Marycrest’s Response to Recent Concerns Regarding Coronavirus

July 29, 2020 Letter to Families

July 29, 2020

Dear Families, friends and staff-

We are living in the era of uncertainty, but one thing we are certain of….

WE ARE COVID FREE ONCE AGAIN!!!!

We tested Marycrest residents and half of the staff last Thursday, July 23rd. 100% negative! In fact, today we are having a “COVID FREE COOLDOWN” party- ice-cream sundaes and ice cream floats outside in the beautiful sunshine!

Working in healthcare during this time is quite challenging. Everyday seems to be a trial and so many thoughts of uncertainty fill our heads. The guidelines are always changing- best practices that existed a month ago may not even exist anymore. The many things we know that we are doing right is..…limiting exposure, intense hand hygiene, monitoring staff and residents, and ongoing environmental cleaning.

Here are a few favorite things we have all learned during this COVID-19 Pandemic:

When life becomes overwhelming and stressed, whether at home or work, show kindness and compassion. We are all in this together. Always offer a helping hand, a kind word, a smile.

Whether at home or at work, work together as a TEAM- we complete each other, rather than compete.

Don’t lose your faith; remember God is in control.

“Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD.”

God bless you, stay safe and continue to isolate-
The Leadership Team at Marycrest Manor

May 28, 2020 Letter to Families

May 28, 2020

Dear Families and Responsible Parties,

Thank you, once again, for all your engagement throughout the course of our changed circumstances here at Marycrest Manor. We feel so supported by you. We, like you, are longing to get back to “normal” and hope that that is on the near horizon. When we sent our last communication on Friday before Memorial Day, little did we suspect that we would be communicating with you in this way again so soon.

As you know, we began “surveillance” testing this Tuesday per LA County Public Health requirements for skilled nursing facilities without any cases of COVID-19. Thank God we have not had any positive cases to date. The requirement was that we test 10 of our Residents and then pending results they would inform us of how we are to proceed with any future testing. On Tuesday morning we received a call from the California Department of Public Health (State), telling us that they are now requiring all skilled nursing facilities, regardless of COVID-19 status to test all residents and staff.

The 10 residents who were tested on Tuesday will not be required to test again in this first round of testing required by the State, we will simply report the results obtained. Residents do have the right to refuse testing. If they refuse, however, we are required to consider them as being infected, but asymptomatic. This means that they would need to be cohorted and potentially placed with other residents who either refuse testing or test positive.

Staff will be contacting the primary POA for each resident to get verbal consent for the testing. Residents who are their own POA will be informed about the process and given the opportunity to accept or refuse testing. We will communicate back to the primary POA the individual results for each resident and, once we have all the testing back, we will communicate to everyone the prevalence of positive cases both among staff and residents.

In addition to the previous measures implemented, we continue to stay vigilant:

  • Family visitation, elective medical visits, outings and group activities continue to be suspended. When residents are in a common area social distancing is practiced
  • We are keeping residents engaged with one on one activities and pastoral care visits in their room.
  • Team members continue to be monitored at the beginning and end of their shift for fever and respiratory symptoms. Anyone with symptoms will be sent home and we follow CDC guidelines for return to work.
  • We are monitoring residents for any change in condition on each shift. Any changes in condition are reported to the physician and responsible party as is the usual practice.
  • Residents are to wear cloth or surgical/medical face masks if they are outside their personal rooms, when appropriate. We recognize that some residents may not be able to tolerate face coverings and we are handling each resident according to their personal needs.
  • Residents may also need to be relocated to a different room once test results are received.
  • All team members in the facility continue to wear personal protection equipment (PPE), and practice infection control prevention throughout their shift.
  • We will continue testing residents and staff per the latest Public Health orders which intend to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in facilities in order to protect all who live and work there.

QUESTIONS
For weekly updates visit our website at https://marycrestculvercity.com/covid19/ Or contact Administration (310) 838-2778

RESOURCES
LA County Public Health – http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/
Center for Disease Control – www.cdc.gov

Thank you for all the support we have received. We ask for your continued understanding as we continue to do all we can to protect our residents and team members and carry out our mission.

