A short message from our company president, Tana Gall
This is where you can find the latest information relating to our response to COVID-19. This is a fast moving situation and we are monitoring developments daily. We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and public health officials and our decisions are based on their guidance combined with the expertise of our teams.
UPDATE JUNE 2020:
We know this has been a challenging time for everyone – residents, team members and family members - and we truly appreciate your support and encouragement. Along with our operations team, I carry the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the 7,000 residents and 4,000 team members who live and work at our communities. Every decision we make is based on that responsibility and while I am keenly aware of everyone’s desire to return to some form of ‘normal’, I also have to carefully weigh that desire against the reality of the COVID-19 virus that is still very much a threat.
From the very beginning of this pandemic, we have pledged to be honest and transparent in our communications with you and to that end I want to share our plans as we look to return to some of the community operations that residents need and want. It is clear there is no ‘one size fits all’ plan for our communities. As we design our plans we are taking into account local and state restrictions, the number of cases of the virus in the area, and at each community, along with guidelines and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and guidance from state health agencies. We cannot flip a switch and return to normal, instead I have asked our teams to think of it as slowly turning a knob to make small adjustments designed to enhance residents’ lives and offer them the things they enjoy most about living at our communities.
Each of our communities, in conjunction with our regional support teams, is designing what I call a stepdown plan. Just like each community is as unique as the people who live there, so are these plans. Once the community has designed their plan, I review it along with our senior leadership team before it is implemented. The focus of these plans is bringing back forms of socialization so residents can enjoy time together. Every plan is designed with safety in mind and includes a focus on social distancing. Currently the plans do not include allowing visitors to the communities as that is still prohibited in the states where we operate. Our community leadership teams will share the details of their plan with you as they are approved, including the timeframe for implementation. Please know that any changes we make to our operations will be optional for residents as we understand that not all residents may want to participate.
We also want to let you know that in some cases we are now able to have new residents move into our communities. All new residents must have a recent negative COVID-19 test and will self-quarantine for 14 days upon move in. We also have strict protocols around the moving process.
As always, I want to thank you for your support and encouragement. I am incredibly proud of our community teams and I know your kind words have meant the world to them. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and we will continue to provide further information as needed.
Tana Gall, President
UPDATE MARCH 2020:
Our Enhanced Resident Protection Protocol remain at the heart of s in place at all Merrill Gardens communities and residents and team members are getting used to the 'new normal'. Our teams are also focusing on ways to bring joy to residents each day and we are incredibly proud of the creative ways they are finding to keep residents connected. We sent extra iPads to each community and our teams are helping residents to virtually connect with their loved ones. Seeing the pictures of resident’s faces while chatting with their grandchildren is truly one of the highlights of our day. We also have a number of virtual birthday parties planned to help residents celebrate with their family and friends.
The community teams are also looking for ways to surprise residents each day, like a Happy Hour cart with wine and sparkling cider, slipping sweet notes under apartment doors or delivering treats for residents' pets. The list goes on and on and each community is being creative in looking for ways to brighten residents' days, while still working within our protocol.
We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from family members and the community at large. One of our communities was surprised to find encouraging posters hanging in the windows for residents to enjoy. Children have been sending sweet notes and letters and so many of you have asked us how you can help. We truly appreciate this encouragement and I can tell you that it means a lot to our team members who are working long days to support our communities.
We want to thank you again and encourage you to reach out to your community leadership team if you have specific suggestions or questions. We will also continue to provide updates with any new information via email and on our community website page and you can always reach out to us on our hotline at 206-676-5330.
All Merrill Gardens communities are now following our Enhanced Resident Protection Protocol.
Here is what that entails:
Visitors are not allowed at this time.
- We are setting up outside delivery zones for families to drop off supplies if needed.
- We are not allowing volunteers, outside entertainers, trainers or clergy (except for hospice situations).
RESIDENTS REMAIN IN APARTMENTS:
- During this time, residents will need to remain in their apartments.
- Residents will now receive all meals via delivery to their apartment as the dining room is closed.
- Our teams are continuing to focus on frequent enhanced cleaning and disinfecting around the clock.
We are continuing to prepare for any situations that may arise, and we have solid protocols in place. We are working closely with our team members, and we have regional clinical teams in place that can support our communities. We will continue to provide updates as needed as this situation is changing rapidly.
- Our memory care residents have been following this protocol as well and our teams have been making slight alterations as needed.
One of the main changes we have made regards the team members who work in memory care – since we implemented our protocol they have been working to control crossover to other residents in the community. We believe this has helped to limit the virus.
We have also been focused on engagement for memory care residents and that includes virtual opportunities. You can check out Linked Senior HERE and see some of the options we have been providing. We also have loaded our iPads with special applications for people with dementia and whenever appropriate we are offering the chance to connect with family members via FaceTime. If that is something you are interested in, please reach out to your community team. Our outdoor focus continues as well, and we are taking every opportunity to enjoy the spring weather with scheduled outdoor time with a focus on social distancing.
**Visit the community webpage to see if any additional changes are being implemented, specific to each community