A Message From Our Executive Director Concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Friday, May 29, 2020 (Update) —
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation during these challenging times.
On Monday, May 18, many businesses in St. Louis County and City reopened in accordance with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. While this order eases restrictions for certain businesses like restaurants, retail stores, and salons/barber shops, The Gatesworth and all other senior living facilities in St. Louis County remain under the direction of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s “Residential Living Facilities Order” dated April 2. The purpose of this order is to “ensure that facilities housing or treating the elderly and other medically vulnerable individuals adopt aggressive mitigation strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19.” Some of these strategies include “restricting visitors and non-essential personnel” and “limiting non-essential resident movement.” Resident movement is defined as “travel off or onto the residential living facility by a resident other than for healthcare treatment, and includes group activities, communal dining, and any other type of resident movement that requires groups to congregate or for residents to leave the facility in a group.”
The Gatesworth remains vigilant in our preventative efforts. Residents and families alike have been very supportive and cooperative with these initiatives intended to protect our residents from COVID-19. This County order remains in effect for the foreseeable future.
We reached out to Carrie Dickans, Director of the Division of Environmental Services for St. Louis County Department of Public Health. The County expects pools to re-open on Mon., June 15 which would include our Gatesworth pool. Also, Ms. Dickans said the County “does not have a projected date for lifting the restrictions on residential living facilities at this time…and it is very hard to determine when it will be safe to do so.”
While we patiently wait for these restrictions to be amended or lifted, certain areas in our building will be partially re-opening.
Art Center partially re-opens Mon., June 1
The Art Center will be staffed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Artists are invited to schedule 2-hour sessions to work on their art. Knit Wit members are also welcome to sign up for a session. Two residents will be allowed per session with ample social distancing and stations will be sanitized in between use. Residents will be required to wear a mask.
Physical Therapy resumes Mon., June 1
Our inhouse therapy provider will resume services in The Gatesworth’s therapy gym located across the bridge on the 2nd floor. This gym will be used by Gatesworth residents only and the therapists will provide service to Gatesworth residents only. Only two residents will be allowed in the therapy gym at one time, and both residents and therapists will wear masks.
Gift Shop partially re-opens Wed., June 3
Residents may schedule a 30 min., one-on-one shopping session Mon.-Sat. with the Gift Shop Manager. The manager and residents will be socially distanced and both wear masks.
Pool re-opens Mon., June 15 (pending St. Louis County’s official announcement)
The pool will be open 7 days a week from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Resident swimmers are invited to schedule a one-hour session. One resident or married couple per session.
Events & Entertainment
We continue to plan and execute live entertainment and create more virtual resident programming including Current Events, Questers, Book Club and Bible Study. Residents are invited to listen, from their balconies and patios, to live courtyard entertainment featuring a strolling violinist, a Mariachi band and other musical groups.
Zoom & Window Visits
Residents continue to look forward to and enjoy seeing family members via Zoom or through our Club West Window Visits.
The fitness center continues to remain open, by appointment only, for just 2 people at a time with a staff person present to ensure social distancing and who also sanitizes the equipment in between each use.
While The Gatesworth cannot control the County’s timeline, we continue to remain dedicated to keeping residents safe. Safety is paramount, but we also want residents to be happy and enjoy as many engaging activities as possible. Our staff remains dedicated to serving and meeting the needs of our residents during this time.
We have hired a professional, very efficient personal shopper to shop exclusively for The Gatesworth’s residents at Schnucks, Dierbergs, Straubs, Walgreens and CVS. Providing same-day or next-day service, it will be billed to the resident’s Gatesworth statement. Families may also continue to deliver groceries to our contactless “drop table” at our Main Entrance. Please be sure to clearly mark the resident’s name and apartment number on the bags. If a resident chooses not to cook, we continue to offer room service for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are changing the menus regularly to offer more variety. We will also offer dinner specials for the upcoming holidays.
We know resident families may be worried about their loved one and realize there is added stress in not seeing each other. Our Personal Care department has created a special “Care Team” comprised of staff members who make individual calls to residents each week followed up with a kind note. Please let us know if you are concerned about someone in particular, and we will be sure to reach out and make a connection.
The steps we are taking in our community are based upon the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), St. Louis County Department of Health and Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS). To avoid exposure to the virus, health officials recommend that people over the age of 60 or those with weakened immune systems or health conditions remain at home, away from large groups and public places. Residents SHOULD NOT leave our building. Every time a resident leaves, they potentially risk their health and the health of others upon returning.
