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Coronavirus Information and Updates
The Highlands Living Center

March – December, 2020

December 29, 2020

Dear Resident/Family Members,

We are very excited about our participation in the program with the Centers for Disease Control in which COVID-19 vaccinations are available for our residents and staff members. These vaccines from Pfizer are a two dose vaccine. As you are aware, the first round of vaccinations was administered on December 21, 2020. The scheduled date for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines is January 11, 2021.

Each time the vaccine is administered a vaccine consent form is required to be completed. We again are requesting that you complete section C with insurance information to the best of your ability, signing section A-2, and returning to us either by email (to: Laura_Langan@urmc.rochester.edu); by mail (in the self-addressed, posted envelope included in our mailing); or by dropping it off at the facility.  We are requesting that this is returned to us by January 6th.

Download the printable vaccine consent form here.

Please find attached the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 vaccine Frequently Asked Questions sheet. I encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions. Please know that the safety and wellbeing of your loved one has been and remains our first priority.


Sincerely,

 Nirmala Nicholas, MD
 Medical Director                                                                       

Mary Anne Kretchmer
Infection Preventionist

December 15, 2020

Dear Family Members,

By now you have probably learned that COVID-19 vaccines are soon going to be ready for distribution to healthcare workers and residents in long term care.  We have long awaited this exciting news.

We, along with thousands of other long term care facilities, are participating in a program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer the vaccination, and will receive vaccines for our residents through Walgreens.   We have just learned the tentative date for the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered at The Highlands Living Center through Walgreens is this Monday, December 21st.    We have already sent letters and emails to residents and resident representatives and will be working to obtain information and authorization form completion. For the sake of expediency, if you have the ability to email, fax or drop the completed authorization form to us, we are requesting you do so.  The email address to return authorization forms to is Laura_Langan@urmc.rochester.edu.

The COVID-19 vaccines require two separate doses given about three or four weeks apart, depending on the vaccine.  Please read the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet here

I encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions.  Please know that the safety and wellbeing of your loved one has been and remains our first priority. 


Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administator

December 11, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you an update on The Highlands Living Center.  As you are aware, our limited in-person visitation is currently on hold due to additional asymptomatic staff testing positive and a resident testing positive.  We will reach out to you when this may resume.  As a reminder, please regularly view our website’s Coronavirus Information and Updates page where our full limited in-person visitation plan and all COVID-19 updates may be found. 

While our address is currently in a yellow zone, please keep in mind that in-person limited visitation must be suspended if the New York State Department of Health, in keeping with Governor Cuomo’s Cluster Action Initiative, determines that our location shifts to an orange or red zone.  If that occurs, we are required to adhere to those restrictions until The Highlands living Center returns to at least a yellow zone.    

We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal and State Departments of Health in expectation of the COVID vaccine’s availability.  When we obtain more information we will let you know.

Amidst this pandemic, we are doing everything possible to support your loved ones’ quality of life, including readying for the holidays!  Chaplain Steve is performing Holiday Hallways Sing-a-longs and Bible study groups about the Nativity.  Recreation and Facilities are busy decorating, spreading the magic of the season throughout the building.  Our Recreation team is handing out holiday cards to our residents, and staff are looking festive in their best holiday sweaters, socks and hats each Friday!  Our Fine Dining Department is excitedly preparing the Christmas menu, centered around a roast beef feast!

As always, we thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

December 4, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

We are writing to let you know that a case of COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus, has been diagnosed in a resident at The Highlands Living Center.

The resident is in quarantine.  We continue to watch closely to see if any residents have signs or symptoms of infection, and test them if indicated.

We have notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We are taking every step recommended to contain the spread of this virus in order to protect our residents and staff members. These steps include:

  • Screening staff members before they enter the facility for their shift and twice daily during their shift
  • Supporting all residents’ health needs daily, including screening for signs of COVID-19
  • Zero visitation policy to protect residents from community-acquired infection
  • Universal masking of all staff in our facility
  • Testing for COVID for any resident newly admitted to our facility, residents who are returning from a hospital stay and other testing as required by the Department of Health

We are committed to protecting the health of every resident and every member of our staff. Any staff member or resident who has been in contact with the resident who tested positive was notified and will be screened for signs of illness.  

