December 14, 2020
During this holiday season, we at The GreenFields have had the chance to look back on our past year together. It’s been challenging, but during this time, we’ve had the opportunity to stand in awe of the unrelenting resilience of our patients, their families, and our staff as we head toward a hopeful 2021.
Faced with the dramatic changes and restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, our residents and patients have adjusted—all while maintaining a positive disposition across our Lancaster campus. Things are certainly different, but the camaraderie that’s developed among patients and residents all enduring through these difficult times has been inspiring to watch, and has made all of us so optimistic of the future.
But these residents’ and patients’ dispositions would certainly be different without the support of their families. The patience of loved ones during these extended periods of limited visitations, extra phone calls, and virtual visits has been appreciated by our entire GreenFields staff. We all understand how hard this separation has been, but we know our safety-first approach will bring us all together sooner. That’s always been the goal, so thanks for helping us work toward this inevitability.
And thanks to the commitment of our tireless staff, this work can continue. Their efforts in 2020 have been nothing short of miraculous in all corners of The GreenFields Continuing Care Community. Whether in direct care for residents and patients, picking up extra shifts, or simply providing an empathetic ear to those in need, they’ve been emblematic of what the GreenFields family is all about—all while keeping the health and safety of our community first. At the start of December, GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center underwent an infection control survey by the New York State Department of Health, and no concerns were found with our operations. In fact, the surveyors actually congratulated our staff there for the preventative work they are doing in these difficult times and said they are providing excellent care. In all my years in the industry, I have never seen this happen.
We’re so proud of the work of our dedicated staff, just as we’re proud of our residents, patients, and their families. We all long for the personal connections we’ve been deprived of since the start of this pandemic, and we’ll continue to ask State of New York leadership for more manageable regulations and restrictions to allow these connections to resume. Thankfully, the CDC and State are in agreement that our staff and residents should be a priority when the vaccine is rolled out—so we’re getting closer. Most of you have already had personal contact with your facility Administrator or Social Workers regarding the vaccine. There will be three clinics held on campus here over the next few weeks via Walgreens, and we hope to have as many residents and staff vaccinated in the coming weeks as we can. If you’d like further information on this, feel free to reach out to us. A great deal of information can be found on the CDC website.
Until then, we will continue to deck the halls of our campus with special holiday decorations and spectacular outdoor lights. It’s not a typical holiday season, but this year, we are continuing this longtime tradition at The GreenFields that helps to mark the significance of this special month. We’ll continue to keep you informed with our personal phone calls, updates to our web page, and letters.
In the meantime, we wish you all health and happiness throughout this holiday season, and we hope to see you soon.
President and CEO, Niagara Lutheran Health System
December 4, 2020
Dear Families and Friends,
As the pandemic is hitting new heights in Western New York and across the country, we of course have not been immune. We did have an incredible run for many months, and were one of the last campuses in New York State to have the virus reach us. You may have seen in a recent newspaper the total cases and deaths at NYS nursing homes since the start of the pandemic. We were not on that list, not by a long shot. We were also one of the only campuses able to open to visitation when it was allowed in the summer. Because of this long run and the relative health of our campus, our exposure may have been greater in these recent weeks. We do have both staff and resident cases on campus with the highest number at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center. Although some residents were more greatly affected than others, the good news is many of these cases were asymptomatic from the beginning. The CDC has recently stated that as many as 50% of recent cases are in fact asymptomatic, and our rate was much higher. The difficulty with this is that the screening process for all of our residents and staff does not pick up asymptomatic cases, routine testing does. And as soon as we find that staff is positive, they are informed and begin their quarantine.
In regards to recent media coverage, there are a few factors affecting our statistics. The first is that our percent positive seems high. That is because we made a decision to stop taking admissions until the cases are under control. This means that our percent positive is diluted, and as a raw statistic does not represent our current state. If we made the choice to put profit before people and fill the facility, this number would be lower. We chose to be conservative, and always will, for your safety and the safety of those you care for. Another factor affecting the number of residents affected is that we have chosen to treat our residents here, unless their care level exceeds what we can provide. This campus is our residents’ home, so rather than sending them out to the hospital unnecessarily or to another facility, we care for them in their home. Statistically, the care for COVID patients at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center has had a much higher success rate to date, and we plan to keep it that way.
