THe Wesley Community as seen from the air. A series of buildings, including two 14 story towers, surrounded by an abundance of green areas.

Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living Update for Residents and Families

Coronavirus Updates Home

September 4, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Friends of Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living:

Today I am writing with an update on the resumption of outdoor family visitations at Woodlawn Commons.

As you will recall back on August 9th, we were notified of one Woodlawn employee being asymptomatic yet positive for COVID-19.  Our outdoor visits needed to immediately stop as a result.  Thankfully, Woodlawn has not had any other staff test positive since then and we continue to be blessed that no residents have tested positive at all for COVID.  Given this good news, starting on Thursday September 10, 2020, we will be re-initiating outdoor visits.  If an unexpected case of COVID-19 should arise again, stopping the visits would be required for another 28-day period.  You should know that there is significant Statewide advocacy taking place asking New York State Department of Health (DOH) to reduce this period down to 14 days.

We will be utilizing the same visitation plan when we resume that we submitted to the DOH back in July. Visits will be by appointment only and be limited to outdoors, every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 11am-6pm and Saturday from 11am-4pm. Visits will be limited to 30-45 Minutes per visit. Only 2 Visitors per resident (18 years of age or older) and only a total of three residents at a time will be allowed, per the Department of Health Guidelines.  All visits must be scheduled 48 hours in advance. It is important to note that individuals from any of the states that NYS has restricted travel from, cannot be accommodated at this time for any window or outdoor visit.  A copy of Woodlawn’s visitation plan is attached. To avoid any issues during your visit(s) I highly encourage that you thoroughly review the plan before making your initial visitation appointment.

Visitors are required to bring an appropriate face mask and must wear the mask at all times while on campus. In addition, visitors will be required to go through a temperature screening and be asked a series of questions. Rain tents will be provided at each designated visiting location in Woodlawn’s courtyard. In the event of severe weather, visitation may be discontinued, however we will try our very best not to do so. To ensure everyone’s safety, proper masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing will be monitored by Woodlawn staff in the designated visiting area. Visitors are also not allowed to hand off or drop off any items during the visit. Please continue to drop off items at the drop off table which is located at the main Harkness entrance.

Window visits which have been occurring at Woodlawn Commons for several months and will continue in addition to the outside in person visits. Window Visits are by appointment only. Visits are limited to 45 minutes, limited to 4 people to maintain 6 feet social distancing protocol at the window. Eating or drinking is prohibited during the window visit. Masking is required through the entire visit. Our team continues to work diligently on providing digital visits. For your information, we also are currently working on our plan for socially distanced, DOH compliant inside visits for when the weather becomes colder.  There will be more on this coming your way later this month.

Please reach out to our team at Woodlawn if you want to set up a window visit, outdoor visit, or the electronic visit, please call nursing office at 518-691-1572 or 518-691-1615 or receptionist at 518-691-1560.

Our Director of Assisted Living, Saranya Thomas will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks.  If you have a question that you are unable to get answered by our nursing team you are welcomed to call me at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

J Brian Nealon, CEO

Woodlawn Commons Interim COVID Visitation Guidelines

August 9, 2020

Dear Residents, Family and Staff of Woodlawn Commons:

Woodlawn Commons was informed earlier today that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member last worked on August 7, 2020, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. The individual’s responsibilities require them to work only in a specific area in the facility with minimal resident interaction due to the nature of their duties. The individual was immediately furloughed and will not return to work until 14 days have passed and a negative COVID-19 test is received. Fortunately, the employee is asymptomatic and we wish them well.

Saratoga County Public Health has recommended residents continue to remain under daily surveillance for changes in temperature and signs or symptoms related to respiratory illness as has been ongoing. At this time, no further resident testing is required. Please be aware that Administration and nursing are in communication for additional resident surveillance, investigation and testing needs for any residents in coordination with Saratoga County Public Health and the New York State Department of Health. Residents’ primary care providers will be notified.

Employees who may have been in contact with this individual were identified and are in the process of being notified by Employee Health to ensure the required self-monitoring process for changes in temperature and respiratory symptoms are followed. Additional employee monitoring will continue. Woodlawn has, and will continue to, comply with all weekly testing requirements of staff per New York State. A strict employee screening and masking policy for all staff also remains in place.

