CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Updates from ERS President & CEO, Laura Lamb, regarding the Coronavirus Outbreak in Ohio

Click here to view updates for Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, Kentucky.


Response to COVID-19: Rising to the Occasion

Read some of our stories about the wonderful work our staff is doing.  Download our booklet to read it now.

Read our informative resource - COVID-19 Guide for Seniors and Caregivers.


Listen to our latest Linkage Podcast by ERS to hear from our residents and Laura Lamb.

To listen to previous Linkage Podcast by ERS episodes, click here.

COVID-19 Reporting

June 9th Update
June 15th Update
June 16th Update
June 23rd Update
June 25th Update
June 29th Update
June 30th Update
July 3rd Update
July 7th Update
July 9th Update
July 13th Update
July 15th Update
July 20th Update
July 23rd Update
July 27th Update
July 30th Update
August 4th Update
August 5th Update
August 11th Update
August 13th Update
August 14th Update
August 16th Update
August 19th Update
August 26th Update
September 11th Update
September 12th Update
September 14th Update
September 16th Update
September 18th Update


Most Recent Update from our President & CEO

September 4, 2020

Dear Marjorie Lee Residents and Families,

I am pleased to share that we will offer outside visits at Marjorie Lee beginning on Thursday, September 10, 2020. By that date, we will have met the criteria outlined by the Governor’s orders and CMS guidelines. Specifically, the occurrence rate in Hamilton County has been lowered, and at Deupree we have not had a resident or staff positive COVID test for 28 days. As you know, outdoor visits are contingent on Hamilton county’s current rating, and we don’t have any positive cases.

For the first weekend, we are making many time slots available because we are sure folks will want to be reunited as soon as possible. However, beginning on Monday the 14th, a regular schedule based on staff capacity will begin. Through September, each resident may have one visit per two-week period so that as many residents as possible can have a visit. Following the State of Ohio’s guidelines, visits will be offered in a structured setting designed to encourage social distancing and be monitored by a staff escort to address any misuse of wearing masks (facial coverings) lack of cooperation with social distancing.

All outdoor visits at Marjorie Lee will begin at the Victoria gate. A staff member will escort family members to the visit spots based on where the resident lives. Visits for residential living will be held outside the Archea Dining Room. Care Center visits will be held on the patio area outside Berghamer.

Visitors and residents must be symptom-free and not quarantined at the time of the scheduled visit. Visitors who have traveled to a high-risk area in the last 14 days may not participate in visits.

The following guidelines must be adhered to at all times:

  • Weather dependent – Since visits are strictly outdoors at this time, we anticipate heat and/or inclement weather interfering from time to time. Daily visits may be canceled without notice during times of temperatures above 90 degrees and/or when there is a severe weather alert.

    • If an outdoor visit is canceled due to any of the reasons above, Zoom visits (facilitated by staff) will be offered during your originally scheduled visit time.

  • Number of visitors – Following the State of Ohio’s guidelines, no more than three visitors are permitted at a time.

  • Children under the age of 2 are not permitted to visit at this time.

  • Visitor responsibilities – Visitors must complete a health screening and use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

    • Temperatures of all visitors will be taken upon arrival, and the results are non-negotiable. If a visitor has a 100.1 or greater temperature, they will be asked to leave and reschedule their visit.

    • Everyone must wear masks (facial coverings) at all times. Visitors will need to provide their own face masks. We will provide masks for the residents.

    • Families, friends, and other visitors must agree to no physical contact during the visit. All visitors must also remain 6 feet from the resident(s) they are visiting.

  • Communication – We ask that you coordinate and communicate visit times directly with your loved one. If your loved one is living in a memory support household, we ask that you partner with the team to determine communication with the resident.

  • Changing the day/time of your visit or canceling – Please make any necessary changes to your sign up no less than 24 hours in advance. The sign-up links can be found below for your convenience. To ensure a staff member is present, any unreserved times will be removed from the sign up 24 hours in advance.

  • Pets – There are specific regulations about animals within our communities. At this time, we are unable to do all the regulatory requirements for new pets, which includes vet records, temperament checks, etc. For these reasons, only approved visiting pets (before COVID-19) will be allowed.

  • Restrooms – You will not have access inside of the building during a visit at any time. We encourage you to use a restroom in advance of your visit.

  • Food and drink – Eating is not permitted at any time during visits. However, visitors may bring a covered beverage. We will provide water for residents.

  • Exchanging of items – The staff escort will be able to transfer things that you would like to give to your loved one.

To sign up for an outdoor visit, please use the following links: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/mplvisits

Based on our experience this week with visits beginning at our sister community, Deupree House, I want to share the responses to questions we have received.


Q: We are very disappointed about only having three visitors per outdoor visit. Is there another option we can consider?

A: If you wish to have more than three visitors, you can elect to have a window visit. At this time, the Ohio Department of Health guidelines only allow three visitors during an outdoor visit.

Q: It is a shame that we cannot have a new baby visit. Is there another option we can consider?

A: If you wish to have a child under the age of two visit, you can elect to have a window visit. ODH’s guidelines do not permit visitors under the age of two for outdoor visits at this time.

Q: I am uncomfortable with an outdoor visit because my family has traveled recently to a hotspot area. Can I still have a visit?

A: Yes, you can select to have a window visit with your family if you are uncomfortable with an outdoor visit. We appreciate you being concerned about possible exposure! After 14 days, you may be comfortable with an outdoor visit.

Thank you in advance for your partnership throughout this process. We are so happy that our families will be reunited soon if we continue along this great path!

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

September 1, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

We had a wonderful week of staff testing last week! I am pleased to share that we had no positive staff or private duty during our testing last week. Here are the specifics:

  • Deupree House and Cottages: 158 total tested with 157 negatives. One test is still pending because the first test was inconclusive.

  • Episcopal Church Home: 164 total tested with 163 negatives. One test is still pending because the first test was inconclusive.

  • Marjorie P. Lee: 253 total tested with all 253 were negative!

That is 573 negative results!!! The great results will allow us to begin to plan for outdoor visits! The following are the dates that we would be permitted outdoor visits on our campuses if our counties stay at the current rating, and we don’t have any positive cases.

  • Deupree House and Cottages: Friday, September 4th

  • Marjorie P. Lee: Tuesday, September 8th

Unfortunately, because of the occurrence rating of Jefferson County, we are unable to plan for outdoor visits at Episcopal Church Home at this time. We are, however, pursuing a plexiglass structure as we previously shared.

Thank you in advance for your partnership throughout this process. We are so happy that our families will be reunited soon if we continue along this great path!

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

September 1, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

I am pleased to share that we will offer outside visits at Deupree House and Cottages beginning on Friday, September 4, 2020. We have met the criteria outlined by the Governor’s orders and CMS guidelines. Specifically, the occurrence rate in Hamilton County has been lowered, and at Deupree we have not had a resident or staff positive COVID test for 28 days. As you know, outdoor visits are contingent on Hamilton county’s current rating, and we don’t have any positive cases.

We are making many time slots available this weekend because of the holiday, and we are sure folks will want to be reunited as soon as possible. However, beginning on Tuesday next week, a regular schedule based on staff capacity will begin. Through September, each resident may have one visit per two week period. Following the State of Ohio’s guidelines, visits will be offered in a structured setting designed to encourage social distancing and be monitored by a staff escort to address any misuse of wearing masks (facial coverings) lack of cooperation with social distancing.

Outdoor visits at Deupree House will be held under the tent outside of Dining Room in the courtyard. Deupree Cottages visits will be held along the fence line of the Cottages. Visitors and residents must be symptom-free and not quarantined at the time of the scheduled visit. Visitors who have traveled to a high-risk area in the last 14 days may not participate in visits.

The following guidelines must be adhered to at all times:

  • Weather dependent – Since visits are strictly outdoors at this time, we anticipate heat and/or inclement weather interfering from time to time. Daily visits may be canceled without notice during times of temperatures above 90 degrees and/or when there is a severe weather alert.

    • If an outdoor visit is canceled due to any of the reasons above, Zoom visits (facilitated by staff) will be offered during your originally scheduled visit time.

