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COVID 19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE + A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT

Bethesda Senior Living Communities has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation and will continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites, Local Health Departments and State agencies for updated information related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We will continue to adjust our emergency response plan as new information becomes available from the above-mentioned agencies. We will continue to provide updates through this web page as things change.

July 28, 2020

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to enter into our 6th month of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m afraid I don’t have much more to offer as new information from my last update.  A few weeks ago, we were somewhat optimistic about being able to move into what the CDC and states had detailed as stage 2 and/or 3 of the plan for reopening businesses and our ability to move toward more relaxed visitation. However, as we have all seen, a resurgence in the number of positive cases has caused our states to pull back and keep us basically at stage one.  Stage one does allow for closely restricted outdoor visits, (except in a few states where there has been a major increase in positive cases, i.e. Texas, Arizona) and we are continuing to offer these, following the CDC and state guidelines.  If anything changes, we of course will keep you informed.

Throughout the past 5 months, we have been encouraged by your letters, Facebook postings of support, and generous gifts of snacks and food. Our employees have worked tirelessly to take care of your loved ones in the safest possible manner, often at the risk of their own safety and health.  We as an organization have thanked them for their dedication in many different ways.  I have been asked by some of you how you can also thank them.  I’d like to offer a suggestion. A few years ago, we established the Bethesda Employee Benevolence Fund in order to be able to help employees who may be in a crisis situation.  The fund is supported by contributions from the organization, employees themselves through a voluntary payroll deduction plan, companywide fund raisers, and donations. We had an annual fund raiser scheduled in April, however had to postpone it because of COVID. If you wish to show support for the employees who lovingly and sacrificially come to work every day to care for the residents, you may want to consider a contribution to the Benevolence Fund.  I would direct you to the fund’s website www.bethesdaemployeebenevolencefund.org where you can find out more about the fund and, under the “Support the Fund” tab, a couple of different ways to contribute. I know our employees would be grateful for any contribution. By the way, your contribution is also tax deductible.

Thank you again for all your support. I promise to update you on any new developments.

Blessings,

Larry W. Smith

President

Bethesda Senior Living Communities


June 30, 2020

Dear friends,

I would like to share a bit of good news. As I mentioned in an earlier update letter, we have been making plans for when the states, in which we operate, start allowing visitation of family members with residents. A couple of our states have entered into a phase of reopening that will start to allow LIMITED visitations. Our plans are in place and we will begin allowing these limited visitations on July 6, with some very specific guidelines.

At first, you may find the guidelines a little cumbersome or even frustrating. However, as with everything we have done so far to protect your loved ones and our residents, we are following guidelines and restrictions specifically developed by the states, CDC, and our internal COVID taskforce, for long term care and senior living settings, designed to continue to provide protection for everyone. This is a small step toward returning to a more normal operation, but it is an important step forward.

The guidelines for visitation are attached to this letter. Please feel free to contact your community’s Executive Director should you have any questions.

Thank you again for your understanding and cooperation throughout this difficult time.

Blessings to you and your family member,

Larry W. Smith

President

Bethesda Senior Living Communities


May 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

It's been a couple of weeks since the last update, so I thought it time for another.

We continue to monitor what is happening in all the areas in which we operate, as the states and local governments ease guidelines and restriction. Currently, none of the eased restrictions apply to our assisted living communities. As an example, while beauty shops begin to open for the public, the CDC and other responsible agencies still consider beauticians/barbers as non-essential personnel, and as such, they are not allowed to come into our communities. In this example, while you and we may disagree with them being non-essential, we currently have no option to allow them into the communities.

However, we, as management teams, are creating protocols to be followed, in preparation for when restrictions ease to where we are finally allowed additional personnel, outside of staff, to be in the communities to serve our residents. As stated in a previous update, our approach will always be conservative, well thought out, with the safety and wellbeing of the residents as first priority. For now, we are maintaining all protocols and procedures that have been in place for the past couple of months.

I want to again thank everyone for the overwhelming support for the staff. It's an equally difficult and scary time for them as well. They have been amazing in so many ways as they too make sacrifices just to come to work.

As more information is available, and as things progress, we will issue additional updates. Until then, I once again ask for your prayers, understanding, and support.

Blessings,

Larry W. Smith

President

Bethesda Senior Living Communities


April 27, 2020

Dear Friends,


Today we are hearing about several states starting to loosen some of their restrictions. This is naturally generating a number of questions for our communities as to what we are planning to do. We have all read and heard media reports about the impact of COVID-19 on seniors in particular, and nursing homes and assisted living communities specifically. We appreciate the hardship the restrictions have had for our residents and their families, and our employees. However, it is precisely the restrictions we have in place that have provided a level of protection that has minimized exposure to the virus.


