May 5, 2020 —Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation during this truly challenging time at Kendal and our country. Kendal on Hudson’s Infection Control Committee continues to meet each day to further the activities related to monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continue to screen all staff members for signs/symptoms and take temperatures at the front door prior to their scheduled workday. This practice is taking place around the clock. If there is any question about the person’s health, they are being sent home until a determination can be made if they may return. This determination is often made in conjunction with the Department of Health (who we have on speed dial!). Those entering for business necessity are also being screened by taking their temperatures and completion of the questionnaire.
In the rest of this communication, the Infection Control Committee would like to respond to some of the “frequently asked questions” and provide an overview of where we stand today as a community.
It has come to our attention that some residents may be allowing visitors, especially family members, into the buildings through side and back doors. THIS PRACTICE MUST DISCONTINUE IMMEDIATELY. Allowing anyone to enter places the entire community at risk. If your visitors are coming to provide you with assistance of some sort, please reach out to Ellen Ottstadt (x1080), Julie Moran (x1030) or Lisa Wacht (x1083) so that we can help put an alternate plan in place. Visitors are completely restricted from all buildings except those required for Kendal business necessity. Examples of those allowed for business necessity include building maintenance vendors, those delivering pharmacy orders, and newspapers, and Verizon technicians. Private duty aides are considered a business necessity and will continue to be allowed into Kendal.
Many Independent Living residents are accustomed to friends/family assisting with the pre-pouring of medications. To respond to this need, two options are offered:
1. If you wish for your family to continue, notify the Resident Care Center (x1030) of this need. We will assist by collecting your medications from you and providing them to your loved one at the front entrance. This person can pre-pour your medications in the appropriate container and return it to us at the front entrance so that we may deliver it back to you once completed. Please, do not allow anyone into the building for this purpose.
2. Angels on Call has offered to provide this service to new clients at a flat rate per medication pour until the situation returns to normal. Medication pours provided by Angels on Call are completed by a Registered Nurse. To initiate this service, you may reach out to them at their Kendal Office 914-333-1300 or the Resident Care Center staff (x1030) can connect you.
Many have indicated that they have pre-scheduled appointments with financial planners or accountants during what would typically be “tax season”. These individuals cannot enter the buildings and we discourage you highly from going to their offices. Note that the filing deadline for State and Federal taxes for 2020 was pushed to July 15, 2020. Please make alternate arrangements to meet with these professionals after the immediate coronavirus crisis has passed.
Groceries and Pharmacies
Transportation has been discontinued to these locations. Note, if you need a prescription or other important medically related item which cannot be delivered to Kendal, we do have a driver on staff and can assist you with this. Please call x1068 or x1080.
Earlier this week, a list of 25 grocery staples was distributed to all via the cubbies. These staples can be procured through our Dining Department. If you need to stock your kitchens with these items, please fill out the form and put in the basket by the cubbies. All orders will be delivered the following day by 11:00 AM. Other options for groceries include use of delivery services like Pea Pod, Fresh Direct and locally, C-Town is providing this service.
Transportation to medical appointments will continue for acute / essential medical appointments ONLY. Residents are encouraged to contact their practitioner’s office to ensure that it is considered a necessary medical visit. Most physician’s offices are canceling non-emergent appointments. Residents will be transported one at a time (unless the trip involves a cohabitating couple). The van is sanitized between each use.
Group Gatherings and Social Distancing
Large group gatherings have been canceled on campus and groups of more than 5 people are highly discouraged from gathering in one location. Please remember to abide by the recommendation of keeping a 6-foot social distance between you and anyone you are interacting with. Practice this in all areas, including on “Main Street” when picking up your mail and walking the hallways.
Travel – Short Outings and Extended Absences
Travel of any type outside of Kendal is highly discouraged at this time. We can meet your basic needs here and are working diligently to minimize your potential exposure to COVID-19. Each time you unnecessarily leave Kendal you have increased the potential to be exposed and then introduce the virus within the community.
