COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

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January 21, 2021 Letter

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Dear Residents, Employees, Family Members, Legal Representatives and Health Care Providers:

As of today, seven of our skilled nursing facilities have conducted their first on-site vaccination clinics for the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination clinics for our other facilities will be completed next week on the following dates:

  • White River Lodge, Bedford, IN on January 18th
  • Crest Nursing Home, Butte, MT on January 21st

Pine View Terrace in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, is our first assisted living community to be scheduled for a vaccination clinic, which will occur on February 4th. We are waiting for the providing pharmacy to schedule the clinics at Riverbend Assisted Living in Amery, Wisconsin and at The Seasons, in Plum City, Wisconsin.

We are hopeful we will eventually achieve a 100% vaccination rate amongst our residents, tenants and employees. We are not reaching that goal on our first round of vaccines. We understand some resident representatives and employees have concerns regarding the safety of the vaccine.  I would like to take a minute to address the top few concerns with information taken directly from the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html): 

Why is it important that both long-term care personnel and residents receive COVID-19 vaccine?

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to reduce a person’s chance of becoming sick with COVID-19 disease. Long-term care personnel were placed first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccine because of their essential role in fighting this deadly pandemic and their increased risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to their residents. Their decision to get vaccinated can protect more than just their health. It can also help protect their colleagues, patients, families, and communities. Ensuring long-term care facility residents receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as vaccine is available will help save the lives of those at highest risk for infection and severe illness from COVID-19. Because long-term care facility residents live in group settings and are often older adults with underlying chronic medical conditions, they are most at risk of severe disease from diseases like COVID-19.

How do we really know if COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offers protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions.

Is the vaccine that helpful? I heard getting COVID-19 gives you better and longer immunity than the protection a vaccine can give. Can it actually make my illness worse if I do end up getting COVID-19?

Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

How much will the shot hurt? Can it cause you to get very sick?

Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. However, your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection to disease

So far most of our residents and employees have experienced little or no side effects from the vaccination. The most common side effect is tenderness at the site of the injection that lasts up to three days. A few employees experienced mild headache later in the day or the next day after receiving the vaccination, which they treated with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. We have had no serious reactions in any residents or employees.

If you are a resident, tenant, resident representative or employee and you have any reservation regarding receiving the vaccine, please contact your primary physician, read the website link listed above, ask to speak to the director of nursing or administrator at the nursing home, or send an email to me at ssonnentag@rphfcorp.com. I would be more than happy to help answer your questions.

Dear Residents, Employees, Family Members, Legal Representatives and Health Care Providers:

As of today, all of our skilled nursing facilities have conducted their first on-site vaccination clinics for the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination clinics for our assisted living facilities will be completed on the following dates:

  • Riverbend Assisted Living, Amery, WI on January 27th
  • Pine View Terrace, Black River Falls, WI on February 4th
  • The Seasons, Plum City, WI (yet to be determined)

We are hopeful we will eventually achieve a 100% vaccination rate amongst our residents, tenants and employees.  We will continue to educate everyone on the benefits of receiving the vaccine series. If you are a resident, tenant, resident representative or employee and you have any concerns about receiving the vaccine, please contact your primary physician, ask to speak to the director of nursing or administrator at the nursing home, or send an email to me at ssonnentag@rphfcorp.com. I would be more than happy to help answer your questions.

Many family members are inquiring about visiting a resident that has received the initial vaccination. Until enough people are vaccinated, we will continue to abide by the following:

  • If the facility is in outbreak status, visitation may resume if they reach 14 days without a new case in a resident or employee.
  • If the facility is in a “red” county, only compassionate care or end-of-life visits are allowed.
  • If the facility is not in outbreak status, and the county is “yellow” or “green”, we are proceeding with setting up indoor visitation appointments.
  • Regardless of outbreak status and county positivity rate, we are committed to working with residents and their families to conduct needed compassionate care or end-of-life visits. If you would like to inquire about setting up this type of visit, please contact the nursing home administrator.

Finally, we have received some comments from community members about our decision to not post details about a facility outbreak on our website or on Facebook posts. We are required to make timely and appropriate notifications to our residents, tenants, employees and the legal resident representatives, as well as to the required government agencies.  

It’s been a very long and difficult ten months for everyone. I want to personally thank the many family members for sending emails and letters acknowledging our amazing employees. I have personally read a few messages to named employees and have heard them break into tears. You have no idea the effect you have had on their spirit! Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shellie M. Sonnentag, DNP, AGPCNP-C, CD
Vice President of Clinical Services
Real Property Health Facilities Corp.
435 Village Walk Lane Suite B
Johnson Creek, WI 53038

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