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GSM Family Updates

Posted on December 3rd, 2021

12/3/21

This week, three fully vaccinated employees have tested positive for Covid-19.  An initial round of follow up testing has revealed no additional positive tests.  Our response plans have been implemented and the local health department has been notified.  Following notification of a positive result, follow-up testing of the men and personnel who have had contact with the staff person takes place in keeping with current IDPH guidance.

Most men are fully vaccinated and those for whom consent was provided have also received booster doses.  We strongly encourage everyone who has been vaccinated for at least 6 months to consider a booster shot.  We offer a vaccination incentive program to staff, which has been expanded to include booster shots as well.

Testing for unvaccinated direct care staff continues to take place at least weekly.   The men are tested if symptomatic or in instances of known or potential exposure.

Covid-19 remains a changing situation, as do the related mitigations and response plans.   With the holidays approaching, we would like to remind families that visitor and visit guidelines have not changed.  Visit and home visit guidelines are attached for easy reference.

We continue to face serious staffing difficulties and are exhausting all resources available to stimulate recruitment and retention.  Due to the severity of the staffing crisis, as well as Covid related concerns, we are not able to transport men to or from home visits.

We appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility while we continue to meet the evolving challenges of the pandemic.

Visitor Instructions

In order to maintain the health and safety of men and staff, you should visit only if you are feeling well.  If you have had a known exposure to someone with known Covid 19 illness, or similar symptoms, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your last contact with that individual.  Due to the potential for COVID-19 exposure in long term care settings, it is important that all visitors adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, including hand hygiene and use of face-coverings.

If you develop symptoms of Covid 19 within 3 days after your visit, you must notify us by contacting the Supervisor on Duty.

  • Visits must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance by calling the Supervisor on Duty
  • Indoor visitors must be at least 18 years of age, children permitted for outdoor visits
  • Visits may not exceed 30 minutes
  • Indoor visits may not exceed 2 adult visitors per resident on any one day
  • Outdoor visits not to exceed 4 visitors per resident on any one day
  • Adult visitors must supervise children, no children may enter group homes
  • All visitors will be screened via telephone not more than 24 hours in advance of a visit (parent or guardian will provide information for children)
  • All visitors will check in at the Manor prior to being authorized to proceed to the home
  • All visitors will provide name, address, email if available, and telephone number for potential contact tracing
  • All visitors will complete hand hygiene upon arrival
  • All visitors will submit to temperature and symptom screening upon arrival
  • Any visitor deferred due to temperature or symptoms will be excluded for at least 10 days
  • Visitors refusing screening will be excluded
  • Visitors will wear provided verification of screening throughout the duration of visit
  • Men and visitors will wear a face covering over mouth and nose during the visit
  • If men or visitors are unable or unwilling to follow any of the requirements, staff will advise you that the visit has ended.

Any food items brought for residents must meet the following criteria:

  • Snacks or meals brought in may be consumed during outdoor visits only, not during indoor visits. Visitor assumes responsibility for the safety of food brought for immediate consumption.
  • Leftovers will not be stored for later consumption by the resident.
  • Food items must not be provided to other residents of the home.
  • No food may be kept or stored in resident bedrooms (per State regulation)
  • Must be in a quantity that can fit inside one standard size grocery bag
  • Food items brought for later consumption must be shelf stable (no hot or cold items)
  • Must be commercially prepared and packaged

 

10/27/21

Two weeks ago we communicated that, along with other providers, Good Shepherd Manor is experiencing an unprecedented staffing shortage.  The Department of Human Services and industry organizations have communicated that the staffing shortage is reaching critical levels for many providers of ID/DD services, such as group homes, day programs, and personal service workers for home based-services.

We are experiencing personnel shortages across all departments at the Manor.  Our staff is working hard and doing their best to provide high quality care to the men as well as managing a number of other responsibilities.  When interacting with personnel, we ask that families are patient and treat staff respectfully.  Staff from all departments is often working long hours, completing unfamiliar tasks, working with men they are getting to know, and learning new roles.

We know that the staffing crisis results in difficulties for the men and their families even as we continue working to hire and retain personnel.  Directors, QIDPs, supervisors, and personnel from other departments are assisting with coverage and additionally we use a temp agency to supply as much support personnel as they are able.

There are jobs available in many fields offering higher wages, less demanding work, better hours, remote work, and flexible scheduling.  We are grateful for our personnel who continue to come to work and do their best; we want their work experience to be positive.  When challenges arise, please keep in mind that everyone is doing their best in difficult circumstances.  Many of our dedicated staff members commit to multiple additional shifts each week to ensure that the men receive the care they need.

The current labor shortage is expected to continue into mid-2022 according to many economists.  We continue to work to recruit staff and to retain our current personnel.  In a recent report, it was noted that in Kankakee County, there are approximately 4,000 job vacancies and only 3,600 eligible workers.  Many of those individuals have personal circumstances that preclude employment at GSM.  The labor market is very competitive and job seekers have many options available.

We know that changes related to the staffing shortage are disappointing to the men and their families.  On behalf of all Manor personnel, your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated.

 

10/14/21

Like other providers across the state, we are experiencing an unprecedented staffing shortage.  Last month, the Department of Human Services communicated that they have heard from a number of providers that staffing shortage is reaching critical levels, as it is at GSM.  We are receiving similar communication from industry associations as well.

We are aware that this crisis negatively impacts men and their families and we are working through many different channels to hire additional staff.  We have utilized all of the following ways to recruit:  Indeed, Zip Recruiter, radio ads, social media, GSM’s website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, print ads, church bulletins, highway signage, local colleges, door to door flier distribution, job fairs, Chamber of Commerce events, and having a booth at the Fall Festival.  Applicants can scan a QR code with a cell phone for instant access to our job page and text access to HR.  We have a referral program, referral cards, and held a referral contest.  Right now, QIDPs, supervisors, and personnel from other departments assist with staff coverage and we also use a temp agency.  The temp agency has similar personnel challenges and cannot supply as much personnel as we request.

DSPs, QIDPs, and others are leaving disability services for work in fields that offer much higher pay and desirable hours – specifically without evening, weekend, and overnight work.  For-profit employers are able to offer higher wages, sign on bonuses, remote work, and other in-demand perks.

In conjunction with efforts by the Arc of Illinois, we are asking families to get involved and, through the highlighted link, tell legislators  to support funding increases for Disability services.   A recent survey completed by an industry organization shows the critical impact of the staffing crisis. Read the results here: ANCOR DSP Workforce Report 2021.

Economists project that this labor shortage, which is impacting most industries, will continue into mid-2022.  Legislators need to be made aware of the impact on the DD community.

We know that this is incredibly frustrating.  It affects all aspects of the men’s lives when we are not able to provide the level of service and support that all of you have relied on for many years.  We appreciate your patience and support and kindly request your advocacy.

ANCOR DSP Workforce Report 2021

9/29/21

Today, we were notified that an employee has tested positive for Covid-19.  This case is unrelated to the case identified last week, from which follow up testing has revealed no additional positive tests.  Our response plans have been implemented and the local health department has been notified. Following notification of the positive test result, follow-up testing of the men and personnel who have had contact with the staff person will take place in keeping with current IDPH guidance.

Testing for unvaccinated direct care staff continues to take place weekly.   The men are tested if symptomatic or in instances of known or potential exposure.

Identification of a positive case internally, or an increase in regional positivity rates can impact things like community outings, indoor visits, day program attendance, or other mitigation measures. Changes to mitigation measures can impact all of GSM or specific homes or locations, depending on the circumstance prompting the change. If modifications are necessary, that will be communicated promptly.

When a new positive case is identified, we notify service providers with whom the men or personnel have contact. Mitigation protocols for those providers may impact the men and services in cases of known or suspected exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

Covid-19 remains a changing situation, as do the related mitigations and response plans.

We appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility while we continue to meet the evolving challenges of the pandemic.

9/22/21

Earlier this year, we shared information regarding a savings and investment plan that makes it possible for people with disabilities and their families to save and invest their money for expenses related to living with a disability.

In addition to the information about IL ABLE accounts available on their website, the ARC of Illinois now has two videos on YouTube explaining the accounts and how to set them up.  You can access the videos by clicking the highlighted text or by entering the following into your browser:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9ehQ7w4Tze2AlPxDn0dEajr1TVq_GUPZ

GSM personnel are not able to open IL ABLE accounts or to do the process on families’ behalf.  Accounts must be opened and owned by a legal guardian or a resident who is his own guardian.   As account owners, men and their guardians decide how money is used.  If men or their guardians choose to open this type of account, GSM is able to facilitate deposits into the account.

Many men received additional funds this year as a result of federal economic stimulus efforts.  By Medicaid rule, these funds can remain unspent for 12 months from receipt before being included in asset limits.  If asset limits are exceeded, Medicaid discontinues benefits and requires individuals to pay directly for cost of care.  Limits and processes are set forth by Medicaid; GSM is required to comply.

Medicaid requires that funds from resident accounts maintained by GSM are spent only for resident personal needs such as clothing, medication, medical costs, activities, etc.  This is the reason that we require receipts for distributions from resident accounts and is why residents cannot make donations, give money to family members, or use funds without documentation.

