What an exciting week! At this time, all residents of S wing have met the CDC definition of ‘RECOVERED’! Although the loss we have experienced can never be overshadowed, there is an overwhelming sense of hope and optimism that we have moved to a new phase. 31 residents are enjoying a return to their ‘pre-COVID’ routines. There remains no other cases or suspect cases in the building.
On May 20th, employee testing began in accordance with Executive Order 202.30. On that day, NYS Department of Health issued new guidance which changed their earlier information. This includes ability to bill health insurance for testing (originally all costs were on the nursing center); removal of exclusions to testing; and more expansive work restrictions for positive tests. In the first 36 hours over 200 employees were tested! This was a HUGE team effort to accomplish such a high volume testing process. Testing will continue for as long as required.
On May 10th, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.30, which among other things requires all nursing home employees be tested twice per week (once per week for part time). Fort Hudson submitted it’s plan as required, and began the testing process today, May 20th. Almost 100 employees were tested in the first 3 hours. We support the need for employee testing as a means to protect residents, and to identify asymptomatic positive cases, which can occur. Unfortunately, NYS guidance on crucial implementation details was severely lacking. Furthermore, unlike all other initiatives related to COVID prevention and monitoring efforts, nursing homes are required to arrange for and conduct testing on their own. This comes at a very high cost in labor and supplies; an issue that is not yet addressed by NYS.
In terms of COVID 19 status, as of yesterday May 9th, 24 residents of S wing had been deemed ‘recovered’ based on clinical standards, with the rest of S wing residents appearing to be getting closer to that point. We hope for more good news in the coming days. No other cases have been identified in the building, and there are no suspect cases at this time. Our staff will continue to be extraordinarily diligent in protecting themselves and our residents.
We do continue to care for the occasional COVID positive client in the community. As long as there continues to be cases in the community, it is likely we will see them. Rest assured that all home and community based employees adhere to all CDC and Department of Health guidance in the use of personal protective equipment.
We can’t help but be optimistic that the worst is behind us at Fort Hudson, and the entire community can ease back in to a more normal state. Until we reach that point, please continue to practice social distancing at all times, wear your mask in public and wash your hands often. It’s working!
The past few weeks have been difficult – for residents, families and staff. We have lost dear friends to COVID 19, and share in the grief of their families. Throughout, we have shared in our resident’s fight to beat this virus; and shared hope for a brighter tomorrow. We believe the following updates do shed a bit of hope that brighter days are coming.
Over the past two days we have had 10 residents on S wing declared RECOVERED from our medical team; based on CDC guidelines. . As excited as we are over this positive point for some of our residents, we maintain perspective that several other residents continue their fight against the virus. Our dedicated employees and medical staff remain at their bedside helping them during this battle. Your continued thoughts and encouragement are requested for these individuals.
We shared during the May 5th update that in an abundance in caution, we were testing 48 residents from all of A wing, and a small group from G wing. For the past 5 days, these residents have remained on isolation precautions pending test results. Over the past several hours, we have received all results back. We are pleased to report all of these tests are NEGATIVE – more good news!
As a reminder, Fort Hudson posts information daily on the status of our resident COVID testing, and recently added information on employees as well. This can be found on at www.forthudson.com under “COVID 19 Update”. We thank you all for your support and thoughts during these challenging times.
5-5-2020 Update: As part of ongoing communication, S wing residents continue to have variable conditions, which are changing day to day. Dr. Quaresima will be available during the next scheduled Family Teleconference Call to provide a more detailed overview of status with S wing.
As for the rest of the facility, we continue to be free of any COVID 19 cases at this time. However, testing does continue – if/when a resident presents any indication of potential illness.
Yesterday we did we receive a test positive on an employee that had worked approximately 2 weeks ago on an overnight shift for A wing. This staff member was following all masking and precaution guidelines throughout this shift. In consideration of the known risk factors and in an abundance of caution – we are taking aggressive precautionary steps to protect residents. We are testing all residents of A wing as a potential exposure. Testing all will increase chances of early detection if any positive cases exist, or it will rule out any exposure, at this time.
