Dear Residents, Families and Staff:
Fall is definitely in the air, with the crisp weather and brilliant blue skies. While much about the season seems familiar, this fall is unlike any other. Yet we soldier on, making the best of this unprecedented situation and supporting one another with compassion and respect.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of our communities in person and it has been a truly uplifting experience. As the communities are cautiously re-opening, residents are engaging in a variety of fun and creatively social distanced activities. The spirit of our wonderful communities is beginning to return, a welcome change and an example of our resiliency.
It has been great to see residents out-and-about, enjoying the community and getting reacquainted with their neighbors and staff. There is an overall sense of hope that we’ve turned the corner and brighter days are ahead. To a person, the residents I’ve spoken to are grateful for the support and care they received during the stay at home directive and are enthusiastic in their praise of the staff members in their community.
And our employees, “Springpoint’s Heroes”, they truly are the shining stars! I’ve had a chance to speak with many of our team members, particularly those on the front lines and I am honored to lead such an amazing group of employees. As we’ve come through this exceptionally difficult experience our team members are expressing a strong sense of pride and purpose for rising to the occasion and working together to keep our elders safe during such a challenging time. They expressed to me that the outpouring of gratitude from both residents and leadership has made them feel valued and given a renewed sense of meaning to their work, knowing that they are truly making a difference.
In the past few weeks, there have been a number of new directives from both state and federal health officials related to community re-openings, visitation and communication initiatives. Our health services team members are working directly with the communities to assure that we are in compliance with these requirements and have the necessary tools in place to implement. You will receive information directly from your community leadership regarding these new directives.
In closing, I would like to once again acknowledge the continued outpouring of thanks and appreciation from residents and family members for the efforts of our employees and leadership teams. Your kind words and encouragement sustained us during the most difficult days and continue to motivate us as we work together to create our new normal in each of our communities.
Thank you again for your continued support. Best regards,
Anthony A. Argondizza
President & Chief Executive Officer
Dear Residents, Staff and Families,
As we embark on month five of managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and health of our residents and staff remains our top priority. While we have seen some encouraging signs of progress over the past month, there are spikes and hot spots emerging across the country. As such, it is imperative that we remain vigilant. From the beginning of this health crisis, our response has been guided by our healthcare professionals and medical directors, in compliance with mandates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the State and local departments of Health.
The process of reopening our communities has begun. I would be remiss not to acknowledge the letters and calls received requesting a more aggressive approach. Yet, our return to normalcy must be cautious and measured. The health and well-being of our residents and our “Springpoint Heroes” who serve them with great compassion must continue to be our number one priority. We carefully monitor the operations and health status within each community. Through a collaborative process with our healthcare experts and community leadership teams, we plan and implement opening activities, monitor the impact and then determine when and if more openings can safely occur. I am truly appreciative of your trust and patience. We understand that this can be a frustrating process, but given the vulnerability of many who live in our communities, we believe that this approach will provide the greatest level of protection.
As required, weekly mandated COVID-19 testing continues, and we are very proud of our results. The Springpoint system has less than a 1% positivity rate. Any new cases are reported by the individual communities in their notifications to residents, families and staff as well as to health officials. These results would not be possible without the oversight and guidance provided by our health services professionals, the support and diligence of our resident population, and the efforts and commitment to exceptional standards of care by our staff.
Additionally, at the direction of the CMS and CDC, the State health departments have conducted a COVID-19 Focused Infection Control Study in all of our healthcare areas. We are pleased to report that six of our communities were found to be deficiency free, and just two communities each received one low-level deficiency. This is further testament to the diligent work of our community leadership to assure that our models of care are in compliance with all regulations and protocols related to infection control.
Since March, we have put a number of safety measures in place for the protection of residents and staff and these will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Following is an overview:
In addition to these measures, we have also contracted with BioProtectors™ a New Jersey-based company that uses cutting-edge technology to inspect, disinfect and protect against the accumulation and cross-contamination of microbial pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew. BioProtectors™ has treated all our or CCRC communities with their three-step process. The first step includes inspection—using swab testing and microbial imaging—to identify any areas of contamination. The second step includes disinfection with SmartTouch, an EPA registered hospital disinfectant. The third and final step includes application of BioProtect™ Surface Protectant, an electrostatic spray application that provides a 90-day antimicrobial coating that keeps surfaces protected between cleanings. We are excited to bring this technology to our communities and feel that it provides us with a next-generation level of cleanliness to support our commitment to exceptional infection control practices.