GSM has no financial or other relationship with the IL ABLE program.  We are sharing this resource again to assist men and their families to meet their financial needs.

IL ABLE Accounts – Quick Facts

IL ABLE offers six high-quality, low-cost investment options, plus an FDIC-insured checking account option with a debit card and no overdraft fees.

  • You, the Account Owner or your Authorized Individual, retain control over the account.
  • Earnings and withdrawals on IL ABLE accounts are tax-free if they are used for qualified disability-related expenses.

You can withdraw your savings tax-free to use for qualified disability expenses. These are any expenses that are incurred as a result of living with a disability and are intended to improve your quality of life, health and provide greater independence.

You don’t have to be receiving public benefits to own an IL ABLE account, but if you are receiving, or planning to apply for public benefits, your IL ABLE account can protect you from asset caps.

  • Savings in an IL ABLE account are not counted in determining entitlement to any federal needs-based benefits, programs, and federal financial aid for higher education.
  • If you receive SSI, you can save up to $100,000 in your IL ABLE account and still receive your monthly SSI benefits.

You are eligible to own an IL ABLE account if:

You have a disability with onset (not necessarily diagnosis) that occurred before the age of 26

AND

One of the following is true:

  • You are eligible for, or you receive, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because of your disability
  • You experience blindness as determined by the Social Security Act
  • You have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment with marked, severe functional limitation that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.

Who Can Open an IL ABLE Account?

  • You can open your account for yourself if you are an eligible individual, at least 18 years of age and have the legal authority to open an account.
  • If the eligible individual does not want to open their own account or does not have the legal authority to act on his/her own behalf in financial matters, an Authorized Individual may open and manage the account on behalf of the Account Owner.”
  • The following people can serve as Authorized Individuals:
    • Parent(s) or Guardian(s) of an eligible minor
    • Parent of an eligible adult (must submit copy of birth certificate)
    • Guardian(s) of an eligible adult (must submit copies of Guardianship documents)
    • Person granted Power of Attorney by the eligible adult (must submit POA documents)
  • The eligible individual with a disability is always the Account Owner and is the beneficiary of an IL ABLE account.

 

9/21/21

Today, we were notified that an employee has tested positive for Covid-19. Our response plans have been implemented and the local health department has been notified. Following notification of the positive test result, follow-up testing of the men and personnel who have had contact with the staff person was initiated.  All potentially impacted men have been tested, as well as several staff, and no additional cases have been identified. 

Testing for unvaccinated direct care staff continues to take place weekly. The men are tested if symptomatic or in instances of known or potential exposure.

Identification of a positive case internally, or an increase in regional positivity rates can impact things like community outings, indoor visits, day program attendance, or other mitigation measures. Changes to mitigation measures can impact all of GSM or specific homes or locations, depending on the circumstance prompting the change.  If modifications are necessary, that will be communicated promptly.

When a new positive case is identified, we notify service providers with whom the men or personnel have contact.  Mitigation protocols for those providers may impact the men and services in cases of known or suspected exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

Covid-19 remains a changing situation, as do the related mitigations and response plans. 

We appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility while we continue to meet the evolving challenges of the pandemic.

9/9/21

To make sure that Fall Fest is a safe event for men and personnel, there will be some modifications this year.  In addition to larger tents, tents without sides, and signage with guidance about face coverings, the houses will attend in timed groupings to limit crowding. Men who will be in the care of family may attend at any time, provided they are signed out and supervised by family.

Houses Attending 10am-1pmHouses Attending 1pm-4pm
·        Lombard

·        Leonard

·        Colnon-Wild

·        Hayes

·        Webber

·        Opler

·        Herbstritt

·        Zurek

·        Park

·        Brown

·        Helen McAllister

 

Schedule of Events for Fall Festival:

10:00 am – Gates open and Harvest Market opens

10:15 am- MAIN STAGE: Opening Ceremony featuring  Momence Color Guard

11:00 am – Food Alley, Beer Tent and Fun and Games Area opens

11:00 am – MAIN STAGE: GSM Resident Revue

12:00 am – Bingo Tent opens

12:30 pm – MAIN STAGE: The Back Paiges

3:45 pm – Cash Raffle Drawing

4:00 pm – Close

We are so excited for the return of the Fall Fest this year and we know that the men and families are as well. It looks like it will be a beautiful day! We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

 

6/11/21

Today, Illinois moves into Reopening Phase 5, which means reopening of all sectors of the economy.  Most businesses, schools, and recreation facilities are able to resume normal operations with some safety measures in place.  Things like conventions, festivals, and large events can take place again as well.  With that in mind, we are looking forward to our Fall Fest on Saturday, September 11th.

Regardless of vaccination, masks will still be required in long-term care or congregate housing as well as when using public transportation and in places like airports and train stations.  In other settings, vaccinated individuals can resume activities without wearing a mask unless required by local rules and regulations, including business and workplace guidance.

State guidance for long-term care and congregate housing will take longer to return to normal than other businesses. There are no changes to our mitigation measures; we will revise practices and communicate promptly once cleared by the State to do so.  In light of recent communication from DHS, we anticipate a return to normal Day Program operations within the next month with some safety measures in place.

Reduced staffing is an impact of the pandemic that we continue to experience acutely.  Like many employers, we are facing significant difficulty hiring qualified personnel.  For the last two months, two of our homes have been closed due to the staffing shortage.  We anticipate that our current staffing shortage will last into the fall and do not foresee reopening those homes through at least October.

We know that this news is disheartening for men, their families, and staff.  This crisis is impacting providers across the state.  On June 1st, the legislature passed a budget that includes an additional $170 million in funding for intellectual and developmental disability services.  The State has not yet determined how those funds will be allocated.  We hope that some of that funding will be used to increase staff wages to help us be competitive in the labor market.

Although we have come a long way, there is still much ground to cover on the road to a full return to normal.  We are grateful for the love, support, and patience of men, families, and staff over the last 15 months.

5/13/21

Yesterday, testing identified a positive Covid-19 test result in a resident who had not yet elected vaccination.  Our response plans have been implemented and the local health department has been notified.  Subsequently, over 50 follow-up tests have been completed with no additional positives.

Testing for men and personnel continues in keeping with IDPH guidelines and our internal Covid-19 response plans.

We continue to monitor Covid-19 developments and adjust accordingly.  Right now, there are no changes to our mitigation measures.  New cases or local increases in positivity rates have the potential to necessitate a return to more stringent strategies.

With the approach of warmer weather and summer holidays, men and families are visiting more.  There are no quarantine or test requirements following home visits or family outings for vaccinated men, however, GSM personnel will not be able to transport men to and from home visits.  In addition to Covid concerns, GSM staffing levels require that staff time is spent meeting the coverage needs of the group homes.

We look forward to a return to a more normal lifestyle as more people in the community get vaccinated and opportunities for outdoor socializing increase.

For local families considering or seeking vaccination, the Kankakee County Health Department is conducting vaccination clinics next week. The registration link is available on their Facebook page and is linked here as well: https://events.juvare.com/IL-IDPH/7vbvl-97/.  For families who live in other areas of the state, information regarding other sites is linked here: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location.

We remain grateful for your continued support, encouragement and prayers.

5/7/21

Many men have received additional funds this year as a result of federal economic stimulus efforts.  By Medicaid rule, these funds can remain unspent for 12 months from receipt before being included in asset limits.  If asset limits are exceeded, Medicaid discontinues benefits and requires individuals to pay directly for cost of care.  Limits and processes are set forth by Medicaid; GSM is required to comply.

There is now a savings and investment plan that makes it possible for people with disabilities and their families to save and invest their money for expenses related to living with a disability. IL ABLE accounts can help solve a long-time predicament that many people with disabilities face: how to build financial wellness without risking federal government benefits.

Medicaid requires that funds from resident accounts maintained by GSM are spent only for resident personal needs such as clothing, medication, medical costs, activities, etc.  This is the reason that we require receipts for distributions from resident accounts and is why residents cannot make donations, give money to family members, or use funds without documentation.

GSM is not able to open IL ABLE accounts; they must be opened and owned by a legal guardian or a resident who is his own guardian.   As account owners, men and their guardians decide how money is used.  If men or their guardians choose to open this type of account, GSM is able to facilitate deposits into the account.

Some information about IL ABLE accounts is enclosed.  Full details can be accessed through their website, located at https://illinoisable.com/  Accounts are opened via the website.  IL ABLE offers investment and checking account options and the checking accounts are FDIC insured.

GSM has no financial or other relationship with the IL ABLE program.  We know that men and their guardians have many factors to weight when making financial decisions and want to share this resource with you.

5/5/21

Today, we were notified that an employee has tested positive for Covid-19.  Our response plans have been implemented and the local health department has been notified.  Following notification of the positive test result, follow-up testing of the men and personnel who have had contact with the staff person was initiated.  All potentially impacted men have been tested, as well as several staff, and no additional cases have been identified.

Testing for personnel continues at recommended intervals.  Testing frequency can range from monthly testing to twice weekly testing, depending on regional positivity rates and internal developments. The men are tested if symptomatic or in instances of known or potential exposure.

