St. William’s Living Center COVID-19 Situation Update December 3, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Residents, Friends, and Families:

I am writing today regarding three new positive resident cases and four new positive staff cases of COVID-19 at St. William’s Living Center.  We are in daily contact with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus. 

As of today, we have not had any deaths related to COVID-19, but the reality is that at some point we will likely have a resident that will pass away with the virus.  One case is too many, one death will be too many.  Out of respect to the residents and their families, I will not be reporting resident COVID deaths in these updates.   New cases and COVID-19 deaths are reported to both the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.  If you ever have questions or would like more information, please contact me by phone at 218-338-1001 or by email at tim@stwilliamslivingcenter.com.

We currently have the following active COVID-19 cases:

  • St. William’s Living Center: eight active staff cases, fifteen active resident cases
  • McCornell Court Assisted Living: No active cases

Isolating residents who have tested positive: We have set up a separate isolation area in the nursing home to treat residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Only staff that are working with COVID positive residents may enter this area.

The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a free hotline for anyone who has questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Call the MDH hotline at: 1-651-201-3920. We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

Heal Broken Bones Faster with These Tips

A broken bone, no matter where it is in your body, can take away your mobility in the blink of an eye. 

Fast healing is essential to get you back on your feet. This is especially important if you suffer from a bone disease like osteoporosis, where broken bones can become a common occurrence. 

Keep reading for some of our top tips to help heal broken bones faster. 

Balance Your Diet

Healing is a restorative process that your body is pretty good at. But your body can’t heal without the right building blocks. That’s why a properly balanced diet is essential to heal broken bones faster. 

Bones are made mostly from a protein called collagen. Your body needs plenty of protein to build new collagen for bone healing. Eat lots of protein-rich foods like lean meats, low-fat dairy products, beans, nuts, and fortified cereals.

Leafy green vegetables like collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and kale are high in calcium, another important part of bone repair. Eggs and whole grains, like brown rice and oatmeal, provide iron, another ingredient for making collagen. Citrus fruits, potatoes, and peppers have high levels of vitamin C, another necessary vitamin used to make collagen.  

Talk to your doctor before beginning any dietary supplement program. You should be able to get the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. But if your doctor suggests supplements, follow their advice. 

Avoid Bad Habits

We’ve talked about the things you should put into your body when you’re healing from a broken bone, now let’s discuss the things you shouldn’t put in your body. 

You may enjoy a cocktail or two from time to time, but it’s best to avoid alcohol completely when you’re healing. Alcohol interacts with the body’s ability to build new bone and bone grown with alcohol in the body is weaker than bone grown without alcohol present. Alcohol also impairs your judgment and makes you unsteady on your feet, increasing the risk you’ll break the bone again.

Smoking is also a no-no. It affects how blood flows through the body and has been shown to severely hinder your body’s ability to heal. 

Avoid processed food while you’re nursing a broken bone. Processed foods often lack many vitamins and minerals. This leads to lots of empty calories that don’t contribute to those building blocks we discussed in the last section. 

Processed foods are also more likely to contain salt. While some salt is essential for good health, too much salt can cause your body to expel calcium in urine rather than absorbing it. Read food labels and limit salt intake to six grams per day max.  

Physical Therapy to Heal Broken Bones Faster

Your doctor will likely prescribe a treatment plan to help get you back on your feet. Often, that plan involves physical therapy

A trained physical therapist knows how to get you moving without risking further injury. They specialize in working on the soft tissue surrounding the fracture site. This brings fresh blood and oxygen to the bone, healing it quicker. 

Physical therapy builds strength after the limited mobility which often follows immediately after a fracture. Your therapist works with you on exercises to strengthen the muscles around the fracture site. They’ll also work on improving your range of motion and strengthening the surrounding joints. 

This type of physical therapy treatment helps heal broken bones faster and helps prevent future broken bones by improving your strength, flexibility, and balance. 
If you’ve recently had some bad luck in the broken bone department, talk to your doctor about a physical therapy treatment plan. At St. William’s, our licensed therapists are here to support you throughout the healing process. Call us today for more information!

Physical Therapy for Back Pain: What to Expect

It’s intense, it happens to 80% of us at some point in our lives, and it’ll knock you right off your feet.  

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems and it can also be one of the most difficult pains to get rid of. Many people end up on the operating table in search of relief from acute back pain.

Fortunately, back surgery isn’t the only option. Physical therapy for back pain is an effective and less invasive alternative. 

Here’s what you can expect when you opt for physical therapy to help with back pain.

Why Physical Therapy for Back Pain is a Good Idea

The muscles of the back, along with the muscles of the side body and abdomen, make up your body’s core. This large group of muscles is responsible for almost all movement in some way or another. Back pain can cause even the most mundane tasks to become excruciating. 

Suffering through back pain without seeking treatment means you won’t be able to exercise effectively. Bending and reaching may be out of the question. And you may even find it painful to stand, sit, or lay down. Your quality of life will suffer as a result.

Physical therapy for back pain is a non-invasive alternative. Surgery is expensive and it involves days or even weeks of downtime. While you’re recovering, you’ll lose range-of-motion and muscle mass which makes it even harder to get back on your feet. A physical therapy treatment plan can save you time and money while reducing or eliminating the need for powerful pain medication.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

During your first appointment, your therapist will evaluate your situation by asking you questions. Be prepared to answer questions about how long you’ve suffered, the level of pain you feel, and how the back pain started. 