I am proud and humbled by the ongoing dedication of each community and the manner in which all have managed through this unprecedented situation. The successes we are seeing in terms of our tests and surveys demonstrate that our team members are among the best in our industry. I am proud to call them colleagues.
Successful community results to-date speak for themselves, but we know we cannot yet let down our defenses nor become complacent. Our Springpoint team is focused on continuing this fight against COVID-19 and working tirelessly to regain some sense of normal in our communities.
As always, we thank you for your support and words of encouragement that sustain us during this challenging time.
Together, we look forward to brighter days ahead.
Anthony A. Argondizza
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
As we recently celebrated Independence Day, I reflected on this great nation that we live in and our history of coming together in times of great challenge. These past few months have been among the most difficult our nation has faced, yet we have seen an amazing outpouring of support for one another. I am comforted by the compassion being displayed and remain inspired by how we are all living the motto, “we are in this together.”
Our communities have made incredible progress over the past few weeks in the gradual reopening, taking immense care to do so in a way that protects the safety and well-being of all staff and residents. Leadership is working closely with our Springpoint Health Services team to assure that these reopening initiatives are carefully planned and consistent with all required health protocols.
We are grateful that we can now allow family visits, albeit with restrictions. We know how challenging it has been for residents and families to be apart over the past few months and it is wonderful to be permitted to invite families back. Each community will continue to provide information directly to you with regards to their visitation policies as well as specifics on overall reopening initiatives.
Our reopening progress is all made possible by the continued success we are seeing in our testing results. In late May we implemented weekly COVID-19 testing as required by the State’s Department of Health in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate.
As of this week, a total of 4,923 tests of our residents, staff and CCRC employees have been completed and we are pleased to report that we continue to see less than 1% of this group test positive for COVID-19 throughout all of our communities. Any new cases are reported by the individual communities in their notification to residents, families and staff as well as to health officials.
The great progress we have made is a testament to the diligent efforts of our staff in following the policies and protocols required to fight the threat of this dangerous virus. It is also a testament to the cooperation and compliance of all residents and family members. We should all take great pride in what we’ve achieved together.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement as we work to safely reopen our communities.
Anthony A. Argondizza
Dear Resident, Families and Staff,
I hope this message finds you well. With the warmer weather of spring finally upon us and continued signs of recovery being shared, I’m hopeful that brighter days lie ahead.
I wanted to share with you some good news regarding the Covid-19 testing required by the State’s Department of Health in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate. As of May 25, all of our CCRCs completed the required testing of residents in the healthcare centers and staff members throughout the communities. I would like to congratulate the communities and our Springpoint Health Services team on the quick and successful implementation of this massive undertaking.
A total of 2,226 tests of our healthcare center residents, staff and CCRC employees were completed in the initial round and we are pleased to report that less than 1% of this group tested positive for COVID-19 throughout all of our communities. These new cases are being reported by the individual communities in their notification to residents, families and staff as well as to health officials.
Currently, we are in the process of implementing the required second round of testing for anyone who tested negative in the first round. Any cases identified in this second round will also be reported by the communities. In addition, we are putting plans in place to meet ongoing testing requirements as outlined by the State’s Department of Health, CMS, and CDC. Each community will provide updates on their individual testing results and protocols as they are developed.
As the number of COVID-19 cases in our region has begun to decline, health officials are providing guidelines on how we can safely reduce restrictions placed on operations and begin to “re-open” our communities. Since the situation and needs of each of our communities is unique, each community will have its own distinct plan.
The Executive Directors, Administrators and community leadership teams are working closely with our Health Services staff to develop a comprehensive, detailed plan designed to protect the safety and well-being of all residents and staff members. The Executive Director will provide details and updates to their residents, families and staff as the plans evolve.
For all of us, the past few months have been unlike anything we’ve witnessed in our lifetime. Yet each day, I am inspired by the resilience and fortitude of both our residents and staff. In the brighter days ahead, I hope that we will look back on this as a moment in time when we made the best of a difficult situation with compassion and understanding.
I am eager for the day when we can join together in person to share our appreciation and begin our return to normal. Until that time, I wish you all good health and my sincerest gratitude for your continued support.
Dear Residents, Staff and Family Members,
Testing is a critical tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. In recent days, health offices in the states of New Jersey and Delaware have issued important guidance regarding the testing of residents and staff in long-term care communities and we are mobilizing to meet these new requirements. You will be receiving detailed information from your community on the testing program and schedule, but we wanted to share these highlights.
