Lasell Village: COVID-19 Policies & Updates

We are committed to keeping you up to date on coronavirus at Lasell Village.  We know many of you are visiting our site for the the latest case information.  Every Tuesday, we will post the number of positive virus cases on a dedicated page. We wish you all strength, health and comfort in challenging times.

June 1: Some revised protocols

Dear Residents, Staff, Family and Friends,

This morning when I spoke on Channel 918, I acknowledged the deep anguish we collectively feel as we struggle together at the injustices around George Floyd’s brutal death.  The rawness of last week’s brutality and the resulting responses across the country, require us to come together, even as we are separated by Covid-19.  We cannot dismiss racism and social inequities. Many of you have worked for decades to support people across every strata of society, and you inspire us to continue. 

This morning, when Will Carter, Welcome Desk Manager, and I spoke about the state of the world, Will shared heartfelt advice:

  • Be vocal. Speak up when you see injustice.
  • Stand together. Do not accept injustice.
  • Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends’ children.
  • Keep learning and have a conversation.

On our internal resident website, LasellVillageNet.com, we are posting relevant articles, essays, and letters along with book recommendations. If you have something to contribute, please share with Nancy Snow or John Dixon to post on VillageNet.   These resources will help to keep us informed, to spark meaningful dialogue, and to speak up. 

As Will reminded me, it is hard to know what to say, but starting is what matters.

***

Covid-19 protocols:

With our need to connect even more urgent, the Village management team has been working hard on revising some of our Covid-19 protocols balancing risk and benefit. Next Monday, June 8, at 10:00 AM, the team will be on Channel 918 to introduce some revised protocols. 

Today we are introducing two changes ahead of next week’s meeting.

  1. Beginning today, we permit and encourage residents to walk outside with one other Village resident, provided both are wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.

Lasell Village has not yet opened to family or outside visitors.  Why not? Those who are circulating outside the Village are more likely to bring the virus to Lasell Village.  It is distressing for Village residents to know that some other residents are inviting family and outsiders to our Village campus and putting them at risk, and even more distressing to hear that some of these visitors are not wearing masks.  Each of our actions has an impact on our neighbors. 

  1. Mail delivery and outgoing mail pickup has resumed. You may now pick up your mail at your personal mail box each day.

Please follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands and put on your mask.
  • Only one person in the mail center at a time (use the markings to keep six feet away from other residents).
  • Wash your hands after returning home and opening your mail. 

Warm thanks to the flexible and cheerful team of staff who have sorted, carried, and delivered heavy bags and boxes of mail for many weeks.  They pivoted from their primary roles to jump in and help with a smile.

 We are happy to be able to take these small steps and look forward to introducing other revised protocols, beginning on June 8th.  Thank you for your care and understanding, and for standing together where it matters, here at the Village and in our world.

 Anne

May 26: Please Don't Let Your Guard Down

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

I hope that everyone enjoyed a lovely Memorial Day weekend. This note provides an update on our approach to Village protocols.

Please don’t let your guard down:

Springing free from Village Covid-19 protocols may be tempting, but please stay the course. From the notes I received over the weekend, it seems that a few of you are finding it hard to adhere to Village protocols, putting you and your neighbors at heightened risk. I know that sticking to our guidelines is challenging, especially as you hear more about reopening plans from the Governor. Please remember: Even though you may want to invite your family and friends to visit on or off-campus, now is not the time to let your guard down.

Celebrating 19 days:

We have not had a resident or staff test positive for Covid-19 at Lasell Village for the past 19 days. Much of that success has come from purposefully reducing resident  contact with those who are circulating in the outside world. Staff, aides, and vendors follow strict health screening protocols every day and are referred for testing if there is any indication of exposure, or if they themselves are experiencing symptoms. Our staff are trained to behave as though they are asymptomatic  and to maintain strict hygiene, mask, and distancing protocols in the workplace and at home. Nearly all frontline staff have been tested at least once, and those who have been exposed or have experienced symptoms have been tested and quarantined as appropriate. All staff who previously tested positive have recovered.

