Dear Residents, Families, Staff, Clients, and Friends of Health Dimensions Group —
Our lives have all been changed drastically in the last several weeks by COVID-19. Worries about the virus and its health impact, the change to the daily routines of our families and our children, and the economic impact are weighing on each of us. The Health Dimensions Group (HDG) team is in a unique place; we are worrying about the health of the seniors we serve, who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as our families’ and our own health. We serve almost 2,000 seniors in our communities in 7 states and provide consulting services to hundreds of other senior care providers in all 50 states.
Our managed communities and consulting clients are working diligently to prevent the spread of the virus and keep their staff and residents healthy. We are grateful for this and the tireless dedication of our operations teams, executive directors and community staff. These teams are all heroes – they are working around the clock to support and care for residents.
We are thankful to many for entrusting us with their care, the care of their loved ones, their careers, and guidance for their organizations. As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed throughout the country and with more news of outbreaks in senior living and care communities, I want to share with you what you can expect from HDG.
First and foremost, we are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our residents and the staff who care for and support them. It is moments like these that we remember our true calling and what brought us to senior health care. We truly love our residents and staff and consider them to be members of our own extended families!
The HDG Coronavirus Task Force is continuing to closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as state and local health officials. HDG’s preparedness and response to COVD-19 has been an integrated and comprehensive approach. We have developed a guide outlining all the team’s activities and initiatives. The “Skilled Nursing and Senior Living COVID-19 Response and Resource Guide” summarizes the essential elements of skilled nursing and senior living preparation and response to COVID-19, including surveillance and preparedness planning, workforce planning and support, supply management, financial management, communications, and more. We are happy to share this guide and the supporting operational and clinical resources and tools with anyone who needs them. I encourage you to forward the guide to anyone you know working in senior living and care organizations.
We have put many precautionary measures in place to respond to and prepare for COVID-19. These include screening residents and staff for fevers and respiratory symptoms, cancelling congregate dining and group activities, and enhancing environmental safety precautions. One of the challenges to honor our commitment to health and safety is with national shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). To protect our staff and residents we have sourced tens of thousands of pieces of PPE from around the globe that we are distributing to our communities. One of the hardest decisions we made, even before it was required, was restricting visitors to the communities except for end-of-life care on a case-by-case basis. While changes were necessary — and in line with guidance from federal, state, and local health officials — it is still challenging for all. We encourage loved ones to connect with our residents by letter, email, phone, video chat, or social media to offer them support.
Our team is also working hard to enhance the lives of our residents through new and innovative activities that are mindful of social distancing requirements. Hallway bingo, doorway singing, and virtual museum tours are just a few of the ways that we are supporting and engaging our residents. Many of our communities have received gifts of puzzles, crossword, word search or adult coloring books, and flowers. We are so grateful to families and people throughout the country for their generosity in supporting our residents!
Our staff members have shown great courage in these times of uncertainty. This strength and dedication of our team members has been truly inspiring. We recently launched a “Honoring Our Heroes” campaign in each one of our managed communities to recognize their commitment and compassion. We know you appreciate their efforts as much as we do. Each of the HDG managed communities have a sign in their yard to show the world that heroes work there.
HDG has five core values and two of these values are Respect and Integrity. We are committed to respectful, open, and transparent communication. In the event of positive cases, we will first notify the affected resident, their family, and our staff, and will follow all privacy requirements. The local and state health departments will guide our efforts, as well as our own preparedness plans. Affected residents will be isolated in the care community and cared for by a dedicated and compassionate team of staff, working closely with their medical provider. We will provide updates to all residents and families as we learn more, again ensuring we respect and follow the health privacy.
These are uncharted territories for all but what is familiar is the ability of the human spirit to rise up against adversity, to come together, and love and support one another. We are doing everything we can to protect our residents and staff and will continue this commitment in the days, weeks and months to come. We are in this together and are grateful for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, your consultant, or the Executive Director at your managed community.
There are brighter days ahead!
Erin Shvetzoff Hennessey
Health Dimensions Group