We would like to provide an update on how COVID-19 is impacting Luthercare communities and remind you of the importance of remaining diligent in mitigating the spread of the virus.
This week, we welcomed UPMC to our Lititz campus to deliver our first on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic to Independent Living residents from Luther Acres and St. John’s Herr Estate. While many residents at both campuses have been able to acquire the vaccine within the greater community, more than 240 residents combined were vaccinated on that day. Luthercare extends a big “Thank You” to UPMC and their team members for making this happen and doing so cheerfully, professionally, and efficiently. The combination of getting vaccinated and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for personal safety offer the best protection from COVID-19.
Due to the number of vaccinations occurring among Independent Living residents and recent direction from the CDC, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Luthercare will issue communication next week on restoration of some services at our campuses, as well as visitation changes at all levels of living. The campus grounds remain closed to the outside community; this includes biking and walking on campus. Visitation for Independent Living apartments and cottages remains restricted. If you are an essential adult (age 18+) caregiver, please contact a campus director to arrange a visit.
As a reminder to our residents, mask wearing is required when leaving apartments or cottages, when picking up meals, when going to the store, or anytime you may come into contact with others. This continues to be a critical time, and we ask you to continue to practice these precautions to keep yourself, your neighbors, your friends, and your loved ones healthy and safe.
There are currently no cases of COVID-19 among campus residents or team members. A team member, who is employed primarily at Spang Crest but worked half a shift last week in the Luther Acres Healthcare Center, tested positive over the weekend and is on quarantine. That partial shift was limited to the Healthcare Center’s memory care wing. All resident and team member testing, as a result of the possible exposure, have returned negative, with just a few team members’ weekly testing results outstanding.
Scheduled and compassionate care visitations continue in the Green Zones of the Healthcare Center and Personal Care. Communal dining, which has not occurred for the past year in the Healthcare Center, will resume on Monday, March 15. Safe dining protocols will include table dividers and table spacing for two residents per table. This is a welcome addition to the menu of activities and daily routines that have been slowly returning for residents in the Healthcare Center and Personal Care.
On Tuesday, in partnership with UPMC, Luther Acres hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Luther Acres and St. John’s Herr Estate Independent Living residents. Many thanks to UMPC for working with Luthercare to bring this much-awaited clinic to our communities.
In Personal Care, the third COVID-19 vaccination clinic, run by CVS Pharmacy, was moved to a new date, and eligible residents and team members are receiving vaccinations today (Friday). As a reminder, visitation in Personal Care has resumed and can be scheduled through Activity Coordinator Alyssa Wojcik at 717-626-1171, ext. 1226, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitation guidelines for Independent Living residents remains unchanged at this time.
St. John’s Herr Estate
There are no cases of COVID-19 among campus residents or team members. We are adhering to the regulatory standards from the Department of Human Services regarding continued universal testing based on the positivity rate within the county. Currently, team members and Personal Care residents are tested at least every 30 days for the virus.
This week, Independent Living residents who elected to attend the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Luther Acres campus received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. We are grateful to UPMC for their partnership with Luthercare for bringing the clinic to our residents.
Next week, we will begin lifting some restrictions on visitation to our Personal Care community. Residents will resume welcoming visitors on Monday, March 15. All visitors will be required to go through a pre-screening process, including a temperature check and questionnaire completion. All visitors, who will receive a green visitor sticker, are required to wear protective face masks and sanitize their hands before and after each visit.
Personal Care visiting hours will be held:
Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Visitation is not permitted during meal time. Visitors must call ahead and make a time reservation by calling 717.449.5996. No standing appointments. Each visit is to last no more than 30 minutes. Disinfecting and sanitizing the visitor area will occur after each visit.
Visits will be scheduled in the Personal Care Lounge. Visual barriers between visitor(s) and resident will be strategically placed to separate space. No more than two visitors per resident are permitted. The room can accommodate two residents with two visitors at one time for social distancing. No more than two visitors per session are permitted, with a maximum of two sessions per week per resident initially. Window visits are permitted and encouraged. Visits will be prioritized on a first come, first served basis.
Outdoor visitation will be recommended whenever possible, as weather permits. Outdoor visits will be scheduled on the patio opposite the Rotunda. Patio tables and chairs will be set-up in advance of each visit to maintain the six-foot distance between resident and visitor(s). The staff will monitor the visitation areas throughout the visiting hours in order to allow cleaning time in between visits.
Spang Crest currently has one team member from the Healthcare Center who tested positive for the virus and is currently in quarantine. Due to the positive case, we have stopped all visitation for this week, under our previous guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). All residents were tested on Tuesday, and results returned negative; the residents are being tested again today (Friday). All employees were tested on Thursday, and results returned negative. We will complete another round of testing next week on both residents and employees. We have continued beautician services and communal dining for the first and third floors. The second floor, where the positive employee worked, is on quarantine.
We encourage families and residents to communicate regularly through phone calls, texts, video chat, and other virtual means. We have team members who can help walk you through the process. If you need assistance, please reach out to the Executive Director at your campus. They are:
Luther Acres Executive Director Craig Shelly, 717.626.1171
St. John’s Herr Estate Executive Director Anita Martin, 717.684.0678
Spang Crest Executive Director Dan Deitzel, 717.274.1495
Founded in 1949, Luthercare, a social ministry organization affiliated with the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a member of Lutheran Services in America, is a leading provider of independent, personal care and skilled care residences in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Luthercare operates Luther Acres, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Lititz, Pa.; Spang Crest, a rehabilitation center, skilled nursing and memory support personal care community in Lebanon, Pa.; and St. John’s Herr Estate, an independent living and personal care community in Columbia, Pa. Additionally, Luthercare operates PA Keystone Stars-accredited child care and early learning centers in Marietta, Reamstown and Annville. Luthercare, a pioneer in Child Care Programs, also offers a Mentoring Program, which aids home-based child care providers in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.