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Quality in Care and Safety Remain Priority of The Manor at Seneca Hill Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

Monday, May 11, 2020

Contact: Jamie Leszczynski

As a 5-star overall and 5-star quality rated skilled nursing home in Oswego County, The Manor at Seneca Hill stands stronger than ever, even throughout this trying time.

Since COVID-19 was first declared a public health emergency and even before the first positive case was reported in Oswego County, Chief Operating Officer, Jason Santiago immediately prepared his staff should the virus impact their vulnerable population. This included round the clock education, preparedness drills and daily meetings with key medical staff and senior leadership within the Oswego Health network to ensure preparedness plans were in place for the 120 licensed bed skilled nursing facility. In addition, The Manor’s response to this pandemic continues to be carried out in close collaboration with the guidelines set forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS, New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Oswego County Health Department and Oswego County emergency responders.

“I am confident in our team at The Manor at Seneca Hill as we prepared to protect our residents and staff during this pandemic,” noted Chief Operating Officer, Jason Santiago. “Since restricting visitors, our residents’ families rely on my staff now more than ever to build a strong relationship with the residents, continue to offer quality care, all while prioritizing their safety. We will not compromise this level of compassionate care due to the state we are in. We stand ready and prepared.”

The Manor’s Response to COVID-19

  • Effective the week of March 2, visitation was restricted on the short-term rehab floor at the Manor due to a small occurrence of the influenza virus. This was done ahead of any mandated restrictions related to COVID-19.
  • As part of their emergency plan for staffing, two staffing agencies were contracted and available to assist in the event COVID-19 further impacts staffing demands. To date, the Manor has not had to utilize these agencies.
  • Updated Infection Control Policies using CDC guidelines to reflect COVID-19 precautions.
  • Lines of communication became a priority within the facility as weekly letters from Chief Operating Officer, Jason Santiago, began to be sent starting March 9 to resident family members, resident council, and Adult Day participants to keep them informed on what was happening not only in the Manor but throughout the state and the county relative to the virus.
  • Staff screening began the week of March 12th. The screening consists of staff wearing masks and being screened for signs and symptoms of illness prior to entering the facility, which continues to date. In addition, visitation was officially suspended, except when medically necessary (i.e. medical staff essential to the care of the resident) or for family members or legal representation of residents when in imminent end-of-life situations. Any visitor meeting these exceptions have been screened according to the New York State Department of Health Order and required to wear a mask and stay in the resident’s room. In addition, there is a limit to two visitors in a room at a time due to these circumstances.
  • Beginning March 13th, with the visitation restrictions, staff have been contacting families three times a week to keep them informed on the residents’ status. This includes phone calls and/or video conferencing applications for families and residents to interact with.
  • Restricting resident and staff movement throughout the building and assigning staff to work on designated floors as possible. The reduction of movement of our staff on different floors of the facility and reduction of resident movement off their units will help reduce the spread of infection.
  • Continuously monitor inventory of personal protective equipment supplies and communicate needs, as necessary, to the local office of emergency management.
  • Continue to monitor all residents’ vital signs every 8 hours to detect any changes.
  • Hold management team and direct care worker meetings frequently to communicate updates with each other, residents, and families, including reviewing infection control protocols with the staff. This includes proper handwashing techniques and conducting unannounced handwashing audits.
  • Increased the use of telemedicine to keep residents safe to avoid them having to leave the facility as this reduces the risk of transmission of infection.
  • On May 7, leadership proactively implemented a protocol at Oswego Hospital that all patients prior to being discharged to a skilled nursing facility will be tested for COVID-19.
  • Effective the week of May 11, the Manor will work closely with the NYSDOH to begin the implementation of COVID0-19 testing for all staff.

“The 5 Ps will keep us moving in the right direction: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance,” this was included in a letter to resident families on April 15 by Jason Santiago.