Any staff member who shows signs of COVID-19, or tests positive, receives appropriate medical care for as long as needed and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 do not return to work until they have fully recovered and been cleared by the Health Department to return to work.

We, as always, thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website, which continues to have current information posted. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

December 1, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

As you are aware our limited in-person visitation is currently on hold on.  Due to additional asymptomatic staff testing positive our opening date for visitation must be extended.  We will reach out to you when this may resume.  As a reminder, please regularly view our website Coronavirus Information and Updates page where our full limited in-person visitation plan and all COVID-19 updates may be found.

Please be reminded as well, that if it is determined by the New York State Department of Health pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Cluster Action Initiative that The Highlands Living Center is in an orange or red zone in-person limited visitation must be suspended until our address is once again in at least a yellow zone.    

As the holidays approach we will be decorating for the residents and working creatively to make it as warm and festive as possible.  As much as your gifts of food for staff members are so very much appreciated, we ask that you refrain from sending edibles this year so we may continue to maintain best infection control practices. 

Thank you as always for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

November 23, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

I am writing to let you know that an asymptomatic staff member tested positive for COVID-19.  In accordance with federal guidelines, all residents who provide consent will be tested for COVID-19.

We are very sorry to relay that New York State guidelines require us to immediately suspend our limited in-person visitation today.  We can reinitiate limited in-person visitation when there have been no new resident or staff cases of COVID-19 for 14 days. Please reach out to your loved ones’ Recreation Specialist related to window and virtual visits. 

Click here to view our full Limited In-Person Visitation Plan.

Please be aware as well, that if it is determined by the New York State Department of Health pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Cluster Action Initiative that The Highlands Living Center is in an orange or red zone in-person limited visitation must be suspended until our address is once again in at least a yellow zone.    

Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

November 3, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

I am writing to let you know that an asymptomatic staff member tested positive for COVID-19.  In accordance with federal guidelines, all residents who provide consent will be tested for COVID-19.

We are very sorry to relay that New York State guidelines require us to immediately suspend our limited in-person visitation today.  We can reinitiate limited in-person visitation when there have been no new resident or staff cases of COVID-19 for 14 days. 

We will notify you once limited in-person visitation may resume.  Please view our full limited in-person visitation plan.

Please be assured that window visits as well as virtual visits may still occur, and you may reach out to your loved ones’ Recreation Specialist to schedule these. 

Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

October 30, 2020

Dear Friends and Family Members,

We are grateful that as of this writing, state guidelines for nursing homes enable us to provide limited in-person visitation to our residents and their families. As you are aware, this could change in the future should there be a COVID-positive staff member or resident.

I’m writing today because there has been some confusion about the requirement of the time frame of the COVID-negative test result that state guidelines require for limited in-person visitation. To calculate this properly, count the day of visitation as day 1, and count backwards seven (7) days. The test must have been done within that seven-day period, and a negative result received in order for you to have your in-person visit. Please continue to bring a hard copy of your negative result to your visit. The hard copy must have your name, date of collection and negative result.

Please be aware that the New York State Department of Health website has information on available COVID testing sites, along with this advice:

  • Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
  • If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
  • If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies (including pharmacies and medical practices) or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

We are trying very hard to schedule visits equitably for all of our residents. Our scheduling process is very meticulous to ensure that we are following all required safety precautions outlined by the state, and we request that families try to adhere to them to allow the next scheduled visit to occur. If you do need to adjust your video chat, limited in-person visit or window visit, please contact your recreational specialist.

Please be assured that that we are continuing to adhere to New York State and federal Department of Health guidelines as well as CDC infection prevention recommendations to ensure best practices and the highest level of safety for your loved one.


Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

September 30, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

We have heard from many families who are concerned about recently-enacted New York State guidelines stating that the visitor must present a verified negative test result within the last week (7 days) and visitation must be refused if the individual(s) fails to present such negative test result.

We understand your concerns about the new requirement, but we are required to follow the state guidelines. I wanted to share information about access to COVID testing from the state’s web site, and information from Leading Age, an industry leader in nursing home care.

