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Coronavirus Update

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated May 24, 2020,11:52 a.m.

Living Branches President/CEO, Edward Brubaker, talks about Pennsylvania's release of statistics regarding COVID-19 in long-term care communities, answers resident questions, and gives away tickets to dinner and a movie from the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania.

A video transcript is available here.

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated May 17, 2020,11:53 a.m.

Living Branches President/CEO, Edward Brubaker, discusses welcomed news for residents in Harmony House at Dock Woods, answers questions from residents and family members, and shares a video message.

A video transcript is available here.

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated May 9, 2020,11:56 a.m.

In this week's video, Edward Brubaker, Living Branches President/CEO, discusses the latest results from coronavirus testing of residents at Dock Woods, the extension of the stay-at-home order until June 4, and answers a difficult question from a resident.

 

A video transcript is available here.

Gov. Wolf Extends Stay-at-Home Orders

Updated May 8, 2020

Gov. Wolf has extended the stay-at-home orders for southeastern Pennsylvania through June 4, 2020. Living Branches does intend to honor the governor’s stay-at-home directives and asks that you do the same, as we keep the safety of residents as our top priority. 

We truly understand how difficult it has been to refrain from visiting with your loved ones in person over the past two months. We are now preparing for another holiday that will look very different this year. However it is our responsibility to remind you that campus visitation is still prohibited, even this Mother’s Day weekend. This does include window visits. We strongly encourage you to engage with your loved ones through phone calls and virtual methods of communication. You can sign up for a virtual visit on the website here or contact your life enrichment coordinator.

 

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated May 2, 2020, 9:47 p.m.

In this video Edward Brubaker, Living Branches President/CEO, discusses the latest information on coronavirus testing, infection control practices, and what we know about COVID-19 treatments.

 

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated April 26, 2020, 12:58 p.m.

Please take a few moments to view this video from Edward Brubaker, Living Branches President/CEO, as he discusses how we determine coronavirus testing protocols, available PPE for staff, and our commitment to transparent communication, among other topics.

 

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated April 18, 10:33 a.m.

Please take a few moments to view this video from Edward Brubaker, Living Branches President/CEO, as he discusses the positive coronavirus tests at Dock Woods, n95 masks, and the reality of closed campuses.

 

 

Positive Test at Dock Woods

Updated April 14, 2020 8:49 p.m.

As we began planning for our response to coronavirus at Living Branches, we committed to being transparent in our communication regarding the impact coronavirus might have at Living Branches communities. In keeping with that commitment, we are informing you that a second resident has tested positive for coronavirus.

This resident resides in Harmony House at the Dock Woods campus, and has been quarantined while we were awaiting test results. Family members of Harmony House residents and staff who may have come into contact with the resident have been notified.

Harmony House is a Memory Care community, which presents special challenges when dealing with infectious disease transmission. On Wednesday, April 15 we will be testing all residents in Harmony House for coronavirus. The lab company doing the testing for us has committed to provide the test results within 24 hours. Testing all residents in Harmony House is a more comprehensive action than the Montgomery county health department recommends, but we feel this will allow us to implement care plans specifically designed to meet each resident’s needs.

Please remember that if you have questions specific to how we are handling the coronavirus at Living Branches, you may email your questions using the link to the left. You may also call this designated phone number for general information around policies, protocols, and procedures: 215-565-2412.

We will communicate additional information as it becomes available. Please continue to pray for residents and staff who are affected by coronavirus. And remember to keep washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth if you must leave your residence.

 

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated April 12, 4:40 p.m.

Please enjoy this video with Living Branches President/CEO, Edward Brubaker, as he answers questions from residents and family members, and reflects on what Good Friday means in this time of pandemic.

If you have questions you'd like to have answered in our next video, please email them here.

 

Coronavirus Tests at Living Branches

Updated April 10, 2020 10:03 p.m.

As you know we have been actively working at preventative measures to keep coronavirus at bay. Despite our best efforts, we have just been notified that a resident and staff member have tested positive for coronavirus.

This resident lives in Dock Manor at Dock Woods, and had been receiving medical care off campus. We have reason to believe the source of their infection was not located at Dock Woods. This resident is not in Dock Manor at this time, and had previously been self-quarantining in their apartment. Any staff persons or residents who may have come into contact with this individual have already been notified.

The staff member who tested positive works in Personal Care at Souderton Mennonite Homes. This person had not been on campus since April 1. Residents and staff who interacted with this employee have not been exhibiting symptoms, and we judge this to be a low-risk situation.

