Coronavirus

LSS Coronavirus Preparedness

In an effort to address questions and concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact at Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities, this webpage will be updated to provide information to family members, volunteers, visitors, and others. Be assured that we are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and state health departments. This is an evolving situation that we will closely monitor while we make every effort to ensure the safety of our residents and staff.

LSS COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

June 3, 2020 (All Independent Living Residents)

As cases of COVID-19 throughout our region start to level off, governmental restrictions are loosening up and some activities in the greater community are beginning to resume. We plan to begin a phased reopening of LSS communities starting June 1. This approach will allow some services to begin gradually and safely and will only impact Independent Living. At this time, we are not lifting restrictions for Assisted Living or the Care Center.

Please know that these plans may change if there is a resurgence in COVID-19 cases or new guidance is provided from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), or Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). We will inform you of any changes.

All restrictions that loosen up and services that restart on June 1 for Independent Living residents will take place with appropriate social distancing. You will be required to wear a face mask when leaving your home.

The tentative plan includes allowing you to pick up your meals, walk the Independent Living (only) hallways for exercise, and gather in common spaces in small groups of fewer than 10 people with social distancing in place. We also plan to restart housekeeping services in your home. Some LSS communities are resuming chapel services and reopening salons. Please contact your community’s executive director for details specific to your community.

While we are resuming some services for Independent Living residents, visitor restrictions are still in place at LSS communities and residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. Please continue to monitor your symptoms. If you feel unwell, stay home. If you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, a new onset cough, a new onset sore throat, or a new onset shortness of breath, please contact your physician.

As we resume these services on June 1, you will receive more information from your community. In the meantime, if you have any questions specific to your community, please reach out to your executive director.

May 8, 2020

As of April 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidelines asking all Care Centers to communicate the first positive COVID-19 case and if three or more residents or staff members have respiratory symptoms to Care Center residents, family members, and staff. In addition, Care Centers with cases will also provide a weekly update to residents, family members, and staff. LSS is complying with these guidelines.

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requires that this information is also communicated for Assisted Living and Memory Care Assisted Living. LSS follows this direction for our Missouri communities as well.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines and protocols have been evolving as more information becomes available. To remain compliant, LSS has consistently updated and will continue to update our procedures and precautionary measures as new information becomes available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS, IDPH, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), as well as local authorities.

April 13, 2020

Across the Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) organization, our staff continues to work tirelessly to care for our residents, and have implemented preventive measures as recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

These measures include:

  • Screening all employees prior to the start of their shifts.
  • Assessing all residents throughout the day for fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Restricting all visitors.
  • Working with outside vendors to avoid resident care units.
  • Stopping all communal dining and activities. Residents are receiving one-on-one visits from support staff.
  • Increasing our cleaning and sanitation procedures.
  • Providing staff with the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their roles as indicated by the CDC.
  • Providing all staff members a face mask to wear for the duration of their shift.
  • Assuring that residents who must leave the community wear a face mask.

We continue to proactively investigate and research all possible preventive measures.

April 3, 2020

The health and safety of our residents and staff are the highest priority of Lutheran Senior Services (LSS). Watch this video from LSS President Gary Anderson, BSN, MHA, RN, to learn more about the preparedness measures LSS has in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 1, 2020 (All Independent Living Residents)

Even as we all continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, the scientific projections are showing that cases will continue to increase throughout our region over the next several weeks. LSS continues to work closely with local, state, and federal authorities and are following their guidelines, including the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

We are constantly modifying our Emergency Preparedness Plans as needed from the information that we get from these resources. We are proud of our staff as they remain vigilant in their precautionary steps, which include restricting visitors, monitoring their own symptoms, screening staff at the beginning of each shift, keeping levels of living separated, practicing hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and the other preventive measures they are taking to create a safe and disease-free environment.

At this time, we would like to offer a few updates and reminders on how you can help protect yourself, your neighbors, and LSS staff!

