Coronavirus Updates

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Coronavirus Updates

With the Cornovirus (COVID-19) being top of mind for everyone, we wanted to keep everyone up to date with the most recent developments. Here are the recent updates we've sent to family members. Please check back often as new updates will be added to this existing thread. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

6/18/21:

Hi Phoenix Families,

Hope your summer is off to a great start! We have a few updates for you today. Please let us know if you have any questions. Thanks for your support!

1.) HOLIDAY TRANSPORTATION:

In our last update, we informed you that we aren’t able to commit to transporting your loved ones during the holidays because of the staffing shortage. However, we wanted to let you know we DO have external resources available should you need them. If you are looking for transportation, Metro Mobility is an option as well as we've recently partnered with another company to help with transporting your loved ones.

If you would like to set up a ride for the holiday, please contact your Program Manager or your Assistant Program Director listed below.

Niki Novak — Chaparral, Drexel, Eric’s, Suburban
651-279-3305 or nnovak@phoenixresidence.org

Jill Moody — Clinton, Foss, Furness, Howard
651-238-2455 or jmoody@phoenixresidence.org

Kaylee Larson — Afton, Carver, Douglas, Newport
651-263-9845 or klarson@phoenixresidence.org

Kim Phillips — Caswell, Centerville, English, Lydia
651-274-4240 or kphillips@phoenixresidence.org

Shawna Zechmeister — Janet, Ludden, Viking, Western
651-247-1351 or szechmeister@phoenixresidence.org

2.) FAMILY-STYLE DINING:

Because some of the COVID guidelines have been lifted, we have been able to return to family-style dining in homes where everyone is vaccinated. We must continue to social distance in homes where not everyone has been vaccinated. This also applies to group activities.

3.) DAY PROGRAMS:

While Day Programs have the green light to resume services at full capacity, they are not able to do so due to not having sufficient staff to provide services. Individuals are being placed on a waiting list. As Day Service providers add staff, they will allow more individuals to return.

4.) VACCINE EVENT:

Finally, wanted to pass along information about a Vaccine Celebration happening at Progressive Baptist Church TODAY. See the flyer below for more details!

6/11/21:

Hi Phoenix Families,

Hope you all are having a great start to summer! We have a few updates for you today. Please let us know if you have questions about any of this. We greatly appreciate your continued support!

1.)  REMINDER OF COVID POLICIES:

We want to remind you that even though the CDC has become a bit more relaxed with COVID policies out in the community, our Phoenix policies still remain the same! We still recommend family members wear masks when visiting the home and do not visit if you are sick or experiencing symptoms. Visitors should visit in the bedrooms or outside, not in common areas of the home.  

Please contact your Program Manager or APD if you would like to set up a visit.

2.) HOLIDAY TRANSPORTATION:

With the Fourth of July holiday and many summer activities coming up, we wanted to reiterate that because of the staffing crisis, we are not able to provide transportation for the holidays. Please plan accordingly if you would like to take your loved one for the holiday and talk with your Program Manager about setting this up. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to us.

3.) HIRING FAIR:

We’d like to announce that we are hosting a HIRING FAIR on June 23 from 11 am-2 pm. It’ll be outside our main office (330 Marie Ave. E, West St. Paul), weather permitting of course!

We are offering FREE LUNCH at the Hiring Fair and a $1,500 HIRING BONUS in their first year for anyone hired! Please share this with your network and encourage them to come work for The Phoenix Residence! You are our best referral!

For more information on all our open positions, please visit https://phoenixresidence.mitcawm.com/jobs/

4.) ACTION ALERT: Please reach out to your legislators about improving the Medicaid system!

We just received an Action Alert from The Arc, a national trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We need your help reaching out to your legislator to encourage them to support people with disabilities and improve the Medicaid system!

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program benefit levels and rules have not been updated for decades, forcing people with disabilities to live in poverty to maintain their needed benefits.

Now, the Administration has included a long-overdue investment in the disability service system as part of a COVID-19 economic recovery. It's time for Congress to act to fund $400 billion for the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) system, increase wages for the direct care workforce, and create more of these jobs.

Visit the link below to reach out to our members of Congress and urge them to support us! All you need to do is click on the link below, enter in your information, and hit send. It’s that easy! The Arc already wrote up a message for us to use.

 Act Now: COVID-19 Recovery Requires Historic Investment in Disability Services (p2a.co)

Thanks for your support and your advocacy!!

5/14/21:

Hi Phoenix Families,

As you may have seen, yesterday Governor Walz signed an executive order to end the mask mandate here in Minnesota. This, however, does not apply to our programs here at Phoenix. We want to reiterate that all of our current COVID policies and procedures are still in effect. The use of eye protection and facemasks is still required at all times in our homes!

If you would like to visit your loved one, please contact your Program Manager to set up a time for the visit. All visitor guidelines will remain in place.

We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health for long-term care facilities and will keep you updated on any changes.

If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to reach out. Thank you for understanding!

4/13/21: 

Hi Everyone,

We've received word from the Minnesota Department of Health that they are putting a pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because an extremely rare type of blood clot has been discovered in six people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after the vaccination, you should contact your health care provider.

Please share this information with your friends and family!

If you currently have an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should watch for a notification from your provider about canceling, postponing, or rescheduling the appointment. If your appointment is canceled, you can look for other vaccination appointments through the Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies, or your health care provider.

The Vaccine Locator map is located here:
https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp

Here is the official release from the Minnesota Department of Health if you'd like more information. Please let us know if you have any questions and do share this information with your friends and family. Thank you!

