As the number of overall cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and Lancaster/Lebanon counties increase, we want to provide an update on how the virus’ direct effects have impacted our Luthercare communities and the measures we have taken and continue to take to address it.
We will continue to be open and transparent with our residents, team members and the greater community. Doing so is consistent with our mission, To reflect Christ’s love through service to others, and with our core values: integrity, compassion, teamwork, connection and learning. At the same time, our organization will continue to protect our residents’ privacy and personal health information as required under HIPAA regulations.
Resident update: Luther Acres Healthcare Center in Lititz is currently treating nine residents with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and nine residents with a presumed or suspected case. Two of our residents have recovered from the virus. We have had nine COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19-related deaths in our Healthcare Center. We ask you to please keep our residents’ families in your thoughts and prayers as they are experiencing saying good-bye under extremely difficult circumstances.
We are treating all residents – rather than only the positive or presumed positive cases – using Droplet Precautions. The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. While caring for our healthcare residents, staff wear full protective equipment, including medical gowns, gloves, face shields and masks. This is the safest approach to manage the spread among residents and team members.
St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia is currently treating two residents in Personal Care for COVID-19. Another resident is in the hospital due to underlying health conditions along with the coronavirus, and as we previously reported, we have had one death.
We have no cases of COVID-19 at our Spang Crest community in Lebanon.
Employee update: Our dedicated team members truly are healthcare heroes, and yesterday’s National Superhero Day took on a new meaning for us this year. Our “superheroes” have the same worries and anxieties that we all have, and they are continuing to leave their families each day to serve on the front lines, delivering the utmost care and compassion to our residents. At Luther Acres, we have had a total of 22 Healthcare Center employees test positive for the virus, and nine have returned to work. We do not have any cases among team members at our St. John’s Herr Estate and Spang Crest communities.
We continue to adhere to strict protocols and continue taking aggressive measures to protect our communities from exposure to COVID-19. Prior to and at the end of each shift, all team members, outside vendors or agency employees are required to have their temperatures taken and answer a series of questions about how they are feeling and to report any symptoms. Our communities undergo careful and thorough sanitation that follows or exceeds all state and federal directives; these guidelines are always in place in our communities. All common space and high-touch areas along with our medical equipment, protective gear and healthcare areas are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly. We continue to encourage our residents and team members to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others, to wear a protective mask, and to wash their hands frequently. For employees who are providing direct care, we are limiting the number of team members in one area and maintaining 6 feet of separation.
During this challenging time, we are grateful for members from all departments who are supporting our frontline teams and helping where they can – whether they are conducting employee screenings, providing a meal, or sewing masks and gowns. We also have many team members who are reaching out to independent living residents every day, calling to ensure they are staying healthy and connected from their apartments and cottages. Thank you for your support and willingness to help wherever it is needed!
Luthercare is adhering to the CDC’s Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings. We are working closely with our medical director and following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For more information, please contact the Executive Directors or Administrators; they can be reached at Luther Acres, 717.626.1171; at St. John’s Herr Estate, 717.684.0678; and at Spang Crest, 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 four PA Keystone Stars-accredited child care and early learning centers in Lancaster, 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.