Next, the therapist will do some limited movement exercises to gauge how well you can move. This often involves range-of-motion and strength measurement exercises. They may take a hands-on approach and feel your back for tight muscles and sore spots. Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move easily and give the therapist easy access to your back. 

After the therapist evaluates you, they’ll come up with a personalized therapy plan. This plan will address your current pain and work on building strength and flexibility to prevent future pain. 

Your treatment plan may include massage or ultrasound therapy to ease tension in tight muscles and reduce inflammation. They may work on stretching exercises to push, pull, or twist the joints in the back. And they’ll likely prescribe strengthening exercises that target the most painful areas of the back. 

Prevent Future Back Pain with Physical Therapy

The final phase of your physical therapy treatment plan will involve preventing future injuries. Once your pain is under control, your therapist will work with you on exercises targeted to strengthen the muscles of the core. 

They’ll give you stretches to do at home to keep the muscles of the back from tightening. Plus, they’ll offer you tips on how to improve posture and exercise on a regular basis. 
Talk to your doctor about physical therapy for back pain. And give us a call at St. William’s Living Center! Our physical therapy room is spacious and state-of-the-art and we’d love the opportunity to work with you on relieving your back pain for good.

SWLC Level 1 Visitation Update September 11, 2020

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

Due to an increase in the Otter Tail County COVID-19 Case Rate, the nursing home will move to LEVEL 1 visitation rules.  Therefore, indoor visit will be suspended until the county case rate decreases.  McCornell Court Assisted Living will remain at LEVEL 2 visitation with no changes to indoor visits.

Fortunately, we have not had any positive COVID-19 cases in residents or staff.  We are regularly testing all our employees so that we can identify any cases. 

Visitors may call the activity department at 218-338-1010 to schedule an outdoor visit.  Appointments must be scheduled in advance for outdoor visits.  If activity staff are not available, visitors should leave a message and staff will return the phone call.  Outdoor visits are scheduled in half hour time slots, which will allow for a 20-minute visit.  This will allow staff time to assist residents to get to and from their assigned visit.  Longer visits will be taken into consideration for special circumstances.  Visitation hours are based on staff availability. 

The essential caregiver program will resume under the LEVEL 1 visitation.  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.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001, tim@stwilliamslivingcenter.com ; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.

How Physical Therapy Exercises Can Help You Recover Faster from Surgery

You’ve had the surgery. You’ve made it through the first few days post-op. Now what?

Recovery after surgery is different for everyone. But one thing is certain across the board – physical therapy is a great tool to use when recovering from surgery. 

Keep reading to learn how physical therapy exercises can speed up your recovery.

Movement is Critical to Recovery

After surgery, your doctor will likely prescribe some time for you to rest and heal. But when that time has passed, it’s best to get back on your feet and get moving as soon as possible. Lack of movement during the post-surgical phase can lead to a loss of muscle mass, decreases in heart and lung capacity, and an increased risk of complications. 

Blood contains nutrients and brings fresh oxygen to the tissues. Increasing blood flow through a supervised physical therapy program helps keep your heart, lungs, and muscles in better shape. Exercise helps the actual surgical site heal quicker by delivering vital nutrients to the tissues. 

Another important aspect of recovery is mental health. The inability to move following surgery can have a big impact on your emotions and can lead to further issues like depression and insomnia. Safe exercises, done under the care of a physical therapist, release endorphins that make you feel better and help you deal with the stress of surgery. 

Strengthen, Stretch, and Balance

Strength training is a great way to bring more blood and oxygen to the tissues around the surgical site. The physical therapist will often utilize exercise machines and other tools, like crutches and braces, to ensure you’re properly supported while you build strength. And strengthening the core muscles – the muscles of the abdomen and back – provides better stability and reduces the risk of future injuries. 

Targeted stretching exercises help relieve pain from tense muscles and also help with blood flow. Stretching increases range of motion in your joints which improves overall mobility. It’s important to follow the therapist’s guidelines when stretching to ensure you don’t overextend or tear the surgical site. 

A physical therapist can also help improve balance. We might not realize it, but balance is so important for keeping us safe and injury-free after surgery. Falls are one of the top causes of injury in seniors. By doing balance exercises in both the seated and standing position, you can improve strength and flexibility, which can help prevent falls. 

Pain Management

If you’re experiencing pain around the surgery site, physical therapy may be able to help. Therapists provide other treatment options including ultrasound and massage therapy. These treatments, combined with strength training and stretching, can provide physical pain relief to those areas. 

Your body produces endorphins when you exercise and those endorphins may also help reduce pain. They work similarly to the way many powerful pain medications work to block pain signals from the body. The best way to get your endorphins up after surgery is to increase activity levels and physical therapy is the best way to do that safely. 

Who Can Benefit Physical Therapy Exercises After Surgery?

Are you wondering if you’d be a good candidate for physical therapy exercises after surgery? Talk to your doctor about physical therapy any time you have surgery. 

It’s a great option if you’ve had any kind of knee, hip, or shoulder surgery, including replacements. Physical therapy can also be helpful for back surgery or surgery on your hands or feet – some of the most difficult surgeries to recover from. 
At St. William’s, we have a brand-new, state-of-the-art physical therapy treatment room. We can provide you the care you need while you’re recovering from surgery. Visit our website today to learn more about our therapy options!

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

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!