On May 13 the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health issued an Executive Directive for COVID-19 testing to be conducted for all residents and staff at all licensed long-term care facilities by May 26, 2020. The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of individuals who initially test negative in an effort to detect those with newly developed infection, and further retesting in accordance with CDC guidance. Long-term care facilities also have to amend their outbreak plans to include plans to test and retest staff and residents, cohort residents who test positive, policies for excluding staff who test positive as well as timeframes and requirements for returning to work in accordance with CDC and Department of Health recommendations.
The Springpoint Health Services team is working closely with our New Jersey communities to implement testing beginning on May 19 and will be completed by the deadline of May 26. The current test plan includes testing of all residents in healthcare, all staff members throughout the community and any private-duty caregivers who work in the community. Currently, Independent Living residents will not be part of this round of testing. We are looking at ways to provide testing in the near future for Independent Living residents.
For The Moorings at Lewes, we are following Delaware guidance regarding testing. On May 5, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. Public health experts at the DPH will support clinicians at long-term care facilities with the new testing program and the Moorings at Lewes team are working closely with them to implement this plan, with additional support from our Health Services team. Similar to New Jersey, the Delaware test plan includes testing of all residents in healthcare, all staff members throughout the community and any private-duty caregivers who work in the community.
With this universal testing, we anticipate that we may see an increase in positive cases in some of our communities. These will be individuals who are “asymptomatic” positive as we have been testing all residents and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms and those individuals with whom they have come in contact. Those results will be provided to you as part of the regular COVID-19 notification you receive from the community Executive Director. In addition, we will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health officials to implement any additional protocols or measures needed to protect the safety and well-being of all residents and staff members.
Thank you again for your continued support. And please join me in extending our gratitude to the staff members in our communities for the exceptional job they are doing in managing through this uncharted journey.
Dear Residents, Family and Staff,
Like many of you, I am eager to get back to normal. While we have begun to receive data to support that we may be in the “decline” phase of the healthcare crisis, it is imperative that we continue to follow the guidance of health officials and reduce transmission of COVID-19. While it is not the time to relax our focus and precautions, we should take comfort in signs that we’re making progress and the governor is now talking about plans to re-open. We will continue to follow these developments closely and remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being for all residents and staff. For now, we will stay the course.
As we manage through this pandemic, I am in awe of the resilience of our residents, although not surprised. You and your peers have shared so many challenging experiences throughout your lifetime and you have always been a shining example of how to face adversity with dignity and strength. I am also filled with pride as I observe our Springpoint staff rise to the occasion while they continue to deliver programs and services with great compassion. I’m so impressed with how you’ve managed through this challenging situation, with creativity and determination to make sure that everyone remains safe and healthy. Your grit and commitment to excellence puts a smile on my face. You truly are our Springpoint Heroes. If you would like to see examples of our heroes in action, I encourage you to follow our communities on Facebook.
There has been quite a bit of news lately about the number of COVID-19 cases in senior living communities and long-term care facilities. We strongly believe in transparency and are following requirements for reporting of cases to health officials, families, residents and staff. While The Moorings at Lewes has not reported a positive case, all of our New Jersey CCRCs have experienced positive cases among both residents and staff. We are now seeing success stories as members of both groups are recovering and, in the case of employees, returning to work. Sadly, residents in some of our New Jersey communities have passed away due to complications related to COVID-19. It is always difficult when we lose a member of our community, but particularly so during this time when we can’t join together to share both our grief and memories. Our most heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the residents whom we have lost. We will plan remembrance events for these residents when the time is right.
Individual statistics for New Jersey senior living communities can be found on the Department of Health (NJ DOH) website at this link: https://covid19.nj.gov/#live-updates. Note that the number of confirmed cases includes both residents and staff members. These numbers are derived from the information we report to our local health officials, who in turn report to NJ DOH. Since there can be a delay in the reporting from one entity to the other, these numbers may not match exactly with numbers reported in the community.
Statistics for Delaware COVID-10 cases can be found on the State of Delaware website at this link: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/
Spring is a time of renew and hope. As I watch the trees turn green and the days grow longer, I look forward to the brighter days that lie ahead. I am grateful to all of our residents and families for your continued encouragement and support and I am honored to work with and lead such a dedicated and exceptional team of employees. Together, we shine.
Dear Springpoint Family,
Our teams continue to work tirelessly to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. I am extremely proud of each and every one of our employees who continue to go above and beyond during this unprecedented time. I know that the past few weeks have been extremely challenging, but the hard work and sacrifice of our employees is greatly appreciated—not just by me, but by our residents and those we serve.