  • Number of visitors – Following the State of Ohio’s guidelines, no more than three visitors are permitted at a time.

  • Children under the age of 2 are not permitted to visit at this time.

  • Visitor responsibilities – Visitors must complete a health screening and use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

    • Temperatures of all visitors will be taken upon arrival, and the results are non-negotiable. If a visitor has a 100.1 or greater temperature, they will be asked to leave and reschedule their visit.

    • Everyone must wear masks (facial coverings) at all times. Visitors will need to provide their own face masks. We will provide masks for the residents.

    • Families, friends, and other visitors must agree to no physical contact during the visit. All visitors must also remain 6 feet from the resident(s) they are visiting.

  • Communication – We ask that you coordinate and communicate visit times directly with your loved one. If your loved one is living in a memory support household, we ask that you partner with the team to determine communication with the resident.

  • Changing the day/time of your visit or canceling – Please make any necessary changes to your sign up no less than 24 hours in advance. The sign-up links can be found below for your convenience. To ensure a staff member is present, any unreserved times will be removed from the sign up 24 hours in advance.

  • Pets – There are specific regulations about animals within our communities. At this time, we are unable to do all the regulatory requirements for new pets, which includes vet records, temperament checks, etc. For these reasons, only approved visiting pets (before COVID-19) will be allowed.

  • Restrooms – You will not have access inside of the building during a visit at any time. We encourage you to use a restroom in advance of your visit.

  • Food and drink – Eating is not permitted at any time during visits. However, visitors may bring a covered beverage. We will provide water for residents.

  • Exchanging of items – The staff escort will be able to transfer things that you would like to give to your loved one.

To sign up for an outdoor visit, please use the following link:

Thank you in advance for your partnership throughout this process. We are so happy that our families will be reunited during this holiday weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President & CEO


Archived Updates

August 23, 2020


Dear Residents and Families:

As the counties’ occurrence rates have changed, several residents and family members have asked me about our criteria for outdoor visits. To make decisions for our ERS communities, we have created a decision guide, using the guidance from Ohio and Kentucky. We will look at three objective criteria to make decisions related to offering family visits:

  1. The occurrence rate of COVID-19 in the county where our community resides as measured by the states’ rating system. The following are links to each state’s rating system.

    Ohio:

    https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system

    Kentucky:

    https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

  2. The number of cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff, including private duty staff, within the last 28 days.

  3. Since the visits are strictly outdoors at this time, we will also consider the weather. Daily visits may be canceled without notice during times of temperatures above 90 degrees and/or when there is a severe weather alert.

Outdoor visits will not occur when the county they are in is rated as Level 3 or Level 4. Additionally, visits will not be held if our retirement community has had a resident and/or staff case of COVID-19 in the last 28 days.

We are not able to have visits at our CCRCs at this time. For DH and MPL, our county has a lower occurrence, however, we have had a case on both campuses in the last 28 days. For ECH, the county rate has increased and we have had a case in the last 28 days.

However, we are securing supplies to build a plexiglass structure to allow visits outside in a safe manner. As you can imagine, supplies are difficult to secure, but we have a delivery date of early September. Once supplies are received, we will get started on the structures and let residents and families know when visits can begin. I hope you are excited about this news! I am! We want to reunite families safely.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions. Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

 July 8th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

As I shared with you earlier this week, Governors Dewine and Beshear have given nursing homes the green light to begin planning outdoor family visits along with new guidelines to consider in general. Our leadership team has reviewed the guidelines and would like to share our plan for Marjorie Lee, Deupree House and Cottages, and Episcopal Church Home with you.

Both Governors have set criteria that allow the decision on visits to be based on what is happening at the county level as well as the individual retirement community level. The states’ guidelines were created to help organizations determine when visits can open safely. Considerations include cases within a specific senior living community, cases in the broader community, staff’s capacity in each community, and other resources. Therefore, the decision is up to the individual community to determine when they can offer visits. We have to balance the desires of families to reunite with their loved ones, along with the obligation to do what we can to make all residents safe. The management team is responsible and accountable for the safety and wellbeing of our residents by law and license.
To make decisions for our ERS communities, we have created a decision guide, using the guidance from both Ohio and Kentucky. We will look at three objective criteria to make decisions related to offering family visits:
 
1. The occurrence rate of COVID-19 in the county where our community resides as measured by the states’ rating system. The following are links to each state’s rating system.
2. Cases of COVID-19 among residents and/or staff within the last 28 days.
 
3. Since the visits are strictly outdoors at this time, we will also consider the weather. Daily visits may be canceled without notice during times of temperatures above 90 degrees and/or when there is a severe weather alert. 
 
Outdoor visits will not occur when the county they are in is rated as Level 3 or Level 4. Additionally, visits will not be held if our retirement community has had a resident and/or staff case of COVID-19 in the last 28 days.
 
Based on these criteria, the following is the determination for our communities at this time:
  • Marjorie Lee: Given the rating of Level 3 in Hamilton County, we will be suspending in-person outdoor visits. Visits will be held via ZOOM for the time being. We recognize that family visits improve the psychosocial health of our residents, and therefore, we will provide the technology for the residents and will facilitate electronic visits. Staff will reach out to families with additional details and the ZOOM link.
  • Deupree House and Cottages: Given the rating of Level 3 in Hamilton County, we will be suspending in-person family visitors. Visits will be held via ZOOM for the time being. We recognize that family visits improve the psychosocial health of our residents, and therefore, we will provide the technology for the residents and will facilitate electronic visits. Staff will reach out to families with additional details and the ZOOM link.
  • Episcopal Church Home: Given the rating of Level 2 in Jefferson County and NO COVID-19 cases, we will start outdoor visits with residents living in personal care and nursing by the end of July.
We will monitor this criterion on a daily basis and let you know if there are any changes.

The following guidelines will be held for individual visits. Please note that some of the following practices have changed based on the states’ newest guidelines.
  • All visitors must be symptom-free and pass a temperature check.
  • All visitors must stay in the specified area.
  • All visitors must wear a mask at all times.
  • All visitors must practice social distancing and remain at least 6 feet from residents at all times.
  • No more than two visitors per in-person visit in KY and three visitors per in-person visits in OH
  • No visitors under the age of two years old.
In Ohio, we have received permission to begin planning for the opening of our fitness areas, including pools and the beauty shops. With that said, I am very excited to share that we will open these areas on the following schedule:
 
Monday, July 13th: Fitness Zones and Pools
Late-July: Beauty Shops
 
To do open these areas in our communities safely, we have to work through specific processes and procedures. We will have very strict guidelines for these areas, including staff supervision. We will share the guidelines later this week.

I know that this announcement is something that many of you have been awaiting. We are pleased that although we have to restrict outside contact given the spike in Hamilton County, we will be able to do more within our walls.

I heard an analogy today that really resonated with me. This pandemic is like being plopped down in a marathon, not knowing where you are relative to the finish line. This is how most of us feel. How long will this continue? During these times, we must turn to do whatever we can individually to uphold the health of others. Please do your part to help stop the spread in Hamilton County. It will ultimately help all of us and allow us to come together in person sooner!

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.
 
Sincerely,
Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO
 

July 6th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

I am sure you have heard that Governors Dewine and Beshear have given nursing homes the green light to begin planning outdoor family visits in nursing homes. It is important to know that the dates that you hear on the news are the first date that nursing homes can have visits. It is not a mandate to begin visits. I liken the announcement to when restaurants opened. They didn’t say “you have to open” but rather, this is the first day you are permitted to open.

Like restaurants and other business segments, the Governors gave nursing homes and congregate housing communities guidelines to consider. The guidelines are to help organizations determine when visits can open safely. Considerations include cases within the senior living community, cases in the broader community, the staff’s capacity, and other resources. We are required by Governor’s orders to supervise family visits. The number of visits is dependent on the number of our staff available to complete this work, all the while completing their duties caring for our residents. Our leadership team is reviewing the guidelines and expects to announce plans for Marjorie Lee, Deupree House and Cottages, and Episcopal Church Home within the next week. Given the state guidance and the differences in occurrences, the dates we offer visits may vary by community.
 