Sister Mary Clare, RD, NHA, Chief Executive Officer
Flora Azinge, PhD, NHA, Administrator
Cathy Ohnstad, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing

May 14, 2020 Letter to Families
May 14, 2020

As we celebrated Mother’s Day at Marycrest, many of our residents were surrounded by loving cards, flowers, and messages from their families. Even though they couldn’t be together physically, family members found ways to show their love … not only for their own loved one, but for all of us. The family of one of our residents sent a small flower arrangement for every resident in the facility, so that everyone could share in the joy and cheer of the day. Social distance has separated us physically, but we are certainly still connected by the bonds of family and love.

For the Carmelite Sisters serving at Marycrest, Mother’s Day is a celebration of special significance. We take our role as spiritual mothers to heart. Through our vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, we become available to love and serve each person that comes our way. We truly see the care we give to our residents as an exercise of our spiritual motherhood that is an expression of our vocation as the brides of Christ.

We sincerely ask our Lord to continue to bless each of our residents, you, their families and friends, and all those who care for them during this season of uncertainty, until we are able to open our doors once again and welcome you into our home.

Marycrest Administration

May 7, 2020 Letter to Families
May 7, 2020

It takes many hands to keep Marycrest Manor running smoothly, day in and day out. With a capacity for 57 residents, we have almost 100 staff members who work together to make sure our residents are well fed physically, tended to emotionally and enriched spiritually. There are many ways our staff serve: whether tending our beautiful gardens and caring for our facilities, providing bedside service to our residents, playing games and visiting with them, keeping our facility clean, preparing healthy food, keeping our supplies stocked and organized, training and supporting our nursing staff, or making sure we are implementing the best practices for care in the current healthcare environment… no matter what the day to day role of our staff, it takes each person’s unique contribution to fulfill our mission to be at the Service of the Family for Life. 

Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence: these are the core values that provide a foundation for our work together as we provide high-quality care for our residents, respecting the dignity of each person. As Carmelite Sisters, we continually work to instill our values and our mission in our staff and are blessed to have dedicated lay staff who share our dedication. Together, we are always growing, integrating our values more and more into our interactions with our residents and with one another. We are truly grateful for the staff members who embody the vision of Marycrest and live out our core values, putting their hearts into the work they do each day.

Marycrest Administration

April 29, 2020 Letter to Families
April 29, 2020

What We Are Learning During this Time of COVID

As we pass the 6-week mark of being closed to any unnecessary visitors, getting used to a new daily routine with restricted activities and family visits via face-time or through windows, we wanted to share some of the things we’ve learned so far during this time.

Maybe you can relate in your own life how having our world so dramatically and suddenly halted has put into focus what things are really important, what things are less important than we thought, and all the little things we took for granted that we miss the most. 

We continue to live life day by day here at Marycrest, and we can’t wait until we can see you all again soon. We certainly miss our volunteers, families, and visitors! 

We’re in this together and keeping you in our prayers!

Marycrest Administration

April 20, 2020 Letter to Families
April 20, 2020

Greetings from Marycrest! Our residents are settling into a “new normal” here, after a month without visitors and limited group activities. Thanks to our activities and pastoral care staff, the residents are receiving regular room visits, going outside for walks in the sunshine, and participating as much as possible in modified activities with plenty of room for social distancing. Many of our residents are speaking regularly with their families on social media. Some of our residents’ family members have even come to wave and visit from outside the closed window. Though we can’t have Mass here at our facility, our residents are still able to receive Holy Communion each day. Thanks to some of our friends who have donated homemade face masks, we’ve been able to conserve our supply of disposable surgical face masks, which are more and more challenging to obtain from our vendors. The support of our friends, shown in so many different ways, has been an encouragement to us and helps us to stay as prepared as possible in this time of uncertainty.

How grateful we are to the nurses and staff at Marycrest, who are working hard to meet the needs of our residents – body and soul. They continue to show up each day and night to care for our residents and support each other. Our Sisters and staff are working tirelessly to make sure that Marycrest is prepared for whatever may come, daily assessing and updating our policies and practices as recommended by the regulatory agencies that oversee skilled nursing facilities. In early April, we prepared a section of our Marycrest wing to serve as an isolation wing should it become necessary to isolate any residents that may begin to show symptoms – and we pray that we will be able to leave it unused.

In our conversations, the Sisters here have been reflecting recently on our foundress, Mother Luisita, and the early Sisters in our community. During the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s, they were serving the poor sick in a hospital in Jalisco. Because of the Cristero war, the Sisters were prevented from moving about openly in public, unable to receive the Sacraments, and poured themselves out in service to care for the sick. Though our modern COVID quarantine is different in many ways, we find elements of our own situation that are reminiscent of what our early Sisters experienced. One of the unexpected gifts of this time of quarantine has been a deeper sense of connection to the Sisters who paved the way for us and laid the groundwork for the work we do today.