3/25/21:

Hi Phoenix Families,

As more and more of the community receives COVID-19 vaccines, we can see some light at end of the tunnel. However, we must remain cautious and follow guidance of the CDC, Minnesota Department of Health, and/or Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services for some licensed settings.

The CDC has issued guidance that allows for some relaxing of guidance of requirements for people in the same household. However, Phoenix has additional guidance as a Group Home or Residential Care Facility.

Phoenix continues to navigate in a space where we need to facilitate 10-14 leaves given COVID-19 symptoms or exposures. Given the current situation, we are not able to provide transportation to large groups of people on a holiday. We are able to coordinate some individual rides during non-high demand periods based on staffing availability. We encourage everyone to enroll in the Metro Mobility program and to use that service or other transportation services as needed.

With regards to visiting in the home, we will coordinate visits following the established protocols. Visitors must be designated by the person residing in the home, visitors must agree to follow the guidance of wearing masks when they enter and exit the home, participate in the screening process, and visit in the designated spaces of the person’s room or outside. All visitors must call the Program Manager of the home to schedule the visit to assure that not too many visitors are in the home at one time and to facilitate social distancing.

Individuals may elect to go away from the group home with their families or others if given information regarding the potential for COVID-19 exposure, so they can make informed decisions. Please note individuals will need to be screened before leaving the home. If they are experiencing any symptoms, we recommend that they not leave the home. Also note, if individuals leave the home and start to experience symptoms while out with their loved ones, we recommend that the person remains in quarantine with their loved one for 10-14 days as recommended by the CDC.

Thank you for your cooperation! We will all get to the other side of this Pandemic.

3/17/21:

Find a COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota through the Community Vaccination Program. The COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program is for people 65 years and older, educators, and child care workers. Visit this link for more information:

https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/index.jsp

This tool is intended to help Minnesotans more easily find and connect with local vaccine providers in their area. There is still a limited amount of vaccine, so appointments may not be available everywhere.

All vaccinations are by appointment only, and each provider manages its own schedules and appointments. Not all providers are offering appointments to people in all priority groups. Please contact providers to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine doses and appointments available, and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site.  

If you are not connected with a health care provider, resources are available on Health Care Assistance. The COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program may be another option to explore. Stars denote no-cost Community Vaccination sites on the map below. As the federal government distributes additional vaccine doses, new providers and locations will be added. All locations below are approximate. 

Everyone, whether you have been vaccinated or not, still needs to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others, wash your hands a lot, and stay home if you are sick. For more information about the vaccine, see About COVID-19 Vaccine

Find a COVID-19 vaccine here: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp

3/5/21:

Good afternoon, We are excited to be in the midst of our second round of vaccines this week and also have a few updates to share with you regarding our Release of Responsibility addendum, fundraising announcements, and legislative updates.

Release of Responsibility:

We had adjusted this practice earlier in 2020, but updated it based on the protocols of return to match our current guidance. In general, the policy outlines that if an individual is released from our care and develops symptoms while away, they are to stay with their family member until they have observed the COVID protocols. The requirements for return include obtaining an alternative diagnosis, resolving symptoms, and a negative COVID test or waiting the 10 days and having symptoms resolve/resolving in order to return. If you have any questions, please let us know and we are happy to clarify.

Gerten’s Plant Sale and Golf Update:

This year has certainly been anything but normal, especially in regards to fundraising and events! We’ve been discussing a lot lately how to approach our fundraising events in 2021. We do plan on hosting our Gertens Plant Sale per usual – more information information below on this. We’ve also been discussing how to approach our golf tournament this year--more information to come on this so be on the lookout!

Spruce up your lawn this spring with Gertens flowers! We have a variety of items to choose from—hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs. With several new items this year! Anyone can order from us, so share with your friends and family!

We’ve attached the order form here. Please return your order form and payment by April 12, 2021 to Jackie Larson at our main office – 330 Marie Ave. E, West St. Paul, MN 55118

We will have two pickup locations. Please note your pickup location on your form.

South Delivery Location:

May 11 | Phoenix Central Office (330 Marie Ave. E, West St. Paul, MN 55118)

North Delivery Location:

May 13 | English House (1336 E. County Road E, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110)

Checks can be made out to The Phoenix Residence. If you have any questions or to pay by credit card, please contact Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or jlarson@phoenixresidence.org.

Thank you for supporting The Phoenix Residence!

Disability Services Day at the Capitol:

We are preparing to participate in our annual Day at the Capitol to advocate for the issues our service industry faces. This year will be a virtual event held on March 9th. Jackie Larson is coordinating legislative visits with our representatives wherever we are able to get scheduled. If you would like to join in on a scheduled visit to help advocate for our services, we’d love to include you.

Reminder: ARRM Day at the Capitol is NEXT TUESDAY, MARCH 9!

Although we aren’t able to gather at the Capitol this year, we still hope you’ll take part in advocating for disability services! The virtual rally starts at 10 am and will be live-streamed via Facebook on ARRM’s page, our trade association. Here is the link to view it: https://www.facebook.com/ARRM.MN

We also have meetings set up throughout the day with legislators who represent all our homes. If you want to join us for those, please let us know. It’s always great for the legislators to hear from family members of those we support! Additionally, if you want to meet with your personal legislator anytime next week or in the coming weeks, we are more than happy to set those meetings up.

One last way you can participate is by reaching out to your legislator on social media or via email and sharing your story with them! Not sure what to say? Feel free to use one of ARRM’s pre-generated messages at www.disabilityservicesday.com/socialmedia

Not sure who your legislator is? Visit this website to find out: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

If you have any questions or would like to join us, please reach out to Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or jlarson@phoenixresidence.orgThank you for your advocacy!

