Covid-19 Updates & Policies

Vaccination Success Rates!

Westhills Village is so proud to receive recognition for having our staff vaccination rates above 75%.  This indicates that our staff truly understands the importance of being vaccinated.

We are continuing to monitor updates to CDC best practices and hope to see additional vaccinations as people do their research.

Visitation Guidelines

We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our campus!

Our current visitation guidelines, which are subject to change based on the number of COVID cases in the surrounding geographical area as well as within our facilities, are designed to provide protection to our Residents but also allow for their psychosocial needs:


Visitors of our Independent Living Residents:

  • All visitors must be at least 10 years of age.  Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • All visitors must complete the screening process at the station located near the Front Entrance.
  • Each individual visitor must wear a visitor badge obtained at the screening station and wear it during their visit in the facility following the screening process.
  • All visitors must pass the screening in place, which includes if you are experiencing any symptoms or have had any known potential exposures to COVID positive individuals.
  • Fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after completion of the vaccine) visitors DO NOT need to wear a mask during visits.
  • Fully vaccinated visitors may join residents in the Copper Creek Dining Room (they must provide a copy of their vaccination card with the Receptionist).
  • Fully vaccinated visitors are allowed to stay in their loved one’s apartment overnight and utilize our Guest Suites (they must provide a copy of their vaccination card with the Receptionist).
  • Visitors who are NOT fully vaccinated, must wear a mask during visits, and the visit must take place in the resident’s apartment.
  • Visitor group size is limited to 4 individuals, IF one or more of the individuals in the group is not vaccinated.
  • Non-vaccinated guests are NOT able to dine in the Copper Creek Dining Room, and cannot attend exercise, activities or events at this time.

Visitors of Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care, and The Courtyard Assisted Living:

  • All visitors to the facility must wear a mask and any other personal protective equipment as identified by our facility.
  • Visitors are asked to call the facility in which their loved one resides and schedule an in-suite visitation of their loved one with the Life Enrichment staff.
  • All visitors must be at least 10 years of age. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • All visitors must pass the screening in place, which includes if you are experiencing any symptoms or have had any known potential exposures to COVID positive individuals.
  • Residents of these facilities that are fully vaccinated for COVID may leave the facility with a loved one for a non-essential outing as long as appropriate safety precautions are followed.  Nonvaccinated resident outings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Are you on our independent living waiting list as one of our Deferred Members?

  • Deferred members who have completed all doses of the COVID vaccine and are at least 14 days since completion of the vaccination are welcomed back into the Dining Room, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, etc.
  • Deferred Members must bring a copy of their vaccination record with them for their first visit to be filed with the Receptionist.
  • Please contact our facility at 605-342-0255 for further details.
  • We will resume tours of our independent living settings for fully vaccinated individuals that are interested in joining our wait list.
  • Deferred Members and touring visitors must be able to pass the screening process in place and wear a visitor badge during their visit to the facility.

 We do recommend calling our facility in advance of your visit to ensure there are not changes to our current visitation policies, as changes may occur based on current cases of COVID in our resident group, staff group, and the surrounding County and based on regulations applicable to our facilities.  Thank you all for your support during these times!

Independent Living Covid Update

 

Date: Friday, January 8, 2021

To:  Independent Living Residents

From:  Daryl Reinicke, CEO

We were just informed that we have been assigned ONE DAY to provide vaccinations to ALL Independent Living residents.  We will be doing this on Saturday, January 16. It is anticipated that the 2nd dose of the vaccination will be provided on Saturday, February 6, which we will verify, BUT you must commit to taking the 2nd dose in order to receive this first dose of vaccine.

We have not yet received the forms that will need to be completed, however we expect to receive them next week, so we will follow up with you as to whether those are completed ahead of time or at the time of your vaccination. This is the Pfizer vaccine. We are contracted with CVS pharmacy who will be providing the vaccine and administering the vaccination as well. This is the same pharmacy who has provided support to us at our skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facility as well.

We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available, but we will need to know if you’re interested in receiving the vaccination so that we can establish A SCHEDULED TIME for you to receive the vaccine.  We will be scheduling you in by the hour throughout the morning and afternoon of Saturday, January 16 and will provide that scheduled appointment time to you next week.

If you have specific questions about whether you should receive the vaccine, you need to contact your primary care physician.

We DO NOT have the vaccine, so if you’re unable to make Saturday, January 16 work for you, we will have to see what other opportunities come up in the future.  We know that if you’re not available for Saturday, January 16, there will be other opportunities most likely in the month of February that the vaccine will become more available in the Rapid City community.

