April 23, 2020
Dear Family Member,
The Department of Health has recently sent out a memo regarding communication with family members of those who reside in a nursing home. The communication reads, amongst other things, that all nursing homes “shall notify family members or next of kin for all residents if any resident tests positive for COVID-19, or if any resident suffers a COVID-19 related death, within 24 hours of such positive test result or death”. This is not a directive to communicate with you about your loved one, it is a directive to potentially communicate about your loved one to others in the facility.
We have received an overwhelming response from families who have contacted our facility and stated that they do not wish to have this information. Many have expressed that this information will only heighten anxiety and won’t offer any solutions. Some residents have communicated that they didn’t want their loved ones called about this very upsetting news. We do not want to add to the insurmountable stress loved ones are already under. Our goal is to communicate effectively within the boundaries of the requirements, while maintaining our resident’s right to privacy and allowing you to make the choice of the information you receive. We will provide the necessary information that satisfies the DOH communication as well as your desire for this information, should you want to hear it.
We have worked around the clock to combat this virus and take care of your loved ones. Our priority has been and always will be the safety of our residents. We have been extremely fortunate at North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center to have a large amount of dedicated staff who have not waivered from providing care to your loves ones during this horrible pandemic. We have had staff ill as have most healthcare facilities, and the majority of our staff have returned.
We are extremely proud of our staff here at North Westchester Restorative for safeguarding our residents and we will be happy to continue to be transparent with all family members who wish to be informed. If you would like to be placed on the list of people who wish to be notified of the unfortunate events of another resident, please contact Jessica Hinson at 914-528-2000. Once we receive your approval to communicate, we will provide you with the information regarding other residents.
As always, we will continue to update individual families of any change in status for their loved ones, and this does not require you to notify us, as this is already our practice. If you have any questions or would like to receive facility specific information, do not hesitate to contact myself or Jessica Hinson.
Amy Elba, LNHA