  • Monitor your own symptoms and report any of the following to your physician:
    • Temperature (equal to or greater than 100.4 F)
    • New Onset Shortness of Breath
    • New Onset Cough/Sore Throat
  • Follow the stay-at-home orders. To help you with that, we are implementing the following changes to services:
    • Dining will be delivery only. We are temporarily waiving any delivery fees, if previously applicable.
    • Mail and packages will now be delivered to your door.
    • Housekeeping services will be suspended in apartments, villas, and patio homes for the duration of this pandemic. In lieu of providing this service, we are increasing other services such as food, mail, and package delivery. Our staff will perform deep cleaning common areas.
  • Please be conservative in requesting maintenance services. Maintenance services will be reviewed and prioritized by necessity. If your maintenance request is deemed to be an immediate need, staff will come to your home wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face mask and gloves.
  • If you need to use your community’s urgent call service, please know that staff who respond in person will come to your home wearing PPE as described above.

You will receive additional information from your community with specific information about these new precautionary measures. If you have any questions, please contact your community’s executive director.

Thank you for your help in protecting your community and please keep all residents and staff in your prayers.

March 25, 2020 (Families, Friends, and Visitors)

 

As a reminder, all visitors are restricted from entering our communities except for limited circumstances.

 

LSS communities are following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance on “limited circumstances.” The CMS guidelines state, “Facilities should restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations.”

 

If it is determined, by the community’s executive director or designee, that a visit is necessary, the visitor will be asked to wear a mask and will be limited to the resident’s living quarters.

March 23, 2020 (Missouri only)

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., many areas of Missouri will be under a Stay-At-Home order through April 23, 2020. This means that all residents are to remain in their homes. This order is meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. We ask that you please cooperate with this order to help protect your fellow residents and community staff.

As we have already gone to carryout meals, you are welcome to come to your community’s dining room to pick up your meals. This includes apartment, patio home, and villa residents. Please remember that all group activities in communities have been suspended.

If you have any questions specific to your community, please reach out to your community’s executive director.

We greatly appreciate your continued cooperation as we work to keep our residents and staff safe.

March 21, 2020 (Illinois only)

Effective Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., per Governor Pritzker, Illinois will be under a Shelter-In-Place order through April 7, 2020. This means that all residents are to remain in their homes. This order is meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. We ask that you please cooperate with this order to help protect your fellow residents and community staff.

As we have already gone to carryout meals, you are welcome to come to your community’s dining room to pick up your meals. This includes apartment, patio home, and villa residents. Please remember that all group activities in communities have been suspended.

If you have any questions specific to your community, please reach out to your community’s executive director.

We greatly appreciate your continued cooperation as we work to keep our residents and staff safe.

March 17, 2020 (Missouri only)

On March 16, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) provided guidance on Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Care Center residents leaving senior living communities while communities are restricting visitors. Effective immediately, we are asking residents not to leave our communities, unless for an urgent medical reason that cannot be addressed at the community. “Urgent medical reasons” will be defined by the clinical provider or community staff assessment.

Lutheran Senior Services is following the recommendations of the state and taking necessary precautions to protect our residents.

The DHSS memo states:

For those insistent on taking residents out of the facility for non-urgent medical reasons:

  • Only legally authorized persons may remove a resident from the community. This may be a durable power of attorney for healthcare (if this has been enacted), a legal guardian, or the resident themselves.
  • Before a resident leaves, the community will follow the discharge regulations to the extent possible so that the resident receives appropriate care while away from the community.
  • Upon leaving the community, the resident, their legal representative, and all those required by regulation should be given a written emergency discharge notice.
  • Those taking the resident out of the community will be informed that the resident will not be permitted to return until the restrictions currently in place are lifted. When appropriate, residents may be required to obtain clearance from their medical provider which may include proof of a negative COVID-19 screening.

Please note, if the resident leaves for an urgent medical reason as defined by the clinical provider or community staff assessment, they will be allowed to return to the community.

We appreciate your cooperation as we work to keep our residents and staff safe. If you have any questions specific to your loved one’s community, please contact the executive director of that community directly.

