Walker Methodist


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General Questions

Who is considered an essential caregiver?

An essential caregiver is someone who provides medical assistance to a resident, such as medication management, dressing or personal hygiene. Those who were essential caregivers before the outbreak are allowed to continue these vital services.

Who are essential vendors?

Many vendors are still essential to the daily operation of our communities. Any vendor who provides food, medical equipment, medications, or other life-saving tools, as well as those who make emergency repairs to essential equipment may continue to enter the building after screening.

What is Walker Methodist doing for additional cleaning in the communities?

Walker Methodist already has effective cleaning measures in place, but we have stepped up our efforts by increasing the frequency of cleaning in common areas and high touch points (door knobs, light switches). Our culinary team has increased cleaning measures in the kitchens and implemented additional disinfecting procedures.

How are you combating social isolation and loneliness?

Although group activities have halted for the time being, residents are still able to participate in events and activities. Our life enrichment teams have come up with many creative and fun one-to-one activities. One unique activity that many residents have participated in is a distance bingo game, in which residents must call community members, family, and friends to help them complete the bingo board.

Is my loved one safe?

We believe that residents are in a safe place because our staff is well-versed in infection control measures and knows how to properly conduct isolation procedures. Our community has been under heavy restrictions for several weeks, and we believe this means our residents take less risk here than if they move out into a new environment with new germs. We know that it is a trying time, but we care deeply about our residents—they're family to us, too.

Will you tell us if there is a case of COVID-19 in the community?

We are doing all that we can to avoid having COVID enter any of our communities, but when we do have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we promise to be open and forthright in our communication. We notify residents in that community, family members who are named as the responsible party, and our employees quickly. We respect the privacy of all and do not release confidential information publicly. We work directly with the Department of Health and cooperate fully by providing all the information they request. 

May I bring food or other supplies to my loved on in one of your communities?

Yes, you may. (Some restrictions apply for Skilled Nursing environments. See below.) You will be asked to leave them at the front doors and the concierge or another team member will make sure items are distributed correctly.

How can I communicate with my loved on in one of the communities?

We highly encourage you to reach out to your loved ones right now. Facetime is an option for those with Apple products. And all communities have Zoom on iPads that residents can use to connect—the team at each community can help facilitate those meetings. You can also send cards or even schedule a window visit.

Are the Fitness Centers open?

Fitness Centers are in the process of reopening with some restrictions. The Fitness Center Technicians and community leaders can provide more information about specific community policies and practices.

Is the Dental Clinic at the Health Center open?

The Dental Clinic is closed. Dr. Shuman is available for emergencies if needed.

Can I volunteer?

Our goal is to minimize the spread of germs in our communities so the fewer people allowed in, the better. So, at this time, volunteers are not able to enter the community. There are a number of ways that you can help our residents without entering the buildings, like making cards or donating books or movies.

How can I help?

There are a number of ways that you can help. The most important is to stay home as much as you can right now. Other ways that you can help include making cards for residents, or by donating to support Walker Methodist employees who are hit by the COVID-19 crisis in unique ways. 

Are you hiring?

We are hiring for many positions throughout Minnesota and in Onalaska, Wisconsin. We will conduct phone screens and interviews through ZOOM and practice appropriate social distancing during training and utilize online learning until you are able to do your core job function. 


Skilled nursing community questions

Who may enter our skilled nursing communities?

At this time team members, essential caregivers, medical providers, essential vendors and emergency repair vendors are the only individuals allowed. These individuals go through a daily screening for any symptoms of illness.

Can I meet my loved one at the front door?

Unfortunately no. We understand this is very difficult, but this is the guidance of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We want you to connect with your loved ones, so please call, use Facetime or Zoom, or schedule a window visit. 

May the residents leave their rooms?

We are asking residents and patients to stay in their room whenever possible. However, we also acknowledge that isolation is a real concern for older adults. We do have a rotation to visit residents and patients regularly, beyond their individualized care plans. We also need to bring residents and patients out from time in one-to-one situations or with appropriate social distancing to monitor their safety or assist with eating.

How are residents being served their meals?