We will ask that you wear a short sleeved shirt to assist those giving the vaccine, all will need to be screened and you will need to have a face mask on. 

We would ask that you bring your Medicare AND prescription coverage card with you on Saturday, January 16.

We will be setting up the vaccination “clinic” within the 4th Level Main Commons area on Saturday, January 16, so the coffee area, Pantry, lounge, library and business center will be UNAVAILABLE for the entire day; however, the coffee station will be set up in the 3rd Level Commons.

More information will be made available early next week, at this time you do not need to contact us, we will get additional information and forms to you when we receive them.  As you can imagine in order for CVS pharmacy to provide vaccine to all of our residents at the Courtyard and Independent Living we will all need to be on our “A game”. 

Again, early next week, more of the detailed information will be distributed to Apartment, Cottage & Villa residents.  Most importantly, we want you to know we have an established date for vaccinations to be given on Saturday, January 16 and all other details will be put in place prior to that date AND you will be receiving a call from the Receptionist to verify your interest in receiving the vaccine.

Independent Living Covid Update

Date:  January 5, 2021
 
To:  Independent Living Residents
 
From:  Daryl Reinicke, CEO
 
As we have mentioned, this is a busy but good week for us for multiple reasons.  Our staff members at all locations who received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in December are now beginning to receive their second doses this week.  There is also a new opportunity for any staff who did not take the vaccine previously that they now can receive their first dose this week.  We have staff from a variety of locations who are now getting their first dose this week as well.
 
Also, on Monday, January 4, residents at Westhills Village Health Care received their first dose of vaccine and Tuesday, January 5, residents at Clarkson Health Care are receiving their first doses of vaccine.  Everything has gone extremely well thus far with the administration of the vaccines.  Residents at The Courtyard Assisted Living facility are scheduled to receive their vaccines January 16.
 
The contracted pharmacy we have been assigned is CVS and we have been working closely with them as they will provide ALL resident vaccinations.  Of course, we are hoping to hear very soon when the date or dates we will hopefully be able to schedule Independent Living residents to receive their vaccines, with the goal of them being administered in an onsite clinic at Westhills Village.  Due to the large number of independent living residents, it is likely that 2 or possibly more vaccine clinic dates will be scheduled, and once those dates are in place, we will communicate to you how to schedule your vaccination.
 
www.doh.sd.gov is the Department of Health website that is updated daily with Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccine information, including frequently asked questions about who should receive the vaccine. If you have questions about whether the Covid-19 vaccine is right for you, please contact your primary care provider to discuss in further detail.
 
As you can imagine, there is a wide array of scheduling occurring for staff members, skilled nursing residents, assisted living residents and eventually independent living residents and you will probably hear about numerous schedules that are occurring throughout the state.  This scheduling comes through the South Dakota Department of Health then the pharmacy provider then to us.  For example, our staff members at our facilities were one of the first in the entire state to receive the vaccine and others have and continue to follow. We did find out that South Dakota ranks as one of the top states in terms of the number of Covid-19 vaccinations already provided which is a great tribute to the Department of Health, pharmacy providers and all providers such as us who are participating.
 
It is important for you to know that we would expect to hear something soon – hopefully in the next couple weeks – and we will be certain to relay the information regarding how we may be able to offer the Covid-19 vaccine – again, with the hopes that it could be administered onsite, which should make accommodations for you very easy.
 
We feel very grateful and blessed that we have the opportunity that we have already had to vaccinate our staff members, skilled nursing residents, and very shortly assisted living residents.  Again, we will be looking forward to the scheduling of administration of vaccine for Independent living residents.

End of Year Covid Update

Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2020
To: Independent Living Residents

Happy New Year to each of you! We hope 2021 brings with it some new opportunities, which I feel very confident it will. Below is an update on a variety of topics that hopefully will be of interest:

We are hoping to be able to offer our next Resident Council Meeting to be held on Wednesday, January 13 at 9:30am via Zoom for anyone who would like to listen in on the Resident Council meeting. As that time draws nearer, we will provide those details.

We are currently working on finalizing the Annual Audit for Westhills Village which then allows us to begin work on the Medical Tax Deduction Letter. We would expect to have this information out to sometime in mid-to end of January 2021.

Reminder that as we complete this unique year and finalize the end of year steps that are required, I would encourage you think about the Westhills Village Foundation in your end of year planning and as we look toward 2021. We had numerous needs and projects this year – any and all support is greatly appreciated – thank you in advance!

There are a number of events and activities through Community Life being offered – I am hopeful you’re able to find those that are of interest to you.