During this period of testing and awaiting results – A wing will remain on isolation precautions. Residents will be restricted to their rooms, unless medically indicated they leave; and masks will be worn by residents who can tolerate it when staff are present. All staff will be utilizing full personal protective equipment (PPE) while on the unit, including N95 masks and face covers. Anticipated results are expected back by Thursday or Friday of this week.
This same employee did cover a G wing shift over the past 2 weeks as well. So for that reason, as a precautionary measure, we are testing 8 specific residents that had contact. Likewise, these 4 resident rooms are on isolation precautions until results return in the next few days.
We realize the uncertainty of the covid19 pandemic and its affects hitting so personally, causes sadness, and anxiety for everyone. We do want to emphasize that all testing mentioned above is being done in an aggressive effort to be ahead of any potential cases. We do not have any evidence to suspect that virus transmission has occurred. All families will be notified directly of outcome of test – regardless if negative or positive. Again, we remind that we cannot control the test result return date, however it generally runs 1-5 days.
As always, in the event there are any changes in condition with a family member, the clinical team will contact families directly via personal phone call. Additionally, we do post the NYS required information regarding COVID status on our web site (www.forthudson.com), under COVID-19 update (Information Update). Thank you for your support during these times…it is always appreciated.
5-1-2020 Update: A Letter of special recognition from THE FORT HUDSON HEALTH SYSTEM BOARD OF DIRECTORS to our amazing Fort Hudson STAFF
Dear Fort Hudson Health System Staff:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am writing to thank you for your dedicated service to our residents and their families. Those words seem inadequate to express our deep admiration for your hard work and commitment to Fort Hudson (FH) and those we serve. Long-term care is truly a unique calling, because it provides a range of care largely for a Senior population. The Seniors and their families trust us to work together for their best interests when they are no longer able to care for themselves or loved ones. That’s what everyone at FH does; provides extraordinary care and service that instills trust. You are remarkable!
One of the most important reasons FH is successful is the collection of special people who work here. The work is often difficult, but vital to ensuring those we care for are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Before the pandemic, that was our norm. Now that an invisible viral intruder has infiltrated our perimeter, we are now engaged in a war, and being challenged everyday in providing our continuum of care.
The nature of long-term care is to develop long-term and important relationships with those we serve. These relationships provide care, hope, and the inspiration to live a quality life in an environment of respect. The relationships developed are vital in our residents’ life because the respect and loving care they receive day in and day out help them to survive and thrive. Our residents and their families have said repeatedly, they love their care providers and appreciate the loving care. FH has earned an A+ in care, and remember, FH is you!
The pandemic has created a great deal of stress in the world. Everyone feels it. However, care providers on the front lines and in the trenches are challenged unlike others. In our long-term care environment, you have developed important relationships with residents. They look forward to seeing you, and when your shift ends, they look forward to your return. On a regular basis you let those in your care know they are important, and they can depend on you.
The nature of the current pandemic requires distancing, which could create a barrier to normal communication. FH has done its best to keep the lines of communication open with residents and their families by being vigilant, providing iPads for regular patient/family interaction, regular internal communications, and both regular and transparent communication with our community. All of these communication avenues have kept everyone informed about status, developments and compliance with government regulations. Transparency is key to trust, and FH remains committed to it.
The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) puts a barrier between you and residents, which it is designed to do. Even when gowned up in PPE, there are many non-verbal messages you send to our residents. Without words, the eyes reveal the caring and compassion of the soul. Smiles light the world, and even a mask cannot overshadow the light that shines from smiling eyes. Kindness is expressed in many ways; a gentle touch, a calm soothing voice, a message thoughtfully delivered and the reassurance that you are there, taking care, being present and treating others as valued and precious. These gifts of the soul are immeasurable because the receiver knows you care, they are not alone, their life has meaning, and they are important. The little things are the biggest things. These things have no monetary value yet are priceless.
PPE has enabled us to humanely allow family members to be with their loved ones who are preparing to leave us. When a loved one passes what remains are memories and feelings. As a team FH has ensured the dignity of our residents’ life and end-of-life, which allows for endings without regret.