If you are considering leaving the property to get fresh air at a local park, we understand and promote this reason for leaving. If you are headed out on a short errand to meet a basic need, please reconsider, and allow us to assist.
It has come to our attention that many IL residents are considering leaving the campus to stay with family. This is not advised. Should you leave Kendal for an extended period, Administration reserves the right to ask you to self-quarantine in your apartment for 14days upon your return.
Pandemic Supplies & Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
You have likely heard about the national shortage of items needed by health care professionals during this crisis. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes gloves, protective gowns, surgical masks and N95/respirator masks. Kendal on Hudson had a modest supply of these items in “pandemic storage” and immediately ramped up procurement efforts when coronavirus was noted to first hit China. We continue to pursue every avenue to obtain more and add to our stock, but procurement is slow, and availability of items is inconsistent. If Kendal experiences a positive COVID-19 case, the supplies we have will be drawn upon heavily and will diminish quickly. We cannot underestimate the amount of PPE we may need in the future. Some of our IL residents have graciously agreed to assist by sewing surgical type masks. We are taking donations from many sources of both commercially and homemade items. We also have been actively reaching out to our Westchester County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). After weeks of requests, we were blessed yesterday with a substantial allocation of gowns, gloves, masks and N95s from the State through the local OEM office.
Phelps Hospital, like all others, is taxed at this time by the influx of individuals seeking COVID, in addition to regular, emergency care. Similarly, EMS services are finding themselves busier than ever. There are specific screening criteria being used to determine if individuals need the attention of hospital-level response for potential COVID-19 cases. We are fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with the leadership at Phelps and are working with them to hone our internal protocols of how to best triage and respond to any suspected cases within Kendal.
Infection Control Committee
Some have inquired as to who is on the Kendal Infection Control Committee. This is a long-standing group within the Health Center as it is a Medicare “Rule of Participation” that skilled nursing facilities have an active IC Committee. During “normal times”, the IC Committee is comprised primarily of Health Center staff and leadership. Currently, however, the scope and membership of the Committee is greater in order to address pandemic response. Our Medical Director, Dr. Syna Kandarappallil, is part of the Committee and has been integral in providing guidance through this situation. The Kendal Infection Control Committee meeting daily is comprised of the following individuals:
Kendal on Hudson Operations Team:
Steve Fishler Interim Executive Director / CEO
Lisa Wacht Health Services Administrator
Ellen Ottstadt Director of Resident Services
Fred Coppola Director of Dining
Jean Eccleston Chief Financial Officer
Susan Crowe Director of Human Resources
Bob Michael Director of Facilities
Cathleen McGaffigan Director of Marketing
Christine Appel Director of Nursing Services
Julie Moran Resident Care Center Manager
Ann Royston Nurse Practitioner
Ellen Magalona Nurse Manager
Susan Daley Asst Nurse Manager / MDS Coordinator
Peggy McGorry Nurse Educator / Infection Control Preventionist
Thank you to all for your cooperation and support during this time, The Infection Control Committee
Please Remember these Infection Control Tidbits
• Exercise infection control by washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds and creating friction using soap and water. Use hand sanitizer as an alternative if soap and water is not available. Avoid touching your hands to your face!
• Do not wear a mask if YOU are not sick. Masks can trap germs inside…use masks only if you have a respiratory concern. Ask the RCC staff for guidance whether this is advisable for you.
• Maintain personal barriers, be very un-Kendal-like and practice “social distancing” by allowing 6 feet between you and others, as possible. Avoid hugging and shaking hands.
• Consider cancelation of ALL travel off the Kendal property for any reason. Cancel international travel, all cruises and avoid domestic flights. If you are traveling please advise Administration before leaving and returning to Kendal. Be advised you will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return.
• If you are not feeling well, please stay home. Advise the Resident Care Center if you are not feeling well by calling ahead first (x1030). Should you be hospitalized for ANY reason, please make sure that the RCC is aware. Kendal cannot adequately plan for your care needs if you don’t give us advance notice.
Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids and stay positive. Together, we can keep Kendal healthy!