Dining Services will be providing some fun, special days in the Dining Room in January – January 20th is National Cheese Lover’s Day and we will celebrate Hawaiian Day on Wednesday, January 27th! We look forward to enhancing the dining experience with these fun events and we hope you enjoy them too!

Shortly, the holiday décor will be coming down and again, I wish to thank ALL of you who helped put it up and make our facilities so festive!

The Volunteer Committee sign-up sheet will be available on the Bulletin Board and there are so many committees that we appreciate your involvement in – if you have any questions, please contact Nedra or Erin in Community Life.

I have been in contact with the City of Rapid City several times this past month regarding the drainage area that is scheduled to be addressed during the winter months – hopefully sometime between January & March, is their plan. The City is actively working on getting that information and proposal put together. This is the area between the Cottages & Westhills Village main campus.

We will be distributing the Employee Appreciation Funds to our staff members on January 12th and wish to thank any and all of you who supported this fund in such a spectacular way this year. It is truly an amazingly generous gift and it is gratefully, wholeheartedly appreciated by those who work at Westhills Village facilities – THANK YOU!!

A brief update on efforts regarding Covid-19.

The good news is that many of our staff members will be receiving their second dose of the vaccine next week – January 4-8.

Additionally, next week, we have CVS Pharmacy coming onsite to Clarkson Health Care and Westhills Village Health Care to administer Covid-19 vaccinations to our residents in those facilities.

The Courtyard Assisted Living residents are scheduled to receive their vaccinations, again by CVS Pharmacy, in mid-January.

We continue to test our staff members twice weekly at all locations and those residents in both skilled nursing facilities and assisted living as protocol dictates.

Our community of Rapid City is still considered to be in substantial spread – even though you’ll see numbers have not increased, but the positivity rate for those being tested has taken a sharp increase. The 14 day positivity rate is over 20%, which is quite high.

It is still very important for all of us to continue to wear our masks, continue to practice social distancing and continue to practice good hand washing. This is what will help prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 in our Westhills Village community.

We continue to communicate daily with a variety of agencies regarding our current vaccination plan, but we also communicate regarding the potential vaccination plan for YOU. Seniors are scheduled in the higher priority area, currently as 1-D. 1-A included health care workers, 1-B is skilled nursing and assisted living residents. The good news is that we know seniors are a high priority, but what we don’t know and will wait to hear, is when and how the vaccine will be made available to you. Our preference, as we have shared, is to hopefully be able to offer that vaccination on-site to all. However, when we have information we feel confident about, we will be most anxious to share that with you. This week is a busy week for us in spite of the holiday, as we are getting everything ready for the second vaccinations of our staff next week and the initial vaccination of skilled nursing and assisted living residents and all the required documentation and paperwork. In spite of 2020 leaving somewhat of a lasting impression upon all of us, I can tell you that there are many things that I am very grateful for as I reflect back upon 2020:

Great support from residents, families, and staff members as we have all worked hard to combat Covid-19.

We have been very successful in our efforts.

Very grateful and deeply appreciate the teamwork, support, open communication and tremendous attitudes of YOU, our staff members and so many well wishes from families as well as the Rapid City community commending everyone’s efforts. We certainly look forward to 2021 and it seems we are starting it off in a very positive way, with vaccine shortly becoming available for all. Thank you again, for your support, cooperation, understanding and patience.

Sincerely, Daryl Reinicke

Many of our staff have completed the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. We are VERY fortunate to have this opportunity to help keep our residents safe and healthy!

Covid Update 12/14

December 14, 2020

The Christmas holiday is almost upon us and shortly thereafter, of course, it will be a New Year!  This year has seemed to move fast and slow all at the same time due to the obvious reason.  We had great events last week as Dining Services once again shone brightly for everyone in an amazing way.  We had our holiday meals at Westhills Village Health Care, The Courtyard Assisted Living and of course, Friday for Independent Living.  Thank you, Dining Services and all the support from other departments it takes to accomplish such amazing results.  It truly takes a team!!!

Last Friday, we were made aware that Westhills Village staff members will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine this week – the 1st doses given on Tuesday, December 15th - so we are extremely busy putting all the details together and the follow up that will be required of us regarding vaccination of all of our staff at Westhills Village.  This is a significant step and one that we have all been waiting for.  There are many details to this, some of which we have not yet been informed, as it is truly a day by day scenario as we gather information.  What we do know is that from numerous conference calls we have had, now almost daily it seems with the Department of Health, is that as the vaccine is becoming available, health care staff are top priority followed by skilled nursing and assisted living residents.  We feel fairly confident that we will have all of our staff at all locations as well as our skilled nursing and assisted living residents vaccinated potentially prior to or near the first of the year.  As we are able to become better informed, we will share that information. Again, this is a big step, we feel, in the right direction.  We have been in discussions, but have not yet been informed of how those of you in Independent Living will access the vaccine, but rest assured, we are inquiring and will provide information to you as soon as we are able to become aware.

