As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, there is perhaps nothing more important than the way we communicate. Luthercare’s communication protocols were established in the early stages of the pandemic. We are simultaneously using all communication channels we have available to deliver consistent messaging and updates. We have remained open and transparent, consistently providing specifics on our protocols and the guidelines we adhere to from the state Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission. Our first positive COVID-19 case was reported on April 10, and we continue to provide regular updates, informing residents, families, employees and the public of the number of COVID-positive cases in our communities.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued new guidance for reporting COVID-19 data for all nursing homes. This includes a weekly public update regarding COVID-19, including the number of cases among residents and staff. The new guidelines also require skilled nursing centers to “Inform residents, their representatives, and families of those residing in skilled nursing facilities by 5 p.m. the next calendar day following the occurrence of either a single confirmed infection of COVID-19, or three or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms occurring within 72 hours of each other.” Information on mitigating actions implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission must also be included.
Luthercare will continue to provide weekly public updates to our website and social media pages. To view our COVID-19 updates and other Luthercare announcements, please visit the “News” page of our website (https://www.luthercare.org/news/) or click on the banner on our homepage at https://www.luthercare.org/. Per the guidelines above, if any newly confirmed cases or clusters of respiratory symptoms occur within 72 hours the residents and their representatives will be notified through personal phone calls, email and One-Call Now, our automated phone messaging system.
Luthercare will also record daily updates to our Coronavirus Hotline. The hotline can be accessed beginning Wednesday, May 27, by dialing 717-627-5533.
Luthercare 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.
Luthercare team members continue to work on the frontlines of this virus.
The impact of COVID-19 at Luther Acres Healthcare Center in Lititz is that 47 residents have tested positive or are presumed positive, 28 have passed away and 12 have recovered. It is important to note that presumed cases are based on consultation with the resident’s physician and our medical director. If we learn, following testing, that any presumed case was in fact negative, our numbers will be revised.
We have had 33 Healthcare Center employees test positive; 23 have been cleared to return to work, following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
There are no active cases in Independent Living or in Personal Care at Luther Acres.
At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, as previously reported, there had been five confirmed cases. However, at present, there are no active cases among residents or staff members. At Spang Crest in Lebanon, we have no cases of COVID-19.
We continue to adhere to strict protocols and continue taking aggressive measures to protect our communities from exposure to COVID-19. 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 CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Our Luther Acres Healthcare Center leadership team continues to have regular communications with representatives from the state Department of Health and their infection control consultants, ECRI.
As we head into a holiday weekend, we would like to urge people to maintain social distancing practices and remind everyone that visitors are restricted to our campuses. We have posted signs at entrances to remind the public not to visit or use the communities for recreation. 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. If you need assistance, please reach out to the Executive Director or Administrator at your campus. 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.
We would like to express our gratitude to our residents and their loved ones for your patience, encouragement and understanding during this challenging time. The outpouring of support and positive messages we’ve received has been overwhelming! Please continue to keep Luthercare in your thoughts and prayers.
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.