JCH&L Gardenside and Cedarwood staff are working diligently to put all plans in place which are required to re-open to visitors.
“We are thrilled to have the blessing of the governor and the Department of Health and Human Services to work toward re-opening Gardenside and Cedarwood to visitors,” said Deb Sutton, RN, Gardenside and Cedarwood administrator. “There are many requirements that each nursing home must work through in order to be able to re-open to visitors, and nursing homes will not all work through that process at the same pace.”
Because of the plans and steps required, Gardenside and Cedarwood do not yet have a date set to begin re-opening to visitors. Before re-opening to visitors, nursing homes are required to:
*Complete COVID-19 testing on all staff. Gardenside and Cedarwood have applied to have staff testing done, and is awaiting approval from Test Nebraska. More than 500 nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be applying for this testing.
*Have a plan to have enough staff to screen all visitors and supervise all visitation to ensure that visitation requirements are followed. Gardenside and Cedarwood are working on this plan.
*The facility must have the ability to test all staff and residents at any time if a COVID-19 case is suspected. Gardenside and Cedarwood have a plan in place for this if necessary.
*The facility’s public health district must be in Phase 3 of the Directed Health Measures. Public Health Solutions, the five-county public health district which includes Jefferson County, is scheduled to move to Phase 3 on June 22.
*There can’t be a large number of COVID-19 cases within the county. There have been 9 people in Jefferson County test positive for COVID-19. Only two of those have been within the last 14 days, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.
“Our administration and staff understand completely the desire of family members to visit their loved ones, and the need of our residents to have visits from their family members,” Sutton said. “We are doing everything in our power to complete all the steps required as efficiently as possible to allow this next step.”
Gardenside is currently able to allow residents to dine in controlled group settings with only 2 residents per table and a plexiglass divider between them. Cedarwood is in the process of making the same type of controlled group dining available to tenants.
Group activities were not allowed so a new wireless speaker system was purchased, which has allowed Gardenside and Cedarwood to offer some live entertainment performing outside, with residents and tenants able to watch out the window and hear through the speaker system. Guidance was received June 15 that small group activities of 10 or fewer residents or tenants can be resumed with appropriate distancing and cloth face masks in use by all participants.
“We are trying to be creative and innovative in helping our residents find some joy during this situation,” Sutton said.
Gardenside and Cedarwood have been totally closed to all non-essential personnel, including family members of the residents, since March 14. Prior to that, visitation had been discouraged since March 11, and those who didn’t meet screening criteria were not allowed to visit.
“We thank the community for the support during this time. We have received many cards, drawings, cloth masks, flowers and other donations which have helped the residents feel loved and appreciated,” Sutton said. “We ask for continued support from families and the community as we navigate the many requirements and work toward safely re-opening to visitors.”