Whether you are on the front lines of providing care, or providing support for those delivering care, we humbly thank you. Your commitment, courage, compassion, and other-centered care is helping all navigate the uncertainty in fighting this invisible enemy. The grace with which you provide this compassionate care is noted by your residents, their devoted families, your colleagues and our community.
FH is a special place, where people come to get care, get better, and live their best life possible. FH is that special place, because of the people who work here and provide that care. In life or in transition, you honor them vigilantly until they must leave you. Then, you honor their memory. What remarkable people you are!
May the force of caring, kindness and compassion continue to be with you, dear ones… Your weariness shows, but the light within remains bright.
With Admiration, Gratitude and Affection,
Secretary, Fort Hudson Health System – Board of Directors
We understand the community has a desire to stay informed about the COVID status at Fort Hudson. This organization has been deeply invested in the community for 50 years, and practically every family in the region has had (or currently has) a connection to us. We believe having COVID 19 within our walls a tragedy to those affected, but not a failure on the part of our dedicated staff. We are in unprecedented times, fighting an elusive enemy. As always, we remain open, honest and transparent; and appreciate the community’s continued support of our efforts.
S-wing continues to be the only location within the facility with positive Covid19 cases. Testing on all units continues as clinically indicated by our medical staff; all negative results to date. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers to one of our families, at the passing of their loved one this week. Sadly, this resident did have COVID 19 as a contributing factor. Prayers also to the staff who cared for her throughout her stay with us.
The status on S-wing remains fluid. Some residents are less acute, some more. The medical and nursing teams continue to maintain extraordinary vigilance monitoring resident conditions, providing the maximum amount of support possible. As always, direct communication with family members continues in a variety of forms. Staff on the other Fort Hudson units are continuing to support and care for the needs of those residents as well. Everyone across all departments is trying their best to engage and assist, as much as guidelines allow.
In terms of communication, the generosity and support from our residents’ families and the community continues to be overwhelming. Following a family conference call (over 100 participants) on Saturday evening, contributions arrived to purchase 10 additional I-pads, bringing our total to 19 I-pads within the facility. This allows face to face visits between residents and family. We make every effort to support communications between residents and their family members, knowing it is one of the most important aspects to everyone’s well-being. As for additional support shown, staff have been recipients of donated meals and treats almost daily – which is a bright spot for them.
We hope that this will soon be behind us. Please know we are fighting as hard as we can for the residents we serve.
The past week has been extremely challenging for residents of S wing, their families and the staff. In the past few days, there has been an increase in Covid-19 symptomatic residents. Because of this, FH Medical Providers determined it best to test all 42 S wing residents. All results are not yet returned, but the clinical team is confident (based on symptom presentation) that 39 of the 42 residents have been exposed to virus. Some residents are non symptomatic – but test positive. Some residents are symptomatic – but results not yet returned. Three residents are testing negative and have no symptoms.
As Dr. Quaresima discussed on the weekly Family teleconference call, this virus spreads extremely easily. in consideration of the challenges this particular unit is facing, the FH Clinical Team (including our Medical Providers) held another teleconference call last evening. This call was for families of S wing residents specifically.
At this time, S wing is the only impacted unit of our five units. However, we continue to test throughout the building. If a resident shows any symptoms related to Covid19, isolation precautions are immediately implemented; and only discontinued at the Medical Providers discretion.
We continue to be in communication with family members – direct phone calls are made to family of residents who have had a direct change in condition. That personal phone call provides an opportunity for that family to ask their specific questions to the team. Again, if your loved one looks to be symptomatic, a clinical team member will reach out directly; to inform of symptoms and if a test is ordered.
We strive to update as soon as possible,as information changes, This pandemic, and it’s affects on our facility, is very fluid. The situation can change within hours, or a day.
Thank you for your ongoing support for Fort Hudson. A huge thank you to all the families and friends who have been extraordinarily generous with meals, encouragement and prayers,,,it is truly appreciated.