Identification of a positive case internally, or an increase in regional positivity rates can impact things like community outings, indoor visits, day program attendance, or other mitigation measures.  Changes to mitigation measures can impact all of GSM or specific homes or locations, depending on the circumstance prompting the change.  If modifications are necessary, that will be communicated promptly.

When a new positive case is identified, we notify service providers with whom the men or personnel have contact.  Mitigation protocols for those providers may impact the men and services in cases of known or suspected exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

The Covid-19 crisis is stabilizing, but it is not over.  Covid-19 remains a changing situation that we continue to actively monitor.  While continuing to move cautiously forward, it is important that we keep following mitigation measures like masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

We understand that changes in the Covid crisis and mitigations are stressful for the men, their families and personnel.  We appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility while we continue to meet the evolving challenges of the pandemic.

4/30/21

It is a true joy to see the men enjoying visits at the Manor, home visits, and community outings again.  With 94% of men vaccinated along with IDPH guidance, we have been able to relax many of the stringent mitigations implemented earlier in the pandemic.

This week, we are happy to announce additional welcome changes to our visit guidelines.  A complete list is below but the major changes include the following:

  • Up to 4 visitors at one time for outdoor visits
  • Children permitted for outdoor visits
  • Some food items may be brought for residents, within specified parameters
  • Vaccinated men do not need to quarantine following any visit

Vaccines currently available were tested and received emergency use authorization to prevent symptomatic illness in the vaccinated person.  They do not necessarily prevent transmission of the virus.  For that reason, the vaccination status of visitors does not impact visit guidelines.

No new cases of the coronavirus have been identified among men in 12 weeks. One new case was identified among personnel earlier this month, with no additional spread. Regionally, cases are low at this time and hospital admissions are declining.

The Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over and remains a changing situation. Our management team continues to monitor developments, both internally and externally and adjust plans accordingly.  While continuing to move forward with restoration of normal activities, we maintain prevention measures like masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

We know that there is still ground to cover on our return to normal, but am grateful for how far we have come.  We appreciate your continued support, kind words, and encouragement as we have worked through this difficult time.

Visit Guidelines

In order to maintain the health and safety of men and staff, you should visit only if you are feeling well.  Due to the potential for COVID-19 exposure in long term care settings, it is important that all visitors adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, including effective hand hygiene and use of face-coverings.

  • Visits must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance by calling the Supervisor on Duty
  • Indoor visitors must be at least 18 years of age, children permitted for outdoor visits
  • Visits may not exceed 30 minutes
  • Indoor visits may not exceed 2 adult visitors per resident on any one day
  • Outdoor visits not to exceed 4 visitors per resident on any one day
  • Adult visitors must supervise children, no children may enter group homes
  • All visitors will be screened via telephone not more than 24 hours in advance of a visit (parent or guardian will provide information for children)
  • All visitors will check in at the Manor prior to being authorized to proceed to the home
  • All visitors will provide name, address, email if available, and telephone number for potential contact tracing
  • All visitors will complete hand hygiene upon arrival
  • All visitors will submit to temperature and symptom screening upon arrival
  • Any visitor deferred due to temperature or symptoms will be excluded for at least 10 days
  • Visitors refusing screening will be excluded
  • Visitors will wear provided verification of screening throughout the duration of visit
  • Men and visitors will wear a face covering over mouth and nose during the visit
  • If men or visitors are unable or unwilling to follow any of the requirements, staff will advise you that the visit has ended.

Any food items brought for residents must meet the following criteria:

  • Snacks, drinks, & meals to be consumed immediately may be brought for outdoor visits only, not during indoor visits.  Visitor is responsible for the safety of food brought for immediate consumption and supervision of resident while eating.
  • Leftovers will not be stored for later consumption by the resident.
  • Food items must not be provided to other residents of the home.
  • No food may be kept or stored in resident bedrooms (per State regulation)
  • Must be in a quantity that can fit inside one standard size grocery bag
  • Food items brought for later consumption must be shelf stable (no hot or cold items)
  • Must be commercially prepared and packaged

If a resident has any symptoms of illness on the day of a scheduled visit, we must cancel the visit.

If you develop symptoms of Covid 19 within 3 days after your visit, you must notify us by contacting the Supervisor on Duty.

4/8/21

This week, the men celebrated Easter with afternoon Mass as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny to the group homes.  The warm weather and some return to normal activities has been a welcome change for men, staff, and families.  Many men were happy to be able to spend the holiday weekend with loved ones after long periods of separation.

Just to reiterate what was said in last week’s communication, COVID is not over. Unfortunately, an employee tested positive this week. While not a residential or day program direct care worker, COVID response plans were implemented immediately and we contacted the health department.  Following that positive test result, we have completed nearly 150 follow up tests of both men and personnel this week with no additional positive results.

We are grateful that we had early access to the vaccination which likely helped prevent an outbreak.  Moving forward, we will work with the health department and local retailers to secure vaccination for men and personnel who initially declined but may have decided to get vaccinated.

We are all eager to return to normal, forgo masks, attend parties and plan big events.  The ability to relax some mitigation measures is encouraging, but we cannot let our guard down just yet.   The rate of new infections remains relatively low but has been steadily increasing in recent weeks.  Hospital admissions are increasing as well.  In Kankakee and Will counties, hospital admissions have increased by 60% in a few short weeks.

COVID remains an evolving situation. Therefore, we will continue to actively monitor developments, both internally and externally and adjust accordingly.  While continuing to move forward with restoration of normal activities, we maintain prevention measures like masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

We are looking ahead with cautious optimism. We appreciate your continued patience and support. Change is often difficult and the perseverance of the Good Shepherd Manor community in coming together to meet this challenge has been truly remarkable.

 

3/31/21

We hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits.  The men are enjoying the return to some of the things they enjoyed before the onset of the pandemic, such as home visits, day program, outings, and weekly mass.  No new cases have been identified among men or staff in nearly two months.

This week, a fully vaccinated resident who previously had Covid was hospitalized for an unrelated medical condition.  Testing at the hospital is standard procedure and a positive result was noted, which is an expected outcome for up to 90 days.  We contacted the health department for guidance and implemented our Covid response plan while awaiting reply.   The health department confirmed that this positive test result is not reflective of a new infection. Therefore, measures such as serial testing of men and staff, isolation, quarantine, or use of full PPE do not need to be implemented.

As the circumstances and guidance related to Covid continue to evolve we maintain regular contact with health authorities.  We participate in weekly training by the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure that our practices remain current and in compliance with requirements.  We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with the Kankakee County Health Department; they are responsive and helpful when specific questions arise.

Hopefully we are nearing the conclusion of the acute phase of the pandemic, but we know it is not over yet.  The health and safety of residents, staff, and visitors remains our utmost priority.  Men and personnel are screened on each shift daily and testing plans are implemented in accordance with IDPH guidelines. We continue to keep up with the basics of prevention, including the use of masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene.  Please be assured that we continue to monitor the COVID situation daily, both internally and at state and regional levels. We have response plans in place to address changes as they occur.

We wish you and your families a happy and healthy Easter and encourage everyone to celebrate safely.  As always, we appreciate your unwavering support throughout this evolving situation.

 

3/19/21

Despite the blustery weather, we have had another good week with no new cases. Decreasing positivity rates in the community, along with the apparent effectiveness of vaccination, are allowing us to continue to move forward.

We are proceeding to Phase 3 of reopening, restoring in-person Day Program and some off-site outings for men who live in ICFs. Men who work at KCTC are scheduled to return to their jobs on Monday.

We know that everyone has eagerly awaited restoration of home visits and same day outings with family and friends. We are happy to share that we are making significant progress in that area. Additionally, the restriction on physical contact during visits has been lifted, provided both parties wear face coverings.  All other indoor and outdoor visit guidelines remain in place.

Fully vaccinated men who live in CILA homes may go on home visits, of any length, without a need to quarantine upon return. Men who live in ICF homes, and unvaccinated men who live in CILA homes, may go on same-day outings with family members, with proper screening and mask use, without the need to quarantine. 

Men who live in the ICFs and go on overnight visits need to quarantine for 14 days upon return, regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated men who live in CILA homes need to quarantine for 14 days following overnight visits. If the visit is 7 days or greater, quarantine may be replaced by testing upon return.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through the reopening process. We are committed to moving forward safely. We will continue to adjust and adapt as guidance from health authorities changes.

The support of families and friends has been more vital than ever this year and we are so grateful. If you haven’t already done so, please consider getting involved by participating in the GSM Virtual Brunch Auction at https://gsm.givesmart.com    

 

3/12/21

It has now been a full year since Covid required us to close the homes and campus to visitors, discontinue all non-essential trips, and discontinue in-person Day Program. It has been a challenging year for men, staff, and families and we are very grateful to be able to begin gradually restoring normal operations.

We are happy to share that we have had no new cases in over a month. Low positivity rates in the County, along with the absence of new cases at Good Shepherd Manor, means that we are now able to move to monthly testing for staff. New hires are tested on their first day of employment. Men are tested if symptomatic or exposed, as well as upon return from home visits or hospital stays.

The men are thrilled to be attending Day Program again, getting out for walks, and returning to familiar routines.  On Palm Sunday, weekly Mass services will resume for men who wish to attend. There are no changes to on-site or home visit protocols yet.