The New York state Department of Health website has information on available COVID testing sites, along with this advice: 

  • Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
  • If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
  • If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

Leading Age offers information about the new visitation guidelines. If you are interested in learning more about nursing home visitation rules and how to share your concerns with New York State, please visit the Leading Age website.

If difficulty accessing COVID testing prevents you from making an in-person visit, please be assured that window visits may still occur, and you may reach out to your loved ones’ Recreation Specialist to schedule a window visit. 

Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.


Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

September 23, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

I am writing to let you know that we are hoping to open up for in-person limited visitation again on Thursday, October 1, 2020, provided that no new COVID-19 cases occur among residents or staff between now and that date.  As we’ve shared with you, New York State Department of Health guidelines allow limited, in-person visitation only when long-term care facilities have gone at least 14 days without a new COVID-19 case.

Please note that our limited in-person visitation plan has again been revised to reflect the most recent, updated New York State Department of Health guidelines that were issued on September 17, 2020.  Please view our full limited in-person visitation plan posted on our website here.

It is important to know that our limited in-person visitation plan was revised to allow for limited indoor visitation solely when the outdoor temperature is below 59 degrees or above 85 degrees, or for inclement weather conditions.  Only residents who are not on 14-day quarantine or observation period or on isolation precautions for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may have an in-person visit.  Importantly, all visitors are required to produce a verified negative COVID-19 test within the last seven days in order to have a limited in-person visit (indoor or outdoor).  The newest NYSDOH update does again allow for visitors under the age of 18 when accompanied by a visitor 18 years of age or older.

Please contact your loved ones’ Recreation Specialist to schedule a visit, and be aware that window visits are paused while in-person visits are available.

Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

September 16, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

I am writing to let you know that an asymptomatic staff member tested positive for COVID-19.  Due to new federal guidelines all residents who provide consent will be tested for COVID-19.

We are very sorry to relay that we were required to immediately suspend our limited in-person visitation today.  Consistent with the revised York State regulations regarding limited, in-person visitation in Nursing Homes that become effective Thursday, September 17th , we can reinitiate limited in-person visitation when there have been no resident or staff cases of COVID-19 for 14 days. 

When we are able to reinitiate our limited in-person visitation plan it will reflect these new regulations.  Additionally, our plan will allow limited indoor visitation solely when the outdoor temperature is below 59 degrees or above 85 degrees, or for inclement weather conditions. 

There are several requirements for the limited in-person visits, a number of which have changed. Please refer to the revised limited in-person visitation plan for full details which include these guidelines: Nursing Homes are now able to offer limited in-person visitation as long as there have been no resident or staff cases of COVID-19 for 14 days; All visitors are required to produce a copy of a verified negative COVID-19 test within the last seven days in order to have a limited in-person visit (indoors or outdoors); Visitors under the age of 18 are not permitted.

Our limited in-person visitation plan has been resubmitted to the State although implementation is delayed because of this new case.  We will notify you once limited in-person visitation may resume. 

Please view our full limited in-person visitation plan posted on our website here.

Please be assured that window visits may still occur, and you may reach out to your loved ones’ Recreation Specialist to schedule a window visit. 

Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will continue to update you via email and through our website.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

September 11, 2020

Dear Family Members and Friends,

We are excited to relay that as of this writing we will have met the New York State requirements for nursing homes to allow limited, in-person visitation to begin on Monday, September 14th.   Please understand this is subject to change at any time.  If we are unable to start in-person visitation on Monday because of anything that occurs after today’s date, we will immediately notify you.

There are several requirements for the limited in-person visits, so please review the Limited in-person visitation plan for full details.  Families will have the option to continue to do their normal window visit, if that better meets their needs.

If you would like schedule a limited in-person visit or change your regularly scheduled window visit to a limited in-person visit, please contact your loved one’s assigned Recreation Specialist.

Unit One- Debbie Lillie:  585-641-6288

Unit Two- Danielle Quattrociocchi:  585-641-6287

Unit Three- Latecia Wade: 585-641-6286

Please view our full limited in-person visitation plan posted on our website here.