Lasell House now has ZERO positive cases after Lasell House’s one positive asymptomatic patient tested negative. This is remarkable given the impact of Covid-19 on skilled nursing facilities across the United States.

What the data tells us:

The virus still has a high presence in Massachusetts. According to the Department of Public Health Covid-19 dashboard, cases in our county (Middlesex), are continuing to increase. Further, Middlesex county has the highest number of cases in Massachusetts, 20,500 to-date, nearly 22% of the state’s positive cases.  Introducing new people – friends or family- into the Village at this time invites the possibility of new infections. That is a risk that our community is NOT willing to take. Each of our individual choices has a lot to do with our ability to reduce our risk of positive cases. We are counting on you!

Updated protocols will lag the state:

Just as the Governor is carefully rolling out new guidelines, Lasell Village is also preparing to introduce some updated protocols.  We have been proactive and out front in introducing protections, and now we will revise these carefully and thoughtfully.  As I reported on channel 918 on Friday, beginning on June 8th, the management team will roll out some revisions to our protocols specifically designed to permit some in-person, mask-wearing, appropriately distanced, social interactions among and between Village residents. Given that our Village residents have been isolating and following precautions, we believe that the gain in permitting greater interactions between Villagers, with appropriate protections, outweighs the risk.  More to come on June 8th!

There is no “new normal.”  These times are not normal.  We cannot hug each other, we cannot sit and share a cup of tea in our living rooms, or enjoy a class sitting side-by-side in a classroom.  Our staff cannot socialize over lunch. We can focus on what we are able to do together as a community: bring intention to each day, keep our bright internal lights burning by participating in the wide variety of Village educational, fitness, and entertainment offerings, and do our part to continue to keep our community safe together in the months ahead.

Warmly,

Anne

May 18: It's All About the Culture

Dear Lasell Village Residents, Family, Friends and Staff,

 The questions on everyone’s mind at this afternoon’s monthly Residents and Managers meeting was when and how we will begin to revise Lasell Village’s Covid-19 protocols. Lasell Village will follow Governor Baker’s data-driven, methodical approach and be even more cautious, balancing social needs with safety.  We have established a set of principles to guide our decisions.

The Village will be conservative while we:

  • Prioritize social engagement
  • Balance gain with risk
  • Take it slowly and lag behind the state’s plan for reopening
  • Focus on actions that allow for distancing, mask usage, low density, and outside opportunities.

There are many ways we are pursuing best practices, including reviewing medical and public health research along with national and global experiences and recommendations.  Our involvement includes:

  • Membership on the Massachusetts LeadingAge Task Force for reentry
  • Participating in daily calls with the Department of Public Health, Genesis Healthcare, and national LeadingAge, and
  • Engaging the Village’s Resident Medical Advisory Committee and Resident Advisory Council.

Most of all, we will continue to reinforce a culture of caring about each other.  As Atul Gawande highlighted in his superb New Yorker Magazine article last week, “Culture is the fifth, and arguably the most difficult, pillar of a new combination therapy to stop the coronavirus.”  At Lasell Village, our residents and staff have risen to the challenge, and will continue to adapt in the months ahead as we carefully adjust our protocols.

At today’s community meeting, we concluded by playing Facility Director Ben Bailey’s original video, Lasell Village: Heroes Work Here, highlighting behind the scenes photos of many members of our team at work. Some residents saw a sneak preview on Friday, and had this to say: “The Lean on Me Video…is a fun look at all the folks who make Lasell Village the special place that it is.” And, “You brought great joy and delight to us via video and 918.”

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend as much as I did, admiring the burst of color everywhere. Our woodland yard is dotted with fragrant Lily of the Valley, making a welcome magical yearly appearance. Gardeners describe this plant as “tough”, and symbolizing “a return to happiness.” That describes our community perfectly!