Some have asked for me to comment on why Marjorie Lee has had cases, but our other communities have not. I answer that this way: We do not have COVID cases at the other communities at this time. However, I fully expect the number of cases rising in our cities, especially Hamiton County, that we will see a rise as well. Some have asked if I think MPL staff are doing something different than the other communities. I want to be very careful about not making assumptions or expressing disappointment. The staff at Marjorie P Lee is dedicated and would be heartbroken if we start to cast blame; they have sacrificed much in their lives to care for our residents. It has been a large part luck that we have not had staff at our other buildings contract COVID-19. We have had two infection control surveys at MPL in the last six weeks by outside agencies. Both surveys validated all that we are doing and offered no additional measures to employ.
 
Additionally, we have found no patterns in the staff cases at MPL that have tested positive. For example, they are not all in a particular age cohort or department. We have no evidence that leads us to believe that anyone is less vigilant than others are. We tested over 249 people and had only one positive staff member. That reinforces our belief that our staff is not being careless; in fact, quite the opposite.

I recently read an excellent article from the Washington Post about this very topic. It stated, “No care facility, no matter how excellent, can keep COVID-19 away if it is widespread in the surrounding communities.” To protect your loved ones, we have to protect everyone. The full article is available using the following link:
 
This is why I am thrilled that the City of Cincinnati followed Louisville’s decisive action, requiring masks while in businesses and on public transportation. I ask all of you to join the entire ERS staff and me in committing to the following:
  • Be a role model and wear masks WHENEVER you are in an indoor space other than your home, as well as when outdoors with people you are not living with daily. Please continue to limit activity, but when you are shopping, picking up carry-put, getting gas, or are at other stores, please wear a mask. Based on science, we know that if we as a society consistently do this, the virus will not spread.
  • Practice social distancing. When you look at your friends and neighbors, ask yourself, “Would I want this person visiting with my loved ones right now?” If the answer is no, please consider not being with that person indoors and making sure you are not in close proximity.
  • Avoid large gatherings. I drove by a popular brewery the other day and wondered what was going on. People were crowded without masks and were in close quarters. If you go to a place of business that is not supporting the CDC guidelines, please leave!
These are the three most important things we can ALL do every day. Consistently. All the time. These are the only way to stop the spread of the virus. Then, we can all be reunited!
 
Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.
Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO


June 21st, 2020

Dear Resident and Families,

You may have heard on the news that Governor DeWine has mandated testing of staff in all residential care communities and nursing homes. As a government order, this is mandatory for all staff who have been on our campuses in the last 30 days. This includes contracted staff, such as therapy and private duties.

The testing will be conducted by the Ohio National Guard. Marjorie P. Lee, Deupree House & Cottages have received notification from the Ohio Department of Health that we will have testing for all staff early next week. We will hear early next week from the National Guard with our exact time slots. Tentatively, they have shared that they will be at MPL on Tuesday, June 23rd, and at Deupree House on Wednesday, June 24th. We will share the times as soon as we have them.

All private duty staff is required under that Governor’s order to be tested. Please speak with your loved one’s private duty and share the importance of complying with the testing and time slots. They will be required to give their insurance information and social security number.  It is important to note that if a private duty or staff member are not tested, they will not be permitted to work in our building.

The National Guard has also mandated how the testing will be done. To accommodate their requirements, resident access to the following areas with be restricted during the time of testing.

Marjorie Lee: The loading dock and A-level.
Deupree House: The corridor off of the Chapel past the Home Care Assistance office.

We are pleased that the State of Ohio has implemented the testing in senior housing. We will also share our results on a combined basis as once we receive them.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support!

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

June 18th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

Friday marks the completion of our first two weeks of outdoor visits. We are grateful for your support and understanding as we navigated this process over the last several days. Unfortunately, outdoor visits are still prohibited for residents living in a nursing home setting. We are, however, excited to share that outdoor visits will continue for residents who live in the residential care areas of our buildings.

As of Monday, June 22nd, residents living in residential care may schedule up to one visit per week. In addition, our teams have worked together to now offer visits at various times, seven days per week. In order to ensure a staff member is present, any unreserved times will be removed from the sign up 24 hours in advance.

Visit location details, and the sign-up links can be found below. For your convenience, the links did not change from previous communications.

Deupree House:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the end of the pool building across from the DH II entrance. There will be designated parking for outdoor visitors. Visits will take place on the patio outside the pool door.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4FA8A92AA7FC1-family3
 
Marjorie Lee:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the gate entrance near the corner of Shaw and Victoria Avenue. Staff will escort visitors to the Archea dining room patio where the visits will take place.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4fa8a92aa7fc1-family2
 
In accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, visitors and residents must be symptom-free and not quarantined. Visits will also continue to be offered in our structured settings that are designed to encourage social distancing and will be monitored by staff to address any misuse of masks (facial coverings) or lack of cooperation with social distancing.
As a reminder, the following guidelines must be adhered to at all times:
  • Visitor Responsibilities
    • Visitors must agree to have their temperatures taken, complete a health
      screening and use hand sanitizer upon arrival.
    •  Temperatures of all visitors will be taken upon arrival, and the results are non-negotiable. If a visitor has a temperature of 100.1 or greater, they will be asked to leave and reschedule their visit.
    • Masks (facial coverings) must be worn by everyone at the visit over the age of two at all times. Visitors will need to provide their own face masks. We will provide face masks for our residents.
    • Families, friends, and other visitors need to agree to no physical contact during the visit. All visitors must also remain 6 feet from the resident(s) they are visiting.
  • Communication – We ask that you coordinate and communicate visit times directly with your loved one. For those whose loved one(s) is living on memory support households at MPL (Kirby, Morris, Luther), we ask that you partner with the team to determine communication timing with the resident.
  • Changing the day/time of your visit or canceling – Please make any necessary changes to your sign up no less than 24 hours in advance.
  • The number of visitors – Due to social distancing requirements, the physical location of the visits can accommodate up to seven people. The State of Ohio is requiring a staff member to be present; therefore, there can be a maximum of five visitors at any outdoor visits. If the visit includes a resident couple, there would only be four visitors permitted, to keep to the seven people that can fit in the allotted area.
    • Please note – If your loved one lives in a memory support household at MPL, a staff member will be accompanying them throughout the visit (in addition to the staff escort). Therefore, there can only be a maximum of  three visitors.
  • Pets – Unfortunately, there are specific regulations about animals within our communities. During the pilot, we are unable to do all the regulatory requirements for new pets, which includes vet records, temperament checks, etc. For these reasons, only approved visiting pets (prior to COVID-19) will be allowed.
  • Restrooms – You will not have access inside of the building during a visit at any time. We encourage you to use the restroom in advance of your visit.
  • Children – In accordance with CDC guidelines, children ages two and older must wear a mask / facial covering for the duration of the visit.
  • Food and Drink – Eating and drinking are not permitted at any time during visits.
  • Exchanging of items – The staff escort will be able to transfer items that you would like to give to your loved one.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support!
 
Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO
 
June 15th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

Father’s Day is rapidly approaching. It snuck up on me without my natural reminder of the NBA Finals. I now realize that basketball and celebrating dads go hand in hand in my mind!

Our team is excited about the holiday, and we are planning some special things for our fathers to celebrate the day.

We will have extra staff on duty on Sunday the 21st to be present with our residents and facilitate visits. Currently, there are different orders by state and level of care. In an effort to allow for all fathers to have a visit on Father’s Day, we will be offering window visits only. This is the process we used for Mother’s Day, and it worked quite well. We ask that you remain in your car for the entirety of your visit. Residents will come to the designated door/window and stand 6-feet away from your vehicle. We have intentionally picked areas that allow close access by car.

If you would like to visit your father (unless the resident isn’t feeling well or is under quarantine at this time), please consider signing up for a window visit using the special links below specifically for Father’s Day:

Each visit will be 20 minutes. This will allow time for safe social distancing and cleaning before the next resident arrives.