March 16, 2020

Recently the President issued a national state of emergency and the governors of Illinois and Missouri each issued states of emergency to provide resources that address coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). National and state health departments and entities continually add clarification to guidelines for the health and safety of at-risk populations, especially older adults. Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) continues to reassess our preparedness throughout this evolving situation.

All visitors are restricted from entering our communities except for limited circumstances. If it is determined, by the community’s executive director or designee, that a visit is necessary, the visitor will be asked to wear a mask and will be limited to the resident’s living quarters.

LSS communities are following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance on “limited circumstances.” The CMS guidelines state, “Facilities should restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations.”

Under no circumstances will visitors be allowed if they have traveled to China, Iran, most European countries, United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Korea within the past 14 days.

Staff within our communities as well as all home health and private duty staff are being screened at the start of each shift for symptoms, including taking their temperature, before coming into our communities or our clients’ homes.

Communities are able to facilitate video calls between residents and family members. If you are a family member and would like to set up a video call with your loved one, please contact their community directly.

March 12, 2020

The health and safety of our residents and staff is, as always, our highest priority. As cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in the areas around Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities, we are increasing preventive measures. These preventive measures are following federal and state authorities’ recommendations specific to COVID-19.

Effective immediately, all visitors are suspended from entering our communities except for limited circumstances. Furthermore, we are screening staff daily.

In addition, signs will be posted at the entrances of all communities reminding everyone of the visitor restrictions. The following are some general guidelines:

  • Visitors are prohibited if they have traveled to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, or Japan within the past 14 days.
  • If it is determined that a visit is absolutely necessary, the visitor will be asked to wear a mask and will be limited to the resident’s home.
  • We are cancelling all community-organized out trips.
  • We will provide transportation to doctor appointments, if possible.
  • Internal community events will continue on a limited basis with small groups.
  • Events that include outside groups coming into our communities will be cancelled.
  • Prospective resident tours of our communities will be suspended.

We will continue to monitor the status of this current health issue and once we feel it is safe to lift these restrictions we will notify residents and families as soon as possible.

March 6, 2020

Lutheran Senior Services is taking active steps to protect residents and staff as the number of coronavirus cases across the nation increases. COVID-19 is new, however preparing for responses to disasters, including potential epidemics and pandemics such as H1N1, Swine Flu, Influenza, is not new for us.  You should be assured knowing:

  • We are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website daily to evaluate any new information regarding cases and interventions.
  • We are working closely with our hospital partners throughout our geographic areas to evaluate possible new cases of respiratory illness including the COVID-19.
  • Year-round we are constantly enhancing emergency preparedness, infection control, and resident safety.
  • We treat residents with a variety of infectious diseases regularly. These residents are isolated and treated in an appropriate manner by our trained staff utilizing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Healthcare providers can protect themselves by adhering to infection prevention and control practices. The number one protection is proper hand hygiene.
  • We are asking our population (residents, staff, and visitors) to help protect our communities, if you answer “Yes” to any of the below questions, we ask that you restrict your visit or presence in the community and contact the community via phone to arrange when you can return.
    • International travel within the last 14 days to the countries listed below:
      • China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, or Italy.
    • Signs or symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, and sore throat.
    • Has had contact with someone with or under investigation for COVID-19.

Older Updates

February 27, 2020

Recently there has been a lot of publicity in the world news about the coronavirus. While there have been no confirmed cases in our geographic area, we want to assure you that we are informed and staying up-to-date on this topic. Symptoms and treatment for coronavirus are the same as for respiratory influenza (flu). LSS has procedures and policies in place for the prevention and treatment of such contagious illnesses.

The health and safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. Basic flu prevention measures are highly encouraged for all LSS residents, staff, and visitors. These include regular and thorough handwashing, using hand sanitizer, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home to avoid gatherings if you have flu-like symptoms.

During this flu season, we are taking additional precautions by posting signs at the entrances of all communities. These signs recommend that visitors who have symptoms of respiratory illness or who have traveled outside of the country within the past 30 days postpone their visits. If a visit is necessary, the signs direct visitors to use hand sanitizer and obtain a face mask from the concierge or reception desk. Hand sanitizer dispensers are being placed at entrances around communities.

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