You may also reach out to our Director of Recreation, Caitlin Brado (585-641-6213) with additional questions.  We will continue to keep our website up-to-date with COVID statistics and information regarding visitation.

We have been waiting anxiously for limited, in-person visitation to begin and along with you and your loved one, we hope this can occur soon.  Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.  We will update you via email if plans need to change.

Best Regards,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

August 14, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

We are writing to let you know that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 today.  The staff member is in quarantine at home.  We have determined that there has been no resident exposure. 

As required, we continue to test all staff members for coronavirus weekly in accordance with New York State guidelines for long-term care facilities and immediately quarantine any staff member who test positive. Staff members who test positive for COVID-19 may not return to work for 14 days, until they are fully recovered and have tested negative for COVID-19.

Unfortunately, our limited outdoor visits will need to be delayed an additional 28 days in compliance with New York State regulations.  We truly know what a disappointment this is. Of course we continue to offer window visits and encourage you to contact our Recreation Therapy staff for scheduling.

We are committed to protecting the health of every resident and every member of our staff. We will continue to keep our website updated with the most current COVID-19 information, as required, so please continue to check regularly.

Please continue to reach out to the Nurse Manager or Social Worker with any questions about your loved one, and feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPH, LNHA
Administrator

July 14, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

We recently shared information that the New York State Department of Health will allow nursing homes to provide limited, onsite visitation if specific safety guidelines are met.

We’re writing today to provide more details about those guidelines and how they will impact the schedule for our provision of onsite visitation at The Highlands Living Center.

  • Before visitation can begin, facilities must provide detailed plans for reopening including specifications as outlined by the state. We are working to submit this plan as quickly as possible.
  • The state guidelines stipulate that visits should be limited to outdoor areas, weather permitting, and they specifically prohibit visits from occurring in resident rooms or care areas.  Residents may only have 2 visitors at a time, must refrain from having any direct physical contact, and maintain a socially distanced 6 feet apart at all times. All parties must wear masks throughout the visit. 
  • Additionally, onsite visitation can occur only if no resident or staff member at the nursing home has tested positive for COVID- 19 within the past 28 days. If a resident or staff member tests positive, the nursing home must wait until the 28-day period has passed before allowing visitation for anyone in the facility. If visitation has started, the nursing home must suspend visitation for 28 days once it has begun.

At this time, based on a recent staff member testing positive, Highlands Living Center cannot begin visitation until mid-August at the earliest.  Please be advised that this would change if a resident or another staff member tests positive.

These stringent New York State guidelines are designed to provide the highest level of protection for residents, visitors and our staff members.  Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to this illness, and we must adhere to these guidelines to keep residents, their loved ones, and our staff safe.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Highlands Living Center has implemented numerous safety precautions. Fortunately, we have had very few cases among staff and no cases among our residents. We will continue to do all we can to protect you, your loved one, and our staff members as we work to enable onsite visitation to resume safely. 

Until we can provide in-person visitation, please know that we will continue with window visits, video chats and other types of communication at your request to keep you in close virtual contact with your family member.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery
Administrator

July 10, 2020

Dear Resident, Families, and Staff,

New York State released new guidance today that will allow limited visitation to resume at nursing homes. We look forward to being able to welcome visitors back to Highlands Living Center!  Please note, these new visitor regulations do not take effect immediately. Before visitation can resume, we must submit a reopening plan to the state for its review. The Highlands Living Center is working quickly to submit our plan and obtain approval. We will work closely with residents and their loved ones to keep you informed about our progress and the date visitation can resume.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery
Administrator

June 12, 2020

Dear Residents, Friends and Family Members,

I hope today’s mailing finds you well and enjoying the Rochester sunshine.  I wish to relay that we continue to have had no resident cases of COVID-19 at The Highlands Living Center and additionally, we learned today that all of the routine resident COVID-19 tests done the week before last by the Department of Health have come back negative.  Of course moving forward, should there be any change in the status of either resident or staff COVID-19 testing we will update our website to reflect this as required; HighlandsatPittsford.org (COVID-19 Updates).