Warmly,

Anne

May 11: Taking it slow

As the Commonwealth begins to envision opening up some parts of the economy, our management team at Lasell Village has been discussing the criteria for reviewing our protocols under Covid-19.  We are following the Governor’s advice, and that of our peers, so that we are careful and deliberate in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our community before we begin to revise any of our current protocols. 

 We are examining many resources in our deliberations, including the Commonwealth’s multi-phase guidelines issued today, the federal government’s guidelines that provide for three phases of reopening with senior living facilities in the third phase, as well as learning from the experiences of other countries.  This week, I have been asked to participate in a LeadingAge Task Force of senior living leaders to address the process of gradual and thoughtful reopening of senior living communities.  We know from historical data, and the advice of epidemiologists, that opening too soon can provoke a second outbreak and a subsequent sustained period of isolation.  We ask for your patience as we work hard to balance your engagement in the world, with safety.  The Village’s resident Medical Advisory Committee has been, and will continue to be, a great source of information and guidance for our management team’s deliberations.

 Please send updates on how you celebrated Mother’s Day virtually.  We would love to share your stories.

 Anne

May 7: Stay Vigilant, PLEASE!

May 7, 2020

Dear Lasell Village Community,

Massachusetts is still in the grip of Covid-19. We are not done with this virus yet. We are not even close. We continue to follow the CDC’s, the Governor’s and Newton Public Health’s guidance closely, and we need everyone in this community to follow our protocols, for yourself, and your neighbors. With a resident in our independent living residences notifying us yesterday that he has tested positive (and is recovering in his apartment), every decision each of us makes impacts our ability to contain the spread.

We know this can be hard, but this situation requires serious attention:

  1. Please stay in your apartment with the exception of solo walks and urgent doctors’ appointments—NO food shopping or pharmacy runs. Our team is happy to bring to your apartment any packages or food deliveries that you order online. Further, we know many families have dropped off groceries to our Welcome Desk, and we encourage them to continue doing so. We have dedicated more staff to deliveries to support your needs.
  2. NO VISITORS! Do not sit outside on a bench with your Village friends; do not gather on your patios; do not meet with other friends and family (even at 6 feet apart); and do not walk with your friends, neighbors or family members (unless you live together). It is tempting, but you risk your health and the health of the community.
  3. Wear a mask anytime you are outside your unit.
  4. Wash your hands often.
  5. If you have an aide, please remind them that they must enter through the main entrance to be screened EVERY time they leave and return to the Village.

These actions will save lives. We can’t stress this enough. Physical distancing is the one thing we know will prevent the spread of Covid-19, and we are doing everything we can to contain the limited cases currently at Lasell Village.

The weather turned delightful and it is wonderful to be outdoors, but we all must remain vigilant even outdoors. Please observe physical distancing. Some research suggests that 6 feet is not great enough. Remember, you are putting yourself, and perhaps more importantly, others in the community at risk when you circulate. These restrictions won’t be forever, but please help our community in the weeks to come by following these protocols.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we know that this is a time when many families gather together. This year’s Mother’s Day will be like none other, and we encourage you to get creative with conversations and celebrations over FaceTime, Zoom gatherings, and phone calls. As our Medical Advisory Committee reminds your families, stay away on Mother’s Day and keep your mother safe! Clearly, this is not a time for complacency.

Please join me on Channel 918 at 10 AM on Friday.

Happy Mother’s Day and I look forward to hearing how you celebrate virtually.

Anne

Anne Doyle, President

COVID 19 Q&A #4 (May 1)

Questions and Answers – 3
Regarding COVID-19

May 1, 2020

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

  1. Now that the weather is nice, can I go visit my family vacation home?

Please wait until after May 18 to take this trip, if it is not an emergency. After that time, it is likely that some restrictions would be loosened. At the present time, our policy remains that any resident leaving the campus overnight will need to be quarantined for two weeks upon their return. 