On behalf of the entire Fort Hudson team, we thank everyone for the continued support – messages, food delivery, fabric masks, to name a few. It is a kindness shown to our team – and we very much appreciate it. In an effort to ensure that we are all working with the same information, we thought it helpful to provide an update on our Covid-19 action plan:
As previously communicated – Fort Hudson was directed to admit Covid-19 positive cases to the nursing center. We developed a Transition Unit, and successfully implemented it with one admission. It worked well, staff stepped up to voluntarily cover shifts, and it minimized transmission within the rest of the building. At this time, we do not have anyone else scheduled for this Unit. Secondary to this subject, we also want to share new information. Recent data from CDC indicates individuals may continue to show a test positive reading, despite no longer being infectious AND long after recovery has occurred. For this reason, repeat testing until a negative result, is no longer the recommended practice. Instead, other medical/clinical measures are being used. Fort Hudson clinicians are working to ensure our action plan reflects this new information.
Fort Hudson continues to be extremely vigilant with monitoring all residents for any illness. In an abundance of caution, if any resident presents with ANY Covid-19 like symptoms (fever, respiratory) we immediately exercise strict precautions and initiate a Covid-19 Test. To date, all tests we have implemented have been negative. However, in the event we do have a future test positive, additional steps will be taken; including notification of all family members related to that specific unit.
Recently, media reported on infection rates of Covid-19 within nursing homes. As a society, we all recognize the vulnerability of nursing home residents in relation to this virus. Fort Hudson continues to take extraordinary measures for prevention, and we are proud of the fact that since this started, our existing residents have remained Covid-19 free. We continue to exercise full screening of each staff member prior to each shift – including temperature check &, full masking.. But, we are also realistic that at some point we can, and perhaps will, have cases within our program. Despite best practices in infection control, there is a significant percentage of individuals silently carrying the virus, who never show symptoms. This percentage of people could realistically include some of our employees. Statistically, over 50% of all nursing homes across NYS currently have positive cases. It is believed that the silent carrier is how a ‘cluster’ occurs very quickly within a nursing facility.
We hope you find this email helpful. As an informed family member, you can also be an informed viewer (reader) of local and national media regarding nursing homes and Covid-19. We know that we are ALL working to defend against a silent, undetected virus. Thank you for your continued respect of the no visitation regulations. Thank you for your support of our team’s efforts. If we do find ourselves managing positive cases, we know that TOGETHER – we are Fort Hudson Strong!
As you are likely aware, the Post Star featured an article that outlined Fort Hudson’s strategy to manage NYS Dept. of Health mandates regarding discharges of COVID-19 positive or presumed positive cases from area hospitals. I would like to expand upon the article with additional information.
I must point out that this directive is part of the NYS Department of Health’s plan to address the expanding situation; it is not Fort Hudson’s independent initiative. Fort Hudson strongly believes that placing Covid-19 positive residents in our environment is ill-advised. We have communicated this to the Department of Health. Other nursing home providers share our concerns. However, until such time as the Dept. of Health amends its policy, we are subject to the requirements they set in place.
As this is a requirement, we are doing our best to manage this within our facility in the best way possible. We are taking extraordinary steps to implement this policy in a way that minimizes the risk to any of our existing residents. As indicated in the Post Star article, we are lucky to have available space that will be dedicated specifically to managing positive cases. This Transitional Unit is spacious, allows for distancing between residents, and allows staff access without entering any other designated resident wing.
As a correction from the Poststar article – at no time would a Covid-19 positive resident be anywhere other than thisspecified area. All Therapy Services will be at bedside and scheduled as the last session provided. At all times, staff will be in full protective personal equipment. Procedurally, this therapy method is well-established practice for any isolation situation. Although this area of the building has been created due to the mandates in place, it will also serve as a specialized treatment area for existing residents, if there comes a time that high community prevalence in general results in a test positive on our regular units. This Transitional Unit would serve as a safe area to recuperate under very personalized conditions.
While the current situation creates justifiable anxiety and concern, our staff are well trained in the practices of isolation procedures. “Droplet Precautions”, which is the required strategy for many viruses including Covid-19, have been routinely implemented in our setting for years.
