To comply with directives from local and state Departments of Health,
WE ARE RESTRICTING ALL VISITATION at The Lodge at this time.
Independent living residents over age 65 are asked to self-isolate.

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OTHER MEDIA

For COVID-19 related interviews and blog posts from Heritage Ministries, click here.
UPDATED 3/24/2020

#HeritageStrong
Letter to Employees

Let me start this letter by saying “THANK YOU” for all you are doing to assure the safety and well-being of those we serve during these difficult times. Words cannot begin to express how grateful we are for all of you who daily promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living!

There are now active cases of COVID-19 being reported in all of the counties we serve except for Crawford County, PA, and they are surrounded on all sides. There is little doubt that at some point in the very near future our facilities will begin to be directly impacted by a resident or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19.

We are as ready as we can be. The COVID Task Force has been following the guidelines of the CDC as well as our local, state, and federal regulatory bodies. They continue to work behind the scenes to update policies and procedures, prepare communications, and stay abreast of the ever changing regulatory environment.

Today we finalized the policies and procedures which will be implemented for each level of care should any of our communities have a positive or presumptive positive case of COVID-19. Your facility administrator/director will have these policies available no later than tomorrow. They will be posted for your review and will be communicated through whatever channels they feel are most effective for your community.

At this time, it is even more critical for you to avoid any possible external contacts with someone who may have been exposed. Your health and well-being are of the utmost of importance to us, but they are even more critical to those we serve.

Please know that at some point, there will likely be someone under our care who has COVID-19. Our skilled nursing facilities exist for times such as this. We are required to be willing to accept someone who has already tested positive, and we may be asked to do so by the local hospital should they become over burdened with cases. I have the utmost confidence in our frontline staff to utilize the appropriate protocols to avoid further internal spread in our facilities.

I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the very confidential nature of the work we do. Please be extra careful to avoid HIPPA violations and to maintain the privacy of our residents and your coworkers. Relative to COVID-19, NO staff member should be communicating with the media or a residents’ family without approval from the facility administrator or director. 

The coming weeks are going to be tough. We will see exponential increases in COVID-19, but there is one thing I know for certain.  In these chaotic times, God is still in control.  He has been faithful to Heritage for over 130 years. We pray for His continued guidance, faithfulness, and blessing, as well as a supernatural protection of our residents and staff, as we serve those whom He has entrusted to our care.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
President and CEO, Heritage Ministries

View previous communications below

UPDATED 3/19/2020

Radio Interview with David Smeltzer

This interview with David Smeltzer, Heritage President and CEO, aired on Froggy 97 the morning of March 19. 2020. To listen to the full audio clip, click on the link below.

UPDATED 3/18/2020

Message from David Smeltzer

David Smeltzer, Heritage President and CEO, recently sent a message to all family members of those in our care via our telephone alert system. Please note, these calls came from our corporate offices at The Green in Greenhurst, NY. To listen to the full audio clip, click the link below.

UPDATED 3/18/2020

Letter to Friends of Ives Hill

As COVID 19/Coronavirus is an ever-changing, fluid situation, we want to provide an update of new restrictions that will be implemented immediately. These are in addition to the steps we outlined in our letter to you last week. Please know, our response team is diligently monitoring updates and recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary changes to continue to ensure the health of our residents.

Effective immediately*:

  1. We will be offering grocery delivery services to our independent living residents to help mitigate risk by reducing your off-site travel
  2. At this time, we are asking for non-medically necessary visitation to stop. In the case of essential visitors, a screening form must be completed. Any exceptions to the screening or this practice will be at the sole discretion of the facility administrator
  3. At this time, we are asking our residents to adopt the following best practices and guidelines as they have been communicated from various governmental bodies:
    1. Avoid group gatherings over 10
    2. Self-isolation if over the age of 65
    3. Reduce unnecessary travel and appointments
    4. Utilize grocery delivery service as offered above
    5. If you must leave the building, a screening form must be completed upon re-entry
    6. There will be no group dining; meals will be delivered to apartment residents
    7. No group activities
    8. IL residents in cottages or homes may order take-out meals which can be picked up outside the main entrance if applicable

At this time, there continues to be NO confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in any of our communities. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able, and we encourage you to monitor our websites and Facebook pages for the latest facility information. Administrators will also be communicating updates as they occur.

We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and have put these measures in place to keep our residents safe. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this virus on our community and continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living to each and every resident in our care.

*Please note, these guidelines are specifically for independent living residents, and do not apply to other levels of care.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/16/2020

Letter to Friends of Ives Hill (Independent Living)

Dear Friends of Ives Hill,

Last week we sent you a letter outlining our current steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19. As this is an ever-changing, fluid situation, I wanted to provide an update of new restrictions that will be implemented immediately.