  1. Can we open up the gardens again?

We recognize the benefits of pursuing hobbies and enjoying being outside. The garden has always been a sense of pride and beauty for the whole community. We are working with the garden committee to find a safe way to allow the gardens to be used and enjoyed. The garden committee is coming up with protocols for management to review.

  1. Is it all right to walk in the halls for exercise when the weather is bad outside?

Sadly, we do not recommend this practice, even with a mask. It is counter-productive to the purpose of the quarantine.

  1. Is it safe for me to sit on my patio while wearing a mask?

Like taking a solitary walk, this is a great idea. Enjoy the view and the arrival of spring from your patio or balcony. Remember to wash your hands when you return inside. 

  1. When will housekeeping services resume?

With the shutdown extended to May 18, we will not be sending housekeepers into resident units through that date or later. We will need to be thoughtful and thorough in lifting our restrictions, and are looking to the CDC and LeadingAge for best practices. Please continue to maintain your vigilance during these last weeks of quarantine. If you have immediate housekeeping concerns, please contact the Housekeeping Manager, Everton Caetano at 617-663-7049.

  1. How has Lasell Village modified its policies regarding aides to reduce the contagion risk?

As a policy, we have asked that live-in aides follow the same protocols as residents, and daily aides must follow the same policies as staff.

Recently, Parker Small and Mitch Rabkin created an educational document to advise aides, whether live-in or daily arrival, how to lessen their risks. Just as we tell staff that their choices during personal time matter, we want all aides to make well-informed choices about going to stores (we prefer you wouldn’t), wearing masks (required of staff and daily aides while at Lasell Village), and frequent hand-washing (yes, please). These policies are being communicated by phone to residents, their aides, and the agencies. We are also sharing the document with family members. 

  1. My aides have been doing grocery shopping for me. What are my alternatives for obtaining groceries, since you would prefer they not go to the store?

Remember that every time an aide or staff person goes to the store they are increasing their exposure, and potentially bringing that increased risk to the Village.

Here are some suggested alternatives for residents to obtain groceries.

  • Have a family member shop and deliver the groceries to the front desk
  • Use an online service, such as Instacart
  • Use either Beth Gordon or Glen Bloom to grocery shop (their information is in News and Notes)
  • Order groceries through Pete’s Store in Town Hall.

May 1: Here, Now, and into the Future

Dear Residents, Staff, and Friends, 

This communication provides two updates.  One is focused on our here and now regarding the COVID-19 situation, and the other is forward looking to our programming for the spring and summer.

COVID-19 Update:

The Village has sadly experienced two losses this week. Two centenarians, one from Lasell Studios and one from independent living, have passed away from COVID-19.  One loss was of the independent resident who was most recently diagnosed and was receiving hospice care at home.  This resident was a long-term, vivacious member of our community who will be missed.  Our Studios resident passed away yesterday evening at the hospital. The resident was proud of their Boston heritage and “special” accent. Studios friends recall a sweet smile and kind disposition.  We send our community’s heartfelt wishes to the families of both of these residents.

 I am happy to share good news regarding two Village residents.  The Village’s first independent COVID-19 positive resident is being discharged this week to NewBridge and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Village soon.  In other good news, the remaining Studios resident who tested positive for the coronavirus, was discharged from the hospital to a different rehabilitation facility, and is recuperating before a return to the Studios.  Please continue to keep both of these residents in your prayers.

 You may have seen members of our dedicated National Guard at the Village yesterday.  They returned to do additional testing at Lasell House.  As of this writing, we have not received results. There are presently no new COVID positive staff this week. 

 Educational Update:

As April spills into May and we enter our ninth week of adjusting to COVID-19, the Commonwealth listened with great anticipation to the Governor’s announcement this week: not unexpectedly, the Governor extended the “Stay at Home” order until May 18th.   At this time, we ask everyone for patience (and good humor) as we all continue to follow the Village’s current protocols.   