Earlier this week we were very excited to notify you about the initiation of scheduled window visits!  As stated in our mailing, scheduled window visits may be set up by contacting the unit secretary on each floor.  We are strategizing carefully to ensure equal access for all of our residents and to keep this a streamlined process.  We hope to make this a wonderful, positive experience for you and your loved one!  

I am also pleased to share with you the initiation of our Butterfly Program, in which auxiliary staff members “adopt” a resident, scheduling time in their busy work day to visit their appointed resident, providing some one-on-one time and social interaction. We invite you to view our website, under the Living Center tab, to view our slide show presentation, with the wonderful musical accompaniment of our talented Chaplain Steve. 

Finally, please be assured, that even as our region opens up for restaurants and stores, we continue to follow state and federal regulations, and adhere strictly to CDC guidelines.  

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

May 29, 2020

Dear Residents, Friends and Family Members,

As our weeks progress we remain committed to making the Highlands Living Center a safe place for our residents and staff.  As of this mailing, we continue to have had no residents testing positive for COVID-19 at the facility.   Should there be any change in the current status of both resident and staff COVID testing we will update our website to reflect this, as required; HighlandsatPittsford.org (COVID-19 Updates).

I am happy to continue to relay the safety protocols we have implemented, adhering closely to the very latest state and federal guidelines for preventing transmission of COVID-19. These protocols include:

  • Screening all staff for symptoms and fever every time they enter the facility
  • Compliance with NYSDOH regulations in testing staff for COVID, up to twice weekly
  • Universal Masking for all staff while they are in the facility
  • No large resident group activities or communal dining
  • Strict no visitation policy to help prevent transmissions from the community, except in end­ of-life situations
  • Using virtual medical appointments whenever possible so that residents do not need to leave the building
  • Screening all new residents on admission for possibility of recent COVID exposure or infection

As always, we continue to carefully monitor all residents’ health for symptoms that may signal COVID-19. If your family member is affected by COVID or has any other medical complication, we will notify them and you.  As cases rise in our community, we are prepared that either staff or residents may contract the virus, and we want to let you know that we are prepared to act.

We recognize the hardship the restriction in visitation poses for you and your loved one.  We are adhering to the Governor’s Executive Order and don’t know at this time when changes regarding resident visitation will be allowed.  Recreation Therapy continues to assist your loved one with video chats or telephone calls, and Social Work and our Chaplain provide regular supportive visits. 

If you have any issues communicating with your loved one, or if you have any concerns with reaching your loved one’s Nurse or Social Worker, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  Thank you for your continued support and being such a valuable member of our community.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

May 22, 2020

Dear Residents, Friends and Family,

We are writing to let you know that a staff member who has been out on leave has tested positive for COVID-19. Please be aware that this staff member has not been working or in the building for the past 21 days because of a potential exposure to coronavirus, and our policy requires staff at risk of transmission to be placed on leave. Adhering to these safety measures successfully prevented any transmission of the virus to residents or other staff.

The staff member remains in quarantine at home.  We continue diligently to closely monitor our residents for any signs or symptoms of infection, and will test them if indicated.  Individual family members would be notified if that should occur.

Please note as well that we are testing staff members for coronavirus up to twice weekly, in accordance with New York State guidelines for long-term care facilities.  In the event a staff member tests positive they would be immediately quarantined.   Staff members who test positive for COVID-19 may not return to work for 14 days, and have tested negative.

We have notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We are taking every step recommended to contain the spread of this virus in order to protect residents and staff members. These include:

  • Regular testing of staff in the facility
  • Screening staff members before they enter the facility for their shift
  • Supporting all residents’ health needs daily, including screening for signs of COVID-19
  • Zero visitation policy except for compassionate end of life situations, to protect residents from community-acquired infection
  • Universal masking of all staff in our facility
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection schedules
  • Practicing Social Distancing

We are committed to protecting the health of every resident and every member of our staff.  The Highlands Living Center will continue to keep you informed by e-mail as well as on our website thehighlandsatpittsford.org, under the COVID tab.   

Please continue to reach out to the Nurse Manager or Social Worker with any questions.   Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPH, LNHA
Administrator

May 9, 2020

Dear Families,

I wish to extend our appreciation to all of the families and friends who have provided us with your email addresses. This is allowing us expedient communication with you!  Today’s letter is serving two purposes. The first is to provide you with the weekly communication update, and the second is to provide you with our required, routine informational notice on our Emergency Preparedness program.

