Update from Administrator – 4/25/20

Update from Administrator – 4/25/20

April 24, 2020

I hope this finds you all safe and healthy.  Let us thank you again for all the support you have shown the staff at Northwood.  This continues to be a very stressful time for everyone.

Let me update you on the state of care here at Northwood.  This pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time, and we are working every day to ensure that we provide the safest possible care for our patients.  At the start of the pandemic, Northwood initiated a series of protections aimed at mitigating the threat of coronavirus at our center.  These included restricting visitors to our buildings, dramatically increasing the cleaning and infection control measures, taking the temperature of anyone who entered the facility, and increasing the monitoring of all residents at every shift.  We conveyed this in weekly email messages to be as transparent as possible, given the state directed visitor restrictions in place.

As you know, this virus has impacted nursing homes at a disproportionately high rate.  In Massachusetts, patients and staff have tested positive in 283 centers as of the 24th, which is 74%.  As centers begin to test the patients with no symptoms, like we did early on, they are finding more and more of their patients and staff are positive.

Sadly, 79 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 at Northwood, and we have lost some more patients this month that had tested positive for the virus.  As you know, we were aggressive in our testing of patients with no signs or symptoms after the National Guard tested in the building but would only test patients with symptoms. We then asked for an additional round of testing and found large number of positive patients with no signs or symptoms.  So despite the very large number, thankfully, most have no signs or symptoms.  We monitor for signs and symptoms each shift.

In accordance with guidance from the state Department of Public Health, we are moving patients with positive results together on the same units to the extent possible.  I know how disturbing this is to those of you that have become familiar with the unit your loved one resides on, but moving people together was the guidance we received. We have re-deployed staff to try and keep your loved one seeing familiar faces to the extent that people can be recognized in protective gear.

On a positive note, we are close to having several of the many positive patients reach the point where they will be listed as having recovered from COVID-19, and that number is going to grow significantly in the weeks ahead.

We are having some communication challenges right now.  Externally, the Lab and/or local Health Departments are calling family members and reporting results before letting us know what the results are.  Internally, we have several staff members out sick, some with COVID-19.  In addition, to follow protocol for isolation, our staff need to wear certain protective equipment when in rooms, and can’t always get to the phone.  I am truly sorry for the extra pain and concern this brings to an already horrible situation for you.  We are trying to improve. Please use my email, or Amanda’s to reach out when you need help resolving communication issues.

We continue to be in daily touch with the Department of Public Health and our local Health Department.  We also are following all CDC and state guidelines, and receive regular updates on new guidelines that are offered.  This information is shared with our staff and additional training is continually taking place.  It probably goes without saying that more and more is being learned about COVID-19 every day, and we do our best to keep up with it all.

We truly understand how difficult this situation is and how isolated you must feel from your loved one.  Our team wants you to know we are doing all we can to keep our residents healthy and safe.


Tim Churchill

April 25, 2020 A Healthier Approach To Caring