Dear Bethesda Friends,
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during these very worrying times.
As Bethesda advances its efforts to protect our residents, tenants and staff from the novel coronavirus, I felt it was important to share an update with our community of supporters.
First, I cannot thank our community of friends, families and neighbors enough for the countless ways you have continued to support our residents, tenants, clients and staff through these unprecedented times. You have all stepped out of your norms to bless us with prayers, meals, words of encouragement, and most vitally – donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95, commercial and homemade face masks.
The safety of our residents, tenants and team is paramount. Your support of PPE has been integral in ensuring the continued safety and well-being of our campuses. As we continue daily operations of our services, we have implemented heightened infection control measures to require each staff member wear a protective face mask while working or on campus. Your generosity has ensured we are able to meet that need as we continue to develop solutions to ensure sustained safety and continue our fight.
As the days continue, we remain committed to maintaining the many proactive safety measures that have been implemented over the past few weeks. These include some minimal and some substantial alterations to our regular operations; each remaining responsive to daily updates provided through our local, state and federal health guidance, as well as additional measures specific to our campus. These measures include:
- Closing our buildings to visitors and non-staff personnel for everyone’s safety.
- Closing our programs and services. Due to the connectivity of our campus and safety protocols, many of our community-based services remain closed to the public including Club Bethesda, Bethesda Outpatient Therapy, DayBreak and Brothers Café + Bistro. We continue to serve our neighbors through Bethesda at Home to meet the community’s health and well-being needs within their own homes.
- Utilizing technology to remain connected to others. The use of our Bethesda E-Connect program has been enormously important to our residents as they utilize iPad’s to virtually connect with families and friends. We are excited to watch this program continue to grow to utilize further spiritual support through personal connections with our chaplains and/or outside pastors and with their health care providers as our community providers grow their tele-health programs.
Additional health related measures:
- Implementing enhanced infection control measures, including changes to our staffing structure, dining experiences, support services such as laundry and housekeeping, and enhanced infection control training and protocol for staff and residents.
- Continuing to monitor and screen residents and staff. Continuing to screen all staff prior to work. Staff are not allowed in the building if they do not pass the screening tool or have a temperature.
- Continuing to evaluate and alter our confirmed case plan. Based off the information given to use through the Minnesota Department of Health we recognize the likelihood that our local communities will someday see an influx of confirmed coronavirus cases. We have advanced our emergency response plans to ensure we have taken every step available to secure our campuses and aims to prevent any community spread within our settings. I am proud of our interdisciplinary teams and the innovative solutions they have set in place to provide exceptional care to our vulnerable community.
As we near Easter, normally a very celebratory time within our organization, I want to be sure to lift up the foundation of faith Bethesda was founded upon. It is no doubt that our service will be delivered in a new and unprecedented way for many of us. Many have never missed an Easter service in a chapel or house of worship, yet this year we find ourselves prepared to share in another live broadcast via our Facebook page. Although this new method of worship has become a norm for our community over the past few weeks, we remain committed to finding ways to keep traditions alive within our service experience. I am eager to share with you that we have designed a way to provide a virtual Communion for our residents to ensure that they can continue their holy traditions that they hold dear. A small token of normalcy during these times.
Finally, I invite you to also uplift our exceptional team of Bethesda heroes with me. I am incredibly proud of the work this team has done and continues to do in the pursuit of health for their neighbors. At Bethesda, we are called to serve others together in faith, community and life. I am grateful to witness their dedication to service to others each day. Thank you, Bethesda heroes, for making a difference.
As you celebrate the love of Christ this weekend, please continue to keep our community of residents, tenants, clients and staff in your prayers.
Together, we will make it through this.