Posted December 21, 2021

At Genacross Lutheran Services, the health and well-being of our residents, patients and employees is always our first priority. Now more than ever, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the vulnerable “at risk” populations we serve, that remains true. We have been and will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and our local health departments.

We are committed to preventing the spread of the virus to the best of our abilities, while protecting our employees and providing compassionate care for those in need. Thank you for your support and trust during this challenging time. We take this responsibility very seriously.

When can I visit my loved one in nursing care or assisted living?

Visitation is now open at our care campuses. Under the updated guidelines released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), most visitation restrictions have been lifted.

  • We now permit visitation at any time for residents.
  • We no longer schedule visits, limit number of visitors, limit length or frequency of visitors, or limit number of overall visitors in the building at one time.
  • Large gatherings continue to be discouraged, and everyone must continue to adhere to core infection control principles. Visitors to the campuses will need to practice social distancing and must wear masks at all times.
  • Each campus screens its visitors by taking temperatures and asking health-related questions (including vaccination status). Please do not visit if you are not feeling well. Visitors who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or currently meet the criteria for quarantine, should not enter our buildings.

If you have specific questions on visitation, please reach out directly to your loved ones’ campus during business hours for more information:

Napoleon Campus: 419-592-1688.

Wolf Creek Campus: 419-861-2233

Bethany Place: 419-334-5500

For detailed information on the CMS guidelines, see memo QSO-20-39-NH-REVISED.

What precautions is Genacross taking to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on residents, patients and employees?

From the outset of the pandemic, Genacross has exercised an overabundance of caution in dealing with the virus.

  • We are meeting or exceeding protocols and guidelines established by government agencies, such as the CDC and ODH.
  • We encourage all of our residents and employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots as needed.
  • While visitation is open at our Napoleon, Wolf Creek and Bethany Place campuses, we do screen visitors for their temperatures and other health-related questions. All visitors must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Our staff members are adhering to social distancing guidelines as they provide compassionate care and engage residents to maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Group activities and large gatherings are limited and, in many cases, have been replaced with creative solutions for resident engagement. Our communal dining rooms are operating at limited capacity, with dining schedules that allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • We initiated aggressive proactive infection control measures. Our rigorous sanitation regimen follows, and in some cases exceeds, all state and federal guidelines. We have increased the daily volume of cleaning done in common, medical and residential areas. All protective and medical equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Employees and other essential workers are thoroughly screened when entering our care campuses and other ministry locations.
  • To protect our residents and staff, all employees are wearing face masks as recommended by state and federal guidelines to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus.
  • We are in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure that we are taking the appropriate steps at this time.
  • When/if identified, we work to contain the virus by creating isolation units with designated staff to care for the residents.

How can I visit or communicate with my loved one?

While visitations to our campuses are currently open, the availability of those visits could change. Other types of visits are also beneficial to the well-being of residents. Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, Genacross purchased 50 tablets equipped with video chat capabilities and distributed them among our care campuses to help mitigate feelings of isolation by our residents. Besides video chats, we are encouraging and offering families several other ways to keep in touch with their loved ones during this difficult time. Options include: phone calls, cards and letters via mail, emails, window visits, package and food drop-offs, etc. Each Genacross ministry is handling these options a little differently, so please reach out to your loved one’s location for guidance. Our staff is more than happy to help facilitate interactions.

Does Genacross have adequate PPE?

While personal protective equipment (PPE) has been in short supply at times, Genacross Lutheran Services is working constantly with our suppliers and local health officials to ensure that we have adequate resources throughout our ministries. Genacross is maintaining a central inventory of PPE and can shift supplies quickly to locations as necessary to meet needs. In addition, we continue to follow or exceed all recommended guidelines for infection control.

What happens when/if a resident tests positive for COVID-19?

If a resident tests positive, we take great care to ensure that they are made comfortable in an isolated area and are under constant supervision. While caring for residents in isolation, staff wear full protective equipment, including medical gowns, gloves, eye protection and masks, and they are restricted to working solely in that unit. Furthermore, any resident who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 will be moved to isolation for further monitoring. As normal, if a resident’s condition warrants it, the individual will be moved to a hospital setting. A member of the resident’s care team will keep family members updated throughout the entire process.

What happens when/if an employee has symptoms of the virus?

Prior to each shift, employees are required to wash their hands, take their temperatures, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Employees also take their temperatures at the end of their shifts. Any employee who develops symptoms during a shift will be sent home immediately. At that point, they are directed to see a doctor and quarantine at home. If a subsequent test is positive for COVID-19, the employee must be symptom-free and stay isolated at home for at least 14 days. They may return to work following a doctor’s order.

Are you able to maintain staffing levels?

The short answer is yes. Our staff has been amazing. They work tirelessly to care for and engage our residents and patients every day. They are true heroes during this time of uncertainty, and many are going above and beyond to provide care and services.

The more involved answer is that, while our staff is doing excellent work, we have open positions throughout our ministries and anticipate growing staffing needs as the virus spreads. Many individuals who have been displaced from jobs have transferrable skills that can be utilized at Genacross. Please encourage people who may be looking for work to check out the Careers section of the website.

How can I help?

Donate masks. Like many others challenged by COVID-19, Genacross ministries are in need of masks. If you know of groups or individuals who are making masks and would like a place to donate them, our residents and staff could surely benefit from them. So, if you have donations of masks or have members who are making them, please let us know. Please contact Amanda Schroeder, Vice President of Home & Community Based Services, at ASchroeder@Genacross.org or 419-309-4288.

Send messages of caring. Since our residents and patients in our long-term care and assisted living are not allowed to have any visitors right now, keeping them engaged and in good spirits is a challenge we embrace. One way to do help with that is for the residents to receive mail that shows people are thinking about them. If you are interested in sending cards or letters to residents, please contact our campus in Napoleon, Holland (Wolf Creek), or Fremont (Bethany Place) directly to coordinate delivery of your messages.

Donate personal care items. Numerous residents living in our senior independent living communities are in need of paper products and toiletries essential to their personal care. Often, these items are difficult for them to obtain, and that is truer than ever now. If you can help with such items at one of our housing sites, please contact Jackie Petersen, Director of Management and Service Coordination, at JPetersen@Genacross.org or 567-277-2960.