In preparation for our Virtual Brunch Auction next month, the Chorus and Signers group is safely practicing for their performance.  We look forward to this special event, marking Good Shepherd Manor’s 50th year of service for the men behind our mission. Please check out the GSM Virtual Brunch Auction website:  https://gsm.givesmart.com or www.gsm.givesmart.com depending on your browser and security settings. As the past year has shown, support from events like this are critical to our ability to meet changing needs.

This week, we had our final vaccination clinic date provided through the Pharmacy Partnership program. For family members seeking vaccination, here is a link to help identify a location near you: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location

The men, staff, and families have been incredibly resilient throughout very challenging circumstances. The support and patience of all is greatly appreciated while we continue to move forward.

 

3/5/21

Spring is a season of new beginnings and we have had many to be grateful for this week. On Wednesday, under bright sun and mild temperatures, the men returned to Day Program.  It was a wonderful sight to see men walking on campus and enjoying activities and lunch in Day Program! The men and staff did an impressive job of following Covid guidelines.

Later this month, we anticipate a return to a full Day Program schedule, including men who live in the ICFs.  We have met with KCTC leadership to begin planning for men who work there to return to their jobs later this month.  Staff and men have begun to plan secure community outings and are very excited to be able to do so again.  In coming weeks, we also expect to restore weekly Mass services – another welcome change for many men.

Both indoor and outdoor visits have guidelines in place to ensure the safety of men, staff, and visitors. Until more is known about the ability of vaccines to prevent transmission, as well as the impact of emerging strains of the virus there is no change to home visit or on site visit procedures, regardless of vaccination status.

There have been no new cases identified within the last month among staff or men.  While progressing through reopening steps, we monitor State and County level metrics daily and will continue to test as indicated by positivity rates in the community.  We will have our third vaccination clinic date next week, March 8th, to finish the series for men and staff needing their second dose.

The perseverance of men, personnel, and families throughout the last year has been nothing short of remarkable.  We are so happy to finally be able to announce some loosening of the restrictions that have impacted men, staff, and families for the last year.  We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and move forward slowly and safely.

Your unwavering support while we continue to navigate this evolving situation is deeply appreciated.

 

2/26/21

There is much good news to share this week! Nearly a year has passed since Covid related restrictions were implemented and we are finally able to loosen some of those restrictions. State, Regional and Good Shepherd Manor metrics have been met to restore indoor visits.

Requirements related to indoor visits are similar to those for outdoor visits in terms of scheduling, time limits, etc. The complete set of requirements is separate than those for contract service providers or designated Essential Caregivers. There are no changes to home visit procedures at this time.

Visitors will be screened at the Manor by the supervisor on duty before going to the home. Covid testing is not required to visit, but is strongly encouraged and can be quickly completed with no costs at the time of a visit.

In addition to the restoration of indoor visits, men who live in CILA homes will return to Day Program next week, following Covid modifications. For the CILA homes, community outings are being gradually and safely restored as well. We are not yet able to restore in-person Day Program or off- site outings for the ICFs.

There have been no new cases among men or staff this week. State, Regional, and internal metrics are monitored daily. Negative trends at any of those levels could necessitate regression to increased restrictions. A regression in reopening steps could impact the entire campus or be limited to specific homes.

Men, families, and personnel are eager to move past the pandemic and return to normal life.  Vaccination, combined with decreasing positivity rates, is beginning to make that possible. We will continue to communicate as we progress through reopening phases, and will keep working to safely lift restrictions. To ensure safety as we move forward, many mitigation measures, like mask use, will continue.

We all share in the desire for progress and appreciate your support while we work to safely move forward.

Indoor Visit Guidelines

Pre-Visit Requirements

  • Visits must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance by calling the Supervisor On Duty
  • Only one visit may be scheduled per designated visitation area per 30 minute time slot
  • No more than 2 adult visitors, from the same household, per resident on any one day
  • Visitors must provide name, address, and contact information for potential contact tracing
  • NO CHILDREN PERMITTED (Under the age of 18)
  • Visitors will be pre-screened by phone in advance of the visit
  • If visitors are deferred, they will not be able to schedule another visit for 10 days

Upon Arrival, check in at the Manor:

  • Supervisor on duty will verify that the visit is scheduled
  • Supervisor on duty will complete on-site screening and temperature check
  • Unscheduled visitors will not be authorized to proceed to the home
  • Visitors will be excluded if temperature or any symptoms are present
  • Visitors refusing screening will be excluded
  • Visitors will wear provided verification of screening throughout the duration of visit
  • Visitors will be advised of Visitor Instructions and provided with a written copy

Indoor Visits (when permitted by current reopening Phase/Tier)

  • Visitors will enter and exit via dining room door and may not access any other area of the home
  • Visits will take place in dining rooms
  • Visitors will wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately upon entry
  • Staff will intermittently supervise the visit
  • Visitors will wear face covering, fully covering mouth and nose, throughout the visit
  • 6 foot distancing must be observed throughout visit
  • Visitors will observe visual cues with regard to seating and placement
  • Visitors may not bring outside items, food, etc. to men at the homes
  • Visitors will not engage in physical contact with men
  • Doors blocking view to/from other areas of the home will not be shut
  • If men or visitors are unable to comply with guidelines, staff will end the visit
  • Visits may not exceed 30 minutes

Residents

If a resident has any symptom of illness on the day of a scheduled visit, the visit will be cancelled.

*Guidance applies to general visiting, not contract service providers or individuals designated as Essential Caregivers.

 

2/19/21

On Monday, we had our second in a series of three Covid-19 vaccination clinic dates.  The event was a success and we are grateful to CVS and the federal Pharmacy Partnership program.  Over the course of a six-hour clinic, over 150 injections were administered.

We are pleased to share that 90 men along with 67 direct and contract personnel received either their first or second injection.  The Good Shepherd Manor community has been made safer by the many men and staff who took this important step to protect us all.

Men and personnel who still need their second injection will receive it on March 8th, provided consent has been given.  March 8th is our final vaccination clinic date through the federal programIndividuals who choose not to vaccinate at this time may not have access in the immediate future.

There have been no new cases identified among men or staff in 2 weeks.   Although most men have either had one or both doses of the vaccine, we will continue current measures and testing at this time.

The mitigations implemented to keep men and personnel safe have not come without a cost.  The men need to get back to a more normal daily life.  Vaccination provides us the ability to take some steps to bring that about.

A return to Day Program, following Covid mitigation plans, is planned for the first week in March.  The QIDP team is also investigating ways to safely restore some community access.  Initially, this will be venues that can be privately booked or outings that do not require public interaction.

While vaccination is an important tool in the fight to end the pandemic, it does not immediately grant the ability to lift all restrictions.  For now, we must continue following current restrictions around in-person visits, home visits, etc.  Please be assured that we will continue to be vigilant and that we share in your desire for the men to return to their normal lives.

As we begin to move forward, your patience and support is greatly appreciated.

2/11/21

There have been no new cases of Covid-19 identified among men or staff this week.  We continue surveillance testing of both men and staff at frequencies that meet or exceed guidelines.  If a new case is identified, men and staff at the impacted location are tested with increased frequency for at least 14 days.

Recently, there has been media coverage regarding emerging strains of the virus. A variant thought to originate in the U.K. is known to be widely circulating in the U.S. That variant of the virus spreads more easily than other variants. Tests currently in use to detect the virus do not indicate which strain of the virus is present when an infection is identified. Genomic testing is required in order to make that determination. The health department indicates that this specific type of testing is not taking place locally. 

Right now, it appears that the current vaccines DO provide protection against the new known strains. Health agencies will continue to study this issue, as well as the length of immunity from vaccination. It is not yet known if boosters or modifications to the vaccines will be needed, as is the case with influenza vaccines. Click here for the most current information from the CDC regarding emerging strains of the virus.

Next week, most men will receive their second dose of the vaccine and several others will receive their first.  This is welcome news as more contagious strains emerge and reports of reinfection increase. Three staff members have already been diagnosed with reinfections. None of the men have experienced reinfection at this time.

We are planning for the men to return to Day Program in early March and will implement necessary modifications to meet state requirements. Men and staff are looking forward to this gradual return to normal, made possible by early access to vaccination. We will continue surveillance testing and adhere to mitigations as we move forward.

 

2/4/21

This week, there were two new cases identified among personnel and four new cases identified among residents.  Surveillance testing continues at a rate of approximately 100 tests per week.  Staff continues to diligently implement mitigation measures, including PPE use, hand hygiene, surface disinfection, and social distancing.

All of the men who tested positive this week received their first dose of the vaccine series last week.  The vaccine cannot infect a person with Covid-19 or cause a positive test result.  If an individual is exposed to Covid-19 prior to vaccination, or before full immunity is achieved, they may develop and test positive for Covid-19.  Vaccination is not administered while an individual is not feeling well or during a 10 day isolation period if they have a positive test.  Anyone who cannot receive their second dose on the February 15th clinic date will receive it on the final clinic date.   The extended time between doses does not impact immunity, according to the manufacturer and the CDC.

Many families are seeking vaccination.  To assist those families, this letter was issued last month by the Department of Human Services.  The letter states that family members who care for individuals with disabilities should be considered eligible in Group 1a, it may help to demonstrate eligibility. 