Please be advised that as of today’s date, The Highlands Living Center has had no cases of COVID-19. As I have outlined in previous letters, we continue working hard to prevent transmission, and should we have a case we are prepared to act. As always, we will continue to adopt the latest state and federal guidelines regarding COVID-19 and will keep you up to date on any new safeguards that we put in place.

Our Emergency Preparedness Program is our way of meeting the health and safety needs of our resident population. It provides our staff with guidance on how to respond to emergency situations and provides friends and families with alternate methods of contacting the facility during a disaster when normal means of communication (telephones) may be down. Our staff are trained each year on our detailed emergency procedures that include Fire and Disaster Drills.

Please be aware that we have Mother’s Day plans for our ladies! We are gifting  beautiful succulent plants to all of our ladies for Mother’s Day, and serving them refreshing and festive mimosa’s to celebrate! Chef Mark won’t disappoint in the culinary arena with the special Mother’s Day lunch he’s planned.

In closing, please  don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you have any communication issues with your loved  one or with your loved ones’ Nurse or Social Worker.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

 April 30, 2020 

Dear Families, 

 My letter this week is to continue to share with you that we are diligently working to protect your loved ones’ health, safety, and emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. We realize how important it is to provide you with support by keeping you informed and in touch with your loved one. 

As I’ve shared in previous letters over the past several weeks, at this time we continue to have had no cases of COVID-19 at The Highlands Living Center. 

While we are working hard to prevent this virus from transmission, we are prepared to act if it should occur. Not only would the individual resident’s family be immediately notified, but in accordance with New York State guidelines, we would notify all residents’ designated family members if any resident should acquires COVID-19, or if there were any COVID-19-related resident deaths in our facility. 

To expediently communicate this information to all families we will provide notification by posting updates on our website where families can view it, and by sending emails/calls to the designated family contact. This information will be de-identified to protect resident confidentiality. Our website address is: www.highlandsatpittsford.org and the information can be found by clicking the very top green COVID-19 Updates bar, and then selecting The Living Center tab. In order to provide you with up-to-date information, it is very important that we have an email address and telephone number. Thank you in advance for sending your contact information to: Cindy_Hitchcock@urmc.rochester.edu

As always, we continue to carefully monitor all residents’ health, and are now paying particular attention to symptoms that may signal COVID-19. If your family member is affected by COVID or has any other medical complication, we will notify them and you. 

Residents with symptoms will receive coronavirus testing. 

  • If your family member needs a test, we will notify you beforehand and report the results to the resident and you. 
  • We will work directly with you and your loved one on a plan of care, keeping you informed and involved in care decisions. 
  • 500 Hahnemann Trail
  • Pittsford, New York 14534 • (585) 383-1700 www.highlandsatpittsford.org 
  • We will report any positive cases of COVID to the Monroe County Department of Health, which tracks community-wide cases And we will post the case information – without identifying the patient identity on our web site, and provide you by email/ phone alerting you to this

As I have previously shared, we have implemented many procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to residents and the staff who care for them. These include: 

  • Requiring all staff to complete a health screening prior to reporting to work
  • Screening all staff for symptoms and fever every time they enter the facility
  • Universal Masking and universal wearing of goggles or face shields for all staff while they are in the building
  • No large resident group activities or communal dining
  • Zero visitation policy to help prevent transmissions from the community, except in end-of-life situations
  • Using virtual medical appointments whenever possible so that residents do not need to leave the building
  • Screening all new residents on admission for possibility of recent COVID exposure or infection

We will continue to adopt the latest state and federal guidelines regarding COVID-19 and will keep you up to date on any new safeguards that we put in place. 

We recognize how stressful this time is for you and your family member, and we are committed to doing all we can to support you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 

Sincerely, 

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA 
Administrator 

April 24, 2020

In the News

Facilities for Seniors find ways to overcome social isolation

“Chambery notes that the staff, as well as the families of residents, have risen to the occasion and are navigating the changes that have come as a result of the pandemic. … “Everyone realizes these are difficult times,” Chambery says, noting that staffers are the game changers when it comes to caring for the residents. “Our staff are our heroes.”