On another exciting note – Friday we had discussions with Monument Health and they have selected our organization to partner with on a special treatment for Covid-19 positive patients.  They have chosen to partner with us because of the great outcome we have all accomplished in keeping Covid-19 at bay and also due to the quality care and services our staff provide.  This will involve our Home Care department, Skilled Nursing Facility, Assisted Living and potentially Independent Living.  This treatment is an IV Therapy treatment program if ever needed.  We will begin this week all the follow up necessary so that we can become prepared and trained to offer this new treatment.  This is truly a tremendous reflection of the quality of our staff, managers and organization as a whole.  We will be anxious to get started and have this in place in the near future and of course, hope that it would not be needed, but we will hopefully be prepared if it is. 

The good news is that there are a number of positive things happening regarding Covid-19 and once again, Westhills Village is on the front end as it pertains to Covid-19.  We are very proud of how hard all of us have worked to provide a safe environment and will continue to do so.  We still have a ways to go, of course, as each of you recognize as well.  But, maybe this is the first big step in a better direction.  We have and will continue to change our processes and protocols as necessary in Independent Living as it is necessary to provide that safe environment. 

As you are aware, we discontinued group activities and events on Friday and also discontinued the “Buddy System” within Dining because we had an Independent Living resident diagnosed with Covid-19.  IF we do not encounter any additional positive Covid-19 cases in the Independent Living resident population, the “Buddy System” in the Dining Room AND group activities/events will begin again on Monday, December 21st. These steps are taken for the safety of all and to guard against additional steps having to be implemented within our facilities.  Our normal protocol continues to apply, in which we then investigate, trace and provide all the follow up necessary.  That may or may not include taking other necessary steps depending on the situation.  Part of that process is interviewing the resident to determine their practice, determining what steps, if any, need to be taken which could include notifying others, cleaning of areas, etc.  That has happened and of course, will happen if necessary in the future.  Our protocols are defined for us to follow that would involve when it’s necessary to contact others and based on each individual situation, what follow up is necessary, appropriate cleaning and other steps depending on each situation.

We continue with our testing of employees and tracking of any Independent Living residents who need to self-quarantine.  This is handled through the Business Office and within the recommended guidelines.

Our daily routine can and will change based on the needs of providing appropriate safety and protection within the facility.  As always, our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond is involved, as well as a number of us within the facility. 

What continues to be important is what follow up, when needed, can become quite minimal IF everyone is practicing the precautions that include:

  • Wearing a mask
  • Practicing 6’ social distancing
  • Washing hands frequently

It’s a different follow up if those basic guidelines are NOT followed, when someone has been diagnosed with Covid-19. 

We will appreciate your continued willingness to practice good habits and your willingness to support the changes we may need to make at times to our operations in order to provide a safe environment for everyone.

It is going to be a big and busy week for us operationally, but the inspiring piece of all of this is that it’s also a good step.

It is still a busy time around our facilities and have to again, compliment our staff members.  There are many wearing multiple hats doing multiple things to accomplish a lot, in what seems like a short period of time.

Yet, with all that is going on, below is a brief recap of some of the happenings around our facilities have included:

  • Zahara the Horse visited at Westhills Village Health Care
  • The 1 resident in Westhills Village Health Care who had contracted Covid-19 has recovered!!! A little celebration was held!!
  • Through our Life Enrichment department in Health Care, residents have made gifts for their loved ones.
  • Erin Smith has been having fun with many of you with hiding Buddy the Elf and she has also kicked off Healthy through the Holidays challenge/implementing new healthy habits
  • Rotary fundraiser for the Lakota Homes Food Pantry this week
  • Over 500 Holiday Bags have been distributed.
  • We are busy working on the follow up needed for the Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve meals
  • We welcome our new Resident Council Members who will join the Resident Council January 1st  – Mary Bartsch, Mely Rahn, Terry Whiting and Aletha Parke AND thank Paula Welsch, Millie Galyen, Vance Sneve and Henry Cordes for their support during a very unique year.

Thank you!
Daryl Reinicke, CEO

Covid Update 11/18

Date:  Wednesday, November 18, 2020

From:  Daryl Reinicke, CEO

Through our weekly Covid-19 testing of residents and staff members at Westhills Village Health Care Facility, and Courtyard Assisted, we have one (1) resident at Westhills Village Health Care that tested positive for Covid-19.  At Clarkson Health Care we have had several residents test positive for Covid-19.  We now will take additional steps to continue to provide a safe workplace for staff members and a safe environment for all residents, and especially those in our Health Care facility.