Today, IDPH issued a press release indicating that 80 new vaccination locations have been added.  The document is attached to assist families seeking vaccination to locate potential providers.

We truly hope that vaccination is the light at the end of the tunnel.  As new strains of the virus emerge, and reinfections become more common, we encourage everyone to consider vaccination.  We look forward to a time when there is widespread immunity and communities are able to safely reopen.

Your support and encouragement as we work through the challenges of the pandemic is greatly appreciated.

 

1/29/21

On Monday, January 25, we had our first in a series of three Covid-19 vaccination clinic dates.  The event was well organized and successfully implemented.  A team of immunizers, sent by CVS Health through the Pharmacy Partnership program, efficiently administered vaccinations over the course of a six hour clinic.

We are pleased to share that 87 men along with 45 direct and contract personnel received their first of two vaccine doses.  We are thrilled that so many took advantage of the opportunity to protect both individual and community health.  Be sure to look for photos on our Facebook page!

Men and personnel who were unable to receive their first dose of the vaccine on Monday will receive their first dose on February 15th, provided consent is received in advance.  Men and personnel who received their first dose this week will receive their second dose on February 15th.  A third date will be provided by CVS Health in March, so that everyone is able to complete the series.

The Pharmacy Partnership program provides facilities like Good Shepherd Manor with just three clinic dates. Access to vaccine for men or personnel who choose to delay beginning the series beyond the February 15th clinic date is unknown.

If you have already provided vaccination consent, no additional action is needed for the next dose.  If you were unsure initially and have reconsidered, please contact your QIDP before February 15th.

Last week, there was one new case identified among personnel and two new cases identified among residents.  There have been no new cases identified this week.  We conduct ongoing surveillance testing, averaging about 100 tests per week.  Staff remains committed to following all of the mitigation measures in place, including PPE use, hand hygiene, surface disinfection, and social distancing.

The last year has been a difficult year for the men, their families, and personnel.  There is now light at the end of the tunnel.  Following the second vaccination clinic, we plan for the men to return to Day Program, with modifications to meet regulatory guidelines.

The perseverance of the men, families, and personnel is a source of personal inspiration.  Together, by getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do so, we are one step closer to opening our community safely.

 

1/19/21

RESIDENT VACCINATION UPDATE:

We have received confirmation from CVS Health of our first vaccination clinic date at GSM.  Our first vaccine clinic will take place on Monday, January 25th.  The clinic will begin at 10am and will be completed by 4pm.

In order to be vaccinated, we must have received prior guardian consent and the individual must be on-site on the day of the vaccination clinic.

For those men beginning the vaccination series on Monday, 1/25/21, we must have consent from their guardians no later than Wednesday, 1/20/21.  We cannot process registrations for the 1/25/21 clinic after Wednesday, 1/20/21.

For men who are traveling with family and cannot be on-site Monday, 1/25/21, or for those who are undecided at this time, there is an option to begin the vaccination series at the next scheduled clinic date.  Those individuals would then complete the series at the final clinic date.  CVS Health has not yet provided the dates for the follow up clinics, The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine doses are administered about 3 weeks apart, which may help families who need to make travel plans.

As you may recall, we will be provided a total of three vaccination clinic dates by CVS Health.  The dates are selected by CVS Health and are not flexible.  Vaccination through this program is specific to Good Shepherd Manor; we are not able to make alternate arrangements for residents or personnel to be vaccinated at other locations or on other dates.

Vaccination is one tool to help bring an end to the pandemic and will be most effective when combined with the use of masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene.  The vaccine provides a step in the right direction on the path back to normal operations; although it will take time to get back to “normal.”  For the foreseeable future, all other mitigation measures will continue until health authorities advise otherwise.

If you have any questions, or wish to provide consent for vaccination of your loved one, please contact your QIDP.

1/15/21

This week, there have been three new cases of Covid-19 identified among residents and one identified among personnel.  Three of these four cases were identified by surveillance testing and one appears to have been acquired during a hospital stay.  We continue frequent surveillance testing of men and personnel.

Following the identification of any new case, residents and personnel who have had potential exposure are tested immediately and then with increased frequency over the next two weeks.  This testing response helps us to quickly identify and isolate any additional cases. The ability to complete our own, on-site rapid testing provides a valuable tool to help us combat this virus.

At this time, Illinois has activated the Long-Term Care Vaccination Program only for skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.  Overall vaccination is not progressing at the projected pace that was initially planned.  Illinois is continuing to work to get hospital and clinic personnel vaccinated, along with skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  As a result, Good Shepherd Manor has not been assigned vaccination clinic dates.

With slower than expected vaccination progress, we have reached out to the Kankakee County Health Department to determine if the vaccine could be secured through their resources.  The health department advised that they are not able to release doses; the allocation is determined by the state.  IDPH recognizes the need and will prioritize facilities like ours as soon as possible.  To date, about 3,600 doses have been administered in Kankakee County, with less than 1% of the county population fully immunized.

Many families and personnel anxiously await vaccination.  At the same time, we acknowledge those that are hesitant or have concerns. We will continue to provide resources, so that everyone can make informed choices that best suit their needs and values. Click here for information provided by the CDC regarding vaccination in long-term care settings.

For anyone with reservations, there will be an option to begin the vaccine series at the second clinic date, rather than the first.  This alternative provides for additional time to consider choices and talk with others who have been vaccinated.

We continue to implement mitigation measures, conduct surveillance testing, and engage in training and communication with health authorities.  The support of the Good Shepherd Manor community has been remarkable and is greatly appreciated.

1/13/21

Direct support professionals have been on the front-lines of supporting people with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The good news is that the COVID-19 vaccines will be available at GSM very soon. We understand there can be questions and concerns regarding these new vaccines so we are sharing a valuable resource below.

Here is a link to a 15 minute webinar presented by the National Association of Direct Support Professionals.  In this webinar, NADSP in partnership with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry (AADMD) will address vaccine concerns. Please join Rick Rader, MD, as he shares up to date and research-based information on the COVID-19 vaccines.

 

1/7/21

We are saddened to report this week that a resident of Good Shepherd Manor passed away from complications following Covid infection. He had been ill since October and had been receiving hospice care at a local nursing home following a hospital stay.

While we mourn his loss, we are grateful that there have been no new cases in two weeks. We commend our dedicated staff for their continued work in following our Covid mitigation protocols, which require a great deal of time and effort.

This week, CVS Health communicated that Good Shepherd Manor has not been assigned clinic dates because Illinois has only activated the Long-Term Care Vaccination Program for skilled nursing facilities at this time. As the activation status of the federal vaccine program in Illinois changes, CVS will inform me of those updates. We continue to engage with CVS daily and will communicate updates as received.

CVS Health is leveraging their entire network to achieve vaccination nationally. Vaccination clinic dates are not scheduled or coordinated at the local level. When assigned, our vaccination will be facility specific. Vaccination cannot be arranged through this vaccination program at other locations, such as retail CVS sites or other long-term care facilities. Individuals will need to be on site on the scheduled clinic dates to receive vaccination through this program.

On Wednesday, CVS Health advised me that the specific vaccine product used is determined by the State.  In Illinois, the Pfizer vaccine will be used in long-term care facilities outside of the City of Chicago.  An information sheet regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine is attached here.

https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download

CVS Health has issued a press release with updates about vaccination in long term care facilities, it is attached below.  If you have a few minutes, it provides interesting information as well as links to additional resources.

https://cvshealth.com/news-and-insights/press-releases/cvs-health-provides-update-on-covid-19-vaccinations-in-long-term

Please know that we share in your desire to receive the vaccine for the men and our staff. We will continue to take any and all necessary steps to make that happen. In the interim, we continue frequent surveillance testing and stringent adherence to prevention measures.

 

12/18/20

Vaccine Fact Sheet – from CDC Website

COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests

Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.

Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19

While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

 Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA

mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work. ​

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12/18/20

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a resident who had called Good Shepherd Manor his home for nearly 25 years. He received hospice services and end of life care in his group home over the last several years due to a health condition unrelated to Covid-19.

This week, there was one new case identified among personnel, in an individual who does not provide care to residents or spend time in the group homes. There were two new cases identified among residents. We continue active surveillance testing of personnel and residents.

Mitigation measures are implemented by all personnel. These continue to focus on hand hygiene, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection regimens.

We remain on track for Tier 1 vaccination. We have not been notified of the date on which CVS will come to Good Shepherd and will communicate to everyone as soon as that notification is received.

The CDC tells us that our best protection from Covid-19 will come from a combination of getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing our hands often.  There is a great deal of information regarding vaccines and safety on the CDC’s Covid-19 vaccination web page, which we encourage everyone to visit.  It is located at:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

 

12/11/20

We are deeply saddened to report that a long-term resident of Good Shepherd Manor passed away this week while at a nursing home receiving rehabilitation services related to his infection with Covid-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Also this week, there was one new case identified among staff and one new case identified among residents. We continue surveillance testing of men and staff and are relieved to see a significant decrease in the number of positive test results.

We continue to implement mitigations including limited person-to-person contact, limiting capacity in common areas, frequent cleaning and disinfection, and PPE. We continue to encourage men to use face coverings when medically able outside of their bedrooms.

