Covid-19 Updates & Policies

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.

August Covid-19 Update

Update from Daryl Reinicke, CEO

Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020
  
From:  Daryl Reinicke, CEO; and Westhills Village Department Managers
 
First, we wish to acknowledge and say THANK YOU for all the support and understanding that all of us are giving and receiving during these very unique times.  Wanted to give you an update regarding our Westhills Village operations.
 
We continue to have very good support and participation in the visitation that has been established to allow residents to visit with family & friends.  We have extended the hours and the days to make this even more available as well.  Additionally, as time allows, we try to stop out to some of the visits just to say hello and answer any questions you may have as well.  This applies at Westhills Village independent living, The Courtyard Assisted Living and Westhills Village Health Care Facility.
 
In spite of a lot of focus on what all of us CANNOT do, we still have many things we ARE able to do within our facility.  We’ve looked at events, activities and life enrichment opportunities and have adjusted many different things to provide support within our facility.
 
On August 20th, we will be having a Summer Squeeze Drive Thru Parade at 10:00am for Westhills Village Health Care and Courtyard residents and their families & friends.
 
Upcoming items & updates include:
 

  • Cottage work continues and is getting near the end. Main remaining work will be the completion of the Westhills Village Sign on the corner of Nebraska & 5th Streets, finishing the planting of trees, shrubs and other plantings, finalizing the irrigation system, placement of sod and completion of the sidewalk.  Once all of that work is done, a general clean-up of the site will then occur.  We will also be working on a Virtual Tour of a Cottage and share on our website and Touchtown for all to enjoy.  We are very happy to welcome our new Cottage residents.
  • Breakfast on the Go – Friday, August 7th - breakfast deliveries will begin at approximately 8:00am – thank you for your participation in this fun event!
  • This week we began work on the LED lighting upgrade that will occur from the hallway of the Commons to Health Care and eventually throughout Westhills Village Health Care Facility.  This project will take approximately 6-7 weeks to complete.
  • Also, by the end of this month, we will be replacing the flooring between the Commons and Health Care business office.
  • We continue with Health Care resident room updates as time allows – these updates include new TV’s, painting, new wall protection and other miscellaneous items – a very nice improvement when we’re finished with each room.
  • August 7-14 we will be participating once again in the annual Black Hills Federal Credit Union School Supply Drive – monetary donations may be dropped off at the Reception Desk – checks made payable to BHFCU School Supply Drive – thank you in advance for your support!
  • The week of August 10th through August 14th, Dining Services will feature American Regional Cuisine week.  The daily menus will feature selections from Hawaii, California, the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the Plains.
  • On August 11th, Vi Stoltz is furnishing donuts for both residents and staff members in celebration of her birthday AND the end of her cancer treatments!
  • We know we will have further discussions with our insurance adjuster in the near future regarding what work will need to occur due to the recent hail storm we experienced.  As soon as we have more information, we will be sure to share that with you.
  • This week, we will begin the replacement of the heating/cooling system at Clarkson Health Care.  This is a significant project for us that will take over a year to accomplish but will certainly be much enjoyed when complete.
  • BankWest has posted its August hours – both on the door of the bank branch AND on Touchtown – it’s nice to have this service back onsite!
  • We will be offering Influenza vaccinations again this year for residents and coworkers alike.  More information will be forthcoming regarding dates and times the Flu Shot Clinics will be held.

 
Of course, the topic of major concern for all of us is the status of the Covid-19 pandemic.  At this time, we continue to be Covid-19 free at ALL of our locations that include: Westhills Village Independent Living, Courtyard Assisted Living, Westhills Village Health Care Facility and Clarkson Health Care.  We continue to be an area – Rapid City and Pennington County – that has substantial Covid-19 activity and until that begins to change, we are not able to change our protocols, practices and guidelines mandated by the South Dakota Department of Health.  I can assure you the moment that we feel safe steps can be taken, we will be sure to communicate with you and implement moving forward.  I believe we all know that until some of the major tourism and annual community events that occur in August are over and the start of school begins, we will all know the levels of Covid-19 in the community.  We are hopeful that even with all this activity, if the fluid Covid-19 situation changes for the better, it may put the Rapid City community and our facility in a position to incorporate new changes in the phasing.  Additionally, in the future, hopefully within the next couple of months, we will be receiving equipment that will allow us to test for Covid-19.  We do not yet have a delivery date nor a timeline of when we would be able to begin doing our own Covid-19 testing; however, as soon as we have details available, we will share them with you.