On Thursday December 3rd, we had a Department of Health Infection Control survey. The team at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center did a wonderful job, and no concerns were found. In fact, the surveyors actually congratulated our staff for the work they are doing in these difficult times, and said they are providing excellent care. In all my years in the industry, I have never seen this happen. We are proud of our team at GHRC and the work they are doing. We are also proud of our residents, and of their families’ resilience during this time. We continue to advocate with the State for more manageable regulations, and restrictions which will allow the personal connections we know everyone is longing for. Some good news is that the CDC and the State are in agreement that our staff and residents should be a priority when the vaccine is approved. Keep in mind this is a two dose process over a few weeks, and immunity takes some time to build so it will still require vigilance in the early stages. We are hopeful for an end soon.
We will continue to keep you all updated with our personal phone calls, updates to our web page, and letters. Wishing you all health and happiness, and hopefully we can see you soon.
Christopher E. Koenig, PT, DPT, MBA, NHA
President & CEO
Niagara Lutheran Health System
July 14, 2020
Dear Families and Friends,
Recently, the State of New York changed the visitation guidelines for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, allowing us to welcome you back in a limited capacity. We are certainly happy to have you back in any capacity, and we know your loved ones will be, too. There will continue to be some stipulations to the visitation, which is dependent on the level of care your loved one resides in. Accompanying this letter will be a letter from your facility administrator with more guidelines to visitation.
We have been fortunate to date by not having been impacted like many other senior care providers across the country. Once again, I cannot say enough about the staff and management that have helped keep your families safe. Now, we look to you to help keep us safe, so we can continue to care for your loved ones. Please follow the guidelines as they are set forth by the facility administrators. There will be no gray area, and I and the rest of the staff will hold steadfast to the regulations set forth by the State, and the plans that will be approved at each facility. The plans we are developing are prescriptive by the State, and not something we can negotiate with any agency at any level. We must continue to remember that this is a campus that is home to almost 400 wonderful people, and we are responsible for each and every one of them. Even while we welcome you back, we all need to remember COVID-19 is not behind us, and it is your responsibility as a visitor to keep the staff, our residents, and everyone else on campus healthy. If you are feeling the slightest bit off, please save the visit for another time and feel free to make a televisit appointment.
Again, thank you for your patience, your caring, and compassion. We look forward to seeing you all again.
Wishing you all great health,
Christopher E. Koenig PT, DPT, MBA, NHA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Niagara Lutheran Health System
April 22, 2020
While we have seen some of the most trying times in the history of our organization, we remain thankful that we are more fortunate than many other organizations who have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The actions we have taken very early on have helped us maintain the health and safety of our residents. Though we recognize that there is still much to be learned about this virus and how to combat it, we continue to educate our staff and update policies and procedures along side the many changing recommendations and regulations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, NYS Department of Health, and the Federal Government. Our hope is that our preparation, planning, our luck, and our faith continues to keep our campus safe.
As of this writing, we do not have any community spread of COVID-19. As you may have read in the Buffalo News, we did accept one resident at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center to an isolated wing a few weeks ago. We followed New York State Department of Health guidance that required us to take COVID-19 patients, and we were happy to serve the needs of the community, of this patient, all in accordance with our mission. Our staff did an amazing job and deserve many accolades for not just the care of this patient who needed our help, but the care of all the residents. They continue to amaze us in what can often be a thankless, critical time.
In an effort to continue to keep you informed, we will be doing town hall messages which can be accessed via our website, thegreenfields.org. We have created a new email address, email@example.com, where you can send your questions to be addressed in upcoming messages.
We thank you for your patience and support during this time. We, just like all of you, look forward to the time when this is behind us and you can join us again here on campus with your loved ones. In the meantime, please know we are taking care of them as if they were our own family, and they are in the best hands they can be.
Niagara Lutheran Health System
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community