The risk of COVID-19 transmission within congregate living settings remains high. At the same time, prolonged separation from families has the potential for negative impact to the health and well being of the men. IDPH has now released guidance for the designation of Essential Caregivers. This will be welcome news for families and men, as it allows a path for identified family members to provide services for men.  The full protocol related to Essential Caregiver designation and requirements is below.  It is important to note that this is different from visitation.

Last week, we communicated that we have secured Tier 1 vaccine distribution. Vaccines will be shipped to regional hospitals in a prepackaged vaccine cooler to meet temperature requirements and then distributed by local health departments. The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care populations. CVS will provide us with a date when they will come to Good Shepherd Manor to provide vaccinations to residents and personnel. Consent and required information must be obtained to receive a vaccination. We will continue to provide information as it is received.

In recent history, vaccines have eliminated Smallpox and Polio in the United States. We are hopeful that the generation who led the way for those vaccines will again set an example for the rest of us.

We are encouraged by many developments this week, including a substantial drop in positive cases, the ability to develop a plan for Essential Caregivers, and progress towards the availability of a vaccine.

We remain grateful for your continued support, encouragement, and prayers.

Essential Caregiver Protocol

The risk of COVID-19 transmission within congregate living settings is high. At the same time, restricting family access to residents creates prolonged physical separation and isolation, which in turn impacts the health and well-being of residents. The goal of this protocol is to ensure residents are able to receive individualized person-centered care.

Definition:  Essential Caregiver (EC) –Essential Caregivers are not general visitors. These individuals meet an essential need for the resident by assisting with activities of daily living or positively influencing the behavior of the resident.  For those residents designating an Essential Caregiver, an addendum to the current plan will be made to document who is designated, the tasks they will be performing, as well as how scheduling and communication with the designated individual/s will occur.

We will schedule EC visits except during outbreak situations in the facility or when the resident being provided essential care has tested positive or is symptomatic for COVID-19. At such times, we will assess on an individual basis to determine if EC visits are appropriate.

Guardians may designate more than one EC based on needs (e.g., more than one family member may be designated to split time to provide care for the resident). If multiple ECs are designated, a schedule will be established by the QIDP, in collaboration with the ECs and resident, keeping in mind the routines and needs of other residents in the home and the space limitations of the home.

The EC will maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other residents and staff and wear appropriate PPE when they are in the facility.  PPE will be provided to the EC, without charge, at each visit.

ECs must be screened, tested, and provided PPE in accordance with the health care personnel guidance in our COVID-19 plan.  Testing will be provided, without charge, to ECs at each EC visit.

The EC will provide care and support in the resident’s room or in designated areas within the home.  The EC must limit movement in the home to designated area and ensure separation from other residents in shared rooms by use of curtains or partitions.

If the EC fails to follow appropriate use of PPE, social distancing from other residents and staff, other COVID-19 related rules, or any other facility policies, QIDP or Clinical Director will discuss the violation and the necessary corrective action with the EC and resident prior to any subsequent visit.  If the identified corrective action is not followed, the EC visits may be discontinued.

Essential Caregiver Process

  • Guardians or residents wishing to designate a/an EC/s will contact QIDP.
  • QIDP will modify the individuals plan to indicate the designated EC/s and to specify the services the EC will provide and in what area/s services will be provided.
  • QIDP and designated EC will coordinate a schedule for EC visits.
  • Visits may be scheduled in blocks of time up to 2 hours per visit, scheduling will be done directly through the QIDP.
  • Visits may be scheduled during normal waking hours for the residents of the home, regardless of day of the week.
  • Visits may be limited to ensure access by all residents.
  • Prior to initial visit, QIDP will provide, and document, training to the EC with regard to mitigation measures, including hand hygiene, infection control, current mitigations, and proper PPE use.
  • At the time of arrival for each EC visit, designated EC will be screened using employee screening tool and tested, without charge, by the supervisor on duty.
  • Upon verification negative results, the supervisor on duty will provide the EC with the appropriate PPE.
  • While in the home, EC will maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other residents and from staff and will follow all mitigation measures as specified.
  • The EC will need to leave the room in the event a roommate needs hygiene or personal care, or wishes to sleep.
  • In shared rooms, the EC will remain in the space designated for the resident being visited.
  • Following the visit, the EC must inform GSM if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of a visit to the resident.

12/4/20

The Coronavirus continues to spread locally, across the state, and within the Good Shepherd Manor community.  Since our last communication, 10 new cases have been identified among staff and 7 among residents. Of these, 15 were identified via surveillance testing, with only two identified due to symptoms. Overall, men and staff are faring well with mild to moderate illness.

We continue to implement existing Contingency and Crisis plans to respond to staffing shortages resulting from positive cases.  While this is a great challenge, our staff continues to rise to the occasion, often working many extra shifts to ensure the men receive the care they need.

We continue to complete weekly PCR testing for staff.  This week, we secured the authorization and supplies to do on our own on site rapid testing. We have implemented rapid testing within the parameters established by IDPH this week.  Supervisory and nursing personnel are being trained to complete the testing, and staff is able to collect their own samples. This is the same testing that is often used at walk-in clinics and community outreach testing events. Supplies and instruction for use have been provided, without cost to us, by the Kankakee County Health Department.

We continue to follow enhanced mitigation measures; these are expected to last into the beginning of 2021. Day program, community outings, non-essential medical trips, etc. will not resume until both State and Regional metrics are met to do so and new cases are no longer being identified at Good Shepherd Manor.

Earlier this week, it was determined that Long Term Care residents and staff will be in Tier 1 for distribution of a vaccine.  Wednesday, we received communication indicating that our request for Tier 1 distribution, as well as assistance with administration, will be honored.  The information provided indicates that the Moderna vaccine will be available to residents and staff, potentially as early as the end of December. When available, we will be provided with dates that a vendor, selected by the CDC as a distribution partner, will come to administer the vaccine.  There will be no alternate dates.  We are in the initial stages of the process and more information will be shared as it is learned. We are beyond grateful for this news. 

This week has given us encouraging news with the approval to complete our own rapid testing and the news of potentially having a vaccine available to us in the coming weeks. 

 

12/2/20

Over the last several weeks, the rate of Covid positivity has been high both locally and across the state.  At Good Shepherd Manor, we continue to identify positive cases among staff and residents, primarily through surveillance testing.

Since our last communication, 16 new cases have been identified among staff and 12 among residents.  Of those, 80% were identified through surveillance testing, 20% were identified by testing individuals with symptoms.  Overall, men are recovering.  Two men are currently hospitalized.  We have a relationship with a local nursing home with a Covid unit; men who test positive are spending their isolation period there.  This provides the men with close clinical monitoring and reduces the opportunity for transmission of infection within the group homes.

There are currently 26 employees out of the workplace, which has a significant impact on staffing.   We have implemented our existing Contingency and Crisis plans to respond to staffing shortages and meet the needs of the men.  To date, our Contingency and Crisis plans have been effective at mitigating the shortage.

We have established a relationship with a laboratory for routine weekly on-site PCR testing; anyone who displays symptoms is referred for immediate testing.   Additionally, we have also completed and submitted necessary certifications and documentation to the State to do on our own on site rapid testing.   Rapid testing is also known as Antigen testing.  Kankakee County Health Department, who we remain in frequent contact with, has provided us with the testing supplies at no cost.  We will be able to implement on site rapid testing, within parameters established by IDPH, as soon as authorization is received.

All homes remain on enhanced mitigations which call for reduced person to person contact, limit of movement in common areas, increased cleaning and disinfection, and the use of enhanced PPE for personnel.  We continue to encourage men who are safely able to use cloth or medical face coverings when outside of their bedrooms.  As the situation progresses, we continue to work to balance mitigation measures with the mental, social, and physical needs of the men.  Current mitigation measures are expected to last into the beginning of the new year.

A vaccine is expected to be available within the next several weeks.  Yesterday, it was determined that healthcare workers and long term care residents are designated for Tier 1 distribution. We have registered with the National Health Safety Network for access to a vaccine at this tier, as well as assistance with administration.  We remain in contact with IDPH regarding a vaccine and will communicate as soon as we learn if we are approved for Tier 1 distribution and when that can be expected.

As we approach the holidays, we understand that this year will be especially challenging for men and their families, as well as for staff.  We appreciate your continued support and prayers.

 

11/23/20

Last week, we communicated that the rate of Covid positivity is high both locally and across the state, resulting in impact at Good Shepherd Manor.  At this time, we have 30 employees out of the workplace and have identified positive cases among either staff or men at each home. We have implemented our existing Contingency and Crisis plans to respond to staffing shortages and meet the needs of the men.

Most positive cases are being identified through surveillance testing, rather than individuals presenting with symptoms of illness.  Among both staff and men, approximately 70% of identified positive cases are asymptomatic at the time of identification.   The health and safety of men and staff remains our utmost priority.  We continue surveillance testing to identify and isolate individuals and reduce the opportunity for transmission.