Thank you all very much for your continued support and please don’t hesitate to reach out for anything you may need.
Sincerely, The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

2/2/21:

Vaccinations are Being Administered, Now What?

Has Phoenix’s Guidance Changed for Staff and Visitors? The short answer is No! We must continue to follow the guidance as described below.

We are all excited that vaccinations are available - this is exciting news! However, nothing will change here at Phoenix in terms of protocols and practices that we are required to follow!

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that we continue to follow their guidance, even if you have been vaccinated!

Visitors are still required to complete the Essential Visitor’s requirements and must participate in the screening process before entering any of our homes or buildings. Everyone must still wear a mask, socially distance, and maintain good hand hygiene. In addition, we must continue to clean and disinfect the living spaces in our homes and offices. 

Why is this?

According to the experts, until the majority of the population is vaccinated, we must continue to be cautious and be safe! We are on the road to getting back to some normality, but we are not there yet!
Also, we may have to maintain some of these requirements as the new normal.

If you have any questions, please contact Darlene Scott or a member of the Phoenix Administrative Team. Thank you for your understanding!

1/27/21:

Hi Phoenix Families, Hope you all are staying warm, safe and healthy this week!

As COVID continues, we want to inform you that any sites with possible COVID exposure will be offered on-site weekly testing of employees and individuals supported if they consent to the testing. Family members and guardians will also be notified if testing at any site is recommended.

The Minnesota Department of Health continues to conduct Infection Control Focused surveys at our 6-bed homes. Guidance for visitors has been updated to include requesting that visitors conduct a pre-visit screening, and if they are exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms or have been exposed to COVID, they are asked to not visit. Providers are to post visitor screening guidelines at the front entrance of the home.

On the bright side, we received word that we are cleared to begin vaccinating the COVID-19 vaccine! We’ll be working with Walgreens to administer these vaccines in the homes over the next few weeks.

Essential Visitors may be added to Phoenix’s list for COVID vaccinations. If you are interested in being vaccinated or have any questions, please reach out to our Director of Nursing Kim Human at khuman@phoenixresidence.org for a list of available clinics. You will need to send her your full name, home address, phone number, and date of birth.

It should be noted that Day Programs have resumed full time for individuals desiring to attend Day Programs. If you have any questions about this, please talk to your Program Manager.

As far as positive cases go, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has implemented a new COVID risk assessment process with instructions for providers to include notification to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), their employees, and others regarding COVID-positive cases and/or exposures. 

Additionally, MDH has launched a new COVID-19 electronic case investigation survey to make reporting easier and more accessible to Minnesotans. The new approach will involve individuals receiving a text message from MDH asking the person to complete an online survey. If the individual wishes to complete the interview over the phone versus using the online process, they are able to do so.

Finally, we wanted to share with you about our upcoming ARRM Day at the Capitol!

SAVE THE DATE

Date: March 9, 2021
Time: Rally at 10 am
          Virtual meetings throughout the day

This is our annual advocacy day where we rally for support of disability services! Normally, the event is held at the Minnesota State Capitol every March. However, due to the pandemic, the event is going virtual this year!

The rally will begin at 10 am and then we’ll attend virtual meetings throughout the day with our legislators. Please let us know if you plan on attending the rally or are interested in meeting with your legislator or the legislator who represents your loved one’s home—it’s important you share your story with them!

This year, we’ll be advocating for Emergency COVID Relief Funding for Home and Community Based Service Providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as continuing the fight for stable wages for Direct Support Professionals.

Head on over to our Events Page for more information or to download a handout on our legislative priorities. Questions? Visit www.disabilityservicesday.com for more information or contact Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or jlarson@phoenixresidence.org if you plan to attend the rally or want to meet with your legislator.

Thank you for your continued support! Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you or your family.

11/23: 

Good afternoon,

We’d like to clarify the email message that was sent out earlier today. Phoenix is recommending and encouraging no visitors at this time. Please note this does not mean we are restricting visitors, we are asking you to please work with us and consider not visiting.

Phoenix will encourage individuals to quarantine for 14 days after extended visits out of the home due to the high positivity rate in MN. This means individuals going out for the Thanksgiving holiday will be asked to quarantine. Each day program will need to decide if they will allow attendance or not under this circumstance after the holiday. All licensed providers are obligated to follow guidance outlined by licensing agencies, the Governor, and the CDC. The CDC is recommending no family gatherings with people who do not reside in your home.

Phoenix is asking everyone to follow the recommendations being put forth, but we are not restricting people’s choice to go home and are not requiring people to participate in the quarantine, It is in line with the recommendations provided to us when caring for high-risk individuals.

Thank you all very much for your understanding and for the questions by those this afternoon. Please continue to reach out as you need.

Sincerely,
Alan Berner

11/23:

Good afternoon family members,

The increased positivity rate and the issuance of the Governor’s executive order last week requires us to adjust some of our processes in regards to home visits and in-house visits. MDH has provided the following link with information regarding the upcoming holiday: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/holidays.html

With the community positivity rate above 10% in all counties our services are provided in and the high-risk people we support, we are taking additional precautions while the rate is this high. With the increased positivity rate, our ability to rule out potential exposures decreases, and going forward, we will need to observe contact precautions for those who continue to leave the facility to see family for 14-days following their return to the facility. We anticipate when the positivity rate returns to the low/medium level, we will be able to return to our previous protocols.

Additionally, our guidance during the high positive rate is to have only compassionate visits until the positivity rate returns. We have been facilitating some essential visits in our homes, and at this time, we would ask for those visits to be put on hold to help reduce the risk of bringing COVID into our homes.