Read the full article

April 24, 2020

Dear Family Members,

I am writing again this week to maintain regular communication with you and to assure you that we continue to adhere to, and often exceed, the latest state and federal guidelines for preventing transmission of COVID-19. At this time we continue to have had no cases of COVID-19 at The Highlands Living Center.

Despite the required restrictions on resident group activities, the Recreation Therapy Department is offering creative, uplifting programming for your loved ones. Next week’s lineup includes Door-to-Door Dessert Tasting with Chef Mark (decked out in his full chef attire), Chaplain Steve’s musical concerts through the hallways, the ever-popular Social Cart and Baking Cart visits, Communion and Prayer with Chaplain Steve; and In-Room BINGO, complete with disposable cards with dotters. Our individualized Music and Memory and BBET programming continues on the Memory Care Floor. Also, each morning we have a resident address his or her peers through our overhead speakers, offering a greeting and inspirational quote or reading for the day. We are trying very hard to make each resident’s day a bright one!

Please be aware that each of these letters, as well as newspaper articles referencing The Highlands Living Center, and in the future other important messages, may be found on the Highlands at Pittsford website; HighlandsatPittsford.org, under the CORONA-19 tab (click on ”The Living Center”).

If you have any issues communicating with your loved one, or if you have any concerns with reaching your loved ones’ Nurse or Social Worker, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. As always, we thank you for entrusting us with the care of your loved one, and for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

April 22, 2020

In the News

‘Knock on wood:’ Some nursing homes have dodged the viral bullet through hard work, and some good luck

“The UR Medicine operates three skilled nursing facilities – Highlands at Brighton, Highlands Living Center in Pittsford and M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center in Canandaigua… None have recorded a single case of COVID-19.”

Read the full article

April 16, 2020

Dear Family Members,

I am writing to you this week to continue to maintain regular communication with you as we work to protect your loved ones during this COVID-19 crisis. We realize that there have been a lot of reports about nursing homes, nationally and locally, that understandably raise concerns. Please be assured that not only do we continue to work hard to limit the possibility of COVID in our facility, but that we are committed to keeping you and your loved ones informed about what is happening here at the Highlands Living Center.

Over the past several weeks, as I have previously shared with you, we have implemented safety protocols, adhering closely to and often exceeding the latest state and federal guidelines for preventing transmission of COVID-19. We are continually adapting procedures to provide the best defense for our residents.

At this time, there have been no cases of COVID-19 at The Highlands Living Center. While we are working hard to prevent this virus from transmission, we are prepared to act if it should occur.

Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your loved one, and for your continued support. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

April 4, 2020

Dear Family Members,

I am writing to update you on our work to protect your family member as the COVID-19 cases rise in our community. You may have seen the news stories about cases of COVID-19 in local long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Please be assured that we have been working hard to limit the possibility of COVID in our facility, and as of today there are no cases of COVID-19 at The Highlands Living Center. However, as cases rise in our community, we are preparing that either staff or residents may contract the virus, and we want to let you know what to expect.

Over the past several weeks, we have shared with you the safety protocols we have put in place, adhering closely to the latest state and federal guidelines for preventing transmission of COVID-19. These include:

  • Screening all staff for symptoms and fever every time they enter the facility
  • Universal Masking for all staff while they are in the facility
  • No large resident group activities or communal dining
  • Strict no visitation policy to help prevent transmissions from the community, except in end­ of-life situations
  • Using virtual medical appointments whenever possible so that residents do not need to leave the building
  • Screening all new residents on admission for possibility of recent COVID exposure or infection

We recognize the hardship that these changes have placed on our residents and their families, and it is painful for us to see our residents separated from their loved ones and their usual routines. But we have implemented these temporary measures for their safety.

As always, we continue to carefully monitor all residents’ health, and are now paying particular attention to symptoms that may signal COVID-19. If your family member is affected by COVID or has any other medical complication, we will notify them and you.