Illinois remains under Tier 3 Mitigations in all 11 Regions.  At Good Shepherd Manor, all homes remain on heightened mitigations which call for reduced person to person contact, limit of movement in common areas, increased cleaning and disinfection, and the use of enhanced PPE.  This includes a mask, face shield, and gown for any personnel inside of a group home, as well as the use of gloves for any direct contact.  We have also implemented the use of N95 respirators for personnel able to safely tolerate them and continue to encourage men to use cloth or medical face coverings when outside their bedrooms.

While under Tier 3 Mitigations, we must also suspend any on site visitation, including outdoor visits.  In order to resume outdoor visits, Tier 3 Mitigations must be lifted and the county must achieve and maintain specific criteria for at least 14 days.

We understand that this news is disheartening to many families; however home visits will still be permitted with no anticipated change to our current visitation procedures.  For those families still choosing to take men home, please refer to previously distributed guidelines.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we strongly suggest following the guidance of the CDC and other health authorities to limit the spread of the virus.  The safest way to celebrate is with those who live in your home, and connect with extended family virtually.

We wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving and appreciate your continued understanding and support as we work through this incredibly challenging time.

 

11/19/20

In response to the rising positive COVID cases in Illinois, and in an effort to be as proactive as possible, Good Shepherd Manor is currently testing all previously negative personnel who have any resident interaction weekly.  Additionally, we have tested several homes during round one of testing, and plan to continue to test all previously negative men monthly, on a weekly fractional basis.

During this week’s round of CILA/ICF testing, 4 additional positive cases have been identified among men, which directly affect 4 of the houses.  As noted in yesterday’s correspondence, all homes continue to be on heightened mitigation in an effort to flatten the curve, and keep the men and staff safe here at Good Shepherd Manor.

If your loved one is directly affected, you will be immediately and directly notified.

As circumstances change, we may need to test more frequently or at different intervals.  In the event of a new positive identified at a home among staff or residents, we prioritize testing for previously negative men in that home.  If an employee reports symptoms or has an elevated temperature, he or she is excluded from the workplace and referred for testing immediately.  If a resident displays symptoms he is assessed by nursing; referrals for immediate testing are then made based upon the findings of the nurse.

When an individual has previously tested positive, he or she is typically not retested, CDC guidelines for transmission based precautions are followed.

We are grateful for your continued thoughts and prayers as we continue to work through this difficult situation.

 

11/18/20

On Monday we communicated that the surrounding community, Region 7, is experiencing positivity rates around 20% and that these increases have now impacted Good Shepherd Manor.  Currently, there are 16 employees out of the workplace who have tested positive.  10 men have tested positive, with impact at 4 of our CILA homes.

This is an evolving and deeply concerning situation, which we take very seriously.   In response to this outbreak, all homes are currently following heightened mitigation measures. Such measures include all staff wearing full PPE; use of disposables for meal service, hourly disinfection of high touch surfaces, and limit of movement in common areas of the homes.

As cases continue to rise throughout the state in every region, surpassing the spring peak, the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced that all 11 regions will move into Tier 3 effective Friday, November 20, 2020 at 12:01am.

What this means for GSM is that we will have to temporarily discontinue outdoor visitation until we can return to Tier 2. In order to do so, the following metrics must be met:

  • A seven-day test positivity average below 12% for three consecutive days
  • More than 20% availability for intensive care units and hospital beds for three consecutive days
  • A decline in seven-day hospitalization average for at least seven days

We understand that this news is disheartening to many families; however home visits will still be permitted with no anticipated change to our current visitation procedures.  For those families still choosing to take men home, please refer to previously distributed guidelines.

The health and safety of the residents and staff remain our utmost priority.  We encourage everyone to work to limit the spread of the virus by wearing a face covering outside of your home and household, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.

11/16/20

Throughout the first eight months of the pandemic, Good Shepherd Manor was fortunate to avoid significant impact.  Right now, there is a high positivity rate of Coronavirus cases around the country, across Illinois, and in Kankakee County.  The region that we are in, Region 7, is experiencing positivity rates around 20%.  The high incidence of infection in the surrounding community has now had a significant impact at Good Shepherd Manor.  In recent weeks, we have had sixteen staff and ten men test positive for the Coronavirus with 11 of those positive results coming in the last 24 hours.

Throughout this situation, we remain in frequent communication with the local health department.  We will continue to work with, and follow the guidance of the local and state Health Departments.  Contact tracing is a function of the health department, not Good Shepherd Manor, and we provide all requested information to them if a positive case is identified.

When an individual tests positive, they must isolate until meeting the criteria to discontinue.  The CDC criteria for discontinuing isolation is typically 10 days from symptom onset, with improving symptoms and at least 24 hours fever free.  This is different than the 14 day quarantine period in the event of close contact.  The CDC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset or, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection for asymptomatic individuals, until the time the person is isolated.

When a positive case is identified among staff, that individual is excluded from the workplace in keeping with current CDC and IDPH guidelines, which is generally 10 days from symptom onset or the date of test collection if asymptomatic.  When a positive case is identified among residents, we are now working with local skilled care facilities to secure temporary placement on a Covid unit for clinical monitoring and to limit the opportunity for transmission within the GSM community.

We have implemented weekly testing of personnel as well as frequent resident testing. All personnel are screened for symptoms and temperature before and during work.  Men are screened for symptoms and have vitals collected on each shift.  Staff follows prevention measures including frequent hand hygiene, discontinuing group activities and dining, limiting the use of common rooms, frequent cleaning and disinfection, as well as use of enhanced PPE, beyond what is normally used in a group home setting.

We have not operated Day Program since October 21st and will reassess after Thanksgiving and on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the pandemic.  We have registered with the National Health Safety Network for access to vaccine ahead of availability to the general public.  If approved, we would also receive assistance with administration.  The vaccines in development have many handling requirements that exceed the abilities of community level providers.

Health authorities at both local and state levels have been communicating to the public that small gatherings in private homes are a large contributor to the spread of infection and advises against any gathering with individuals from outside of our own households. With the approach of the Thanksgiving holiday, we know that many families were hopeful that restrictions surrounding visits and home visits would relax.  IDPH has been clear that this will not be the case and has warned that more stringent restrictions will be imposed if local and state positivity is not abated.

We understand that many families wish to take men home over the upcoming holidays.  At this time, there is no change, nor any anticipated change, to our current visitation procedures.  For those families taking men home for extended visits, we encourage compliance with public health guidelines or mandates in your destination area throughout the duration of the visit.

Outside visitation continues on a scheduled basis.  To schedule a visit with your loved one please call 815-472-3700 ext 1341.  Guidelines for outdoor visiting are attached.   Outdoor visits may not take place inside of a walled structure, such as a tent with walls.  We understand that the weather is becoming increasingly challenging for outdoor visits, but must comply with IDPH directives.

Scheduled home visits may also be accommodated. To schedule a home visit with your loved one please call 815-472-3700 ext 1341.  Guidelines for home visits are attached for men who live in CILA homes.  If men who live in either of the ICFs (Thomas Lombard House & Thomas Herbstritt House) leave the home with family for any period of time, we are required to place the individual in isolation for 14 days.

 

11/11/20

Since Monday, we have been notified of additional staff and residents testing positive for the Coronavirus.  Currently, there are six staff and seven men who have recently tested positive.

The Covid positivity rate is very high locally and we expect that we will continue to experience the impact of the virus within the GSM community.  We will continue to put forth our best efforts to limit the spread and monitor and care for the men.

Staff continues to closely monitor men, including collecting temperature and vitals on each shift.  Staff remains diligent in completing the additional tasks associated with prevention, including changes to mealtime and other day to day functions, using appropriate PPE while working, and extra cleaning and sanitizing.

We are in communication with health authorities and report new cases as they occur.  We follow the guidance of the local and state Health Departments to ensure proper treatment and follow-up is provided.  The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our highest priority.

11/9/20

We were notified today that two additional staff members tested positive for Coronavirus.  For privacy purposes we cannot disclose any further information about the individuals. We have contacted the local health department to advise of the situation and determine if additional action is recommended.

As Covid positivity rises locally and across the state, we continue work to limit the spread of the virus.  Last week, we made the difficult decision to return to providing Day Program services exclusively in the group homes.  We are implementing weekly routine testing of personnel and continue to refer symptomatic individuals for immediate testing.  We continue to screen all personnel and remain in regular communication with the local health department.

Staff continues to closely monitor men, including collecting temperature and vitals on each shift.  Staff remains diligent in completing the additional tasks associated with prevention, including changes to mealtime and other day to day functions, using appropriate PPE while working, and extra cleaning and sanitizing.

We maintain communication with health authorities and follow the guidance of the local and state Health Departments to ensure proper treatment and follow-up is provided.  The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our highest priority.

11/7/20

After being notified Thursday of potential exposure to the Coronavirus, impacted individuals were tested.  Over the last 24 hours, we were notified that three men and an additional staff member have tested positive.  For privacy purposes we cannot disclose any further information about the individuals.  All men are in good condition at this time and are being closely monitored in isolation.  We have contacted the local health department to advise of the situation and determine if additional action is recommended.

As Covid positivity rises locally and across the state, we continue work to limit the spread of the virus.  Earlier this week, we made the difficult decision return to providing Day Program services exclusively in the group homes.  We are implementing weekly routine testing of personnel and continue to refer symptomatic individuals for immediate testing.  We continue to screen all personnel and remain in regular communication with the local health department.

