen.

The meals are delicious. And the best part? You don’t have to do the dishes when you’re finished eating!

Are You Ready?

At St. William’s Living Center, we have 15 beautiful apartments in our assisted living called McCornell Court. Our goal is to provide you with the peace of mind you need and the comfort you deserve.

Call us today to find out how we can assist you!