We certainly count on your prayers as we continue to respond to the challenges that face healthcare facilities everywhere during these days. We also assure you of our prayers for you and your loved ones – we are so grateful for your friendship and support! May God bless you and keep you safe and healthy. 

With our prayers for a blessed Easter Season!

Marycrest Administration

April 10, 2020 Letter to Families

April 10, 2020

Dear families and responsible parties,

Since the onset of the pandemic of COVID-19, our first and foremost concerns have been to keep our residents and employees safe. We took early action in implementing our infection control procedures and obtaining supplies. We continue to adapt our procedures to align with the latest recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the LA County department of Public Health.

The Carmelite Sisters have been serving the sick and vulnerable for over 90 years in Los Angeles. You are part of this amazing legacy! The work of healthcare persons is extremely valuable for life and expresses the profoundly human and Christian commitment of dedication to those we care for. Healthcare workers are indispensable as part of the essential services to our society during this unique and difficult time. We are so fortunate to have a staff of such dedicated employees.

On April 6th we sectioned off part of the Marycrest wing to make an “isolation” unit. At this time, it utilizes rooms 315, 316 and 317. One room will be used for staff and supplies, and the other two rooms would house up to three residents. We have NO PLANS to utilize these rooms at this time, we simply want to be prepared. We know we will now be ready if one of our own residents becomes symptomatic and we need to isolate.

We understand that these are times of uncertainty and we want to assure you of our current responsive measures:

  • Leadership meets several times a week and sometimes several times a day to review and evaluate the latest information informing policies and procedures.
  • Other precautions we continue to maintain with vigilance:
    • Family visitation remains suspended with the only exception being end-of-life situations. We are keeping our residents and their families connected with video chat, phone calls and FaceTime sessions.
    • Volunteers and students have been suspended from early on.
    • All elective medical visits have been rescheduled.
    • We have canceled outings and group activities. We are keeping residents engaged with one on one activities and visits by our team. We are assisting residents with social distancing when they are out of their rooms.
    • We are monitoring residents’ temperatures and respiratory status ongoing.
    • Staff are being monitored at the start of their shift, and again at the end of their shift, for fever and respiratory symptoms. Anyone with symptoms will be sent home. We will follow CDC guidelines regarding return to work.
    • All team members are wearing masks throughout their shift. We are working closely with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and following their guidance.

We thank you for all the support we’ve received in carrying out our mission to be at the service of the family for life. As of now, we have been able to keep COVID-19 out of our building and we ask for your continued understanding and prayers as we continue to do all we can to protect our residents and staff.
Please be assured that we will continue to keep you updated on any new developments. Check out our website to see the latest updates in needed supplies, ways to give, etc.

With our prayers for a blessed Easter Season!

Marycrest Administration

April 6, 2020 Letter to Families

April 6, 2020

To the families and responsible parties of our residents-
As the COVID-19 situation has continued to evolve, the staff and residents of Marycrest have been blessed by the support of our local community, who have reached out to help in sometimes surprising and beautiful ways.
Here are some of the blessings that have come our way in the past few weeks:

  • Local Priests have blessed us by bringing consecrated hosts so that our residents can continue to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament each day.
  • The Culver City Fire Department brought us a digital temple thermometer so our nurses can easily take temperatures.
  • A team from UCLA made and donated 60 plastic face-shields for the nursing team.
  • Family members, friends and nearby residents have brought donations of gloves, surgical face masks, N95 face masks, or ordered them for us online.
  • We’ve received homemade washable masks and surgical gowns sewn by local women and donated to protect our staff and supplement our stock of PPE supplies.
  • A family made handmade cards of support and encouragement for our residents and staff
  • Donations of groceries and meals for our staff
  • Pies, donuts, and treats to keep us all moving
  • Financial donations to support our operations during uncertain times

It’s amazing to see the support of the community as we come together, even though physically distanced – it’s truly a tangible encouragement for all of us who spend our days and nights caring for our dearly loved residents.

Our nurses are working hard to keep life as normal and engaging as possible for the residents, even though some of our normal group activities have been suspended. While the “Beauty Shop” is closed, our residents are having their nails painted by the nurses, and our pastoral care and activities team are spending more one-on-one time visiting with residents to keep everyone happy. Families have been able to communicate with their loved ones via FaceTime, Skype – or as one family recently brought to communicate with their loved one, a “Grandpad” device.