Let’s make our fathers proud of our can-do attitudes on this wonderful day! And, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO 
 
June 9th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

Our first day of outdoor visits is in the books! As expected in a pilot, several questions have arisen, along with the need for clarification of a few things. Please see updates below along with tips for a successful visit:
  • Communication – We ask that you coordinate and communicate visit times directly with your loved one. For those with loved ones living on memory support households at MPL (Kirby, Morris, Luther), we ask that you partner with the team to determine communication timing with the resident.
  • The number of visitors – Due to social distancing requirements, the physical location of the visits can accommodate up to seven people. The State of Ohio is requiring a staff member to be present; therefore, there can be a maximum of three visitors at any outdoor visits. If the visit includes a resident couple, there would only be two visitors permitted, to keep to the seven people that can fit in the allotted area.
    • Please note – If your loved one lives in a memory support household at MPL, a staff member will be accompanying them throughout the visit (in addition to the staff escort). Therefore, there can only be a maximum of four visitors or three visitors if it is a resident couple.
  • Restrooms – You will not have access inside of the building during a visit at any time. We encourage you to use the restroom in advance of your visit.
  • Changing the day/time of your visit or canceling – Please make any necessary changes to your sign up no less than 24 hours in advance. The sign-up links can be found below for your convenience. In order to ensure a staff member is present, any unreserved times will be removed from the sign up 24 hours in advance as well.
  • Temperatures – Temperatures of all visitors will be taken upon arrival, and the results are non-negotiable. If a visitor has a temperature of 100.1 or greater, they will be asked to leave and reschedule their visit.
  • Pets – Unfortunately, there are specific regulations about animals within our communities. During the pilot, we are unable to do all the regulatory requirements for new pets, which includes vet records, temperament checks, etc. For these reasons, only approved visiting pets (prior to COVID-19) will be allowed.
  • Children – In accordance with CDC guidelines, children ages two and older must wear a mask / facial covering for the duration of the visit.
  • Future visits – SignUp Genius links will be updated by or before Wednesday, June 17th, with additional visits throughout the coming weeks. We will also be adding a limited number of evening and weekend visits.
Other important reminders:
  • In accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, visits will be structured settings that are designed to encourage social distancing and will be monitored by staff to address any misuse of wearing of masks (facial coverings) or lack of cooperation with social distancing.
  • Visitors must agree to have their temperatures taken, complete a health screening, and use hand sanitizer upon arrival.
  • Visitors and residents must be symptom-free and not quarantined.
  • Masks (facial coverings) must be worn during each visit at all times. Visitors must bring their own face masks. We will provide face masks for our residents.
  • Families, friends, and other visitors need to agree to no physical contact during
    the visit.
Deupree House:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the end of the pool building across from the DH II entrance. There will be designated parking for outdoor visitors. Visits will take place on the patio outside the pool door.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4FA8A92AA7FC1-family3
 
Marjorie Lee:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the gate entrance near the corner of Shaw and Victoria Avenue. Staff will escort visitors to the Archea dining room patio where the visits will take place.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4fa8a92aa7fc1-family2
 
Thank you for your continued partnership and support!
 
Sincerely,
Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO
 
June 4th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

The Ohio Department of Health issued guidelines for outdoor visits for residents that live in our residential care areas of our building. Effective Monday, June 8th, we will begin with outdoor visits.

We are starting with a small number of slots, but anticipate adding sessions once we have some experience with the visits. During this reopening phase, each resident can only have one visit per two week period. Additionally, since the Governor’s order requires a mask, eating during visits is not permitted at this time. However, the staff escort will be able to transfer items that you would like to give to our loved one.

Visits will be offered on a scheduled basis during the hours of 9 am to 4:00 pm from Monday through Friday. Each session will be 45 minutes to allow time for safe distancing before the next session begin. Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance to allow time to schedule a staff escort.
The following guidelines must be followed:
  • The number of gatherings in each of our communities is based on the space available to maintain social distancing, including the individual and any staff needed to assist.
  • In accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, visits will be structured settings that are designed to encourage social distancing and will be monitored by staff to address any misuse of wearing of masks (facial coverings) or lack of cooperation with social distancing.
  • Visitors must agree to have their temperatures taken, complete a health screening, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival.
  • Masks (facial coverings) must be worn during each visit at all times. Visitors will need to provide their face masks. We will provide face masks for our residents.
  • Families, friends, and other visitors need to agree to no physical contact during the visit.
    Visitors and residents must be symptom-free and not quarantined.
If you would like to have a visit, please sign up using the following link for outdoor visits:
 
Deupree House:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the end of the pool building across from the DH II entrance. There will be designated parking for outdoor visitors. Visits will take place on the patio outside the pool door. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4FA8A92AA7FC1-family3

Marjorie Lee:
Visitors will meet your staff escort at the gate entrance near the corner of Shaw and Victoria Avenue. Staff will escort visitors to the Archea dining room patio where the visits will take place.
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4fa8a92aa7fc1-family2

We are so pleased that we are now permitted to offer outdoor visits to some of our residents. Unfortunately, outdoor visits are still prohibited for residents living in a nursing home setting at this time.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

May 28th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

Recently, I shared with you that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has issued revised guidelines. Since that time, we have been reviewing the guidelines and evaluating any changes that we will make at ERS communities. We have also been in constant communication with our member association, Leading Age Ohio since they have a direct line of communication with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Based on our review, I would like to share some changes in our guidelines.

Life Enrichment and Exercise Programs:

We will be enhancing our programs offered to residents over the next several weeks. We will be holding in-person exercise classes in small groups. Additionally, we will be adding life enrichment programs in small group settings. We have increased our capacity to nine residents plus a staff member, for a total of ten people at group events. Some events may be outdoors to increase safety. The room size will still limit the number of people. To that end, we will be opening our event centers next week to provide a larger space for up to nine residents with a staff member. Activities and programs for our memory care residents will remain on their households for safety reasons.

To be successful in making these changes, we need your help. We have to insist that residents do the following:

  • Wear masks at all times when you are outside your apartment, including the small group events noted above. Wearing a mask protects you and everyone in the community. If you are enjoying a cocktail in a public space, we ask you to use a straw or wear masks when not drinking.

  • Residents’ temperatures will be checked before gatherings.

  • Observe social distancing of 6-feet or more (even when wearing masks) and proper hygiene and handwashing.

Unfortunately, we are not able to open our wellness centers and pools at this time. We have boldly advocated for guidelines to safely open these areas with the state because, like you, we believe in the therapeutic benefit of the programming. However, at this time, because of our licensure, we are not able to open these areas.

We are working with the ODH to determine how we can structure outdoor visits with families while continuing to uphold the state guidelines. ODH will issue guidance next week, and we are hoping to announce changes soon.

Lastly, we have worked within the guidelines to create a safe way for new DH and MPL (non-memory care) residents to join our campuses. A small number of future residents had move-in dates in April and May that we stopped. A few of these people sold their homes during this pandemic and have nowhere to live. To protect you and the community you live in, we have created some very strict guidelines:

  • No apartment modifications will be made at this time. New residents must agree to the state of the apartment and delay modifications until after the essential visitor/worker order is lifted.

  • Each new resident will need to have a negative COVID-19 test within three days of move-in.

  • The move-in will be monitored by an assigned staff member who ensures that the movers do not interact with any residents and other staff. Only the freight elevator will be used during moves.

  • We will use only ERS approved movers who comply with temperature checks and other safety protocols such as masks, hygiene, etc.

New residents will be quarantined for 14 days after their move date and monitored for symptoms. Additionally, they will be informed of all our guidelines in advance and confirm that they will comply.

We have a small number of move-ins that will occur in June. We will let you know in advance of the moves. It will be interesting to see what lessons our pandemic will teach us in welcoming new residents into our family.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb President & CEO

May 22nd, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has issued revised guidelines this week. We are in the process of reviewing the guidelines and evaluating any changes that we will make at ERS communities. As always, our primary goal is to make sure our residents are safe and remain free of COVID-19 as much as possible.

Leading Age Ohio has been working closely with the Ohio Department of Health to clarify the state orders related to nursing homes and congregate housing for seniors. On a call this week, we received some news specific to doctor’s offices and medical appointments. Effectively immediately, residents will not be required to quarantine after an essential doctor’s appointment or out-patient procedure if you are able to follow best practices:

  • You wait in your car until the office staff escort you into the building.

