Below are some updates on happenings around our Westhills Village Community.
The great news is that we continue, to the best of our knowledge, to be “Covid-19 Free” facilities – this includes Clarkson Health Care, Westhills Village Health Care, The Courtyard Assisted Living and Independent Living. I can assure you that tremendous efforts are being made by all of us – residents, staff, families – to obtain these kinds of results. Again, the basics, in order to achieve these results continue to be:
I’m sure you are aware, as you watch the updates nationwide, businesses/areas that aren’t following these practices are rebounding and seeing increased positive cases of Covid-19. The Rapid City community and Pennington County continue to have new positive cases being reported weekly and due to this, no changes in practices and protocols have been advised at this time.
Just as a reminder, our operations that include Clarkson Health Care, Westhills Village Health Care and The Courtyard Assisted Living facility fall under the South Dakota Department of Health guidelines, steps and practices in place currently.
There is a phasing plan in place, but again, due to the amount of active cases of Covid-19 in the Rapid City community, we would NOT consider making changes in our practices at this time. At such time active cases of Covid-19 significantly decrease in the Rapid City community, we then would consider a different phase for our facilities.
We continue to perform sentinel (random) testing of both staff members and residents in each of our licensed facilities weekly and all past tests have been NEGATIVE and we are hopeful future tests will be negative as well.
All of our visitation procedures are in place for all locations including Independent Living – if you wish to schedule an outside visit with your family/friends, please contact Nedra. We have had significant use and positive feedback and comments regarding this service.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, we really have only 2 options:
Unfortunately, there is not another compromise for us to consider that hasn’t already been done. While these practices/protocols seem hard, unfair, and inconvenient, we have had the opportunity to visit with facilities who have Covid-19 in their facilities and exclusively, their comment is “Do whatever you can do to prevent it”. I’m sure some wish they could go back and make additional changes to their protocols that would have prevented it. We are aware of facilities that include independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing that currently have or have had Covid-19 in their buildings, so it is a REAL situation and REAL threat.
A question that comes up has to do with WHAT IF scenarios and the plan in place IF/WHEN someone does have Covid-19. We do have plans in place – separate for each location and separate for certain situations. For example, if we had a positive Covid-19 resident in our licensed facilities the steps and processes will be different than if the resident lives in independent living. Even within those facilities, there are different plans depending upon the situation, the resident’s condition, etc.
In Independent Living, if we had a significant number of positive Covid-19 cases or if certain situations existed, we would be required to:
This would continue until such time the Covid-19 situation is under control.
THAT IS WHAT WE ARE ALL WORKING TOWARD AVOIDING!!
There are facilities in Rapid City who are in that situation currently and it takes tremendous people-power to provide services in such a way and the processes/protocols residents are REQUIRED to follow are SIGNIFICANT – it definitely makes what we are doing and feeling now seem minimal.
Again, we DON’T want to have to take the above mentioned, highly restrictive steps. Not a single one of us knows if we will be successful in keeping Covid-19 out of our facilities. What we DO KNOW and the SCIENCE continues to show is that if we get away from limiting visitation, NOT doing the 3 core steps of mask wearing, social distancing, handwashing – there is a VERY HIGH chance that Covid-19 could infiltrate our facilities and would affect residents, staff and others.
We continue to receive very good information weekly and sometimes daily from multiple sources regarding what is occurring in our area, new guidelines and new information on Covid-19. Currently the expectation is that in the Rapid City community and surrounding area with tourists, significant events coming up (ie, Sturgis Rally) and a general observation in the community of less people paying close attention to the processes we’ve already discussed, the medical community feels that Pennington County and Rapid City are potentially at a higher risk of having increased positive cases and spreading Covid-19.
We appreciate your due diligence, cooperation, patience, understanding and support; again, realize there ARE NOT other options at this time that are any better than what we are currently doing. We are working hard to prevent having to put further significant restrictive practices/protocols in place at any/all of our locations; however, if Covid-19 makes its way into our facilities, we will be REQUIRED to do so to control the spread of the virus.
From all of us, we wish everyone an enjoyable and safe 4th of July! Below are some general updates from our facilities in our efforts to keep you informed.
We continue to have the scheduled visitation at each of our locations and we have had great comments and input from this. We encourage you to contact the facility in which your loved one resides to schedule this if you’re interested.
Covid-19 testing continues of both residents and staff members in a surveillance, or random testing, capacity, as directed by the South Dakota Department of Health at each licensed facility – Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care and The Courtyard Assisted Living; to date, we continue to be Covid-19 FREE at each location that we are aware of.
We are still working on the availability of beautician services for Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care and anticipate that we will be beginning services within the next week. Beautician services just opened again at The Courtyard, and it has been a welcomed service to have at our facility again! We are working very closely with residents, family contacts, and the Beauticians to coordinate all of these services.