Thank you all for your continued support as we navigate these challenges. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely
Alan Berner
aberner@phoenixresidence.org
612-803-7103

11/17:

Good afternoon family members,

We hope you are all doing well and continue to be healthy. We have a few updates to share with you on how things are going here at Phoenix and some changes to make you aware of as well.

  1.  COVID Positive: We had our first individual test positive at one of our programs in November. We are exceptionally thankful that everyone’s symptoms were manageable, and for all of our staff who continued to take care of everyone and did such an exceptional job and continue to do so. We’re still facilitating quarantine precautions and working toward the point in time where we’ll be cleared to resume regular activities.
  2. Quarantine Protocols: Right before our first positive cases, we’d been updating what we are calling our Quarantine Protocol and expanding our use of it as people find themselves in situations where they need to take precautions. When individuals have symptoms, are notified of a potential exposure, or are coming back from an environment where they may have been exposed, we’ve been implementing this protocol to help minimize the potential risk of spread within our homes. We’ve used it several times this month already and are anticipating it’ll be something we continue to develop further and utilize often going forward.
  3. Staffing Update: With positive cases increasing, we’re seeing increased occurrences of our staff coming into contact with someone who has tested positive, experiencing symptoms, and testing positive themselves. We have strict protocols in place to remove staff members in these situations from the floor to limit the risk of spreading the virus to our homes. With these increases in staff out, we’re being exceptionally creative with our staffing and you’re likely to hear of some new (or old) faces jumping in and helping make sure everyone at the house has what they need.
  4. Hospitalization Visit Changes: We will continue to accompany individuals going to the emergency room to the hospital up until the time they are admitted like we always have, but we need to change our practice of visiting people in the hospital during their stays. Hospitals have limited the visitors who can come and we are in need of reducing the exposure our staff have to the hospital. For those who stay in the hospital for multiple days, we will check in with the hospital team twice per day, where possible, to make sure any questions they have are answered, and to get an update on their status. 
  5. Holiday Transportation: With the holidays upcoming, we are in need of making an adjustment to our typical service during the holidays. This year, we will not be able to provide transportation for people choosing to go to the home of a family member during the holidays. We are not restricting a person who may choose to do so. It is a personal choice. Unfortunately, our staffing situation is not going to make it possible for us to facilitate the transportation needs like we typically would, and we are working again to limit the potential risks and exposures of our staff to help keep them available at the houses. 
  6. Visitors at Phoenix: Our protocols for Essential Visitors have not changed, it continues to be an option and it continues to be a person’s right to have visitors at the home. With that being said, we are asking people to reconsider the frequency of their visits, given the high positivity rate in Minnesota, and minimize contact as much as possible. Potential exposures put the individuals we support and our staff at additional risk that we would prefer to avoid wherever possible. We are happy to continue to support meeting over Facetime or online to help everyone stay as connected as possible. Please reach out if you’re in need of setting this up as an option.

As we see things develop and change, we’ll continue to reach out and update you all. As always, please continue to reach out with any questions or concerns you might have. We’re all working through this together the best we can and we are thankful for your help, understanding, and support as we navigate this together. 

Sincerely,
Alan Berner
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

9/2:

Good morning staff and families,

As we continue to monitor information being sent out, there's been a noted increase in positive COVID cases being linked directly to casual gatherings. People have been better about wearing masks and social distancing when they are in public in general, but when with family and friends are more likely to not follow these guidelines. Increased cases have been contact traced back to funerals, weddings and backyard parties. With the school year starting, day programs opening up further, and the holiday weekend upcoming, we're asking people to be purposeful with their activities to help us continue to limit our exposure and ensure the safety of the people we support.

Thank you all for your continued assistance in helping us successfully navigate this pandemic.

Sincerely,
Alan

8/25:

Hi Phoenix Families,

Please see the message below from President & CEO Darlene Scott regarding more about the Day Programs opening.

Protocols for Reopening Day Programs if Individuals Decide to Return:

The Department of Human Services has issued protocols for reopening licensed Day Programs. Individuals we support here at Phoenix are provided information to make informed decisions with regard to their health and safety. Each Day Program provider is required to develop a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. The plan must include how the provider will maintain social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting procedures within the environment and vehicles used to transport individuals between the home and worksite, as well as screening service recipients, employees, and visitors before entering the facility. Phoenix is reviewing the plans developed by all Day Program Providers to assure plans include all required elements. A member of the Phoenix leadership team will visit the Day Program to assure that plans are in fact being implemented as indicated.

Testing for COVID-19:

Individuals going to Day Programs are not being tested for COVID-19 as a means of screening. However, testing is recommended for individuals that are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to a known COVID-19 positive case. COVID-19 test results are private health information; the results can be shared with guardians. Providers are required to report positive cases to the Minnesota Department of Health. Individuals are referred to their primary clinic for testing for COVID-19. Phoenix has arranged with Bluestone Physician Services to conduct some COVID-19 tests as indicated above when there are symptoms or when there is a known exposure to COVID-19. Phoenix has not had anyone in our care test positive for COVID-19 to date. Given that more people are going out and things are opening in the community, we anticipate that more people will test positive for COVID-19 in the days and weeks ahead.

Screening Employees:

Phoenix implements a screening process for all employees before entering a worksite. All employees are asked to not come to work if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. We recommend anyone with symptoms, contact their primary care physician to request a COVID-19 Screening Test. Phoenix has also offers COVID-19 testing through Bluestone when testing is conducted internally for individuals that reside at a Phoenix home.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Darlene or a member of the Phoenix leadership team. Thank you!