We fully recognize this has been a challenging situation for the facility, for families and friends as well as all of us who go home and must work around the many ways Covid-19 has impacted our lives as well.
 
In spite of everything, we all know, deep in our hearts, the steps we must take are not what any of us would wish for; we also recognize the terribly grim effects a Covid-19 outbreak would have upon our facility – jeopardizing the safety of residents, coworkers and family and friends.
 
 We wish to thank those of you who have generously supported the Westhills Village Foundation in the past and now moving forward, with the Tree Sponsorship program at the Cottages, the new van wrap we will be putting on our mid-size transportation van since the first one turned out so great!  We certainly appreciate your support of these projects as well as ongoing projects that include Academic Support, the Memorial Fund and numerous others – there is no question we will be looking to the Foundation this year to help with some of the special projects that help make life at Westhills Village so enjoyable.
 
We will continue to keep you updated with any changes or new steps that may come up and as always, we greatly appreciate your patience, cooperation, support and understanding as we all pull together to provide a safe and healthy environment for one another.

July Covid Updates

July 10th Update

Below are some updates on happenings around our Westhills Village Community.

  • We are excited to announce that BankWest will be re-opening on July 15th!  They are also on their own company imposed restrictions and will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30AM-11:30AM until they are comfortable resuming their full schedule on our campus.  Re-opening guidelines will be posted at the door.
  • We are working on a method for you to join future Resident Council meetings and the upcoming Budget meeting that will be held near the end of July or first part of August – more information to come on this.
  • A Blood Drive has been organized for Tuesday, August 4th from 9:00am – 3:00pm, giving everyone an opportunity to participate – you may sign up at the Activities Bulletin Board or contact Nedra at ext. 4211 for details.
  • We are working on the follow up necessary due to the recent hail storm.
  • Many thanks to everyone who has supported the Van Wrap project through the Westhills Village Foundation and we are scheduled to get one and possibly two of our vans wrapped, which will be great to see.
  • Best of the Black Hills voting begins on Saturday, July 18th at 4:01pm – we would ask for your support in the Seniors Category, sub-categories of:
    • Independent Living Community
    • Assisted Living Community
    • Skilled Nursing (Both Westhills Village Health Care AND Clarkson Health Care)
    • In-Home care
  • July Summertime Olympics is underway, so if you have some extra time and interest, we would certainly encourage you to enjoy that as well as the July Fitness Challenge.  Erin has been able to distribute a number of t-shirts to participants that completed the June Challenge.
  • We just installed our 5-Star plaques at both Westhills Village Health Care and Clarkson Health Care.  We are extremely proud of the focus on quality care and services provided that result in 5-Star ratings at both skilled nursing facilities.  We are very appreciative of the top notch quality of our coworkers and the organization as a whole.

COVID-19 UPDATE

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:

  • Wearing of masks
  • Social Distancing
  • Handwashing

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: 

  • Option 1 – Implement and follow all the practices/protocols to protect the campus that would include each resident, each staff member and others.
  • Option 2 – NOT follow the practices/protocols and become subject to higher risk of having Covid-19 in our facilities, which again would impact residents, staff and others.

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:

  • close down the Dining Room – all meals delivered to Apartments/Villas/Cottages
  • no access to the Commons, swimming pool, fitness center, mailboxes – ANY public area
  • discontinue housekeeping services
  • discontinue all activities, events, exercise classes
  • the list goes on and on

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.