Beginning immediately, the following will occur and we certainly look forward to your cooperation as we implement these protocols.

  • All visitation from outside the Health Care Facility will be discontinued which will include spouses and visitation we had arranged within the facility.
  • All residents are isolated to their suites, where all cares and meal services will be provided.
  • We will continue testing all residents and staff members in all locations, as outlined above.
  • No group activities at this time.
  • Beautician and volunteer services have been discontinued in the Health Care Facilities.

In order to limit the potential exposure risk, staff members will be extremely limited in their ability to travel between buildings and facilities.  While we have already done this to a high degree, it is now an ABSOLUTE necessity.  There will be an impact of course, and we ask for your cooperation and patience as we work on providing services and follow up to requests.

There of course are numerous changes that will occur within the Health Care Facilities as we take the necessary steps that we have planned for.  As you can imagine, we have a very detailed plan in place for IF/WHEN this day would come and we now will move forward with the necessary steps and follow through that we have developed.

Residents’ attending physicians and Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond, are aware and involved as we begin this process and we have also provided detailed communication to all of our staff members as well as family members/responsible parties of our Health Care residents.

We have placed a heightened focus on observation of residents now, which requires us to have nursing staff and certain other staff members more attuned and designated to residents.  Due to this, we are limiting the movement of our nurses and other personnel providing close personal care to residents around the facility.  We continue to operate and provide our strong staffing levels, but certainly, everyone’s duties and routines have changed slightly in order to prioritize and accomplish the various tasks at hand.  The time we have extra hands to handle additional visits and requests would typically be Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm and not during evenings, nights and weekends, so your assistance and keeping this in mind would be greatly appreciated.

As each of you are aware, Covid-19 positivity rates are at an all-time high once again in our state and also the Rapid City community.  There is great concern that with Thanksgiving coming up and families gathering, the positive cases will continue to increase.  

As a reminder, we do have the latest technology in the ionization system that has been installed at Westhills Village Health Care facility and we feel we are already seeing the positive effects in controlling Covid-19.

WE WANT TO EMPHASIZE AND ENCOURAGE EACH OF YOUR COOPERATION IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

  • Wearing a mask at all times when outside of your unit, especially if you’re in public areas of the facility.
  • Practicing appropriate social distancing of 6’ or more between yourself and others.  
  • Often and thorough handwashing.

The more everyone participates in this as a team, the better outcomes we can achieve.  It is becoming increasingly more challenging with the increase in overall numbers of positive Covid-19 cases to provide the safest environment possible.  Yet we know the only option is to work together to keep Covid-19 out!

We appreciate your cooperation, patience, encouragement and support as ALL of us in the Rapid City community and here at Westhills Village work together.

 

Letter from Daryl

Date:  Monday, October 26, 2020
To:  Independent Living Residents
From: Daryl Reinicke, CEO

I wanted to give you an update on several items operationally as well as related to the latest Covid-19 information.

First and foremost, I have to say that I think most of us were pretty discouraged last week with the snow, cold and ice that has already occurred in the month of October.  Let’s hope that around the corner, we will get a nice warm surprise.  In light of that, I do want to ask and stress that on these snowy and icy days, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to have every piece of ice off sidewalks and other areas.  Please refrain from going outside during those times, especially early morning & late evening, but also on those days the sidewalks are not dry.  Ice melt and removing snow does not eliminate all of the ice and it’s not always easily seen.  Be aware of the risk and access these outside areas at your own risk.  Also, we do have some “ice grippers” in various sizes available for purchase in the Pantry.  These slip over shoes and help greatly when going outside.

We follow our snow guidelines that are contained in the Administrative Policies & Procedures that each of you have received in terms of priority of areas, timing, etc. As the weather conditions outside vary, so does our plan of how we address.

Currently, we have the following projects/items underway or in the works:

*Sprinkler System has been shut off      *Window washers are being scheduled

*Outside work yet to be done when weather cooperates  

*Resident Council election information provided to you 

*Employee Appreciation Committee has met & letters will be distributed soon

*Annual Holiday Pie Sale begins October 31 

*Influenza Vaccinations being completed 

*Clarkson Health Care Harvest Fruit Basket Sale – Contact Receptionist to order 

*Kettle corn & Halloween Costume Contest Friday, October 30th – tune into Channel 7 for details!  *Working on scheduling Blood Drive – Sign up at the Activities Bulletin Board

*Mail your ballot! Election Day 11/3!! *Foundation Annual Report is being finalized &  will be sent to print soon

We continue to plan for future events and are aware that the holidays are nearly upon us.  We are trying to approach some of our annual events and the detailed planning as to how we can handle if Covid-19 continues to be so active in the greater community and also how to handle if it begins to diminish.  We will all know more as time goes by and we approach those timelines - we will certainly work hard to keep you informed.  I do wish to compliment all of our managers, Resident Council members and staff members who help us brainstorm new ideas, things to do & try and new ways to consider.