The New York State Department of Health and Saratoga County Public Health have been made aware of these developments. We are working closely with state and local health agencies on all recommended policies and procedures. We will continue to closely monitor both residents and staff throughout the entire facility for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. No residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time and no other staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time.

Out of an abundance of caution, Georgia’s Restaurant will be closed until lunch time on Tuesday, August 11 to avoid communal dining. We will revert to in-room meals via delivery until that time.

Unfortunately, due to the recent identification of this positive staff member, all resident and family visitation is required by the New York State Department of Health guidelines to be suspended effective immediately as of today. This includes suspension of outdoor visits. Visitation cannot resume until 28 days after the positive test result. This would be 28 days from August 9th. Additional communication regarding resuming visitation will be sent out at a later date.

We are committed to communicating with our residents, families and staff throughout this pandemic. We encourage family members to sign up to receive text alerts about Woodlawn by texting WoodlawnUpdates to 81437. In addition, continuous updates are available online at www.thewesleycommunity.org/coronavirus-updates.

We reassure you of our full commitment to doing everything possible to keep your loved ones and our staff safe and healthy. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-691-1672 or sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org.

Sincerely,

Saranya Thomas

Director of Assisted Living

Coronavirus Updates Home

July 22, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Friends of Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living:

Today I am writing regarding Woodlawn’s plan for allowing families to conduct an outdoor visit at Woodlawn Commons. As previously communicated, the NYS Department of Health (DOH) did issue a policy on limited visitation of Assisted Living residents in New York State on Friday July 10. News reports are commonly describing this new advisory as though Assisted Living facilities are returning to the normal visitation practices of pre-COVID starting as early as tomorrow. However, this is not the case based on the NYS DOH guidelines.

On July 21, 2020 Woodlawn Commons submitted the NY Forward Safety Plan to the Department of Health regarding Woodlawn outdoor family visitation plan and protocols that will be followed. This plan does not have to be approved by the Department of Health. Visits will be by appointment only and be limited to outdoors, every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 11am-6pm and Saturday from 11am-4pm.

Visits will be limited to 30-45 Minutes per visit. Only two visitors per resident (over 18 years of age) and only a total of three residents at a time will be allowed to have an outdoor visit per the Department of Health Guidelines. These visits must be scheduled 48 hours in advance. It is important to note that due to the spike in cases in many other states, individuals from any of the states that NYS has restricted travel from, cannot be accommodated at this time for any window or outdoor visit. Restricted outdoor visit will begin Tuesday, July 28, 2020 starts at 11am.

Visitors are required to bring an appropriate face mask and required to it wear at all times while on campus. In addition, visitors will be required to go through a temperature screening and be asked a series of questions. Rain tents will be provided at each designated visiting location in the Woodlawn courtyard. In the event of severe weather, visitation may be discontinued, however we will try our very best not to do so. To ensure everyone’s safety, proper masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing will be monitored by Woodlawn staff in the designated visiting area. Eating or drinking is prohibited during the visit. Visitors are also not allowed to hand off or drop off any items during the visit. Please continue to drop off items at the drop off table which is located at the main Harkness entrance.

A copy of Woodlawn’s visitation plan is posted here:  Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living Visitation Guidelines .  To avoid any issues during your visit(s), I highly encourage you thoroughly review the plan ahead of making your first visitation appointment.

Window visits which have been occurring at Woodlawn Commons for several months will continue in addition to the outside in person visits. The window visits will continue at the same designated courtyard area as they have been. Window Visits are by appointment only. Visits are limited to 45 minutes, limited to 4 people to maintain 6 feet social distancing protocol at the window. Eating or drinking is prohibited during the window visit. Masking is required through the entire visit. Also, as you know, our team continues to work diligently on providing electronic visits (i.e. FaceTime, Zoom, etc.)

Please reach out to our team at Woodlawn if you want to set up a window visit, outdoor visit or the electronic visit, please call the nursing office at 518-691-1572 or 518-691-1615, the receptionist at 518-691-1560 or call me at 518-691-1672.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-691-1672, sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org.

Sincerely,

Saranya Thomas

Director of Assisted Living


Coronavirus Updates Home

July 10, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families:

I’m writing to you today to clarify the Department of Health’s change to restricting visitation in all assisted living facilities across the State, including Woodlawn.