So, to answer the questions that l'm sure are on your minds, we will be taking a conservative and calculated approach to any loosening of restrictions. For now, we will not be loosening our current restrictions or expanding the list of essential visitors that are allowed into the communities. We expect that over the next couple of weeks, as more information about the decline of infection rates is issued, we will be reevaluating all restrictions and "easing" back into opening up our communities.


I hope everyone can appreciate that these are not easy decisions. Our primary goal from the beginning has been the protection and well being of our residents and employees. We do not like the isolation of our residents from their families any more than you do. However, our wonderful employees (our heroes) have worked very hard providing opportunities for families to connect, and to keep our precious residents occupied and engaged.


I promise to keep you informed as the days move forward and more information becomes available. Please continue to pray for all of us, because we are praying for you. Thank you for your continued support. It means more than you know.

Blessings,

Larry W. Smith

President

Bethesda Senior Living Communities


April 14, 2020

Dear Friends,

It's been a while since I last sent an update and as this virus crisis continues, I thought it was time for another update.

All of the protective measures I mentioned in my first update are still in place, with a few added. The use of PPE was enhanced to require everyone within the community to be wearing masks, and in a few circumstances, the residents as well. Social distancing measures were increased.

Social distancing, and therefore social isolation, is a real concern. The longer the visitation restrictions are in place the more the feeling of being isolated increases for everyone. The staff continue to be very creative in helping to lessen those feelings of isolation. We also understand the stress and concern it has caused the family members of our residents. If you would like a video chat or some other means of connecting with your loved one, please contact the community Executive Director or Activity Director and we will make that happen for you.

As I stated in the last update, we greatly appreciate the understanding most of you have extended to us throughout this difficult time. I believe it is the restrictions and our incredible staff that has kept your loved ones, our residents, safe and well, so far. We pray they will remain safe and well as we review the guidelines and recommendations from CDC, state, and local governments, and prepare to loosen restrictions, when appropriate.

Thank you again for your patience, your support, and your prayers. Please contact the community's Executive Director if you have any questions.

With deepest regards,

Larry W Smith

President

Bethesda Senior Living Communities


3/27/2020

Dear friends,

During these uncertain times, our focus remains on caring for the health of our residents, body, mind, and spirit. To that end, we have extended community-wide visitor restrictions at all Bethesda Senior Living Communities, in line with the shelter—in—place guidelines issued by the federal government and the various states in which we operate.

Our infection control protocols and practices across all communities continue to meet or exceed the latest guidelines from both the CDC and local health officials. These include regular screening of every staff member, and anyone else, entering our community, the use of PPE as outlined in various guidelines issued by multiple agencies, the temporary elimination of communal dining in several communities and social distancing dining in others. Residents not being served in the dining room are currently being served meals in their rooms and we are maintaining social distancing with all activities. Residents are being closely monitored for any changes in their health status.

Our staff teams continue to find new and creative ways to bring fun to each day. We would also welcome any ideas you may have, just contact the community Executive Director or Activities Director. We are able to successfully focus on keeping our residents healthy and happy because of the dedicated staff that continue to come to work each day, despite the realities around them. They are our heroes and we have been working hard to take care of them as they take care of others. This would include our staff chaplains, who are there to provide comfort and support for the residents and our staff.

We understand the stress these difficult times is putting on everyone. As stated earlier, our primary focus is the safety and wellbeing of your loved ones, our residents, and our staff.

We appreciate the cooperation and understanding we have received from the majority of family members. Many have expressed appreciation for the steps we have taken for the safety of the residents. On behalf of our wonderful, dedicated staff members, I say thank you.

Until this is all behind us, we ask for your continued understanding, but most of all we ask for your prayers.

With deepest regards,

3/16/20

As you may be aware, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated their recommendations for nursing homes and communal living environments last week. The new restrictions are as follows:

  • Restrict all visitation except for end of life situations.
  • Restrict all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel (HCP), including non-essential healthcare personnel (e.g., barbers)
  • Implement active screening of residents and HCP for fever and respiratory symptoms.

As with all other CDC recommendations, we adopted these guidelines immediately and are taking every precaution to keep our residents, family members and staff safe.

While we aren’t allowing non-essential personnel into our communities at this time, we are encouraging phone calls, Face Time/video conversations and hand written notes and cards. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but safety is our utmost concern.

Posted on
Monday, March 16, 2020
by
Bethesda Senior Living
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