COVID-19 UPDATE 

We all wish we were in a different spot than what our community and state of South Dakota are experiencing currently, but the bottom line is that we’re NOT.  The two graphs below reflect data through part of October and show how Covid-19 has dramatically increased and is moving throughout the state and our communities.

We continue to test portions of our staff members twice per week with testing equipment and have ordered additional testing equipment which hasn’t arrived just yet, but are hopeful it will arrive soon.  We continue to struggle at times with essential supply orders in many of our departments that now also includes testing materials for us to perform Covid-19 tests but thus far, we have adequate stock of our necessary supplies and we monitor closely, nearly daily.

We continue to allow visitation at each location, yet with precautions applied, which are needed and in certain areas of our operations, required.

As you may be aware, hospitalizations due to Covid-19 have increased sharply across the state and our community.  It was reported that Covid-19 hospitalizations at Monument Health are at an all-time high.

We continue to receive updated information from and conduct conference calls weekly and sometimes daily with agencies that include the South Dakota Department of Health, CDC and CMS (Medicare) on rules, regulations, requirements, best practices, etc.  

We continue to support visitation as outlined as well as telehealth visits, FaceTime & Google Duo visits utilizing the iPad, email, telephone, etc., - certainly everyone is trying to do as much as reasonably possible to keep loved ones in touch with residents.  We still need to operate in a mode that simply addresses the fewer people in and out of our facility, the lower the risk all of us incur. 

We also experience a lag at times for some of the services that other companies/vendors in the community perform for us due to their staff being exposed to Covid-19.  At our locations, we have erred on the side of caution.  Any staff member who has potentially been exposed to Covid-19 – not necessarily confirmed positive – does not return to work until certain criteria are met.  This continues to put us in a spot, almost on a daily basis, depending upon the department, waiting for a staff member to return to work and asking staff to work additional shifts, etc.  Please bear with us as we need to prioritize what work needs to be accomplished in light of some of those challenges we are working through, just as others in the community are as well.

With the days getting shorter, the weather being colder, people neither wearing masks nor practicing social distancing, agencies are expecting the numbers of positive cases to continue to increase until all communities practice safer guidelines.

As you can imagine, our options are somewhat limited – we put in place and follow the steps and practices, encourage and in certain parts of our operations, are mandated by rules and regulations to provide a safe environment for those who reside here as well as work here.  If we don’t, there is very little doubt that we will suffer the consequences as others have across the United States.  I know the vast majority of us, if not nearly all of us, want to avoid a Covid-19 outbreak at all of our locations.  On a daily basis, we continue to hear more positive input from residents, their families and certainly our staff members, applauding the efforts our facilities and operations have taken to provide a safe environment in which to live and work.  

We will continue that same philosophy, steps and practices to achieve this goal and yet know, as we see the numbers significantly increasing in the community, it is an ongoing challenge with no absolutes. 

There will be a day when we will begin to see things change for the better and we are well prepared to make changes in the highly restrictive measures currently in place when that time presents itself.

I want to applaud and thank all the residents, your family members and all of our staff members across the organization for the efforts you make and steps you take to be safe – it not only benefits you but just as importantly, benefits others around us.

Thank you, as always, for doing what is necessary in these unique times.

Letter from Daryl

Date:  Wednesday, September 23, 2020
To:  Independent Living Residents
From: Daryl Reinicke, CEO

Below is a brief update, additional information on a variety of topics, as well as recent updates regarding Covid-19.

First and foremost, we are very excited to announce that the Global Plasma Solutions Ionization system has been installed and is in operation at Westhills Village Health Care Facility.  As you may be aware, we had announced this not too long ago. This system works to safely clean indoor air by continuously seeking out and attaching to particles.  This particular system is being used in many major hospitals and kills pathogens such as Human Coronavirus, E-Coli, MRSA, Tuberculosis, Norovirus, C-Diff, and Legionella to name just a few.  We are extremely grateful and pleased that the Westhills Village Foundation has helped support us in this project and is going to match up to $20,000 in donations we receive towards this new innovative system in our Health Care Facility.  If you are so inclined and as you look at your giving, we can “double your donation” through the Foundation!  We are hopeful that the Foundation will receive $20,000 in donations in order to make the full match.