 Our spring education program kicked off today.  The team has enlisted three favorite faculty to teach courses scheduled to begin on May 7th,12th, and 21st .  You’ll find further information in News and Notes on these courses taught by resident and former genetics professor, Judith Tsipis, military historian, Dr. Lawrence Clifford, and art historian, Brooke Mullins. The Education Department is piloting a new registration process that doesn’t involve signing up in-person in the usual animated (and crowded) Village way. 

 Even as we anticipate that Lasell Village will have some restrictions eased this summer, we are planning for all classes to be remote for physical distancing purposes. While this creates logistical complexity, it also offers the opportunity to draw on a much wider network of faculty for on-line classes. 

 We invite friends, family, and colleagues around the world to offer a varied and new set of courses for the summer.  Our community has an abundance of intellectual richness and connections.  Many of our residents’ children (and grandchildren) may be interested in teaching an abbreviated course, or a one-time talk, for our community. One does not have to be an academic to give a course or a talk. We can be very flexible with content and timing, and are excited by the opportunity to offer additional educational variety as we reach across the globe for talent to bring to Lasell Village’s remote learning program.  If you or a colleague is interested, please contact  John Dixon at 617-663-7055 or email him at jdixon@lasell.edu

 Thank you for continuing to forward your questions, which are incorporated into the latest Q and A (#4). I will be back on Channel 918 on Monday, May 4, at 10:00 AM and look forward to “seeing” you all. 

 To quote Robert Louis Stevenson, “Take care of each other.” 

 Anne 

Anne Doyle, President

 

COVID 19 Q&A #3 (April 28)

Questions and Answers – 3
Regarding COVID-19

April 28, 2020

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks,csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Now that the weather is nice, can I work in the gardens?
We recognize that working in the garden can be a solitary activity similar to taking a walk that is nourishing for so many of our residents. We have asked the gardening committee to suggest a fair means to allow access, while maintaining physical distancing. We hope to finalize the protocols and open the gardens soon with reasonable guidelines established in collaboration with the gardening committee.

2. Can I use the libraries to get a book?
It is too soon to encourage use of the indoor common areas. This will likely be one of the first areas that we open to residents. For now, if you have a specific book in mind, please reach out to the Education office to deliver it to you.

3. Can I pay my monthly fee by credit card?
For 60 days, the Finance Department has offered to process resident monthly fees by credit card (MasterCard and Visa) for those who were paying by check previously. We want to limit as much as possible the need for residents to leave their unit. After 60 days, residents will be allowed, under special circumstances only, to use a credit card for the monthly payment, but a 3% processing fee will be charged (which is the administrative charge that Lasell pays.)

Electronic payment through ACH (Automated Clearing House) continues to be the preferred method of payment for Lasell Village, with no charge to residents. We feel it is the easiest and most secure way to make a payment.

4. I continue to see aides coming and going. What steps has Lasell taken to remove aides and companions as a possible source of contagion?
Live-in aides and companions are treated the same as residents – required to wear a mask if outside an apartment, required to be screened if they leave the Village (for other than a walk) and not permitted to circulate in the hallways or any common areas.  All aides who are not living with residents, whether privately-hired or hired through a home care agency, must follow the same protocol that staff follow: they are required to wear masks, and to undergo screening at the front desk every day they are at the Village.

5. How do we ensure that the privately-hired and agency aides know the Village protocols?
Our Wellness Department has shared Village protocol with the agencies providing services at Lasell Village and is in communication with those agencies.  We ask that residents and families help to underscore the protocols we have put in place, most importantly staying at home.  Residents should not ask aides to grocery shop. It puts the resident and community at risk when aides circulate in public places.

With the help of resident Parker Small, we are also putting in place additional educational materials for all privately-hired aides and agency aides who are providing services at the Village. We will also share that material with the residents and their families who hire aides to reinforce the important protocols.