7/23:

Good evening family members,

We've received updated guidance regarding the ability for us to have essential visitors into the homes. We've developed a process for how we will facilitate this for those who fit the criteria. If you are interested, please coordinate with the Program Manager, who will then connect with the Admin Team. We are not able to have open visitors at this time, just those who have gone through this authorization process and will be complying with the identified expectations. We certainly welcome any questions you might have and thank you for your continued support as we navigate this pandemic together.

Essential Visitors Designation Authorization:

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has provided guidance regarding allowing “Essential Visitors”. Phoenix will follow the guidance recommended by the MDH to allow individuals residing at Phoenix to designate a person or persons they wish to serve in the role of essential visitor. An “Essential Visitor (EV)” is someone who had regular involvement/ visits in the individual’s life prior to restrictions implemented due to COVID-19.

If an individual and/or guardian is interested in designating someone to serve in the role of (EV), they must notify the Program Manager. The Program Manager will seek authorization from Phoenix administration. The “Essential Visitor” must be authorized through this process. Individuals not on the (EV) list must follow visitor guidelines for outside visiting.

Essential Visitors must agree to guidelines established for COVID-19 monitoring and tasks outlined to
minimize the spread. Visiting will be limited to the person’s bedroom or outside.

  • Must agree to wear eye protection and a mask
  • Complete symptoms screening documentation prior to the visit
  • Must adhere to hand washing /sanitizing protocols
  • Maintain social distancing from the staff and others in the home
  • Must remain in the person’s bedroom for the entire visit, unless they exit the home for outdoor activity.
  • The Essential Visitor must not visit if they have signs or symptoms of illness, or signs of COVID-19 and/or respiratory illness. If an EV is diagnosed positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of the scheduled, visit they will not be allowed to visit.
  • Essential Visitors must remain in the designated visiting area of the home and must keep their distance, at least 6 feet, from the staff and others residing in the home.
  • Essential Visitors will not be allowed to move around the home as this will interfere with our ability to maintain social distancing within the home and maintain safety of others in the home.
  • The Essential Visitor must arrange the visit ahead of time with the Program Manager and must identify a schedule of up to 3 hours. No more than 2 Essential Visitors will be allowed during the same time frame in the home. Please note outside visiting guidelines will remain in place, so outside visitors may continue as is with current practice.

VISITORS NOT RECOMMENDED if PEOPLE are ILL in the Home 
We do not recommend any visitors in the home if individuals in the home are ill or the loved one of the EV is ill. However, if the Essential Visitor decides to visit despite this guideline and their loved one is experiencing a respiratory illness, the Essential Visitor must wear full PPE, including gown, gloves, facial protection, and mask as is being followed by the staff in the home. The Essential Visitor must follow posted protocol to don/doff PPE appropriately. Phoenix cannot provide PPE – EV must secure their own PPE prior to the visit. In this case, the EV must remain in the individual’s bedroom and may not access any other area in the home.

Please review and sign the Essential Visitors Authorization Request form if you would like to designate someone as an essential visitor. Thank you for your cooperation!

Sincerely,
Alan Berner

7/15:

Hi Phoenix Families,

The Department of Human Services provided notice on July 12, that Day Program Services will reopen for individuals with disabilities residing in group homes and other congregate care settings with some new guidelines. However, with the new guidelines, capacity will be limited so not everyone will be able to return at once. The guidelines include development of a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, limiting services to 3 hours per day, 50% of licensing capacity, wearing a mask, and social distancing to name a few of the new requirements. However, the decision to return to Day Program Services remains with the individual service recipients.   

We are in the process of communicating with Day Service Providers to determine who is on their list to return in the first phase of reopening. When we have more details, we will share them with appropriate persons. In the meantime, we would like you to speak to your loved one about their desire to return to day programs or not. It is important that individuals make informed decisions regarding the risk involved and their safety as things open up and they engage more with the community.

As soon as we have more information to share, we will send out another alert message! In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact the Program Manager or Assistant Program Director designated for the sites that your loved one resides. Thank you!

7/10: 

Good afternoon, Hope everyone is having a good week. We're assessing our PPE supply and have identified that we are growing short on the homemade masks we have available to send out. If you would be willing/able to help donate some additional homemade masks, we would greatly appreciate anything you'd be willing to put together for us. Donations can either be dropped off at the house you're connected to or at our central office between 10-3 M-F. We can also arrange another time if that doesn't work for you. We do have people in the office more frequently, but those times are varied at this time.

Phoenix continues to utilize homemade masks while we have no COVID cases at our sites and have received the ok from MDH to continue to do so until we can maintain an adequate supply of surgical face masks. We will switch to using what we have when we have a potential case of COVID. Fortunately we've only had a couple of suspected cases which came back negative and haven't had to utilize our PPE stockpile for long.

Thank you all for your continued help and support and have a great weekend!

Sincerely, Alan Berner
Vice President of Community Services

7/9:

Good afternoon,

We have a couple of updates for everyone regarding outdoor visitation. MDH recently put out guidance on facilitating outdoor/patio visits and we've taken the time to put together some guidelines for those who may be interested in participating in a patio visit. Our staff have a copy of the attached guidelines, but the basics are as follows.

1. Please call and coordinate a time with the staff/manager for a time you are planning to visit. There are times that are more difficult for us to facilitate a visit and we are asking only one family visit at a time.
2. When arriving, our staff will provide a kit for you to complete a symptom screening prior to the visit. If you are experiencing symptoms, please don't come. We'll arrange a virtual visit until you are able to come symptom-free.
3. Staff will support your family member out to the visit, but they will not stay for the duration. They'll check in when they are able to make sure the needs of the person are met.
4. You will have to wear a mask during the visit and we will help your family member wear a mask as well.
5. You are welcome to bring things to leave with your family member. We do ask that if you're bringing food items, it be something that can be consumed after the visit.