  • You and the medical staff wear face masks during the visit.

  • You do not run errands on the way to the appointment or afterward.

  • We encourage you to use ERS transportation to your doctor’s office if you can not drive yourself to reduce your exposure to others.

We would like you to share with our nursing staff that you are going to an appointment in advance. We have found that often we can help your doctor’s office with telehealth options, eliminating the need to leave altogether. Additionally, ERS’s nurse practitioner may be able to see you on-site.

We ask you to leave your appointment if, at any time, they are not observing safe practices. We want to make sure you are not unnecessarily exposed. Additionally, you are welcome to self-quarantine in your apartment when you return to our community.

When you return to our campus, you will need to:

  • Go directly to your apartment and without interacting with other residents or staff.

  • Change your clothes and wash your hands thoroughly before leaving your apartment again.

Lastly, both the Ohio Department of Health and CDC guidelines continue to prohibit visitors at senior living facilities until a later phase of reopening. We will monitor this and let you know if anything changes. I know that the new guidelines regarding doctor’s appointments will be well received by our residents. We do not have to quarantine after a medical routine is an answer to many, many prayers!

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

May 12th, 2020

Dear Residents,

As you know, the Governor has opened a variety of businesses this month. Many people have asked what this means for ERS. If beauty shops are allowed to open, when can our salons open, as an example?

It is important to understand the difference between what a free-standing business can do compared to an aging services organization. As licensed communities within the State of Ohio, our guidelines follow the congregate living and nursing home standards, not the general public. Because of this, our guidelines will remain the same at this time. Regardless of the reason a resident might leave our campus (grocery store, doctor’s appointment, barbershop, etc.), they will need to be quarantined for 14 days. Additionally, we will not open our beauty shops, dining venues, and wellness centers until we are permitted to do so under the senior living standards.

I would also like to share something that was sent to me today via email. The email regarding line got my attention: Perspective. It reminded me of the wonderful podcast interview with Marjorie Lee’s resident, David Lowry, a few weeks ago. It gave me such hope to be reminded that we have been through much worse as a society, and we will get through this current pandemic as well.

Maybe we don’t have it that bad?

It’s a mess out there now. Hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria. For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900.

  • On your 14th birthday, World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday. Twenty-two million people perish in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
  • On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
  • When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.
  • Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40’s, as it killed 300 million people during your lifetime.
  • At 50, the Korean War starts. Five million perish. From your birth, until you are 55, you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed and/or die.
  • At 55, the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. Four million people perish in that conflict. During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. On your 62nd birthday, you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? If you were a kid in 1985, you might have thought your 85-year-old grandparent didn’t understand how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing and valuable gift. Refined and enlightening as time goes on. Let’s try to keep things in perspective. Your parents and/or grandparents were called upon to endure all of the above – today, we are being called upon to stay home and sit on the couch.

David also wisely shared: “Life is always unpredictable and not always fair, but it doesn’t last forever. If we were to learn anything during this crisis, it is that we are dependent on one another. That we all need community.” We need everyone to care more about others than themselves now. I appreciate that I am serving a generation that understands this need because of the life they have lived.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

May 7th, 2020

Dear Residents,

As doctor’s offices and elective procedures have opened up in Ohio and Kentucky this last week, many of you have reached out to our teams, let us know that you are planning to go to your physician’s offices for visits or procedures. For you to make decisions about your healthcare, I thought it would be timely to review our guidelines.

We believe that your healthcare decisions are matters between you and your physician. Together, if you determine that going to your appointment in-person is in your best interest, we support that choice. However, because our communities are licensed in the State of Ohio and Kentucky, we are bound, not by the physician office requirements or surgery centers, but by rules that govern congregate living settings. These rules mandate that if you leave our campus, you need to be quarantined for 14 days.

As you decide with your physician what you should do, you will undoubtedly balance your physical health needs alongside your psychosocial needs.
Telehealth may be an option for some situations; we encourage you to work directly with your physician to coordinate this. For some, delaying an in-person appointment or procedure will be chosen because the mental health impact of quarantine is too great. Likewise, others will decide to move ahead with the procedure with the understanding that being quarantined is an unwelcomed part of the recovery. Of course, there will be some of you who may not have a choice – you have to have a procedure – and the thought of quarantine is unimaginable. I sincerely apologize to those residents being in that situation, and I wish there were a way around the orders.

As an added measure of caution and to ensure that we understand the orders correctly, I have personally discussed our guidelines with the President of Leading Age Ohio and our healthcare attorney. Both agreed that we have no choice in the matter, given the current Governor’s orders. I only share that information with you so that you know I have sought outside counsel, not to place blame.

I have stated many times that we are in a period of time that we all wish we were not. I remain focused on my top priority: doing all that we can to make sure that our residents and staff stay well. Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

May 5th, 2020

Dear Families,

Mother’s Day is a special day. We can all agree that Mother’s Day is going to be different this year. No one can say that they have celebrated Mother’s Day during a pandemic since the holiday was created in 1914. And, only a few were even alive during the last pandemic in 1918. It may not be the way we want it, but we do have an opportunity to come up with a new tradition or way to celebrate.

The teams at Deupree House, Marjorie P. Lee, and Episcopal Church Home are excited about the upcoming weekend and are planning some special things for our mothers to celebrate the day. We wanted you to be aware so that you could get in on the fun! We have a very special dinner planned for our residents. They will be enjoying a great meal along with other specials treats.

We will have extra staff on duty on Sunday to be present with our residents and facilitate “window” visits. If you would like to visit your mother (unless the resident isn’t feeling well or is under quarantine at this time), please consider signing up for a window visit using one of the special links for Mother’s Day below.

The visits will be 20 minutes. This will allow time to clean the resident space before the next resident arrives.

It was my mother that taught me to make lemonade with lemons. Let’s make our mothers proud of how we are creating a memorable holiday! And, Happy Mother’s Day!

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO


May 1st, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

I wanted to end the week with a bit of good news.

For our second episode of the Linkage Podcast by ERS, we touch base with residents, Annie Brown of St. Paul Village, an Affordable Living by ERS community, and Weezie Walker from Dudley Square Patio Homes at Episcopal Church Homes. Plus, we hear from me with updates on some important matters across ERS and share some wonderful stories happening in our communities.

You can listen to it by visiting https://erslife.info/lp2. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, Spotify, or on your Amazon Alexa from TuneIn Radio.

I want to share with you that the MPL employee that had COVID-19 has fully recuperated and is back at her full-time job with another organization. At this time, we have had no other confirmed cases of residents or staff.

Lastly, I would like to share a bit of fun. About a week ago, we could feel the heavy air and felt like we add needed a reason to laugh. I recruited our Risk Management team to help recreate a video that I had seen. You may have heard that Tennessee’s Governor asked the music industry to come up with songs for PSAs for the state. Big and Rich came up with a song: Stay Home. It is great! Great content in lyrics that support handwashing and staying home. Our goal was simply: have some fun and add some joy into our day. They made a music video with our residents and staff that is guaranteed to make you smile. We have included it here for your enjoyment!

https://youtu.be/x4GQrF8hvZE

I hope you enjoy the video and seeing some of the staff and residents you may miss! Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO


April 23rd, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

FA_PODCAST GRAPHIC_55.556sqI’m happy to announce that ERS has launched a new podcast. In these unprecedented times, we wanted to provide another avenue to update our residents, family members, staff, and partners on topics revolving around COVID-19. The podcast, simply titled The Linkage Podcast by ERS, launched today and is available on our website, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and SoundCloud for easy listening whatever the device for this new and informative show.

In the long-term, The Linkage Podcast by ERS will be an extension of our Linkage Magazine and Linkage Online Blog to be a resource to address issues and interests of older adults, providing a link between ERS’s programs and the community. We’ll provide updates not only of our residents but also to introduce some of the great stories about people, services, and innovations within our various communities.