  1. Visitor restrictions will be extended until such time as lifted by all regulatory agencies
  2. Visiting hours have been reduced, and NO FAMILIES are allowed to enter outside of current visitation hours of 10am-7pm
  3. Visitors must complete a screen or will not be allowed to enter
  4. Moving forward, no group dining will be offered, and meals will be delivered to residents
  5. No group activities
  6. Residents may order take-out meals which can be picked up outside the Main entrance if applicable

I would like to reaffirm that there are no suspected or confirmed cases here in our community at this time. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local Health Departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able, but we encourage you to monitor our website and Facebook page for the latest facility updates.

We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and have put these measures in place to first and foremost keep our resident safe. We have a team in place that is diligently monitoring news updates and guidance from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary updates to continue to ensure the health of our residents. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community and continue to share God’s love by providing independent living for seniors in the Western New York region.

Please note, this letter is intended specifically for independent living residents, and does not apply to other levels of care.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/16/2020

Letter to Staff

These are unprecedented times in our world. The response to COVID-19 has been more extreme than any other previous mass healthcare concern in recent history. There is no one who isn’t being impacted in some way by the actions being taken to diminish the spread of this potentially deadly virus. We know that each person’s response to this pandemic varies greatly, but I believe it is safe to say that most individuals are experiencing some degree of stress or anxiety at a result. 

We recognize that the steps being taken by our government to try and limit the spread in the near future are having a direct impact on everyone. Toilet paper seems to be the new currency. Schools are closing and larger gatherings are being eliminated. 

You, our partners in care, are certainly not exempt from the impact. We recognize that for those of you with school age children, the recent school closures have added another layer of stress to this already intense situation. While we do not have the capacity or ability to provide direct support, we want you to know that we are extremely sympathetic to your situation. If there is anything we can do to adjust your schedule or work dates, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or facility HR director, and we will make every effort to make adjustments as possible. 

At Ives Hill, it is our mission to care for those who have been determined to be at highest risk of death if infected. We are doing everything we can to stay on top of the ever changing regulations. We apologize that there are times when our communications change or seem to be unclear. We appreciate your patience! 

YOU are the key to our success. Now more than ever, we are asking you to work as a team to assure that those we serve are safe, secure, and comfortable. The work you do is truly not just a job; it’s a calling. We appreciate your commitment to those whom God has entrusted to our care! 

In what was likely the last church service at Bemus Point United Methodist Church for the foreseeable future, our pastor shared from the following scripture: 

28Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31but those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Now more than ever, we put our hope in the Lord!

David Smeltzer
President and CEO

UPDATED 3/13/2020

Visitation Update

To comply with directives from local and state Departments of Health, WE ARE RESTRICTING ALL VISITATION at The Lodge at this time. Visitation hours for independent living residents are 10am to 7pm.

UPDATED 3/10/2020

Statement from Ives Hill Regarding COVID-19

Anna Patterson, executive director at Ives Hill Retirement Community and The Lodge, a Heritage senior living community in Watertown, NY, recognized this week that Ives Hill is prepared should COVID-19 coronavirus begin to affect the region.

Patterson stressed that while Ives Hill currently has NO confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, they are taking precautions.

She shared, “At Ives Hill, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. The health and safety of both our residents and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change. We are not holding events that bring outside groups of people to Ives Hill, and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure. Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.”

Presently, visitors are being limited at Ives Hill, and any individuals, including vendors and employees are being screened daily before entering an Ives Hill building. Those who exhibit any symptoms, have recently traveled, or have been near anyone ill with symptoms are not currently being granted entrance.

Ives Hill and Heritage staff have prepared extensively for any potential cases in the area. Lisa Haglund, Heritage vice president of sales, marketing, and development, explained that she has confidence in the team. “Ives Hill and Heritage have taken a proactive approach to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 within its communities. Heritage has formed a COVID-19 task force, including experts in the fields of nursing homes, and senior housing, and includes a CDC certified infection preventionist. I have the utmost confidence that this team of experts have prepared Ives Hill and Heritage to respond in a manner that keep our residents, staff, and families safe.”

UPDATED 3/4/2020

Statement from Ives Hill Regarding COVID-19

At Ives Hill, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. We would like to assure the public that we currently have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at Ives Hill. The health and safety of both our community members and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all.

The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change.

  • Effective immediately, we are asking visitors to not enter our communities if they are exhibiting any type of symptoms or have recently traveled to any area of concern.
  • We are limiting events that bring outside groups of people to Ives Hill communities and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure.
  • Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.

We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation. Working together we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community.

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