In addition to the communication around the outdoor visits, we've been asked to send our COVID-19 plan out to our family members and case managers. We have developed the guidelines as an addendum to our existing disaster preparedness policy. Our COVID-19 Plan and our Visitor Policy is linked to below as well for those who would like to review it.

Thank you all very much for all your support as we continue to navigate this pandemic. It is greatly appreciated!

Resources:

Visitors Policy (as of 7/1/20)
COVID-19 Plan

6/5: 

Phoenix urgently needs your help in spreading the word about our open positions!

Phoenix has an urgent need  we need more direct support professionals to come work with us! Please help us spread the word by sharing with your friends and family!

Our staff have been phenomenal these past few months and we can’t thank them enough for taking care of the individuals we support through these difficult times.

However, as we navigate this COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency for a strong workforce still exists. We continue needing more direct care staff to take care of the individuals we support, especially with the day programs closed. And that’s why we’re calling on you. If you know of someone who is in need of a job or lost their job recently due to COVID-19, please send them our way!

No experience is needed and they can work as little or as much as they want. We’re hiring for DSP Float positions for $15/hr. We care about our staff and have great incentive programs, including PTO accrual, double time for holidays worked – including your birthday, school and toy drives for staff. We, as an employer, help our employees navigate transportation and financial challenges that everyone runs into. In fact, our employees have collected at least $2,300 in bonuses so far this year! And with 20 locations, there’s bound to be a location near you!

For more information or to apply, please visit phoenixresidence.mitcawm.com/jobs/

Thank you for your help!

5/26:

COVID Testing Available

The Minnesota Department of Health released a list of testing sites for anyone who needs or wants to get tested. Visit their website below to find a testing site near you. You can also learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and what you should do if you are sick.

Testing Sites

COVID-19 Information

5/14:

Good afternoon Phoenix employees and family members!

With the governor's announcement yesterday, I'm sure there are lots of questions regarding our policies and procedures related to COVID-19. At this point in time we are awaiting direction from MDH Until such time all PPE safeguards and our no visitor policy continue to be in place. Once we've received direction from MDH we'll send out an update regarding any changes we're able to make at that time. Thank you all for your continued help and support through this time.

Alan

5/6:

Good afternoon,

We hope you are all doing well as we move into May. With the extension of the Governor's Stay at Home order through May 18th, we are continuing to follow all the same protocols regarding limiting our community engagement and visitation as we have been since the order was initiated in March. A copy of this information is listed below as well.

We continue to receive guidance from the CDC and MDH on updated practices for infection control, symptom screening, and a variety of other factors which we continue to implement as they come. This has put a great deal of additional coordination on our management team and our DSP staff as they continue to support everyone we work with. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to support everyone in the homes and help them get connected with you. I know many of you are placing additional phone calls and facetime chats and they are so appreciated, thank you so much it really brightens people's day!

Stay well,
Alan

Visitors: No Visiting is Allowed by Center for Disease Control & Minnesota Department of Health

The Minnesota Department of Health and Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending no visitors in licensed settings. Phoenix urges families to honor the recommendations of the MDH and CDC and not visit to help us keep individuals healthy as well as the employees that support them. We encourage families to visit virtually using electronic devices. All homes have the capacity to conduct virtual visits.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact Darlene at 651-492-0237. Please note these guidelines have changed since last week as further restrictions were communicated by CDC and MDH this week.

4/15:

Good afternoon everyone,

We’re just providing a quick update to you all. Not a whole lot new for us, but below is a recap of a few things we have going on here at Phoenix. 

1. We are happy to report we continue to not have anyone, employees or people supported, test positive for COVID-19. Our teams continue to work diligently to implement all recommended infection control procedures to help keep that the case.

2. Activities: We’ve been quite busy at all locations, especially with Easter this past Sunday. All locations put on a holiday dinner and did a wide variety of activities in the home to help make the holiday as good a one as we could for everyone in the homes. We hope your holidays at home went well. We’re asking the houses to send over pictures where they can and we’re posting them on our Facebook page. If you aren’t already connected with us there, please check it out!  https://www.facebook.com/ThePhoenixResidence/

3. Virtual Visits: We continue to facilitate virtual visits for anyone who is interested. If we haven’t connected with you yet and you are interested, please reach out and we’ll make sure to get it set up.

4. Thank you to everyone for the continued support and understanding as we continue to work through this pandemic. The outreach we received in response to our homemade PPE ask was awesome.  We are continuing to accept donations of anything people are willing/able to put together for us. I expect we’ll eventually start wearing out of what we have and will need to switch it out when the time comes. If you have made anything for us, we’d love to share a photo of you with your creation. Please email those photos to Jackie Larson at jlarson@phoenixresidence.org.

That’s all for this week, thank you all again. Stay healthy and safe!

4/6:

We hope everyone is staying safe. We have a few updates to tell you about.

1.) Legislative News: Call-for-Action: Temporary Wage Increase for DSPs
Legislators are returning to St. Paul soon to begin drafting another COVID-19 relief bill. 

It is critical that legislators include funding for essential services that will temporarily increase the wages of Direct Support Professionals and provide needed resources for providers to ensure an individual’s needs are met. Please contact your legislators TODAY and tell them that Direct Support Professionals are essential employees and need to be compensated for the critical supports they provide.

Please do this by visiting the website below. ARRM, our trade association, has already filled out the message for you, so all you need to do is enter in your information.

www.arrm.org/ARRM/Advocacy/Take_Action/

Thank you for your advocacy!