July 2nd Update

 

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.

June 19th Update

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:

  • Does the facility have any Covid-19 cases – we do NOT at this time, of course

AND

  • Do positive cases continue to appear in the county and/or community – which of course we DO.

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.

Visitation Protocol

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:

  • All visits must be scheduled in advanced and are allowed Monday – Friday  
  • Screening prior to the visit will take place to ensure no one has any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Both visitor(s) and resident must wear a face mask
  • No contact or exchange of items between each other will be allowed
  • Visits will be limited to 20 minutes at a time
  • No more than 2 visitors at a time
  • No one under the age of 16 may 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.



Testing Results

The results are in!

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!

May 29th Reminders

  • All steps and practices at Clarkson Health Care, Westhills Village Health Care and The Courtyard Assisted Living facility are set forth by the South Dakota Department of Health.  No changes will be made to any of our practices or processes until such time we are advised by the Department of Health that we are able to do so. 
  • As the number of positive Covid-19 cases increases in Pennington County, we are all hearing from others in the community – somebody knows someone that has the virus or was exposed to it, which again, tells us that this is the time we ALL really need to be as careful as possible. 
  • We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and support as the Salon continues to operate and we wish to thank the beauticians for their cooperation as well! 
  • Dr. Diamond, our Medical Director, is actively involved daily with us regarding necessary updates and guidance.  We have a very strong team, very focused on correct and appropriate ways in which to work through these challenging times. 
  • We all want to know, “What is the timeline?”  and “What does the future hold?”  This week, we certainly cannot predict what the timeline might be, but can tell you that there is work going on behind the scenes regarding how we phase out of the current steps and practices.  Those have not yet been defined, however we will rely heavily upon the South Dakota Department of Health and the CDC to alert us as to when and how that can occur. 
  • As always, we wish to thank our amazing team of coworkers, all of the wonderful residents who reside in our facilities and their families for the support, dedication, understanding, encouragement and TEAMWORK during this time as we strive to make each of our locations as safe as possible for those of us who work within our organization and those who choose to reside here.  THANK YOU!!

May 26th Update

May 18th Update

MEDIA STATEMENT 

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.

May 14th Update

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.

Daryl's Update - May 14

May 8th Update

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.

  • In all of our licensed facilities (The Courtyard, Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care), the South Dakota Department of Health continues to have the same requirements and our processes will not change at any of those locations until the Department of Health allows them to be changed and we have evaluated on our own, as well, what is occurring in the Rapid City community and our own community here at Westhills Village.
  • The Rapid City community has done an excellent job of “flattening the curve,” which we’ve all heard and read about.  Now, with the slow reopening of the community, it IS expected that we WILL see an increase in positive Covid-19 cases; so we are now approaching that time during which hanging in there for the long haul with our processes and protocols could potentially pay HUGE dividends for us.  While we have some similarities to the Rapid City community, we also have some unique differences.  Our ENTIRE Westhills Village community - Independent Living, The Courtyard Assisted Living, Westhills Village Health Care Facility is considered to be a vulnerable population and we do know what has happened in other communities in the state.  At this time, we are NOT making significant or drastic changes to our protocols and processes, but we are making SOME that you will read about below.
  • We do have some good news to report – with the beauticians cooperating with self-isolation – we are going to be slowly opening up the Village Salon in Independent Living ONLY.  The beauticians will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your safety as well as theirs.  We appreciate our beauticians who have been so cooperative and I know we’re ALL looking forward to some of them getting back to business! 

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.