  • Residents with symptoms will receive coronavirus testing.
  • If your family member needs a test, we will notify you beforehand and report the results to the resident and you.
  • We will work directly with you and your loved one on a plan of care, keeping you informed and involved in care decisions.
  • We will report any suspected cases of COVID to the Monroe County Department of Health, which tracks community-wide cases.

Throughout this health care challenge, we have continually adapted our procedures to provide the best defense for our residents. We will continue to adjust as the situation requires and will keep you up to date on any new safeguards that we put in place. We recognize how stressful this time is for you and your loved one, and we are committed to doing alJ we can to keep them safe and comfortable during this rapidly changing public health threat.

Thank you for your continued support and for being a valuable member of our community. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

March 17, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

Over the past two weeks, as cases of COVID-19 have been identified in our community, our long-term care and assisted living facilities have been implementing social-distancing precautions recommended by state and local health agencies, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  The temporary restriction on visits to long-term care and assisted living facilities in the state went into effect last week.

More recently, we received guidelines to temporarily suspend communal dining and group activities. We know these restrictions, although they’re essential for residents’ safety, are very challenging for them and their family members.   Our staff is working with residents to keep them connected with family, and to do our best to support them emotionally.  Please be assured that we are continuing to offer support in helping you connect with your family member via video technology, telephone, or email.   We encourage you to reach out to your loved one’s Social Worker or Recreation Therapy specialist.

Additionally,  If you have small televisions, DVD players, radios, tablets or photo albums that you would like to bring in for your loved one, please label them with your loved one’s name and reach out to us so we can set up a time for a drop off in our vestibule. 

Thank you for your support during this challenging time. We want you to know that we are here for you and your loved one.  

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

March 13, 2020

Dear Residents and Family Members:

We know that you may continue to be concerned about the spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact us at The Highlands Living Center. Mitigating the spread of illness and ensuring our residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our greatest concern

The Highlands Living Center has been screening visitors and staff members pursuant to New York State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. We have no cases of COVID-19 at either facility. Late this afternoon, pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s press conference, we recognize a need to make a change in our visitation policy. Governor Cuomo announced several mandates for nursing homes providers, one of which is that of not permitting visitors to enter nursing homes. This is prompting us at this time to temporarily curtail all visitation to our residents until further notice. 

Please be assured that we appreciate and understand that our residents’ connecting with loved ones is incredibly important, and we will help our residents to maintain that connection. This may include telephone, email, text, or through Skype or Facebook. Our Social Work and Recreation Therapy staff will be working to maximize this communication. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding and support and for being a valuable member of our community.

Sincerely,

Elisa Chambery,  MPA, LNHA
Administrator

March 10, 2020

To Residents and Family Members:

We know that you may be concerned about the spread of the 2019 coronavirus  (COVID-19) and how it may impact us here at The Highlands Living Center. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our greatest concern. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. At this time, although we don’t have any cases in our center, nor are there any in Monroe County, on recommendation from the Department of Health we are discouraging visitation and will be implementing restrictions.

For family members and friends, we ask that you don’t visit The Highlands Living Center if you have any symptoms of respiratory illness, including: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath. Additionally, we ask that you do not visit if:

  • In the last 14 days you have had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or who is under investigation for COVID-19
  • You have had international travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html)
  • You reside in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring
  • You have taken trips in the past 14 days on cruise ships or participated in other settings where crowds are confined to a common location.

We understand that connecting with loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider connecting with them. These may include telephone, email, text, or through Skype or Facebook. Please let us know how we can help facilitate communication.

The Highlands Living Center is following the recommendations of the CDC on prevention steps, including following strict handwashing procedures, and in many circumstances, wearing gowns and gloves when interacting with residents who are sick. We also are following CDC recommendations as they are updated. In addition, we are in close contact with the local and state health departments and following their guidance. We are posting signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of the symptoms of COVID-19 with a request that visitors not enter the building if they are experiencing these symptoms.

We will notify you if any residents or staff are diagnosed with COVID-19. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at:  (585) 383-1700.  For additional information, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease information page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Thank you for your continued support and for being a valuable member of our community.

Elisa Chambery, MPA, LNHA
Administrator

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