Influenza vaccination update:  Currently, we are planning to offer “door to door” flu shots October 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.  More details will be forthcoming regarding how we will proceed throughout the Apartments, Villas and Cottages.  It is strongly encouraged that all of us receive the Influenza vaccination – for you, this will be the high-dose and would ask that you call the Receptionist to confirm that yes, you want the flu shot and confirm your Medicare/Insurance information; we will put together the details, by location, date and time for follow up to you for vaccination.  Again, this year, we will be coming to YOU, at your home, to give you your flu shot!

We are finalizing the installation of the new Hearing Loop system for the Theatre, which will be complete this week.  In the future, as you utilize the Theatre to watch movies or informational programs, if you have T-Coil enabled hearing aids, the sound will be directed to your hearing aids.  A huge and significant improvement that is exciting to offer and furnished by the Westhills Village Foundation.  So many amazing items around our campuses have been made possible through the Foundation – THANK YOU for your generous support! 

We are happy to also incorporate this week at Clarkson Health Care, Westhills Village Health Care, Courtyard Assisted Living and soon, in the Commons/Independent Living INDOOR visitation scheduling as well as outdoor visitation as the weather allows.  

Currently, we allow spouses of residents at The Courtyard Assisted Living and Westhills Village Health Care Facility to visit their spouse.  Additionally, we will be incorporating new opportunities for visitation for you, as friends/family of those residents at The Courtyard Assisted Living and Westhills Village Health Care facility, to visit in those locations.  To establish a date/time to visit at The Courtyard, please contact Brandon at extension 5202; to establish a date/time to visit at Westhills Village Health Care, please contact Debbie/Margeau at extension 4323; to establish an indoor/outdoor visit for your family/friends at the Commons, please contact Nedra at extension 4211.

We have incorporated additional opportunities for Clergy visitation for our Courtyard and Health Care residents.  In independent living, we have the following:

  • Ken & Nancy May - Calvary Lutheran Service with communion on Sundays.  They have opened the services to other denominations.
  • Catholic Communion is offered prior to the Catholic Bible Study on Wednesdays.  Communion is led by Phyllis Dixon with Phyllis Kinkler assisting.
  • Nedra is finalizing details at this time - Larry Dahlstrom will offer Episcopalian communion early Sunday morning tentatively starting at 8:00 a.m.
  • An Interdenominational Bible discussion is offered several times per month led by Larry Dahlstrom.

New options for Dining Buddies - beginning this week we will allow those residents in Independent Living who take the necessary precautions to be safe (self-isolating within the Village) to enjoy their meal in the Dining Room with up to 3 different residents (Buddies).  We will still observe the same protocol of no more than 2 per table, etc., but have expanded the number of different people you may enjoy your meal with.  Again, we still have the same social distancing protocol in place for this.

For those residents within our apartments who are protecting themselves and others are able to visit in one another’s apartments, ensuring the following protocols are being followed: 

  • 6’ social distancing
  • All parties wearing masks

Reminder that ANYONE may be outside, may go for a walk, may take a ride on a mobie cart/scooter and easily maintain social distancing and enjoy the outdoors.

An area we want to work very closely with you on, to minimize or eliminate when we can, is the need to self-isolate. At certain times, for example, an overnight stay in the hospital that cannot be avoided but in other cases, we ask that you let us know well in advance – NOT the day of – of what you might need to be doing or where you might be going so that we can work with you on how you can accomplish what you need to do and potentially avoid any imposed quarantine.  There are too many variables and exceptions to try and explain each possible scenario.  We ask you to relay your question/situation to the Receptionist AHEAD OF TIME so they may contact the correct person, who will follow up with you.

Also, as a reminder, regarding any specific questions you or your family may have – please bring them to the Receptionist so that those may be relayed to the appropriate person, who will follow up with you.  Please DO NOT contact Health Care or multiple departments, asking the same question – this will avoid getting different responses and possible mis-information.

Apartment, Cottage and Villa residents are able to have access to the Commons, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Dining Room – IF they are NOT going out into the Rapid City community grocery shopping, patronizing restaurants, utilizing salon services other than the Village Salon.  

Those who DO CHOOSE to go out into the greater community of Rapid City and grocery shop, patronize restaurants, utilize barber/beauty shop services outside – are NOT able to access amenities and services within the Village community.

Currently, Pennington County is still considered to be in “substantial community spread” which is, of course, the higher risk category as it relates to Covid-19.  When the percentage of positive cases decreases, we will then be able to look at our steps, practices and protocols to see what can be changed and/or incorporated – this is standard practice today throughout the state of South Dakota.