Staff continues to closely monitor men, including collecting temperature and vitals on each shift.  Staff remains diligent in completing the additional tasks associated with prevention, including changes to mealtime and other day to day functions, using appropriate PPE while working, and extra cleaning and sanitizing.

We maintain communication with health authorities and follow the guidance of the local and state Health Departments to ensure proper treatment and follow-up is provided.  The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our highest priority.

 

11/5/20

Today we were notified that a staff person tested positive for COVID-19.  For privacy purposes we cannot disclose any further information about the individual. The individual has not been on the premises in several days and no men at the impacted homes are symptomatic.  All residents are monitored closely.  We are currently in communication with the local health department to determine further actions.

Families have been notified by email and a letter has been sent to those family members without an email on file. Staff were also notified.

COVID positivity rates are increasing both locally and across the state at concerning levels.  At this time, out of an abundance of caution, we will return to providing Day Program services exclusively in the group homes.  This decision is not made lightly; it is made with the safety and health of men, staff, and everyone’s families at the top of mind. The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our highest priority.

 

10/19/20

It is with heavy hearts that we report that one of our residents has tested positive for COVID-19. For privacy purposes we cannot disclose any further information about the resident. The resident is doing well at this time and is in isolation.  All residents are monitored closely.  All previously negative residents and staff from the impacted home were tested last week, as well as the week before, and tested negative.   We are currently in communication with the local health department to determine further actions.

Good Shepherd Manor continues to communicate with the local health department and follow proper protocols. Since March, all individuals have been screened prior to entry to any building.  The men have had their temperature taken every shift.  We have reinforced proper hand and cough hygiene, and universal masking is in place.  We have been following all state and local guidelines. We will continue to work with, and follow the guidance of the local and state Health Departments to ensure proper treatment and follow-up is provided.  The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our highest priority.

10/2/20

Additional staff tests have all come back negative. The one staff person that tested positive for COVID19 is deferred and not at the Manor at this time.

The first resident that tested positive this week is back from the hospital and is currently in isolation at the Manor although he has been medically cleared and is asymptomatic. The second resident that tested positive is also asymptomatic and is in isolation at the Manor until the quarantine period is complete per CDC, State, & local health department guidelines. The rest of the men are well and without symptoms of illness.

Families and staff have all been notified every step of the way. As always, for privacy purposes we cannot disclose any further information about the resident or staff member.

9/30/20

Updated information since reporting the one positive COVID19 case on Monday 9/28/20:  Following the guidelines from the Health Department we tested all residents and staff members from the house where there was a positive case. We were notified today that we have one additional resident that tested positive and one staff member. Neither are showing any symptoms of illness. We have results back on all of the residents of the house and all of them tested negative for the virus except the one additional resident. We are waiting on additional test results from several staff, but we felt it was important to be transparent with the information that we currently have. The original resident that was diagnosed remains off campus and does not show any signs of illness.

9/28/20

It is with heavy hearts that we report that one of our residents has tested positive for COVID-19. The resident was diagnosed during a hospital stay unrelated to COVID symptoms. He is currently not at the Manor. Families have been notified by email and a letter has been sent to those family members without an email on file. Staff were also notified. As we have mentioned before, our top priority is the health and safety of our residents and staff. We also take our resident’s right to privacy seriously and therefore will not release any further information.

7/31/20

It is with heavy hearts that we report that one of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19. Families have been notified by email and a letter has been sent to those family members without an email on file. Staff were also notified. As we have mentioned before, our top priority is the health and safety of our residents and staff. We also take our staff members right to privacy seriously and therefore will not release any further information.

6/29/20

Updated visiting guidelines 6.29.20

6/25/20

It is with heavy hearts that we report that one of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19. Families have been notified by email and a letter has been sent to those family members without an email on file. Staff were also notified. As we have mentioned before, our top priority is the health and safety of our residents and staff. We also take our staff members right to privacy seriously and therefore will not release any further information.

6/24/20

As stated in our previous update all residents and employees were tested on Thursday, May 21.  All residents and staff have tested negative. The resident that had previously tested positive, has met the criteria for recovery and is back in his home. While we are happy to share this news, we understand that we must continue to take aggressive preventive action to minimize the impact of the virus on the men and staff at Good Shepherd Manor. We will update again, once we have heard back from all staff with their test results.  We will continue to implement intervention and mitigation recommendations from Kankakee County Health Department, IDPH, and other regulatory bodies as the situation evolves.

As stated before, guidelines from CDC and IDPH change frequently.  Our leadership team is included in the IDPH alert system and participates in weekly training to ensure that we remain current in our prevention and mitigation strategies.  We hold weekly training and communication teleconferences to all personnel and distribute print material often so that all personnel remain up to date as well.

5/14/20

IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING REQUIREMENTS AND TESTING

We are following the requirements of the Illinois Department of Public Health with regard to our workforce.  Those requirements include:

  • All employees enter at a central location and are screened pre-shift and mid shift for:  Fever of 100 or greater, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, new or unusual headache, chills or shaking with chills, and muscle pain.
  • If any fever or symptoms are noted at pre-shift or mid-shift screening, the employee is immediately excluded from the workplace and required to report for testing.  They are excluded from the workplace from the length of time appropriate to their test outcomes in keeping with IDPH guidelines.
  • The Kankakee County Health Department is notified of any employees deferred from the workplace and provides guidance with return to work.
  • Universal face mask use at all times on duty
  • Hand hygiene upon entry and at all points of care
  • Hourly cleaning and disinfection of all hard surfaces
  • Use of PPE appropriate to individual care giving situations

Additionally, all men must wear cloth face coverings when they are outside of their rooms.  The full set of guidelines that we are required to follow is too lengthy to communicate in an email, but is available here:  http://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/IDPH%20LTC%20Guidance%20updated%205.7.20.pdf

Governor Pritzker has announced that he intends to make testing available or required for all nursing homes, however there is a prioritization for this and we have not been notified of any state mandated testing for our site.  It is important to note that our CILA homes do not fall under the Nursing Home Act and may or may not be included in mandatory state testing.   This determination would be made at State and Local levels and communicated to providers.  We will follow all directives of the authorities with regard to additional testing

In order to ensure the safety of our residents and staff, Good Shepherd Manor initiated contact and has partnered with the Kankakee County Health Department and Riverside Medical Center to complete on-site universal testing of all men and staff.  The date for that event is 5/21 and logistics will be arranged in keeping with CDC guidelines by the team that RMC sends. 

Guidelines from CDC and IDPH change frequently.  Our leadership team is included in the IDPH alert system and participates in weekly training to ensure that we remain current in our prevention and mitigation strategies.  We hold weekly training and communication teleconferences to all personnel and distribute print material often so that all personnel remain up to date as well.

_______________________________________________________________________

OLDER POSTS: As always, the health and safety of our residents, staff, and families remain our top priority.  The situation with Covid-19 continues to develop and there are now over 79,000 cases in Illinois, over 3,400 deaths, and over 810 cases in Kankakee County with 33 deaths.  As of 5/13/2020 we have been notified that one resident has been diagnosed with COVID-19. He is currently in isolation and is being provided care consistent with the recommendations of the physician and the health department.

All Residential services at Good Shepherd Manor remain operational.  Staff is working hard to keep men safe, healthy, and engaged in activities during this difficult time.  We have been truly blessed by the creativity and determination of the staff that comes here to serve the men.

We continue to take aggressive preventive action to minimize the impact of the virus on the men and staff at Good Shepherd Manor. The following steps have been implemented at GSM:

Masks:

  • Must be worn by all personnel at all times, covering mouth and nose
  • Must be worn by all men outside of their rooms or when staff need to enter

Hand Hygiene:

  • Everyone must sanitize or wash hands immediately upon entry to all group homes
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently and at all 5 points of resident care
  • Prompt and assist men to wash or sanitize their hands frequently

Increased Cleaning and Disinfection:

  • All hard surfaces must be disinfected hourly and after being touched:
  • Light switches, door knobs, remote controls, chair arms, table tops bathrooms, fridge/microwave handles, etc.)

Social Distancing:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between all people
  • No group dining or activities
  • No more than 9 people in any room and at least 6 feet of space between all people

Don’t Touch Your Face & Follow Cough/Sneeze Etiquette

PPE:  masks on properly, gloves for any resident contact, eye protection for high contact activities, gowns for care of ill men, follow donning/doffing procedure

Staff:

  • Must NOT to report to work ill
  • Must be screened pre-shift and at 4 hour intervals while working for fever and symptoms
  • Will report to RMC for testing if excluded due to fever or symptoms

Residents:

  • Must have full vitals, including pulse ox, checked & documented at 6a, 2p, & 9p
  • Must be directed to room immediately if any symptom is noted and notify nursing & supervisor
  • May need 4 hour pulse ox checks in some situations

NO VISITORS:

  • No visitors
  • Only essential personnel & repairs
  • All deliveries outside through approved vendors, NO shopping, takeout, or meal delivery
  • Exchange of paperwork, supplies, etc. is contactless to the extent possible

We will continue to monitor developments and follow the directions of health experts and authorities.  We appreciate your support, concern, and patience as we work to respond to this global health crisis.