I want to take a moment to celebrate our front-line employees, who are carrying much of this burden. It is truly inspiring to see them rise to the challenges we face every day, especially when I know they are also concerned for the well-being of those close to them.
Our front-line employees have demonstrated their dedication to those we serve with unwavering courage and selflessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have proven to be Springpoint’s heroes.
To show our appreciation, we have established a Springpoint Heroes Fund through the support of Springpoint and the Springpoint Foundation. This fund was created to recognize and support the tremendous job our employees are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic as they work tirelessly to promote the safety, health and well-being of our residents and one another.
The Springpoint Heroes Fund will come to life in two ways:
This fund provides our front-line employees, who continue to work and care for those we serve, a one-time recognition incentive. Full-time, part-time and per-diem employees are eligible for the incentive which they will receive in this week’s paycheck.
Additionally, the Springpoint Heroes Fund will provide each community with funds and resources to assist each community in recognizing the outstanding contributions of all of our team members. From morale boosting signage to free meals, give-aways, and more, communities will have the means to celebrate the contributions of this special group of employees.
We’ll be providing each of these outstanding employees with a green and gold Springpoint Heroes ribbon that they can wear with pride. They deserve the distinction as they continue to provide care and service with an extraordinary level of compassion.
We have received requests from residents and family members who want to support our employees during this challenging time and we invite those who would like to help to do so by contributing to the Springpoint Heroes Fund.
My heart goes out to all employees and I want you to know that we are in this together. I remain humbled and so very proud of each and every member of the Springpoint family. We will come out of this—stronger than we were before.
Thank you to each and every one of our employees for your hard work and sacrifice.
Anthony A. Argondizza
Dear Residents, Families, and Staff,
As the number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow, our communities remain resolute in their commitment to take aggressive measures to protect the safety and well-being of residents, staff, and families. The work they are doing is exemplary and as an organization we are providing the resources and full force of our Springpoint expertise to support them in this effort.
Many senior living communities in our area are now reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among both residents and staff. We have received questions regarding our process for notification in the event of a positive or suspected case of COVID-19. Following is an outline of our notification process, which is in compliance with federal, state and local health agencies requirements. Our goal is to provide open communication to the greatest degree possible, but to balance that effort in a way that respects the privacy obligations of our residents and staff.
For reference, attached is a recap of the steps we have taken in our communities in response to COVID-19. We will keep you up to date as our approach and response continue to evolve. Thanks to all of you for your support and words of encouragement as we manage through this unprecedented situation. Our community staff and home office team are going above and beyond—we are so proud of all that they are doing during this extraordinary time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of New Jersey Department of Health, Delaware Division of Public Health and local health officials have issued guidance specific to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities. Below is an overview of our response to these guidelines:
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
Times of great uncertainty and challenge often bring out the best in us. Over the past few weeks, as we’ve dealt with the sudden and unforeseen impact brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed an amazing coming together of staff, residents, and families to support and help each other through these trying times.
We are grateful to our residents and family members for your understanding and cooperation as we increased restrictions on activities and movement about the community to help lessen the chance of transmission. Your kind words of support and encouragement have helped sustain many of us as we carry on with our essential work. Moreover, it is heart-warming to learn of the efforts of those residents who are taking time to virtually connect with one another so that no one feels alone during this time of social distancing and self-isolation.
We are grateful to our staff for the tremendous job they are doing to assure the safety and well-being of all residents and one another. These employees are putting their own uncertainties aside, selflessly serving our residents, and going above and beyond. Their tireless efforts and compassion for others is an inspiration. Know that Springpoint continues to follow established protocols and directives from our local, state, and federal agencies to promote employee and resident safety and reduce the chance of exposure or transmission.
This extraordinary situation has required an extraordinary response. Springpoint’s senior management team and leadership from all lines of business are working 24/7 to help manage our response to this unprecedented challenge. There is no playbook for this unique moment, but we can all take great comfort and pride in knowing that an exceptional combination of commitment, professional experience, and expertise is guiding our efforts.
This is an anxious time for all of us. While each day brings new challenges, we do know that our efforts can make a difference. The sacrifices we make today in limiting our social interactions, practicing good hand- hygiene, and monitoring our health can help.
My thoughts are with all of you during this trying time. Along with our Board of Trustees and leadership team, I am committed to focusing all the resources and talent needed to manage through this challenge, for as long as necessary.
We are in this together.
Anthony A. Argondizza
Springpoint continues to take aggressive measures to protect our residents and staff from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase, we feel it is necessary to implement additional measures to ensure social distancing and to limit the potential for transmission.
