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!

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.