If you listen to some news reports, you might be lured into thinking that family visitation was opening back up just like it was five months ago.  It is NOT.

What has not been covered well in most news reports are all of the details that are included in the DOH advisory of earlier today, all of which are directed at protecting the lives of your loved ones.  There are a series of gates that Woodlawn and all other facilities need to meet and get approval from DOH before visitations can begin.  I’d love to be able to give you a certain date upon which visitation would start but no such date exists as of now.

We need to submit documents to DOH regarding visitation and get their approval before we can initiate visits.  Given the number of facilities they will be receiving information from next week it may take a couple of weeks before we get our approval.  We will be expeditious in getting our plan into them, in a hope to beat many other plans.

Next week we will be providing you all with the practices that we will be adhering to for when these visits do start.  What I can tell you now, per DOH, is that ALL visits must be conducted in an outdoor area.  No visitor will be allowed to enter a resident care area or a resident’s apartment.  Visits would be limited to two people per resident.  All visitors will need to be screened, not have a temperature, and pass the COVID-19 questions that are required by the State at the time of the visit.  The resident and all visitors must socially distance and wear a face mask at all times.  Total number of simultaneous visits will need to be limited to 3.  The times available for visits and how you schedule one will all be included in the guidance that will be forthcoming next week.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Saranya Thomas at 518-691-1672 or sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org or me at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

Brian Nealon, CEO


Coronavirus Updates Home

June 12, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents, Families and Friends:

Thank you again for the support that you have shown to the caring staff here at Woodlawn as we all meet the challenges of this prolonged pandemic. Our goal, as always, is the safety of our residents and our staff. In addition, we are focused on adherence to the directives placed upon us by both the Governor’s Office as well as the New York State Department of Health during the pandemic.

Today I am writing with an update on visitation restrictions. About a month ago, I wrote to you all describing how our reopening was tied to Phase 4 of the Governor’s plan for reopening. Subsequently we have now been told that this has changed. Visitation in all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in New York State will remain limited to only end of life situations until such time that a specific directive is provided directly from the Governor or the Department of Health. There is no indication of when such a directive will be forthcoming, nor how it would impact visitation policies. My opinion is, that, based on the struggles with COVID-19 in many nursing homes across the State, a change to the current policy won’t come for at least another month.

I fully understand that this is not news that any of you were hoping to hear. The continuation of no family/friend visits is very difficult on everyone. At the same time, it is what we need to adhere to. To clarify, the regulation on no visits extends beyond inside the building visits to also include any outside visits, such as in the Woodlawn Courtyard. The only exception to the rule is to transport a resident to a medical appointment. My hope is that with all the precautionary measures that the Governor has taken over these past 3 months and with the continued safety measures being exercised by the public, that New York will not see the second round of the virus as many other States in the Country have, and many experts have predicted.

While we wait to see what will happen next, our team continues to work diligently on providing digital visits. Please reach out to the team at Woodlawn if you want to set up an electronic visit. Families are also continuing to conduct “window” visits as well. If you want to arrange such a visit, please call Saranya Thomas at 518-691-1672 or the nursing office 518-691-1572 at least 48 hours ahead of time.

I continue to be pleased to say that at this time, none of our residents or staff at Woodlawn have tested positive or are presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to sign up to receive text alerts about Woodlawn Commons by texting WoodlawnUpdates to 81437 to opt-in. In addition, continuous updates are available online at www.thewesleycommunity.org/coronavirus-updates/. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Saranya Thomas at 518-691-1672 or myself at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

Brian Nealon, CEO


Coronavirus Updates Home

June 11, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff of Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living,

As previously communicated, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) implemented a plan for COVID-19 testing of all Assisted Living residents. A team of Nurses from the Department of Health arrived at Woodlawn on Wednesday, June 10 to conduct the COVID-19 testing. The swabbing was successful and our Woodlawn team members worked hard to ensure resident comfort throughout the process.

On Wednesday, June 10, a total of 35 residents were tested. Test results were obtained late in the afternoon on Thursday, June 11 and resulted in 35 negative COVID-19 tests.