  • On Tuesday, May 19th at approximately 2:30pm, we will be having a Mother’s Day Drive-Thru Parade for those residents at Clarkson Health Care, Courtyard Assisted Living and Westhills Village Health Care – WEATHER PERMITTING.  It will be an event for those residents who are interested and able to be outside with appropriate social distancing as people drive through the parking lots to wave & greet – you will see some increased activity with this event.
  • We continue to monitor any Independent Living resident(s) who need to quarantine themselves as well as returning residents and track that within the office and make them aware when this is completed.
  • Additionally, we are working on plan to put in place – we will provide you more details as they become available – that will allow you to visit with your family/friends while complying with the appropriate social distancing protocols in place.  This is something that will need to be scheduled and again, we will provide more details – we are hoping by next week – on how we can accomplish this for you and your family and friends.  This will certainly be a significant positive step we can take.
  • The important message we have for you from a number of us, including the medical community is this:  We need you to hang tough with us for at least the next two to three weeks until we know what the Rapid City community will experience as far as increases in cases of Covid-19.  We are NOT “risk free” by any means at any of our locations.  By continuing to minimize the risk of exposure and holding tight is extremely important right now.  The more time that goes by, the more information we will have to make better informed decisions.  In light of that, there are still things that you CAN do.
  • If you are able to drive yourself, it is perfectly fine to take a drive in the hills as long as you do not come into contact with others.  You cannot include family members or other residents, unless it’s your spouse.
  • You may take walks around the campus and practice 6 ft. social distancing.
  • You may enjoy the putting green and social distancing can easily be accomplished and allow up to 4 people at a time. 
  • Erin Smith may assist you in setting up a video call/chat with family or friends if you wish.
  • Our in-house Pastors have offered their support in any way that they can be of help.
  • You may participate in some of the events and activities that are designed to work around social distancing.
  • If you need any questions answered or if you need assistance, please let the Receptionist know so it may be relayed to the appropriate personnel for follow up on any unique or special circumstances.  It is hard to address everything in a letter; however, if you give us some advanced notice, we can certainly respond to most anything you or your family may need.

 
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


Daryl's Update - May 1st

April 9th Update

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!

  • Work continues on the Cottages and just this week they are working on the installation of flooring & countertops, taping & texturing, and painting the interior of some of the units.
  • We will be working with Jolly Lane Greenhouse to do the plantings in all the flower pots and planters outside.
  • As soon as weather permits, we will be tilling the gardens so our gardeners may begin to enjoy their passion of gardening.
  • We have helped a number of residents with telehealth appointments with their providers.
  • You will notice that our staff members are wearing face masks – thanks to the amazing seamstress help from the “Rosies”. Many thanks!
  • We thank our staff and residents who are helping do more in the Pantry, cleaning around the facility and a number of items as well – too many to mention!
  • We are actively working on new activities in light of all the restrictions.
  • Facebook Behind the Mask campaign – fun photos of staff members with masks and without masks can be accessed on our website as well as on our Facebook Page.
  • Generosity of our residents and people in the community have brought lots of good things around our facilities – treats for residents and staff, colored hearts in the windows of our facilities, sidewalk chalk of uplifting messages, donations of hand lotion, banners at our facilities recognizing and thanking our amazing coworkers.

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.

Additional Info for Covid-19

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:

  • Maintaining a NO VISITORS policy in any of our facilities.
  • We have created a communication form that allows family to write a quick note and submit a photo to a loved one in any of our facilities.
  • We ask all of our independent living residents to practice social distancing and to self-isolate if they are leaving the campus.
  • We are encouraging residents to utilize delivery services for groceries and other items as well as keeping our on-site general store (“The Village Pantry”) stocked as much as we can.  Residents may also utilized our Home Health Services to run errands and shopping.
  • We have facilitated many video calls and phone calls with family members.
  • Events and dining spaces have limited attendance at a time to ensure appropriate social distancing.
  • We are utilizing various methods of technology and other means to provide activities throughout our facilities.
  • Various vendors and family members may drop off items at the Main Entrance for independent living residents to pick-up.
  • We have been working with area medical providers to assist with telehealth services in all of our facilities and independent living.
  • Staff continue to complete CDC recommended screening when they arrive for work to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 entering our facility.

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 have anyone at any of our facilities that has Influenza A or COVID-19.  We are going to continue to work diligently to hopefully maintain this outcome.
  • Timeline – we have probably the same information as you do on 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