One of the requirements, as directed by the Department of Health, that will allow our facilities to move from one phase to another, is having ZERO active cases in the specific community or county. As we’re sure you’re well aware, currently there are approximately 130 active cases of Covid-19 in Pennington County. That gives us all some indication as to what will need to occur before we start making additional changes within the operation.
Again, we wish everyone a happy 4th of July! We are hoping the Rapid City community continues to work on being safe for everyone in it.
As always, we appreciate your patience, cooperation, understanding and support as ALL of us work together to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our facilities.
We wanted to give everyone a brief update on recent Covid-19 happenings.
We currently have all of the same steps, practices, protocols as well as restrictions in place regarding the Covid-19 pandemic; this continues to be the recommendation of the South Dakota Department of Health, the CDC, local health care providers and our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond.
As you are well aware, new cases continue to appear in Pennington County and of late, there have been several facilities that have residents as well as staff members who are infected with coronavirus. At this time, all of our facilities and campuses have NO known Covid-19 cases within our resident or staff member population. We are very proud of this and we know it has been accomplished thus far due to everyone’s cooperation and efforts, there is still no guarantee as to what could or may occur in the future, which is why we need to stay the course with our current program.
With the benefits and privilege of living in a facility comes a shared community responsibility for all of us to protect each other. That will continue until such time we have better information and direction regarding changing our steps, practices and protocols in the near future.
We do have methods for visitation at all locations for residents and family members/friends to utilize, so again, please contact the location in which your loved one resides and refer to information we have previously sent. This is being utilized extensively at most of our locations.
We have been part of the review with the South Dakota Department of Health’s phasing plan for the future. This plan is a step by step protocol that would allow facilities to begin to allow more flexibility, visitation and address a wide variety of other items as we approach the time that we can begin to re-open. More information will become available to all of us regarding this in the near future, but we have had the opportunity to review the many pages of details that would be involved in doing so. We will address these steps at the appropriate time, but one of the big conditions for re-opening is this:
As more time goes by, we will have a better understanding of where Pennington County, the Rapid City community as well as maintaining safety within our facilities that would allow us to make changes. We are hopeful that we can have more information and possibly more positive steps we can take at our facilities in short order.
Additionally, we want to wish all the Fathers a Happy Father’s Day this weekend.
As an organization, we have tried to anticipate and fill the need for residents, families and coworkers as we address the many details associated with this Covid-19 pandemic and want to thank EVERYONE for their understanding, cooperation, patience, support and tremendous teamwork ALL of us have had to show as we navigate through these uncertain times.
We are in hopes that in the near future we will have new positive steps, practices and protocols in place that all of us may look forward to.
Westhills Village is excited to announce we have established visitation stations for families and friends to come and visit with their loved ones at all our facilities outdoors, weather permitting. We are strictly following CDC guidelines during these visits. The following protocols have been established to ensure social distancing and health guidelines are kept during your visit:
Please do NOT arrive early to your scheduled visit as we want to have time to properly clean the visitation area between appointments.
Please contact the following employees to schedule your upcoming visit:
Clarkson Healthcare contact Teresa Wardle at 605-343-5882 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.
Westhills Healthcare contact Debbie Westfall at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.
Westhills Courtyard contact Brandon Petrotto at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3PM.
Westhills Villa Apartments contact Nedra Harrod at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.
We have been anxiously awaiting the results of our 400+ COVID-19 samples that were collected and sent for testing last week. As of today all of our residents' results have been received! A vast majority of our staff results have also been received with the exception of a few that we anticipate to receive next week!
We are so happy to know that all of our preventive measures have resulted in a favorable test result for all of our residents in assisted living and health care facilities! Which means our residents are COVID-19 free!
Of our more than 250 employees, we did have a positive COVID-19 result for one employee. This employee did not have any symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposure to someone with COVID-19. Due to the processes we have in place for all of our employees when they interact with each other, as well as with our residents, we do not believe any of our other employees or residents are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Additional testing was done as a precautionary measure for employees that had the most contact with the positive employee. Those test results were also returned as negative for COVID-19. Again, we do have a handful of employees' results from our mass testing last week that we anticipate receiving next week.
Although our testing had a very good outcome, we continue to be guided by the South Dakota Department of Health on the restrictions in place in our assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. At this time the SD Dept. of Health continues to require we maintain our no visitation restriction. We are continuing the no visitation restriction in our independent living living as well, as visitors continue to be at high risk of unknowingly bringing COVID-19 into the facility, and our residents remain as vulnerable as ever.
At this time, the SD Dept. of Health is exploring the option of continuing mass testing of our facilities. This requirement is still not in place and we will remain as attentive as ever to the ever-changing requirements to ensure compliance with their directives.
As always, thank you to our residents, staff, family members, and loved ones that continue to support us during this time!