These results are a true testament to the great work that our Woodlawn team members and residents are doing in adhering to our strict protocols and procedures. Their collective efforts continue to ensure the success and well-being of our residents and staff. Woodlawn Commons Assisted Living will continue to set forth safety measures and precautions to ensure the continuity of our success.

Thank you for everyone’s ongoing support and hard work as we face these challenging times.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-691-1672 or sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org or Chief Executive Officer Brian Nealon at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

Saranya Thomas, Director of Assisted Living


Coronavirus Updates Home

June 8, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families:

I’m writing to you today to inform you that the New York State Department of Health (DOH) will be testing all assisted living residents throughout all of New York for COVID-19.

We were notified on this past Friday that on Wednesday 6/10/20 they will be sending a handful of clinicians into Woodlawn to test all of our AL residents. These DOH representatives will have been tested themselves and had negative results for the virus prior to coming to Woodlawn Commons. They will be wearing appropriate PPE while administering the tests. We anticipate Woodlawn Commons team members will be accompanying the team onsite in order to ensure our residents’ comfort.

To reemphasize, there have been NO residents anywhere within the Wesley Community, Woodlawn Commons included, that have tested positive for the virus to date.

Resident and Resident Representative consent is needed for DOH to administer the test. We will be gathering this prior to the testing being conducted. The NYS Department of Health Bureau of Immunization team will use their Medical Director to obtain COVID testing orders. Starting today, 06/08/20, the RN nurse case manager and LPN resident care coordinator are conducting calls to all Resident Health Care Proxies in order to receive consent for those residents that can’t offer consent themselves. Residents who are able to make their own health care decisions will directly provide the consent for testing.

Please be patient while they work to communicate this new requirement with residents and families. Residents who have already tested negative for COVID-19 will be tested again per the Department of Health. Residents and/or Health Care Proxy are able to refuse the COVID-19 test, which will be documented and communicated to the Department of Health upon their arrival. However, it is important to note, that we have been directed by the Department of Health Representatives, that those who do refuse might need to be cohorted in their room.

It is anticipated that the turnaround time for the test results are anywhere from 24-48 hours. If there should be any positive test results they will be communicated to the Resident and Health Care Proxy as soon as they become available. In addition, all residents, families and staff will be notified if any positive cases do exist at Woodlawn.

At this time DOH only expects to be doing the testing of all assisted living residents in New York just once.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-691-1672 or sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org or Chief Executive Officer Brian Nealon at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

Saranya Thomas, Director of Assisted Living


Coronavirus Updates Home

May 8, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents, Families and Friends:

Thank you again for all your support over these past many weeks as we all continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank the vast majority of you for your cooperation with our New York State mandated visitation restrictions as we try to protect all of our residents against the COVID virus.

Certainly, these are unprecedented times that we are all living through. As we approach the potential of some areas of the State starting the four phases of re-opening, I wanted to give you a sense of what that means for visitation restrictions at Woodlawn Commons.

As we all know New York State is on pause until at least May 15. The reality is that there may not be any parts of the State opening even then. Earlier this week the Governor put forth the seven requirements that each of the 10 regions in the State would need to meet before they started to reopen. Below is a link to the State’s current chart showing how each region matches up to the seven requirements. The link is: www.governor.ny.gov/programs/new-york-forward.

Based on the requirements, as of today none of the 10 regions would be eligible to begin the reopening. Hopefully some get there by May 15th. Saratoga is in the Capital Region. You can see that we need to meet three more prerequisites before the region can even begin to reopen. It is presumed that it will take several more weeks for our region to achieve all seven. Once we do, then the Governor’s 4 phased reopening process would begin. Each Phase will be given at least two weeks before the subsequent phase would be initiated. Retirement Communities are in Phase 4.

Let me lay out a possible example of when Phase 4 might first be implemented in the Capital Region, i.e. when could some type of person to person visitation at Woodlawn start. If it takes three or more weeks for our Region to achieve all seven requirements to reopening, then Phase 1 would not begin until the tail end of May, Phase 2 no sooner than Mid-June, Phase 3 no sooner than July 1st. Finally, Phase 4 could start in mid-July. This is the MOST OPTIMISTIC plan we can see for any level of easing of visitation restrictions at Woodlawn.