In each episode, we will interview two residents from different ERS communities to check in on how they are doing and how they manage their daily lives during this crisis. We will also have regular updates from me. I will share some of the most recent information regarding ERS and COVID-19 and some of the great things happening throughout our organization. There’s been a lot of success stories coming out of our communities, and I am looking forward to sharing these each week.

You can listen to our first episode by clicking here or putting this address in your internet search: https://erslife.info/lp1

For our very first episode, we touch base with residents, David Lowry at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community and Pat Donaldson at Deupree House. And, as we previously mentioned, you’ll also hear some stories from me from around ERS. So, please join our hosts Bryan Reynolds, ERS’ Vice President of Marketing, and Kristin Davenport, Director of Communications for our very first episode.

Tune in weekly on each Friday to hear our latest episode. And, thanks in advance for tuning in.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

April 22nd, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

I imagine that many of you, like me, make a daily habit of watching our governors at their daily press conferences. As I have said many times, we are so blessed to have Governor DeWine and Governor Beshear leading the charge in Ohio and Kentucky. What I value most about these leaders is that they are data-driven. They have started talking about opening up the states in a thoughtful and methodical way.

Both states will be using guidance from the CDC to create a three-phase approach. Our teams have begun the process of reviewing the CDC guidelines and creating a plan for ERS communities. As soon as this information is complete, we will share with our residents and families. I know the heartache of not being able to see a family member. As much as I understand that pain, my commitment to you is that I, like our Governors, will be intentional about the reopening. The last thing we all want is to reopen too soon or too quickly and have an outbreak in our communities.

As of today, the guidance from the CDC and the White House “prohibits visitors to senior living facilities and hospitals until Phase 3. Additionally, those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene.” Of course, there is not a definite date for phase 3, given that it depends on the results of phase 1 and 2. Phases will not begin until a state or area has 14 consecutive days of decreases in COVID-19 cases and having testing and hospital capacity to deal with potential coronavirus spikes. In some of the regions where ERS has communities such as Cincinnati and Louisville, the number of cases of COVID-19 is still on the rise.

So for now, the message is the same: Stay Home. Stop the Spread. Save Lives.

I assure you that we are listening carefully to the public health guidelines, and although I don’t have specific plans to share, we are working on a systematic approach. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO


April 17th, 2020

Dear Residents and Families,

As a staff team, the coronavirus has challenged us to learn to work differently. One of the new skills that we have developed almost overnight is video conferencing. We are using a video conferencing service called Zoom. Zoom is a FREE video conferencing system that allows us to be together. You can see and hear the other participants, but in a safe way (think social distancing) since we will be using individual devices. You can participate in a Zoom conference from any PC, tablet, or smartphone.

I share this with you because we will be holding our resident coffees in May via Zoom meetings. To ensure that everyone who wants to participate can, we are announcing this now so that we have several weeks to assist those residents that might need some help or instruction. If you would like assistance, please call or email Emily Lorentz. She can be reached at 513-271-9610 or elorentz@erslife.org. You will be matched with a staff member that will assist you by phone and even set up a test Zoom session with you!

I also would like to remind you of the wonderful service we have in our Ask-A-Staff Hotline. We have had many calls in the last month and want you to know that we plan to continue this service throughout April and May. Our Ask-A-Staff member hotline can be reached at 513-533-5001 or by email at COVID19retirement@erslife.org.

Lastly, I want to share with you that we will soon be launching a weekly ERS Linkage Podcast. The podcast will include updates from me regarding ERS’s COVID-19 results, along with interviews of our residents sharing how they are coping with our new normal. More information to come soon!

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I look forward to seeing you all during a Zoom session sometime soon!

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

April 6th, 2020

Dear Residents,

I hope your week is starting well, and you and your family are still healthy. I wanted to share a few updates and ask for your help as well during Holy Week.

Our chaplains are busy preparing for Easter services. I am so thankful for the dedication and creativity of our spiritual services staff. We follow all of the states’ guidelines related to gathering even on this holiest time. Each campus has worked out a way to be present and offer modified versions of services. Some services will be held outside, broadcasted via in-house channels, or by our chaplains walking through our building while residents remain in their rooms. Campus-specific plans will be shared as the plans are finalized. No matter what way we praise the Lord this Sunday, I am confident that He will rejoice in our efforts.

The newest guidelines surrounding visitors changed over the weekend with an update from the state government. The new guidelines require that visits only occur when death is imminent- as deemed by our medical director. This guideline is much more restrictive than what we had in the past based on states’ orders. We understand that this is a very difficult requirement and will impact our residents and families at the end of life.

As the realization of the crisis continuing for weeks, not days, we have to remind residents and families of guidelines regarding dropping off items and visiting. Our team has been inundated with creative ways to get around the guidelines. One-off requests take the focus of our staff away from caring for our residents. The following are our current guidelines:

  • Drop off is permitted only at designated doors. Please remind your family of these locations:

    o Deupree House – DH I entrance only
    o Deupree Cottages – Back door of the Colonial Cottage
    o Marjorie Lee – 3550 or 3580 entrance depending on where you live
    o ECH – Main Westport entrance only

  • Families are not permitted outside of their cars on our campuses. Our residents greatly benefit from the ability to walk around our campus. In order to preserve walkways on our campus, we have to prevent families and visitors from getting out of their vehicles. It is becoming harder and harder to keep our residents safe. If a few people continue to look for loopholes or exceptions, it will ultimately require us to limit residents moving around our campus.

• “Window visits” will need to be limited, given the staff’s availability. Each community has established guidelines based on staffing, physical building limitations, and other site-specific factors. Please understand that visits may need to be limited to special occasions and on a scheduled basis. Contact the administrator at your community for additional information.

This letter is certainly not the communication that I thought I would be sending during Holy Week. My hope for each of you is to find some joy in the days ahead: the crisp spring air, the buds on the trees, a quiet moment of prayer and reflection. Please stay confident, as I am, that this crisis will end, and we will come together soon.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO


April 3rd, 2020

Dear Residents,

I wanted to make you aware of two important developments.

First, I am so pleased to share with you that we are partnering with our amazing foodservice partner, Sysco, to offer a “POP-UP Pantry” for our staff at Deupree House and Marjorie Lee. Sysco Cincinnati has graciously donated more than $3000 of food for our staff! Staff is able to come to the Event Centers today and pick up groceries for their families. We are hoping that we can do this every week or so. We also made 50 bags of fresh fruits and vegetables for our residents at one of our affordable living communities. We will be reaching out to our food service provider in Louisville to see if they would consider a similar program for the staff at Episcopal Church Home.

As you know, we currently do not have a confirmed COVID-19 case in our communities. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shared a recommendation that staff working in nursing facilities wear face masks. Although this is not a mandate, in accordance with ERS’ own PPE policy, we will begin distributing masks to select staff on Monday, April 6th, 2020. We will be issuing face masks to team members who routinely work within a 2-foot radius of our healthcare residents. Because it is not mandated, the use of masks is each individual staff’s choice. Staff may also wear homemade masks (hand-sewn, bandanas, scarves, etc.) as well. I wanted to alert you to this new guideline. Seeing staff in facemasks may be a bit unsettling. As you are aware, we are trying to do all that we can to protect our residents and staff. The use of facemasks is just the newest intervention to ensure that we are all protected.

I also want to acknowledge and thank you for your support of the measures we have put into place. Several residents have shared their appreciation for the ERS team and all that we have done to protect our residents and staff. I promise we will continue our efforts. I am confident we will get through this crisis together.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President & CEO

March 30th, 2020

Dear Resident,

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “The occasion is piled high with difficulty. We must rise to the occasion.”

I have seen true heroism these past few weeks and am incredibly proud of the entire Episcopal Retirement Services community for rising to meet this moment of crisis.

The COVID-19 virus is being referred to by some as a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. It is almost impossible to plan for every worst-case scenario that could possibly occur in a lifetime. Thus, we have focused on developing a culture built on rising to the moment when unexpected challenges, of all degrees, strike.

Many of you have shared your profound appreciation and concern for our staff, who are going to great lengths each day to ensure that our residents are safe and well cared for. Others have wondered how some of the less fortunate individuals served by ERS are faring.

