The COVID-19 pandemic has been part of our lives now for over 3 months. Our residents and staff have missed seeing family members and friends! I feel blessed to work with this excellent team of health care providers and care givers. They have done an excellent job adjusting to the new policies and procedures while maintaining a positive attitude for residents and co-workers.

I want to thank our families and friends for the many acts of kindness bestowed upon us during this pandemic. Bottled water, handmade masks and gowns, flowers, encouraging signs, notes from children, paintings, posters and prayers are just a few of the gifts we have received. We are not able yet to receive outside food, and I apologize for not being able to accept homemade goodies from families!

While counties and cities around us are lifting restrictions, Maple Heights is regulated federally by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and at the state level by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). We have not received authorization to lift our restrictions. The official statement from KDADS is as follows:

KDADS is currently working with KDHE and KDEM on a

plan for testing residents and staff of nursing facilities in

Kansas in accordance with the CMS guidelines and Gov.

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Kelly’s phased plan for reopening facilities for visitors.

Currently we are assessing key areas of supply and lab

capacity for testing and plan to have more comprehensive

guidance available to providers next week.

We are encouraged that there is a plan on the horizon. While we want to return to a more normal state, we must keep in mind the original reason for the visitor ban. Our elders are at the highest risk of any population in our nation of dying from COVID-19. Recent reports show that over 26,000 nursing home residents have died in the past 3 months from COVID-19, and experts believe this figure may be underestimated. We must continue to protect our residents and mitigate their risk for exposure.

We continue to follow protocols to reduce exposure to the virus and to protect residents and staff. We are offering individual bus rides to residents where we can drive by family members homes or places of employment to say hello from an extended distance. Residents also communicate with family and friends via FaceTime, on the telephone, or through the screened porch, at Maple Heights. We look forward to a time when the doors are open to the public once again!

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