Date: Monday, May 18, 2020
Since the Covid-19 outbreak that began in our region, Clarkson Health Care Facility has been very proactive in its steps to protect both residents and our employees.
Early on, we had closed all of our locations to visitors, initiated daily screening of employees and incorporated, as we continue to do, numerous other measures recommended by the South Dakota Department of Health, the CDC and our own medical community.
Today, Monday, May 18, an employee has tested positive for Covid-19. As part of our protocols in place, we are informing all employees, residents and responsible party/family member and of course, we are working closely with the South Dakota Department of Health and our Medical Director on the follow up. We are not aware of any other employee member or any resident that has the COVID-19 virus.
As we were updated last week, and as scheduled, all employees and all residents will be tested this week for COVID-19 and will have more information as it becomes available.
We continue to take all necessary precautions to stop the spread of this virus and our top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy.
The employee was in the facility for a short period of time and we have retraced any contact and all appropriate follow up steps are being taken.
We have prepared our staff and our operations for this day, if it were to come, as we move forward.
The South Dakota Department of Health is requiring that ALL residents of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, as well as staff who work in those facilities be tested for Covid-19.
We plan to begin testing as early as next week, May 18-22; again, ALL residents in our licensed facilities will be tested. Our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond, will order the test for each resident and tests will be performed on-site. The specimen is collected via a nasal swab, and is then submitted to the lab for processing. The testing that we will be completing is for the active virus.
This is a significant positive step in protecting our residents and staff members from Covid-19 and we applaud the Department of Health’s support and efforts in accomplishing this.
Once the test is sent to the lab, it takes approximately up to 3 days to obtain the results and of course, if we had ANY positive cases, the immediate and appropriate follow up would occur.
As we proceed with this mass testing process, please also be aware that all residents in skilled and assisted living are screened on a daily basis for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. If a resident develops any symptoms at any time, we follow the public health guidance to isolate them and notify their provider, and complete any further assessment or testing that is indicated at that time. We will continue this process, and would communicate any changes in condition to the resident representative.
At this time, there is nothing that we would need from you and plan to proceed as soon as possible beginning next week. Thank you, once again, for your continued patience, cooperation, understanding and support while we navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic.
First, again, thank everyone for your understanding, cooperation and patience as we continue to work together in providing a safe and secure place for you to reside and staff members to work. Also, from all of us, we’d like to wish all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day and know it will be unique for all of us – whether you’re at Westhills Village or somewhere else. We ALL miss the socializing and human contact that normally occurs during Mother’s Day, yet maybe the biggest gift we can give our mothers is safety this year.
Below are some updates on a variety of topics related to Covid-19.
Guidelines for both YOU and the Beautician will be posted and services will begin Monday, May 11th. You will be able to call 721.3601 OR ext. 3601 to schedule an appointment.
The cooperation has been tremendous – not only from each of you, your families/friends, our staff and their families as well. Life is different for EVERY one of us currently and we all have more in common than differences in how it is affecting us. We are ALL on our own honor system – a social contract, if you will – of doing the best job possible and respecting one another’s safety and security. It is certainly recognized and greatly appreciated.
Again, we all need to take a deep breath, hang in there and the SCIENCE shows that potentially in the next two to three weeks, we will know a lot more than we do today about what next steps we might or might not be able to take regarding our protocols and processes.
I have been asked so many times – what is it like – as many of us are managing the facilities. It reminds me of when I grew up watching the Ed Sullivan Show and a performer would come out and start spinning plates to see how many plates he could have spinning at once. Our day to day seems a little bit like that right now; behind the scenes, everything else is continuing – we are still building the Cottages, we are still mowing the grounds, we are still taking care of people, we are still serving meals, cleaning, doing laundry, on and on…none of that has changed and we too are experiencing a lot of disruption to our routine, new steps and processes and bumps in the road. Amazingly enough, we still have a positive work environment thanks to great employees and great people like yourself who bring many well-wishes to everyone, so…THANK YOU!!
Daryl Reinicke, CEO
There's been a lot going on in the past week or so. Click the buttons below to read a letter from our CEO and Medical Director!
Although we are still on restrictions on our facility to try to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our facility, that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and keeping busy!
Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter. Times like this also teach us what we can appreciate, which many times are the simple things in life – friendships and safety. All of us as part of the Westhills Team of residents, staff members and families will continue to work together and get through this challenging and interesting time.
With COVID-19 now identified in our area of South Dakota, Westhills Village and Clarkson Health Care continue our safeguards to try to keep COVID-19 out of our facilities. These safeguards include:
First and foremost, thank you to everyone for your cooperation and the support we have received in so many ways as we address recent developments regarding COVID-19 virus. As you can imagine, our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our residents, patients and coworkers.
Below is some information about what we are doing at Westhills Village and we will continue to update you as new information becomes available.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we thank you for your continued cooperation, patience and support.