2.) Another way you can support us is through our Gertens Plant Sale! We are still having the Plant Sale. This is a reminder that all orders are due to us by next Wednesday, APRIL 15th

Here is the order form for your reference. You can mail or fax the order to our main office, or email your order to Jackie Larson at jlarson@phoenixresidence.org. More information is on the order form. 

We will have two delivery dates: May 12 & May 14, depending on where your loved one lives. Anyone can order from us, so please share with your friends and family! Thank you for your support!

3.) Thank you to everyone who has offered to make homemade masks. We greatly appreciate it. If you have questions or would like to contribute, please reach out to Alan Berner at aberner@phoenixresidence.org

4.) For anyone who is interested in visiting with their loved ones virtually, we can help set this up for you. We have the ability to support people using Facetime or Microsoft Teams. If you are interested, please contact Alan Berner at aberner@phoenixresidence.org.             

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance. Thank you for your support!

The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

4/3:

Good afternoon, In compliance with the direction from the Health Department, all staff members will be wearing Face Masks while at work. Phoenix continues to not have a confirmed COVID-19 case among our staff or people we support. If you are interested in making homemade facemasks to help support us, please reach out to aberner@phoenixresidence.org and I can help you with information and material.
Sincerely, Alan Berner

3/25:

As you may have heard, Governor Walz has updated his Executive Order to Shelter in Place. The Shelter in Place Order will be effective from March 27, 2020 to April 10, 2020. The Governor extended the closing of Bars and Restaurants and Remote Learning to May 4, 2020.

What does this mean for Phoenix?

The services that Phoenix provides are considered essential so we MUST continue to operate and our staff will be allowed to go to and from work as normal. We will provide all staff with a letter to acknowledge that they are “Essential Health Care Workers.”

Visitor restrictions will remain in place. We had allowed families to take their loved ones home for a visit. However, now with the enhanced restrictions, I would recommend that we follow the Governor's order and shelter in place and not continue with any home visits. We understand how unsettling this is for everyone and we have directed staff to reach out to family members at least twice daily. We ask that you allow us to contact you rather than you calling us, so we can continue to provide the necessary care that your loved one needs. In addition, virtual visiting will be available to folks who are interested in this. Please also let us know if you would prefer more or less contact with us. You can send the Program Manager at the site where your loved one resides an email or voicemail regarding your wishes.

Also with the new orders, the Central Office hours will be limited to 10-3 Monday – Friday for mail and deliveries and to coordinate getting any necessary supplies to other locations.

Please help us to maintain the safety of all involved by honoring the Governor's orders and maintaining social distancing. Thank you.

Darlene Scott
President/CEO
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

3/20:

The Phoenix Residence, Inc. has initiated staffing agreements with several of the day program providers where individuals we serve receive services. We are in the process of on-boarding the employees and will begin to train them at the residential sites.

We have several staff who have reached out and have volunteered to quarantine off-site with individuals if this becomes necessary. We have reached out to a few people to help us make Personal Protective Equipment for us so we have items on hand to meet any demand.

We continue to have no knowledge of any COVID-19 cases here at Phoenix. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions. Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Darlene Scott
CEO/President 
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

3/18:

The purpose of this communication is to update you on actions Phoenix has taken or will take to help everyone in our care and our employees remain healthy and safe during this unprecedented pandemic.

Thank you for working with us to assure everyone remains free from the COVID-19 virus.  We are all anxious as we listen to the news each day and hear about the progressive steps being recommended by the experts to help us remain healthy.

I wanted to share a few things that we are doing here at Phoenix as we work through the coronavirus crisis together. This document outlines some the policies we have implemented around managing our services during the pandemic. Please reach out to me if you have questions by email at  dscott@phoenixresidence.org or phone at 651-492-0237.

Incentives for Staff

Phoenix will be implementing bonus incentive programs for staff that continue to work with us though-out the pandemic. If you think about it, we are asking people to run into the fire when the experts are telling them to run away from it and to remain at home with their families. We are already receiving questions from some employees with concerns about the population we work with and exposure for them and their families. We are reminding employees to enforce infection control practices and use personal protective equipment as warranted. We are also reminding them of how valuable they are and how much we appreciate their efforts and their sacrifice.

Local and National Policy Initiatives:

Many policy initiatives are being pursued at the local and federal levels, and we are working with our trade associations to advocate for health care professionals that work with vulnerable people or individuals considered in a higher risk group due to age and or underlying health issues. I urge family members to please continue to support us through our Close the Gap program and pay attention to any calls to actions to support legislation that will provide relief for our workforce.

Communications:

  • It is essential that we have regular communication with families and our community partners.  We realize that email messages that we have been sending out over the last few weeks are not reaching everyone. 
  • We have engaged the services of Alert Media to help facilitate mass communications across several mediums, including phone, text and email. We are loading everything up this week so we can begin using the Alert Media technology later this week. It is important that we have your most updated contact information in order to make sure that you are receiving communications from us regularly as we progress through this pandemic.
  • Please reach out to us to update your information if things have changed since you last provided an update to the site manager where you loved one lives.

What happens if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19/Coronavirus and others are exposed to it?

  • First, I want to let you know that Phoenix is not aware of anyone who has or has come into contact COVID-19. 
  • The Minnesota Department of Health notifies all individuals and organizations that have come into contact with a known COVID-19 exposure
  • If Phoenix is notified of any exposures, we will notify everyone impacted immediately and directly
  • Some staff have called with questions about Phoenix knowledge of anyone who has the virus; we are not aware of anyone who has contracted the coronavirus.
  • We have no knowledge of anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 that works for us or that is in our care.   