As you can see this is a complicated process and we may not even be halfway through it. In the meantime, we are working hard at accommodating any family that would like to have an electronic meeting. Also, many families whose loved ones lives on the first floor, are visiting through the closed window of their loved one’s apartment. They either speak through the window or talk on the phone while looking at each other through the window. If you have a relative who lives on the second floor, we can setup a meeting time when they can come down to a first-floor location and you could be in the Woodlawn courtyard for a visit through a closed window. This type of visit would be limited to one hour in length due to the limited number of private spaces on the ground floor with a window. If you want to arrange such a visit, please call Saranya Thomas at 518-691-1672 or the Nursing office 518-691-1572 at least 48 hours ahead of time.

Another safety measure we have taken is that we have placed a table in the vestibule area of the entrance at Woodlawn, i.e. between the two sets of doors. This table is to be used to drop off ALL packages including food, clothing, flowers, which are intended for a resident. As soon as you drop the item(s) turn around and leave the building a staff person will retrieve the item(s) and get it delivered.

We certainly recognize the vulnerability of many of our residents here at Woodlawn. While none of us like the measures we have taken, they are what is required by regulation and also just from a precautionary perspective. I understand the stress that this adds to many of you. That said, please realize that we cannot and will not deviate from these practices.

I continue to be pleased to say that at this time, none of our residents or staff at Woodlawn have tested positive or are presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

We continue to encourage family members to sign up to receive text alerts about Woodlawn Commons by texting WoodlawnUpdates to 81437 to opt-in. In addition, continuous updates are available online at www.thewesleycommunity.org/coronavirus-updates/.

We reassure you of our full commitment to doing everything possible to keep your loved one safe and healthy. We are aware of the difficulty associated with this current situation, and we will continue to work with you to ensure staying connected and informed during this time.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Saranya Thomas at 518-691-1672 or myself at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

J Brian Nealon, CEO


Coronavirus Updates Home

April 23, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents, Families and Friends:

First and foremost, thank you for the outpouring of support we have received over the last few weeks. We greatly appreciate the donations and uplifting messages from the community. We also want to thank you for your continued respect of our current visitation guidelines as we work to defend against this virus.

I am sure you have seen the media reports about the impact this virus is having on senior living communities and nursing homes throughout the country.  We certainly recognize the vulnerability of many of our residents here at Woodlawn.  I want you to know that at this time, none of our residents or staff at Woodlawn have tested positive or are presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. We continue to monitor our residents and staff closely, including full screenings of all staff members prior to each shift. If any resident exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, we will immediately take precautions to protect the community in concert with guidelines offered by the New York State Department of Health.

In the event we do have a positive test, additional steps will be taken, including the notification to all of you. We are also continuing to follow the guidelines by the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We have implemented the following to ensure the health, safety, and well being of our residents and staff, including, but not limited to:

  • Restricted visitors and non-essential personnel from entering the facility.
  • We are encouraging residents not to leave the facility, except for medically necessary appointments. Those who leave for medically necessary reasons should wear a facemask while they are out of the facility and they will be screened by nurses when they come back from the appointment.
  • We are encouraging residents to remain in their rooms as much as possible, practice social distancing, and to wear a cloth face mask when they come out of their room.
  • Communal dining and group activities remain discontinued to maintain social distancing. However, in an effort to support resident well-being during this unprecedented time, the Activities team is working diligently to conduct individualized daily activities.
  • We have set up a daily system to monitor all residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including temperature checks and symptom screening.
  • We are providing and encouraging alternative methods for visitation (e.g., Face Time and Skype).
  • We continue to screen outside providers including home care services, and they are required to wear a facemask while in the facility.

We encourage family members to sign up to receive text alerts about Woodlawn Commons by texting WoodlawnUpdates to 81437 to opt-in. In addition, continuous updates are available at www.thewesleycommunity.org/coronavirus-updates.

We reassure you of our full commitment to doing everything possible to keep you safe and healthy. We are aware of the difficulty associated with this current situation, and we will continue to work with you to ensure staying connected and informed during this time.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 518-691-1672 or Brian Nealon, CEO at 518-691-1400.

Sincerely,

Saranya Thomas
Director of Assisted Living
518-691-1672
sthomas@thewesleycommunity.org

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