May 8, 2020
Dear Residents & Families of Birch Bay Retirement Village
I hope you are all having a nice week and enjoying the spring weather and ability to get outdoors with physical distancing. As we reach the end of the first full week in May, we would like to thank our residents and families for their patience and understanding as we navigate through the pandemic together and the first week of re-opening the economy of Maine. The Birch Bay team considers maintaining the health, wellness and safety of our residents as our number one priority. We continually review and update our policies and procedures in order to do this. We are grateful for your support and understanding in this unprecedented time.
We have been advised by the CDC, the DHHS, and our state and local officials to continue to adhere to strict requirements in order to protect the health of our residents. Although the State of Maine is entering the first phase of re-opening the economy, the importance of strict guidelines in long term care continues. Our population is the most vulnerable and we can take that responsibility very seriously. We continue to request our employees remain vigilant in physical distancing, avoiding public places, and shelter in place, at home, as healthcare workers within a long term care community.
We currently have no cases of COVID-19 among our staff and residents. We have policies and procedures in place for when or if the first case is identified and are adjusting our practices according to daily reviews of our local and state COVID-19 surveillance data.
We are drafting a staged plan for reducing restrictions consistent with governmental guidance and experiences of other communities. I am working with CEOs and Executive Directors throughout New England as well as consulting the leadership of organizations in other states across the nation already experiencing the impact of lowered restrictions in their state. I want to assure you I am looking to evidence based practices in these regions to guide our planned response in the safest manner and allows for the least restriction to be placed on our residents and their families.
Birch Bay continues to restrict visitation on our campus as required by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). We have had a lot of family requests for outdoor visits with residents. We are still working on developing guidelines for these visits consistent with physical distancing as the weather continues to improve. We hope to share more information regarding those visits in the coming weeks.
Please remember that we are continuing to ask Birch Bay families to ship supplies to residents. Please do not drop off supplies outside the Birch Bay Inn. This has been encouraged by the CDC. By shipping, the outer packaging can be removed safely by our staff and discarded. The contents can be wiped down and then delivered with less risk of transmission. Some residents have had success shipping supplies using Amazon, FedEx, and the USPS.
In addition to the Birch Bay Marketplace: a grocery order service for Inn and Cottage residents, we are working on a list of preferred local small businesses that can provide safe delivery of needed items to our residents. These items will be delivered at specific times and to our delivery station and then sanitized before being delivered to residents by our staff. If you have a suggestions for a business that can offer delivery of items to best meet your needs, please provide that information to us and we will screen them and attempt to coordinate adding them to our list.
Again, we are grateful for the support of residents and their families during this difficult time. Please continue to visit our website and Facebook Page for regular updates and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.
Peter Sullivan, MBA, RN-BC, LRCA, CDP, Executive Director, Birch Bay Retirement Village