I, along with members of the Servant Leadership Team, share these concerns. So much so, that we have established an Emergency Response Fund to support some of the unexpected needs that have arisen during this crisis.

The ERS Emergency Response Fund supports the following:

  • ERS Affordable Living Rent Subsidies- Some residents residing in our Affordable Living Communities greatly rely on income from jobs in the service industry. Without this, they will have difficulty paying the low market-rate rent or affording necessities.

  • ERS Affordable Living Staples- Residents are struggling to access food and personal supplies.

  • Deupree Meals On Wheels- Already isolated, these individuals are in great need of access to personal care items and pet food.

  • Staff Food Access- Accessing food has become a significant problem for our staff who are working long hours.
  • Staff Child Care Support-The state-mandated closing of all schools and some daycares have left some staff with younger children with the challenge of finding and paying for unexpected child care so that they may continue to come to work.
  • Staff Emergency Bill Support- Some staff are already facing a reduction in family income due to the loss of a secondary income or a reduction in hours.

We anticipate the needs supported by the fund will shift as the situation continues to evolve. ERS annually sets aside funds for unexpected emergencies, but we know that the needs will far surpass the resources. We are also actively engaging some of our philanthropic partners to build the Emergency Response Fund to address the unprecedented times we are experiencing.

I recognize that these are uncertain times for all. However, I know that you would want to understand the unexpected and necessary need to provide emergency relief support for our residents and staff.

If you would like to learn more about the fund, or are interested in contributing, please visit the webpage episcopalretirement.com/emergencyfund or contact Diana Collins at 513-979-2307 or dcollins@erslife.org. Lastly, stay safe, and please keep your fellow residents and our staff in your prayers as you are in mine.

Sincerely,

Laura R. P. Lamb
President and CEO


March 25th, 2020

Dear Residents,

I hope this letter finds you well. We are a few weeks into our stay-at-home response to COVID-19. I am writing to share a summary of our response to date and to share some inspiring stories from around the organizations. I am very thankful to each of you, and our staff, for following the stringent practices designed to protect all of us. As you will see, the creativity of our residents and staff have not been dampened by our invisible threat.

First, I want you to know that I care about each of you. It is my responsibility to make sure you are well- cared for during this difficult time. It is out of care for each of you and your safety that we have the most stringent COVID-19 practices in our area, well before the governors’ mandated restrictions. We have taken the following steps in response to the pandemic:

  • Limiting families, visitors, and non-essential caregivers – limiting visitors and families protects you because it reduces the number of people you come in contact with on a given day. The CDC has been clear that we need to reduce exposure to others as much as we can.

  • Restricting of residents going off-campus – Again, this is an exposure issue, and we have taken a hard line on this issue, given that older adults are more susceptible and at greater health risk from the virus. This practice protects not only our residents but our staff as well.

  • Screening staff before coming to work – We have had our staff screening in place for more than three weeks! Why? We have discovered staff with temperatures and have sent them home. This protects all of us who would have been exposed to him/her without the screening process in place.

  • Restricting access to people who go to multiple locations – Mail carriers, pharmacy, and delivery staff have been greatly restricted. These people go to other businesses and healthcare organizations, and frankly, pose a greater risk than others.

  • Establishing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines and conserving suppliesas you have heard on the news, PPE shortages are not unique to ERS. To combat this, we have a dedicated staff member that is working with suppliers to secure as many face masks and other PPE as possible. We have aggressively pursued supplies, have made a significant order, and are awaiting arrival. In the meantime, we are using evidence-based protocols to conserve supplies so that they will be available should we have a case of COVID-19 in our community.

  • Asked all staff to do their part by limiting their exposure when they are not at work. We recognize that staff has to limit coming into contact with others when away from work to protect our residents.

  • Closing the Support Office and dividing the management team up – By having staff work at home, we have created a back-up team that will be ready and healthy to care for our residents and support the direct care staff if we have staffing shortages.

I have heard from many residents and families thanking us for our restrictive guidelines. Those that have loved ones at other communities and/or families that are aware of other organizations have shared how much they appreciate that we are putting specific measures in place to protect our residents and staff. Also, they have shared that other organizations are far behind ERS standards.

Even with our new restricted reality, I want to celebrate some of the creativity of the residents and staff. There are so many that I would like to share, but here are a few from around our three states and 30 campuses!

  • Residents at Marjorie Lee have held virtual “Friday Frolics” cocktail parties using their My Margie tablets.

  • The life enrichment staff in Affordable Living have written limericks for the residents and shared them along with a sweet treat.

  • A member of our support services staff rallied the help from her mom’s group to deliver 14-days’ worth of Meals on Wheels delivery in one stop.

  • One of our medical directors is seeing and assessing patients through the window for the safety of the resident and provider.

  • A resident painted a beautiful bunny poster to greet staff after they are screened with a funny, “punny” comment.

  • Several of our staff members’ college students answered the call to work at our staff temperature check-in locations to allow our staff to be with residents.

  • Countless numbers of FaceTime sessions with residents and their loved ones have been facilitated.

  • One of our affordable living housing managers is playing bingo with the residents via a text each day calling numbers and ECH residents are playing bingo along the corridor in chairs six-feet apart.

  • A local school is working with our Cottages residents at Deupree to have pen pals.

  • We had a family member serenade their mother by playing “You Are My Sunshine” on her trumpet outside her ECH room window.

These stories are only a few of the ones I have heard. We are so blessed to have residents and staff that are looking for creative ways to make the best of a situation no one wants to be in!

And finally, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and care for each of you. If you have ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at 513-979-2222 or at llamb@erslife.org.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

March 20th, 2020

Dear Residents,

It has been a difficult week for all of us adjusting to our “new normal.” It is hard not to be able to see our loved ones and to have our independence and freedom restricted due to an invisible threat. I think we all understand that it is needed at this point, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I have had to re-frame my thinking as I sequestered in my home office. Kentucky Governor Beshear said it so well: “Following guidelines and restrictions is our patriotic duty.” Maybe that will help you as it has me.

I am pleased to announce a few new services and updates for you all as well.

New Ask-a-Staff Hotline is LIVE today

Beginning today, we have an Ask-a-Staff phone and email line for our residents and families. A member of our clinical team will take your calls and answer your questions. If the staff member doesn’t have the answer, he or she will also have access to our entire team to find the answers to your questions and get back to you. I have included a flyer attached to this letter for your convenience. The phone number is 513-533-5001 and the email is covid19retirement@erslife.org. The hotline is available from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Information about Federal Taxes

We realize that many of you are in various stages of finalizing your 2019 tax returns and may be getting assistance from a tax advisor (accountant or family member) in the preparation and filing of your returns. We also understand that our current situation may be making that process a little more difficult. If you still need to get any remaining paperwork to your tax advisor, we ask that you put the information in a sealed envelope for pickup and ask the tax advisor to pick up from your receptionist. If you need to have discussions with your tax advisor, we ask that you do so via phone or FaceTime. If you need assistance with FaceTime, please contact your receptionist to find a staff member to assist you.

If you are still having difficulties, please talk to your tax advisor about options to request an extension of time to file your tax returns. In addition, the IRS has released temporary COVID-19 tax relief by allowing individuals to defer tax payments up to $1,000,000 that would normally be due on April 15th, 2020 until July 15th, 2020 without interest or penalties. We have also received news today that the IRS is likely going to approve a delay in filing requirements from April 15th, 2020 until July 15th, 2020.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

March 15th, 2020

Dear Residents,

Most of our residents have honored our request of not leaving the community. I implored you to stay at home and take our precautions seriously. The vast majority of you have done this, but even today, residents have left our campus for non-essential errands. Because a few residents continue to leave despite our warnings, therefore putting other resident’s wellbeing in jeopardy, we will post daily residents that have left the campus.

This information will be shared so that residents with underlying health conditions make sure they stay away from those who haven’t complied with our requests. One resident said it so well: “I have a right to know who is going out so that I don’t get on the elevator with them!”

Additionally, if you leave the campus, you may be requested to self-quarantine in your apartment for up to 14 days. If you are unable to comply with staying on our campus, I encourage you to consider moving to a family member’s home or a hotel.