6. Was the independent living resident who was recently diagnosed being cared for by private aides before he/she got sick?
The independent living resident who tested positive was already receiving care from privately-hired agency aides prior to being infected. The agency is providing personal protection equipment (PPE) to the two aides caring for that resident, and the aides are following strict patient quarantine, PPE and trash removal protocols. The aides, like everyone who enters Lasell Village, follow our welcome desk health screenings.

As we have learned from current research, everyone you meet could potentially be carrying the virus even if they are asymptomatic. Your best defense remains the same three steps: maintain physical distancing, frequently wash your hands, and remain at home as much as possible. Health considerations prevent some residents from being alone, and we continue to encourage solo walks (or with a partner sharing living space).

7. How did the newly diagnosed independent living resident get tested?
The resident’s physician arranged for them to get a test off-site at a local hospital. Lasell Village did not provide the testing. The resident’s physician discharged them back to their home at Lasell Village.

8. What should I do if I feel unwell?
Symptoms vary for COVID-19. If you are not feeling well, please call your PCP to be tested, and call the Wellness Department 617-663-7071.

9. Do we have plans to open the Village soon?
The high likelihood is that restrictions will be lifted slowly and thoughtfully as we enter the next phase. Lasell Village must follow rules imposed by the state. We look forward to hearing how Governor Baker plans to move forward with opening businesses. We will also listen to the CDC’s best advice for keeping our residents and staff safe.  We work collaboratively with Leading Age to benefit from the shared knowledge of best practices of senior communities around the country. Please continue to maintain your vigilance.

Note: We welcome your questions and are glad to add family members to the email list for Village communications. Please send name and email address to Nancy Snow (nsnow@lasell.edu).

April 20: National Guard Testing Update

Dear Residents, Staff, Friends and Family,

Patriots Day seems an appropriate day to thank our Massachusetts National Guard for their assistance in testing. On Friday, the MA National Guard tested 64 Lasell House residents and staff, all of whom were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Only three people tested positive for COVID-19: two staff and one resident.

Who was tested?

  • Staff tested included those with front-line care-giving responsibilities as well as those who support Lasell House. This included front-line nurses and certified nursing assistants, Lasell House administrative staff, Lasell Village welcome desk staff, housekeepers, nutritionists, facilities staff, and activities staff.
  • All Lasell House residents were tested. As previously reported, the three symptomatic Lasell House residents who were tested on Tuesday were all negative.
  • The only Lasell House resident who tested positive is asymptomatic and has already been on precautions as a new admission from a Boston hospital. This patient has been, and will continue to be, in isolation at Lasell House in a newly dedicated area where new patients and COVID-19 positive patients receive care from a dedicated care team.

Results

  • The two staff members who tested positive were asymptomatic and will not return to Lasell for 10 days from their positive diagnosis, assuming they do not subsequently develop symptoms. One other staff’s test was inconclusive; that staff person will be re-tested and will be quarantined until the results are confirmed.

We continue to follow strict protocols, including monitoring all residents at Lasell House for symptoms three times per day. Staff wear full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including gowns, face shields, masks and goggles each time they enter a Lasell House resident’s room.

We will continue to be vigilant across the entire organization in wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing. Thank you to our dedicated and caring staff and residents: everyone’s diligence is helping.

Best,

Anne

April 18: Lasell Studios Update

Dear Friends of Lasell Village,

I am deeply saddened to inform you that two Lasell Studio residents passed away. This is a tremendous loss to our community, and we extend our sincere condolences to their families as they mourn their very difficult loss.

In these quickly changing times, I’m fully committed to keeping you abreast of what is happening at Lasell Village while COVID-19 is in our midst.  I must ask you to kindly to be patient, since there are new developments daily or hourly in some cases, and I want you to have the most up to date information.  I’ve listed below our latest positive cases as of April 17:

– 5 staff members – 3 in Lasell House, 1 in the Studios, 1 in the Village,
all isolating at home
– 3 Studio residents – as previously mentioned, sadly 2 passed away
and 1 remains in the hospital
– 1 Independent living resident – being cared for in a hospital

We continue to put time and resources to getting testing. To share some good news amidst all our sadness,  the Lasell House residents who were symptomatic and tested on Tuesday were each negative.  Today the National Guard is testing additional Lasell House staff and residents.