Recently, as our nurses came to work and entered through the door, they were greeted by a chalk message on the sidewalk that read, “Thank you for what you are about to do!” And as they left for the day, they were greeted by another message that read “Thank you for all you’ve done today!”

Please pray for the continued health and safety of all who live and serve at Marycrest, and know that we continue to keep you in our prayers as well. Your support is truly a blessing and an encouragement to us

Thank you, Cathy Ohnstad,RN
Director of Nursing

Cathy Ohnstad, Director of Nursing, is available for your questions or concerns. Her email is don@marycrestculvercity.com and her office phone is 310-838-2778 ext. 296

March 26, 2020 Letter to Families

March 26, 2020

To the families and responsible parties of our residents-

Time for another update!!

First, thank you so much for your ongoing support.

Last week we had two residents that had ongoing congestion, then spiked a fever. We decided to test them for the COVID virus just to be safe and sure. Thank the Lord both tests were negative!!

We will not let our guard down until the threat of exposure is gone. We are meeting routinely as a leadership group to ensure we are following the recommendations given by all the regulatory agencies. We are also ensuring we are prepared and have adequate stock in all the personal protective equipment/ supplies. As you can imagine, all healthcare is having a hard time obtaining supplies.

We are reaching out to all of you:
If you know of any friends or family members that have gloves, masks, goggles/eye shields, gowns, shoe covers that they would like to donate to Marycrest Manor, it would be so appreciated. There are many professions that use these items and are not using them currently (dentists, manicurists, construction workers, etc.).

Please contact Irene Zamecnik at (310) 838-2778 ext. 212 for items to donate.

To keep spirits up, we had a “Quarantine Party”- all the residents and staff were given a can of Coke, a brownie and fruit snacks. We played music over the speaker and visited and had a party while practicing social distancing! On the can was written:

“Even though we’re quarantined…

nothing can separate us from the love of God!” Romans 8:38-39

Thank you, Cathy Ohnstad,RN
Director of Nursing

Cathy Ohnstad, Director of Nursing, is available for your questions or concerns. Her email is don@marycrestculvercity.com and her office phone is 310-838-2778 ext. 296

March 14, 2020 Letter to Families
March 14, 2020

To the families and responsible parties of our residents:

Marycrest Manor wants to assure you that we are doing everything possible to ensure our beloved residents stay safe. Leadership is meeting daily to discuss the updated recommendations from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as of March 14, 2020, Marycrest Manor is restricting visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel until further notice. Exceptions may be made for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end of life situation. These decisions will be made on a case by case basis and will include careful screening.

We know that the lack of visitation will be hard for both our residents and families. Please use the contacts below to communicate with your loved ones. Please be patient as staff are meeting the needs of our residents. Please do not call just to check-in, as this may pull staff away from residents. Be assured that the charge nurse will call you if there is any change of condition, question or concern. We are committed to keeping you updated as much as possible.

Electronic social media, such as Skype and Facetime, is available for resident/family communication if desired. To set up a time, please contact: Sr. Mary Ignatius, Pastoral Care: pcc@marycrestculvercity.com or 310-838-2778x 251 or Ana Calderon, Activities: act@marycrestculvercity.com or 310-838-2778 ext. 271

The general strategies that CDC recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same strategies long term care facilities use every day to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses, like influenza. We continue to enforce strict practices regarding sanitation and infection control and have taken additional steps to protect our residents from risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Some of the practices we have put in place are:

– Ceasing all volunteers from visiting
– Suspending nursing student clinical practicums
– Limiting group activities among residents
– Increased environmental cleaning and disinfection
– Reinforcement of hand hygiene
– Ongoing staff Inservice on recommended guidelines as they develop
– Daily monitoring each resident for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Any sign of infection will be addressed immediately.
– New admissions are being carefully screened. Any new admission coming from a hospital or other healthcare facility will be placed in “Heightened Precaution” for 14 days.

We will continue to communicate when there is anything new or updated.

For any questions that you may have regarding the recommendations that have been implemented:
Sister Teresa Christine: dev@marycrestculvercity.com or 310-838-2778 ext. 217

The latest recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can be seen here: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/3-13-2020-nursing-home-guidance-covid-19.pdf

You can find more information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Please be assured of our prayers for you and your families during this time!

God bless you,
Marycrest Leadership