Visitors:  No Visiting is Allowed by Center for Disease Control & Minnesota Department of Health

  • The Minnesota Department of Health and Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending no visitors in licensed settings.
  • Phoenix urges families to honor the recommendations of the MDH and CDC and not visit to help us keep individuals healthy as well as the employees that support them.  
  • We encourage families to visit virtually using electronic devices. All homes have the capacity to conduct virtual visits.
  • If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact me at 651-492-0237.
  • Please note these guidelines have changed since last week as further restrictions were communicated by CDC and MDH this week.

Employees’ Responsibility if a Family Member Insists on Visiting:

  • Remind the family member that no visiting is allowed due to COVID-19 and visiting restrictions have been imposed for all licensed settings.
  • If the family member is not the guardian, inform the family member that we must honor CDC and MDH guidelines, and direct them to contact the guardian and call Darlene Scott at 651-492-0237 or the designated on-call administrator as directed per Darlene’s voicemail.
  • If the family member is not the guardian, the guardian must be contacted and informed that the family member is at the home insisting on visiting the individual.
  • No one that is ill will not be allowed to enter the home. Anyone coming to the home must sanitize their hands and MUST wear personal protective equipment, including gloves and a mask, and must not be allowed past the doorway. Employees must maintain social distancing from all visitors.

Day Program Participation

  • Phoenix will work with our community partners to assure that infection control practices are being implemented. 
  • Phoenix is leaving the participation in day programs up to the individual and/or their guardian.  
  • Some providers of day programs have decided to close until further notice.  We will inform individuals as we become aware of any closures.
  • Phoenix recommends that everyone follow the recommendations of the experts and licensing agencies with regard to community activities.

Social Distancing and Group Size Limitations CDC Guidelines:

  • Given new developments with COVID-19, Phoenix is adhering to “Social Distancing” as recommended by Center for Disease (CDC). This means we are directing our staff to limit Phoenix community activities to only essential activities. We will work with our day programs and other community partners to assure that they are taking the required steps to help people remain safe.
  • Many day service providers have announced closures or individuals and their families have decided to discontinue attendance at the day programs at this time.
  • Non-urgent medical appointments will be cancelled and rescheduled for a later date. 
  • The folks we support are considered to be at higher risk due to age and or underlying health issues. We think it is best to comply with recommendations as we progress through the pandemic.
  • We will continue to keep you informed as we work thought this uncharted territory.    
  • Please note the above stated actions means some community activities that individuals typically participate in will not be facilitated given the risk of being exposed to the virus. We think it is best to be proactive. We will focus on having fun at home!   
  • We have developed a list of things people can do including going for a walk, a drive, shopping for personal items as allowed with a staff, games and movies at home, exercise programs in the home, crafts and spa days practicing social distancing.

Quarantine Staffing Arrangement

  • Phoenix will make special arrangements to care for individuals in our care identified as a person who has contracted the virus and requires quarantine arrangements. We would like to identify employees who would be willing to serve in this capacity and can work for 24- hour periods, remaining on-site if we are directed to quarantine. 
  • Employees will be asked to volunteer for these assignments. Employees that sign up to assist with off-site quarantine arrangements working through the quarantine period will receive a bonus of $2,000.00 immediately.
  • Our plan is to attempt to quarantine individuals that need this support off-site if it cannot be implemented successfully in the home.
  • If quarantine is required, we will make decisions on a case-by-case basis and assess if it can be implemented in the home or not. We will contact all appropriate persons if this level of support becomes necessary.

Please watch for communications from us as things are changing daily and we want to keep you informed of our actions. Thanks for all that you are doing to keep each other safe and healthy! We will get through this together.

Thank you,

Darlene Scott
President/CEO
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.


3/12:

We wanted to send you another update about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as we get in new information. New guidelines have been placed on Long-Term Care Facilities (ICF and HCBS settings, our homes fall under this regulation). The World Health Organization has classified COVID-19 as a Pandemic. 

The latest updates include recognizing symptoms and guidelines for allowing visitors. If you have a fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g. cough, fever, shortness of breath), you will be not allowed to visit any of our Phoenix homes. The Center for Disease Control's definition of a fever is 100.4 degree F or above.

As previously mentioned, we have reiterated and offered retraining to all staff on our infection control policies and procedures, and have highlighted the important role this plays in preventing the spread of this infectious illness. All staff were provided a copy of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) information for healthcare personnel. We have also developed a plan to include considerations for equipment, supplies, and continuing service operations as well as regular communication updates to appropriate persons, including all staff and family members.

As we learn more from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), we will keep you informed. The MDH is advising us to keep all families up-to-date with any recent developments. Please review the attached guidelines from the MDH and the CDC. You can also visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 website for more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

If you have any questions, please contact me or one of the administrative staff.

Thank you,

Darlene Scott
President/CEO
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.

Handouts: MDH Health Advisory Evaluating and Testing for COVID-19 & MDH Self Isolation Guidelines


3/6:

I know that you are hearing a lot in the news about the Coronavirus (COVID19). I wanted you to know that Phoenix has been keeping abreast of recommendations for long-term-care providers from federal and local agencies that govern our services and our community partners. We have reiterated and offered retraining to all staff on our infection control policies and procedures, and have highlighted the important role this plays in preventing the spread of this infectious illness. All staff were provided a copy of the Center for Disease Control information for healthcare personnel. We have developed a plan to include considerations for equipment, supplies, and continuing service operations as well as regular communication updates to appropriate persons.

As a special precaution and infection control best practice, we have directed managers to alert potential visitors to not visit if we are aware of individuals in the home with flu-like symptoms or colds. If you are sick, we think it's best that you not visit us until you are well.

If you have any questions, please contact me or one of the administrative staff.

Thank you,

Darlene Scott
President/CEO
The Phoenix Residence, Inc.