Meals are served whenever possible to their rooms with aluminum serving dishes that can keep food hot or cold. Residents and patients still have choice in their meals, but it may be a modified menu on certain days to ensure we are able to deliver to all individuals. Those with eating concerns have a team member with them in their room or are brought to the dining area for individual monitoring with appropriate social distancing.

How are you attending to the spiritual needs of residents?

This is critical to our residents and patients. There is a Chaplain assigned to each community to complete one-to-one meetings. We also are able to provide some video options to residents. Outside pastors and church visitors are not allowed at this time with the exception of end of life compassion care and last rites.

What is active screening?

We follow the guidance of the CDC and the MN Department of Health. This involves taking the person's temperature and asking a series of questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, and sore throat) as well as a series of travel and recent interaction questions. Team members, essential caregivers, and all essential vendors are asked these questions and have their temperature taken each time they enter the community. 

Are residents still having daily life enrichment activities?

Yes. This has been modified to one-to-one interactions, videos, individualized activities and encouragement of family interaction through phone or video.

Are residents getting exercise?

Yes. Those who have an order for therapy are still receiving therapy. Therapy will be completed in your room or use of equipment in the therapy gym will be used with appropriate social distancing. Additionally, we assist in exercises or encourage them to move daily through our one-to-one interactions.

Are you still taking admissions?

Yes. We are a critical component to the overall health care system. We need to continue to assist hospitals with discharges of individuals who need additional therapy or nursing care to be able to return home. Additionally, some individuals need long term care and cannot return home. We do screen each individual through our normal health screening process with heightened awareness to infectious disease and protocols required to care of each individual. We only accept individuals when we can meet their individualized needs.

Are you still having tours of the communities?

We can do most of the tour process virtually through conversations and Zoom or Facetime. We are happy to assist any potential residents and patients with seeing their new home or transitional care setting through a video.


Independent, Assisted, Memory Care Questions

Who may enter our assisted or independent housing communities?

At this time team members, essential caregivers, medical providers, essential vendors, and emergency repair vendors are allowed to enter at this time. Those individuals go through a daily screening for any symptoms of illness.

Can I meet my loved one at the front door?

We want to minimize the number of person-to-person interactions within our communities, so we are not allowing families and friends to meet residents at the door. You are welcome to leave care packages, laundry, or other items with the concierge and the team will deliver them.

May residents leave their apartments?

Residents are asked to stay in their rooms as much as possible, but there are exceptions like taking a pet outside. We know that residents may need to leave the community, and we are asking them to let us know so that we can do thorough sanitizing.  

May a resident in Memory Care leave the apartment?

We understand that this is especially confusing for residents in memory care and we are doing our best to help keep them in their rooms, but we are not forcing anyone to stay put. Instead, our teams are spending more one-on-one time with these residents and working to help keep them occupied so the need to wander the halls might lessen.

How are residents on our meal programs being served?

The dining rooms are all closed, but residents on meal programs have meals delivered to their doors. Anyone may request a meal or snack at anytime by calling the concierge or culinary department.

How are you attending to the spiritual needs of residents?

Our spiritual life team continues to meet with residents and patients. We have limited their movement between communities. Although the Chapel is closed to residents, Chapel services are being conducted and shared via televisions.

What is active screening?

Active screening is conducted for any visitor to or employee of the community. A series of questions, created with CDC and Department of Health guidelines, is asked of everyone, and it includes questions about health and travel. Temperatures are taken at front desks.

Are residents still having daily life enrichment activities?

Interaction with the life enrichment team is more important than ever before. Although residents are not able to meet in groups, team members make regular visits and conduct one-to-one activities. Some communities have been able to host hallway events where residents can all participate in a game, but still remain at least six feet apart.

Are residents getting exercise?

The fitness centers are in the process of reopening, and the fitness technicians are hard at work conducting fitness sessions by video and assisting with home exercise routines.

Are you still having tours of the communities?

In person tours have stopped, but our teams are still able to conduct virtual tours.

Can I or a loved one move in during this time?

We are still allowing people to move in. Additional restrictions will come in to play so that the move-in process will not expose any residents to outside germs. Active screening will be conducted at the front door.