As we have been living through the uncertainty of this pandemic for the last many months, one thing remains clear – At Charter House, the health and safety of our residents always comes first.
Here are a few updates regarding our current practices at Charter House.
- Visits: Charter House has a restricted visitor policy aligning with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines.
- Residents within Independent Living can choose to visit with loved ones outside of Charter House (such as on our patio space, walking around the building, going to a child’s home). We highly encourage them to maintain social distance and keep their face masks on during visits.
- Residents living within our care areas can visit with family via patio visits, window visits, and Zoom visits.
- In September, we conducted a successful pilot of indoor visits in accordance with the MDH Level 2 Visitation guidelines.
- On October 12th, MDH released new guidance for indoor visits. Charter House is ready to implement indoor visits after we have gone 14 days without any new positive cases of COVID in staff or residents.
- COVID-19 testing: One of our newest and most exciting developments is our testing processes instituted as part of a routine surveillance for COVID.
- On September 29 & 30 we tested nearly 700 individuals – residents who consented to participate and all staff. We are thrilled to report all tested were negative.
- In addition, we have been testing all Charter House staff for the past several weeks and plan to continue through at least the end of October. Testing frequency for staff is dependent on several factors such as the COVID positivity rate within Olmsted County.
- Per MDH guidance, we test residents living within our care areas for COVID on a weekly basis until we reach 14 days with no new positive cases. Any new case in a resident or staff restarts our testing cycle.
- Daily staff health-screening: Since April, each Charter House employee has undergone screening before start of each work shift.
- Staff is instructed take their temperature and monitor for any symptoms twice daily while at home.
- Now all who enter Charter House have their temperature taken and are asked questions regarding symptoms and potential exposure to COVID.
- The screening is conducted by a new, specially-trained Mayo Clinic screening team.
Due to COVID-19, our guest apartments are closed for the foreseeable future. We are not taking reservations at this time. We will update this notice when it is safe to lift restrictions and resume taking reservations. Our focus during this time remains on meeting the health and safety needs of our residents who live here.
We’d like to share a few of the many thank you notes we’ve received from our residents and their families. We are feeling the love and are sending it right back! We are so thankful for these tokens of appreciation and solidarity during uncertain times.
“We are the luckiest people in the whole USA, to be living in Charter House, Rochester Minnesota, during this terrible pandemic. The services provided here are unmatched any place, and deliverers are always smiling. We can’t get over it, and have thanked every human being who has shown up at our door. I can’t thank you all enough, we are so eternally grateful.” – Charter House Resident
“Thank you, Charter House staff for keeping everyone safe and healthy during these unsettling times. My brother and I count our blessings that our parents live in such a good, caring environment. With deepest appreciation.” – Resident Family Member
“We want to thank everyone for what you are doing to make it as comfortable and pleasant as you can for us residents. Just be aware, we as residents, know you are taking extra steps every day to keep us safe and well. The Fitness Center employees provide exercises on our floors. The food we order comes hot and delicious often with enjoyable little cards from the wait staff. We have coffee delivered with fruit and sweets. Movies and books we can borrow and now bingo we can play. We appreciate the communication through newsletters keeping us informed. We thank you so much for all you do. There is no place like Charter House!!!!” – Charter House Resident
“Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for your work at Charter House, keeping residents safe, and the many ways I hear of you all going the extra mile to make this enforced social distancing more bearable for everyone under your oversight. I am very thankful that my mother is being so well looked after and cared about. Add to that many other folks there who have become friends over the years.” – Resident Family Member
“I want to thank the Charter House Staff for keeping us residents safe and comfortable. Our needs are taken care of so effectively that it’s easy to overlook the fact that those who provide such dedicated service have their own pressing concerns – for their own safety, looking after their loved ones, providing care for their children, shopping for food and other necessities, and doing all the ‘little things’ that we residents don’t have to think about. I’m sure I express the feelings of many residents when I say ‘Thank You. I’m deeply grateful.'” – Charter House Resident
The Minnesota Department of Health lists long-term care/congregate living facilities by county that have one or more cases. Only facilities with 10 or more residents will be listed to protect patient privacy. However, Charter House does meet this criteria, and is listed on the MDH website. Of the confirmed cases associated with Charter House, none involve Charter House residents, and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 among residents is low.
The safety and health of Charter House residents and staff is of paramount importance. Charter House is committed to taking every necessary precaution to contain the spread. Those efforts include working closely with Mayo Clinic experts and public health authorities, in addition to following procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Our screening process for staff includes both at-home monitoring by all employees as well as screening before every shift. We have been successful in keeping employees from working as soon as any potential symptoms are identified. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our residents and staff.
Did you know that staying connected to the world around you is vital for healthy aging? As individuals age, their risk for isolation increases which can increase the likelihood of deteriorating health. Being socially connected enhances your quality of life by providing avenues for meaning and purpose. Senior living communities, like Charter House, provide residents with an environment in which to meet new friends and engage with others on a daily basis. Connecting with others provides opportunities to stimulate your brain through conversations and learning. It can also provide you with a sense of belonging when you have a shared interest with others. Whether you’re maintaining longtime friendships or forming new relationships with peers, ongoing connections are vital for healthy aging.
How to Stay Connected
Here are a few ways in which our Charter House residents choose to stay social connected and engaged:
- Volunteer: 85% of our residents are active volunteers in the Rochester community.
- Club membership: Most of our residents participate in at least 1 group which could include a service organization, book club, health club, or social group.
- Programming: Charter House provides over 300 different opportunities for engagement every year. Residents have ample opportunities to meet their Charter House neighbors, catch up with friends, and make new friends.
- Classes: Charter House provides several daily fitness classes, foreign language classes, and art classes. By participating in these ongoing courses, residents can meet new friends with similar interests.