We share the concerns you may have with the current DOH policy. We don’t take them lightly. We are taking every possible (perhaps extraordinary) precaution to fulfill our responsibility to the local healthcare community, while putting forth diligent efforts to protect our residents. I would like to thank those who have reached out – both with words of support for our approach, as well as dismay over this state mandate. We always welcome family feedback, and our team is here to answer any of your questions.
As always, thank you for your ongoing confidence in Fort Hudson. I encourage you to check our web site regularly for COVID-19 updates (we post up as needed), as well as follow Fort Hudson Health System’s Facebook Page. There you will find the most up to date information and activities within the organization.
Amanda Ann Waite, LNHA, BS, MHA
Administrator of Fort Hudson Nursing Center
3-27-2020 Update: Late this week, the NYS Dept. of Health issued an Advisory to all nursing homes & hospitals. The advisory states nursing homes cannot deny admission to a patient based on their COVID-19 status. This advisory is in response to current (or anticipated) capacity issues in some hospitals. It is intended to assure that patients who no longer require acute care, are not occupying hospital beds unnecessarily.
It is Fort Hudson’s position that introducing the virus in any manner to a nursing home environment, unless there is an identifiable emergency hospital capacity situation, is ill-advised. We have communicated our concerns to the Dept. of Health. Please recognize that at all times, Fort Hudson must work within directives set forth by NYS.
Due to the extraordinary effort by all staff, and the cooperation of family and friends – we are glad to report we have remained free of active cases over the past two weeks. Given the rising prevalence in the community, we do recognize that positive cases will become likely at some point in time.
Fort Hudson strives to be as prepared as possible for any situation that arises. We have the necessary equipment, training and expertise to properly care for an individual deemed to be non-acute, but has tested (or presumed) positive for Covid-19. Our team has developed contingency plans to safely provide care, while minimizing risk to other residents and staff.
Rest assured, Fort Hudson will do what is needed to serve our residents, and our community, during these challenging times.
3-25-2020 Update: As part of Staff Education, we share information with our team to teach prevention. This video clip may be helpful to those throughout the community. Click the link for video (make sure sound is on).
Together united…Community strong
3-20-2020 Update: Fort Hudson Goes Remote
In an effort to reduce the exposure potential in the nursing facility and across all programs, Fort Hudson has implemented an expansive effort to shift employees to work from home, or where necessary reassigned to remote work areas to segment key employees. All programs will continue to have a limited number of essential staff on site, but many have been set up for remote work. This includes care management, home care, certified home health staff, business office, and human resources. The Oaks staff is on reduced on-site hours. In the event further reductions are necessary for the health and safety of our clients, contingency plans have been established for rapid implementation.
Although this has required significant redesign of work processes, it should feel seamless to our clients and the community. Thank you for our continued support and patience during this challenging time.
3-19-2020 Update on Fort Hudson Nursing Center Family/Resident Communication: We know it is difficult to put visits on hold with your loved ones to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Meeting the emotional and psychological needs of our residents is extremely important to all of us here at Fort Hudson. We would like to assist our residents in contacting family members via Telephone, Face Time, Google Duo, or Zoom Meeting.
High-definition video calling via Face Time, Google Duo, or Zoom Meeting provides a level of communication that isn’t available on a telephone call. It helps residents avoid feelings of social isolation. We have used this with some residents already and the joy experienced, even as a short video conversation, has been an amazing and uplifting experience for all.