As of March 17, we are NOT ALLOWING visitors, including family members, into our building. Private caregivers are still allowed to provide services for residents and may enter through security, complete the health screening and get their temperature taken prior to entry. It is critical to mitigating the possible spread of the virus. We are screening all team members and vendors with a temperature check and health screening questionnaire (which includes questions regarding any travel in the last 30 days, individual symptoms and any potential exposure to others with symptoms consistent with flu, COVID-19 or any respiratory illness). For residents who we provide care services, we will check temperatures once per day. We will also be happy to do temperature checks at any time for any resident upon request.
On April 5, 2020, the CDC recommended Americans voluntarily wear nonmedical masks in public to limit Coronavirus transmission. For this reason, we have implemented the policy that The Gatesworth employees wear masks whenever in the building, in addition to our current prevention efforts (handwashing, health screenings, temperature screenings, social distancing, etc.). These policies include private employees and companions as well.
The following steps are being taken in our community:
- Given the rapidly changing information regarding the transmission and severe consequences of this virus, we are NOT ALLOWING visitors, including family members, into our building.
- Employees continue to complete a health screening questionnaire and have their temperature taken prior to every shift. They will wear masks whenever in the building.
- Our team remains focused on frequent enhanced cleaning and sanitizing in all the community common areas.
- We are providing complimentary room service to residents.
- We are limiting community transportation, but we will continue to transport residents to necessary medical appointments.
- We are not providing transportation for shopping trips. We’re working with residents on alternative ways to obtain their essentials such as through The Gatesworth’s personal shopper. We are also offering assistance with online grocery orders.
- We continue to have hand sanitizer available throughout the building.
- We continue to train and educate staff about prevention measures.
- We are offering to facilitate Skype sessions with residents and their family members.
- We are creating alternative games and activities to keep residents engaged while following social distancing.
- We have created a special “Care Team” comprised of staff members who make individual calls to residents each week followed up with a kind note.
- Our screening area has been re-designed for social distancing and our main and west entrances have been converted to contactless drop stations for grocery and package delivery. Boxes are disinfected before being delivered to resident apartments.
What residents should do:
- Residents SHOULD NOT leave the building. Every time you leave, you potentially risk your own health and the health of others upon returning.
- Continue to practice proper handwashing and social distancing.
- Order room service for all meals.
- Wear a mask while outside your apartment.
- Contact our Personal Care 24/7 with any immediate health concerns and also reach out to your primary care physician with any questions.
What family members should do:
- DO NOT visit at this time.
- Call, email, write, FaceTime or Skype your loved one. Let us know how we can help.
- Communicate with our staff if you or your loved one have any questions, concerns or needs.
- Deliver groceries clearly marked with the resident’s name and apartment number to our contactless “drop table” at our Main Entrance.
We want to emphasize the importance of residents and families letting us know immediately if they feel ill or think they might have been exposed to COVID-19. We are ready to provide assistance and respond to their needs quickly.
We all must do our part to keep this virus out of our building to the best of our abilities. We understand not seeing your loved one may cause a temporary hardship for residents and their family members, but the health and wellness of the people who live and work at The Gatesworth remain our number one priority.
We appreciate your continued support and patience. Throughout this time, we have kept you as updated as possible with changes being made at The Gatesworth. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. In the meantime, please remember to wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing.
- Carrie Montrey, Executive Director of The Gatesworth
Additional information concerning COVID-19:
We are closely monitoring the increase in cases of COVID-19. We are following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), St. Louis County Department of Health and Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS). Our decisions are based upon their guidance combined with the expertise of our teams.
We understand this virus is a concern for everyone and our strategy is based on an abundance of caution. We want to be proactive, but also reasonable about any changes made to day-to-day operations.
We are working closely with team members to ensure they do not come to work when sick. While at The Gatesworth, employees will wear face masks. Ongoing education and training are being provided. We ask that residents alert us immediately if they are ill so we can take appropriate action and provide aid.
Health officials agree the best defense techniques are:
- Frequent hand washing using proper hand hygiene by scrubbing with warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is useful but does not replace washing with soap and hot water.
- Avoid touching your face and keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes.
- Practice social distancing in all situations.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
Please note that all statements and recommendations could change as the government agency recommendations change.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.