We are responding to these situations and monitoring residents and staff according to CDC guidelines. At Living Branches our policy is to not disclose specific names or the health status of individuals.

Over the past several weeks, our clinical and leadership teams have prepared for this potential issue. With this announcement we have implemented our coronavirus response plan, and we will continue to follow these protocols for dealing with the virus. The health and safety of residents remains our top priority.

We would ask that you remember that we have implemented a number of guidelines to protect residents and staff. We ask that you continue to keep the following items in mind:

  • Visitors are not permitted on campus, with exceptions for compassionate care, such as end-of-life situations, with the permission of the executive director.
  • Group activities have been cancelled.
  • Active screening of residents and staff for fever and respiratory symptoms continues.
  • All staff members are wearing face masks to prevent the spread of infection and diligently washing their hands. We strongly recommend residents do the same, and also stay in their residences as much as possible.

If you have questions specific to how we are handling coronavirus at Living Branches, you may email using the link at the left. You may also call this designated phone number for general information around policies, protocols, and procedures: 215-565-2412.

We know that many of you have been praying for the health and safety of those impacted by coronavirus. Please add our Dock Manor resident and Personal Care staff person to your prayer list, and thank you for being a member of our Living Branches community.

 

Q&A with Edward Brubaker

Updated April 4, 2020 12:21 p.m.

Please take a moment to watch this conversation with Living Branches President/CEO.

If you have questions you'd like to have answered in our next video, please email them here.

 

Employees Required to Wear Masks

Updated April 3, 5:24 p.m.

Beginning Saturday, April 4, Living Branches will move to universal mask usage for all staff members while on any campus of Living Branches. This means that every staff person in every department will be required to wear a surgical or cloth face mask at all times.

This new procedure is in keeping with the revised guidelines being issued by state and federal officials. Living Branches still does not have any residents or staff members who have tested positive for the coronavirus. We believe wearing masks to be the next logical step in our work to protect residents and staff.

Residents who wish to wear a face mask when outside of their residence are welcome to do so. Many tutorials are available to assist in making masks, including several simple methods on our website. Our volunteer coordinator is also working with local seamstresses and volunteers to help us obtain cloth face masks for residents. If you know of groups making masks, or are interested in helping, please click here.

 

Protective Measures Continue

Updated April 1, 2020  9:27 p.m.

Living Branches may not be able to welcome visitors to our campuses right now, but residents and staff are working diligently to remain connected and support each other. 

At the present time, we have not had a resident or staff member test positive for COVID-19. It is unlikely that this will continue indefinitely, so our leadership team is preparing for what happens if that changes. We are working with state agencies and other retirement communities who have experience caring for residents with coronavirus to learn the best practices in that situation.

Our preventative measures are still in force. 

  • Campuses are closed to visitors and non-essential personnel. All group activities have been cancelled, and normal dining options have been suspended. We are strongly encouraging all residents (even Residential Living) to follow Governor Wolf's stay-at-home order.
  • We continue to screen every employee, including taking their temperature, as they report to work each day. 
  • Beginning Thursday, April 2, all Personal Care residents will receive room service for all meals.  

There are also many positive interactions happening each day. Please like us on Facebook and/or Instagram to get those updates. Also remember there are several methods to communicate with Living Branches residents, including Skype video calls and sending a message to a resident.

Please feel free to share information about sending a message to a resident with church members, school children, or others who may want to do something positive. If they don't know any Living Branches residents - that's ok. They can still send a message to "Any Resident" and we'll make sure it gets delivered to someone who isn't getting a lot of mail.

 

Message from the President/CEO

Updated March 19, 2020 4:04 p.m.

Please take a moment to view this message for residents and families from Edward Brubaker regarding our coronavirus response.

 

Commitment to Residents 

Updated March 18, 2020 6:07 p.m.

Living Branches remains committed to our residents during these unprecedented times, and to transparency in our communication with you. As of today, March 18, 2020, we do not have any residents or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. Should that change, our team has developed response plans that we will follow accordingly. In the meantime we must all continue to work together to stay healthy and flatten the curve.

 

Changes to Dining Services; All Activities Cancelled

Updated March 16, 2020 5:01 p.m.

In accordance with directives from Governor Wolf and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), we are making changes to the following services at Living Branches for at least the next two weeks.

  • Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the Apple Orchard Cafe and Hearthside Bistro will be available for take-out only for Residential Living residents. Christopher’s at Dock Woods will be closed at this time. Please call the cafe or bistro to place your take-out orders. If you are unable to use take-out, please inform staff when you place your order and we will arrange for delivery.
  • Dining times in Personal Care will be staggered in order to maintain appropriate distances between residents as they dine.

  • Dining rooms in Health Care will be closed; meals will be served to residents in their rooms.

  • All scheduled activities in Health Care, Personal Care, and Residential Living are cancelled.

  • The Acorn Shop, Gifts and Treasures Shop, and Corner Store will be open so residents can purchase necessary grocery and toiletry items.

  • The beauty/barber shops will be closed.

  • Environmental services will be operating with essential services only to minimize staff time in resident homes.

We respectfully ask cottage and villa residents to limit their trips to the main building, if at all possible. If you must enter the main building, please enter through the entrance closest to your destination (Fisher if you are going to the bistro; the Welcome Center if you are going to the gift shops) so you can be screened, including a check of your temperature.

We are doing everything we can to limit our exposure to this virus. Beginning this week all staff will be screened, including having their temperature checked, at the front desk or before they report to their areas. We want to protect our residents as best we can!

You may have heard the term “social distancing” recently. This means doing whatever we can to limit our contact with other people so we don’t spread the virus, or catch the virus from them. Residents, please practice social distancing as much as you can and stay on campus, except when absolutely necessary.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we try to keep each other healthy. And remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently!

 

Fitness Centers Closed; Community Tours Cancelled

Updated March 13, 2020  11:33 a.m.

For our residents:

We are complying with Governor Wolf's orders to close gyms and fitness centers for the next two weeks. Therefore the fitness centers at Souderton Mennonite Homes and Dock Woods are closed to all residents and staff. Please note that scheduled fitness classes are still being held at this time. 

For prospective residents and their families:

All Residential Living, Personal Care, and Memory Care tours have been cancelled at this time. Scheduled move-ins and admissions are still taking place. Please contact your sales counselor if you have any questions.

 

Important Update to Residents, Family Members, and Staff

Updated March 12, 2020 2:37 p.m.

At Living Branches the health and safety of residents is at the heart of all we do. The more we learn about coronavirus (COVID-19), the more we understand that the people we serve in our campuses are the most vulnerable to this virus. Therefore we are taking the following steps to protect residents:

  • As of Thursday, March 12, all Living Branches campuses are closed to visitors in all levels of care, including Residential Living. This means family members and volunteers will not be allowed on campus, although end of life situations will be addressed individually.

  • We are following guidelines from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and and Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding infectious disease prevention in Health Care and Personal Care. Residents in Health Care will remain in Health Care; Personal Care residents can continue to use other amenities at this time, although they must eat all meals in the Personal Care dining rooms.

  • All off-campus trips and events are cancelled. Health Care and Personal Care residents are asked to only leave campus for critical appointments with health care providers, after confirming the appointment with the provider. Residential Living residents are asked to limit their trips off campus as much as possible in order to help protect the health of all.

  • Staff members will report to work as usual. Supervisors have received instructions regarding screening of any staff members who are reporting symptoms of respiratory illness. Private-duty home care aides and other health care workers will be allowed on campus, after receiving screening at the front desk which includes a temperature check. Univest banking services and visits from the Everence representative have been suspended.

  • On-campus life enrichment programs and chapel services will continue as scheduled whenever possible. We realize the restriction on visitors will have an impact on these activities and services. Funeral services will not be scheduled on campus during this time. Dining areas, gift shops and The Willows gift cart will remain open for resident and staff use, although they will not be accessible to the public.

Living Branches campuses are purposely not gated and open to the wider community. The decision to close our campuses was made after consulting with state and local health officials, our medical and infection control personnel, and much discussion by Living Branches coronavirus response team. Our primary responsibility to residents is to keep them safe, and this appears to be the best way to do so at this time.

 

A Message from the CEO

Updated March 10, 9:04 p.m.

 

Living U Classes Postponed

Updated March 9, 2020 6:40 p.m.

At Living Branches our residents are always first priority when we make decisions. Our coronavirus response team has decided to limit non-essential visitors to campus in an attempt to prevent the spread of infectious disease. This means that we are postponing Living U classes for the immediate future; this will begin with the Living U class previously scheduled for Tuesday, March 10. We apologize for the inconvenience, but must protect our residents as best we can during this time.

Everyone who has registered for March 2020 Living U classes is being contacted directly about class schedules. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Maribeth Benner, Living U coordinator, at 215-368-4438.