This offering will give the opportunity to receive phone calls, both voice and video, from your loved ones via the platforms named above. Our staff is prepared to assist all residents in contacting their designated family member at least one time each week or more, if time permits. If you desire to engage in a weekly communication with your loved one, please reply to: [email protected] and provide the following information:
- Your Name
- Name of the resident you wish to have contact you
- Your telephone number that will be used for contact (ie. I-phone, android, land line)
- Platform you wish to use for contact (choose one)
- Face Time – for use with i-phones only
- Google Duo – for use with Android or IOS Smart phones, or Computers
- Telephone – no video connection- voice only
- Zoom Meeting – a scheduled video meeting using your computer
- Day of the week you wish to receive a weekly call
- Time of the day you are available to take the call
- Early Morning – 7am – 9am
- Late Morning – 9am-noon
- Early Afternoon – 1pm -3pm
- Late Afternoon – 3pm – 5pm
- Evening – 6pm – 8pm
We thank you for partnering with us to care for your loved ones. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to include any questions in your reply and I will be sure they are answered in a timely manner. Thank you! Peg Brady Director of Therapeutic Recreation & Volunteers
3-19-2020 – Oaks Update: We continue to promote community social distancing, hand washing, and hand sanitizer to minimize the spread of virus. We have distributed a list of local retail grocery stores that participate in either pick up or delivery of groceries. We have modified some common areas to provide more “distance friendly” space for folks to gather and do their personal tabletop activities, exercise, and movies. Click the link below for latest OAKS update oaks update 3-18-20
3-16-19 Oaks Update: As many people are asking about The Oaks Senior Apartments, we want to communicate our current practices. Education, tools, and Social Distancing are our current methods of approach. At this time, visitors are allowed to enter the Oaks building. However, each tenant has been asked to do their part to minimize exposure to illness. Each tenant has a 5-question visitor screen, which incorporates health and travel questions provided by Dept. of Public Health / CDC. Additionally, signage is posted at all entry points to emphasize symptoms of illness (fever, shortness of breath, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) that would require someone NOT to visit. The Oaks remains committed to the safety and well-being of all tenants. Effective today, we have postponed all group activities/gatherings. We have also postponed dine-in meal service. We currently offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner delivery to each apartment for anyone wishing to utilize our dining meal services. The attached link is the most recent Oaks Update provided to each apartment throughout our community. oaks corona letter 3-16-20 Anyone with questions regarding The Oaks can contact us at 518-747-2811 ext. 245.
3-15-2020 Update: Fort Hudson has implemented additional employee screening procedures to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.
All employees must be screened upon entry to the facility, to include having your temperature taken. Screening will be done at the time clock, front lobby and home care lobby. Employees MUST GO DIRECTLY to one of these locations when arriving for work. Further instruction is available at these locations.
At this time, there are no reported positive cases in Warren or Washington Counties.
Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, and in accordance with the recently issued NYS Directive, Fort Hudson Nursing Center is implementing a NO VISITOR policy, effective immediately. Several contingency plans are being put in place to assure residents and family members are able to remain connected during this difficult time. Family members will be provided additional information, or they may contact the Nurse Manager or Social Worker for any questions.
We do apologize for this temporary inconvenience, but we are committed to maintaining the safest environment possible for our residents.no visit sign
3-12-2020 Update: Important Information for Fort Hudson Employees – Risk Screen to be Implemented Immediately. Fort Hudson continues to take a proactive approach to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19. All employees MUST assure that they do not meet any of the risks identified by CDC prior to entering the nursing facility. CLICK THIS HYPERLINK for more information Employee letter and screen Mar 11 2020
3-11-2020 Update: The COVID-19 Coronavirus is known to be extremely dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying chronic conditions. Therefore, we discourage any visitation at this time. As recommended by the CDS and CMS, additional visitation precautions and restrictions are being implemented at Fort Hudson Nursing Center today, March 11th, 2020.
All visitors will be SCREENED upon entry to identify risk factors that may be present. If risk factors are identified, entry will not be allowed.
*Visitor entry will be limited 9:00 am to 5:00 PM daily.
* No outside group will be permitted entry – and only individual or small groups will be screened.
* Information on COVID – 19 will be available, along with masks and hand sanitizing stations at entrances.
In the event visitation is determined to be essential for the health and well-being of the resident, Social Work and Nursing should be consulted for alternative solutions.
On behalf of our residents and staff, we thank friends and family of Fort Hudson for their anticipated understanding and cooperation demonstrated during this challenging time.Visiting hours sign
Due to the expanding COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, Fort Hudson is strictly enforcing visiting restrictions. These restrictions are required by the NYS Department of Health and subject to change. Refer to COVID-19 Coronavirus Update: visitor restrictions for related information.