Please keep in mind, at any given time, any of our locations experience an outbreak of Covid-19, the things we are currently ABLE to do (dining, activities, events, coming to the Commons for mail, coffee, etc.), will CEASE – just as other facilities in the Rapid City community and across the state have had to do to control the spread of this virus.  This is exactly what we are trying to PREVENT.  We all recognize and realize the more we do or allow in the areas of visitation, changing the steps that ensure your safety, lessening restrictions, we increase the risk of exposure in our facilities – residents and staff – to Covid-19.  This is, again, not what anyone wants.  We will be able make changes in the restrictions once the Pennington County positivity rate decreases and sustains itself for the number of days currently required.

We will obviously continue to monitor this; we are all hopeful that things can and will change; we all realize that the holidays are coming and we would all like to see positive changes, if at all possible, prior to that time.  We continue to have multiple meetings and conference calls each week that involve Monument Health, our Medical Director, the South Dakota Department of Health as well as others we remain in contact with regarding current status of Covid-19 in the state, our county, the Rapid City community as well as what other facilities are experiencing.

Due to Pennington county being considered high risk (substantial community spread) we will now be required to test all employees in our skilled nursing operations – Clarkson Health Care and Westhills Village Health Care – twice per week and we will initiate this very soon.  This is a monumental task to schedule and perform this testing as you can well imagine.  We could also use some assistance with the implementation of this process if you are so inclined.  Please let the Receptionist know if this is something you would be willing to do or if you know someone who would be willing to be of help.

Lastly, we are in need of volunteers who are willing to help supervise some of our visitation that we will be hoping to expand.  If you are interested and willing to learn more about this, please contact the Receptionist so we may relay to the appropriate personnel.  Thank you, a million times, to all of the amazing volunteers who are helping us out in SO MANY WAYS – you are GREATLY APPRECIATED!

We are all in this together and in order for us to be successful in combating the spread of Covid-19, we all have to follow the same steps and practices.  

Thank you again, for your support, cooperation, patience and understanding.  We have done a good job in keeping Covid-19 out of our facilities and we continue to strive to STOP THE SPREAD!

New Ionization System

Westhills Village Health Care Facility is very proud to announce that the Global Plasma Solution Ionization System has been installed and is now operational at Westhills Village Health Care Facility. This system is being used by many major hospitals as it kills such pathogens as Human Coronavirus, E-Coli, MRSA, Tuberculosis, Norovirus, C-Diff and Legionella - to name a few. This is a significant step made by Westhills Village to provide a safe environment for its residents/patients, staff members and others who come to Westhills Village Health Care.

We are extremely grateful and pleased that the Westhills Village Foundation has helped support us in this project and is going to match up to $20,000 in donations we receive towards this new innovative system in our Health Care Facility.

If you are so inclined and as you look at your giving, we can “double your donation” through the Foundation!  We are hopeful that the Foundation will receive $20,000 in donations in order to make the full match.

Covid-19 Policies at Westhills Village & Facilities

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.

  • Our first priority is providing a safe environment for anyone and everyone at all of our Westhills Village locations.  Westhills Village has a NO VISITATION POLICY at this time.
  • We have a TEAM at our facilities that meets daily to discuss any new developments or unique situations that need addressing.
  • We will continue to use our website to keep you updated.
  • We will continue to take admissions into Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care, The Courtyard Assisted Living as well as new move-ins to our Apartments and Villas.  We will use the same screening process that we currently have in place.
  • Tours of our facilities will be limited to an “as needed” basis only and we have our steps and processes in place for this.
  • We have eliminated outside events/groups coming into the facilities for obvious reasons and we will continue this practice until advised differently.
  • Our Independence Plus/Home Health Agency is available to provide your necessary transportation and support with shopping if needed, as well as other services or support you may need.  This is a service we have always offered and can easily expand to you if and when needed.  Please contact Home Health at 342.3594.
  • Overall, it’s “business as usual” in terms of providing care and services at each of our locations and we will work diligently to continue ensure no change in this area.
  • Please contact our facilities to arrange a video call with your loved one, if desired.
  • As we have stated, currently, we do not know how long this could last – which is, nobody really knows, as of today.  As there are new developments and new information, we will be sure to share with you.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we thank you for your continued cooperation, patience and support.

Independence Plus Services

  • Homemaker Services
  • Personal Grooming Assistance
  • Health Management Services
  • Medication Reminders & Setup
  • Transportation
  • Secretarial Services
  • Companionship
  • Medical Appointment Companion
  • Assisted Home Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Laundry/Ironing
  • Meal Preparation
  • Linen Changes