As a reminder, if you have a medical appointment that you believe is essential, contact our Director of Nursing so that she can call your doctor to confirm that it is critical for you to attend.

We have to take strong actions to mitigate exposure to our residents. Elders are more susceptible to become infected by COVID-19, and the impact of the virus is more severe. Immune function declines with age. That makes our residents more vulnerable to more severe illness. As we age, the systems our bodies use to fight disease wear down. Not only does the body have a harder time fighting off new infections like COVID-19; it’s also more likely to be afflicted because of chronic diseases that make the immune system weaker. In older adults, the number of white blood cells that find and help eliminate infections can decline. The cells also become less adept at identifying new pathogens to fight. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can also damage the immune cells that might otherwise overcome the virus. If there are fewer of these cells to begin with, and they’re also weaker than they once were, an illness can do more damage.

One person can compromise our entire community. Selfish acts could cause the illness and/or death of a resident or staff member. Please join me (and the vast number of our residents) in making sure that we all stay well.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

March 14th, 2020

Dear Residents,

The Center of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued new orders related to healthcare organizations. 

Beginning immediately, we are discontinuing all congregate dining.  All dining rooms are now closed.  In addition, all group activities are also canceled.  If you would like a lunch or dinner meal, please call the room service line to order.

CMS’s strong direction is an indication of critical importance of avoiding being in close proximity with others.  Now that COVID-19 is spreading in the surrounding area, we all have to do things differently. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

 

March 12th, 2020

Dear Families,

As the Coronavirus situation changes by the hour, our local, state, and national authorities are issuing guidance for nursing and healthcare organizations. We have had to update, and in some cases, change our guidelines for resident and families.

ERS has always been a leader in setting the standards for older adults. Our governors in both Ohio and Kentucky have issued minimum guidelines for healthcare organizations. They implored businesses and individuals to make thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of the people that they serve and interact with, and recognize that we may need to do more than the minimum.

We have made the following decisions impacting visitors and contracted staff:

  • End-of-life is not defined as receiving hospice services. End of life is when death is imminent and/or when a resident is on continuous care as ordered by their physician. The guidelines for visitors that government agencies have ordered were not intended to open visitation rights. Effective immediately, visitors will not be allowed unless a resident meets the end of life definition.

  • We are not permitting families or private duty assistants to care for residents in our licensed healthcare areas unless it is medically necessary and/or it is essential to the operation of the community. The Directors of Nursing will determine medically necessity based on physical and behavioral needs of the resident. Unfortunately, socialization and psychosocial needs will not be a reason for private duty or family visits. Our staff will reach out to you directly to confirm or change arrangements you might have in place. Additionally, we will share new communication opportunities to stay connected to your loved one.

It is critical to have up to date email addresses for our families. Please call 513-271-9610 to update your email addresses so that we can communicate efficiently.

We have spent a great deal of time fielding calls from families pleading to be an exception to a guideline. We are in a crisis and we can no longer afford time to discuss our guidelines. It is taking away from our ability to care for your loved ones. We have the responsibility to save lives now.

My mother was a resident at one of our communities before she passed away in 2018. I chose our community for my loved one because, in all matters, our standards are higher. I know that you chose ERS for similar reasons. Because of this, I need to insist that you abide by our guidelines.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

March 10th, 2020
 

Dear Resident,

Thank you for your support of our guidelines put into place yesterday. It was affirming to hear from Governor DeWine and Governor Beshear today outlining their expectations of those who serve the most vulnerable: individuals over 70 years of age.

Many of you have encouraged us to make a written statement about the importance of independent living residents following the guidelines.

We strongly encourage residents to restrict travel, and not go to the doctor office for routine visits, dinners out to the club, outside events, and grocery shopping. Because you live in our communities, we can help you with these types of needs. Additionally, all of these activities put you and other residents at risk. Other communities have paid the price of illness and death when individuals value freedom of movement above the health of our community. Additionally, other communities have seen in hindsight that the virus is being spread person to person, undetected for weeks at a time.

I implore you to stay at home and take our precautions seriously. We commit to re-evaluating our protocols on a weekly basis. Please know that we care deeply about you and want you to be well.

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

March 9th, 2020

Dear Family Member,

The COVID-19 situation is evolving by the hour. There are now three confirmed cases in northern Ohio and four in Kentucky as of today. It is only a matter of time before the virus spreads to all cities in which we live and work. Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana governors have declared state of emergencies for their states. As we have learned from the outbreak in other countries, it appears that this virus spreads silently among communities before there are confirmed cases. The older adults we serve will be disproportionately impacted because of age and, in some cases, close living conditions. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to restrict visitation to our communities. All non-essential staff and visitors will be restricted from visiting our communities effective immediately.

Additionally, because the virus will likely be in all of our surrounding communities soon, we will begin screening staff for symptoms, including a fever check at the start of each shift.

We have attached a copy of a Frequently Asked Question document for your review as well.

Thank you for your continued support. Your loved one’s health is our top priority. If you have urgent question, please contact our Administrators. You are also welcome to call or email myself or Ginny Uehlin, Vice President of Healthcare

Sincerely,

Laura Lamb
President and CEO

A beautiful serenade on a rainy day at Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, Kentucky

 

March 13th, 2020

Dear residents, families and partners,

I’d like to take the time to thank so many of you who have been supportive of our efforts the past two weeks.  As we have mentioned before, the situation has evolved rapidly as we have consulted with experts around the nation on the response to COVID-19.

I also wanted update you on where we stand with our response to the pandemic. ERS has always been a leader in setting the standards for older adults. Our governors in both Ohio and Kentucky have issued minimum guidelines for healthcare organizations. They implored businesses and individuals to make thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of the people that they serve and interact with, and recognize that we may need to do more than the minimum.

Just today, it was announced that we have four cases in the Cincinnati area.  Additionally, there have been several cases popping up across the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana area. We know that more confirmed cases in larger numbers are coming as testing becomes more readily available and the disease continues to spread.

Limiting the number of people who have access to our communities is critical in mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus. At this time ERS has taken the following precautions to protect our residents, who are so vulnerable to this disease:

  • All non-essential staff and visitors will be restricted from visiting our communities effective immediately. This applies to Marjorie P. Lee, Deupree House, and Episcopal Church Home retirement communities.
    • We are allowing visitors in cases of end-of-life situations. Please consult our Frequently Asked Questions for more details regarding this topic.
    • We are not permitting families or private duty assistants to care for residents in our licensed healthcare areas unless it is medically necessary and/or it is essential to the operation of the community.
  • We are screening staff and essential visitors only for symptoms as they enter our communities including a fever check.
  • We are insisting that our independent living residents at our retirement communities, our residents within our Affordable Living communities, and our staff to limit trips to the store, the doctor, and other public places until further notice. Failure to do so, increases the risk to our residents and staff. 
  • We have cancelled all group trips including grocery store runs.  We have options for residents that need grocery options. Transportation will ONLY be available for medical appointments that have been verified with the physician that it is medically needed at this time.  Transportation staff will be re-directed to assist with resident services within our buildings.
  • We have protocols in place should we find an identified case of COVID-19 amongst our residents and our staff and will act accordingly.

There are many more details that we have communicated throughout the week to our residents and families in addition to the important guidelines and policies we mentioned above. Below are letters we have sent to our residents and staff throughout the week.

As a result of these actions, ERS and its communities are in a good position to care for its most precious asset. Our residents.  These are extraordinary times and we are taking unprecedented measures to help mitigate the spread of the disease.  We have followed the very best experts from the state of Ohio, Kentucky, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

As we mentioned yesterday to our staff, I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to serving our elders.  I see so many examples of our values in such difficult and unparalleled circumstances. The Servant Leadership team and I recognize that our staff are providing extraordinary effort in an uncertain climate.  Many of our residents and families have been so supportive.  This is truly a community effort and I thank you all.

Sincerely,
Laura R.P. Lamb
President & 

How to Choose a Retirement Community

Learn How to Find the Right Place to Live Well Into the Future

Download Guide

Sign up for our Newsletter