We should all try to take care of one another by self-isolating as much as possible. This is the most important action we can take right now. When testing becomes more readily available to the public, we will be able to understand just who is infected and be more effective in reducing exposures. Until that day, the most important thing we can do for ourselves, our friends, our family, the staff and the greater community at large is to limit social contacts.
To that end, we are immediately suspending all non-essential services performed in apartments and/or cottages, including:
To assist in our social distancing efforts, we ask each resident to limit social or business-related visits to staff members’ offices and encourage residents to conduct business over the phones as much as possible. We are hopeful that the change in services will be of a short duration, and as soon as possible, we will begin offering these services again.
The requirements and responses related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continue to change and evolve. This update is part of our continuing effort to keep you informed of these changes and how they might impact your daily lives and routines. The following changes are in effect:
Here are some resources that may be useful to you and your family on COVID-19 (Coronavirus):
We know there is growing concern as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. Springpoint continues to adapt our practices and respond to new information as it becomes available.
Yesterday we made the decision to change our practice on visitation to our healthcare centers. In alignment with guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we are restricting non-employee, non-essential visits to our skilled nursing and assisted living centers, including memory care neighborhoods, until further notice.
We acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for families and residents and please know it was not made without careful deliberation. However, we feel this measure is essential to assure the well-being of our most vulnerable residents. We understand that special visitation circumstances may arise. Families are advised to bring those circumstances to the attention of the Health Care Center Administrator or community Executive Director for consideration.
Last week we implemented a number of protective measures in our CCRC (Life Plan) communities, including the screening of all residents, employees, visitors, and vendors for symptoms, known exposure to the virus and/or recent visits to high-risk regions (China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Italy, or Washington State) in the last 14 days. If any of these are affirmed, non-resident, non-employees are not permitted on our campuses. Residents are required to be confined to their homes and employees will be self-quarantined off-site for 14 days with instructions to contact their physicians.
Additional protective measures include screening of all employees prior to each shift with questions related to symptoms and exposure, as well as having their temperature taken. Large group activities and trips have been postponed and small group activities are being adjusted to provide for proper social distancing. Events and meetings held on our campus by outside organizations have been postponed or cancelled. Modifications to our dining service have been made, which include changes to our practices for brunch and self-serve areas to ensure enhanced risk reduction.
Additionally, we have encouraged residents to take advantage of take-out meal service (without additional delivery charge) as opposed to coming into the dining rooms to eat in a large group setting. We have also implemented enhanced housekeeping infection control measures such as disinfection of frequently touched hard surfaces including door knobs and hand rails.
We will continue to respond to this situation as it develops, and we will keep you informed as our practices change.
Springpoint continues to take significant, proactive measures to protect those who live and work in our communities and offices against the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Springpoint has no reported coronavirus cases. We are acting with an abundance of caution in following strict protocols and guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health departments.
In addition, we have established the following recommended policies for our communities:
Since this is a very dynamic situation, we continue to monitor the recommendations from state and federal agencies and adjust our practices to provide the safest environment for our residents and employees. Our senior management team and community leaders hold daily conference calls to review updates and any needed changes to assure open and consistent communication and practices.
We will continue to send out updates as we have them. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Executive Director.
Members of the Springpoint Senior Management Team want to make you aware that we have a plan to ensure we will be able to maintain our operations under any challenging conditions, including any outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the flu and COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. Springpoint is following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which has released guidelines to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The same precautions we have in place to contain the flu will minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Listed below is some advice from the experts at the CDC to prevent getting sick with the flu and other infectious diseases, including the Coronavirus:
The CDC DOES NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. It is also important for healthcare professionals to wear a facemask if caring for a patient with respiratory symptoms.
Most common symptoms of possible COVID-19 is fever, cough, sore throat and mild to severe respiratory illness including shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, please immediately seek medical attention. You may call or go to the Healthcare Clinic, call your attending physician or go directly to the hospital emergency room. Hospital emergency rooms can test for COVID-19.
We will follow the CDC recommendation for confirmed cases in healthcare settings. Those guidelines include steps to minimize chances for exposure, adhering to personal protection protocols and managing visitor access.
We hope this information is helpful. We care about the well-being of our residents, employees and visitors. If you have questions, please contact Linda Rose at 732-430-3727. If she does not answer, please leave a message and she will return your call.
This information is provided by Linda Rose, MS, APN, LNHA, Senior Vice President Health Services and Chief Clinical Officer based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in collaboration with our Senior Medical Consultant, Dr. Eric Burkett.