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

Anne

COVID-19 Q & A #2 (April 17)

Questions and Answers – 2

Regarding COVID-19

April 17, 2020

Thank you for your excellent questions. We will continue to update this question and answer document to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow,nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Can you clarify the details regarding resident trash pickup?
Please put your trash outside your apartment door by 10 AM on Mondays and Thursdays. Non-recyclable trash, extra food waste and food take-out containers should be in a closed or sealed plastic bag. Recyclables can be put in the white dinner delivery bag.

2. If I have extra trash, can I put on a mask to go put it down the chute?
Please stay in your apartment for now. If the Monday-Thursday trash collection is insufficient for the volume of trash, please call Housekeeping at 617-663-7049.

3. How is incoming mail delivery being handled?
Dedicated staff are sorting and delivering mail Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They will put the mail in a plastic bag hanging from your doorknob. When you retrieve this mail, throw away the bag. You do not need to wipe down your mail or packages, but we recommend you wash your hands after handling these items.

4. How is outgoing mail being handled?
This week, staff will deliver to your door a bag with a large green sticker to use for outgoing mail. Place your outgoing mail in this bag, and hang it on your doorknob. Staff will remove the outgoing mail and leave the bag for your continued use.

5. How can I deliver a monthly bill payment?Put your payment in an envelope, address the envelope to the Business Office, and add it to your outgoing mail bag with the green sticker. Contact Carolyn Ortiz at 617-663-7069 and she will assist you.

6. How can I mail packages?
Contact the shipper to obtain a return label. Put the package outside your apartment door with your outgoing mail on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. We cannot provide boxes, packing materials or labels.

 7. How can I buy stamps?
Pete’s Store does have a supply of stamps, listed under “Everyday items” on the order form on LasellVillageNet. You can also buy stamps on the internet directly from the Post Office, by going to usps.com, by choosing QuickTools /Buy Stamps.

8. With no housekeeping or supplies at home, how can we clean our floors?
The Facilities Department has supplies, such as mops, Swiffers, bathroom cleaners and sponges. You can find the flyer on Lasellvillagenet.com or call 617-663-7076 to order supplies.

9. How can I participate in the “Twenty for the 20th” morning show without leaving my apartment?
The Education office can arrange for you to be a presenter remotely, through Zoom.

10. Information sharing: If a resident receives a positive diagnosis, will information be shared with other residents? Can Lasell Village tell us if the people who are showing symptoms in Lasell House are from Lasell Village?
According to HIPAA regulations, we cannot share any information on patients, their gender, or address, without their express permission. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a Wellness Center representative will contact you to ask if you would like to share your name, your health status, or both.

11. If I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week, should I cancel and how far out should I reschedule?
If you need to have this appointment because this is an urgent matter, please contact your physician to see if telehealth options are available. If this is a routine, or non-urgent matter, we recommend that you reschedule to late June, or July. Many doctors are cancelling non-urgent visits.

12. My car has not been driven in four weeks; may I take my car for a drive?
You can go to the garage and turn on your car for a minute, or move it outside the garage for about 15 minutes to ensure the battery is charged and the oil and fluids circulate properly. We do not recommend that you leave the campus except for an emergency.

 13. I have documents to notarize, how can I do this?
Although we do not recommend leaving the campus for any reason, we realize that there may be a need to act on official documents. Contact Sue at the Village Bank, she will arrange for you to meet a notary at the Auburndale office. You should wear a mask the entire time you are out of your apartment, bring hand sanitizer with you and frequently use it. When you return, you must come back through the screening at the Welcome Desk, and you should wash your hands immediately when you arrive home.

14. Can my daughter join me for a walk outside?
This conflicts with our no-visitor policy and safe social distancing.

15. Are chairs in the courtyard still usable? Are they being wiped down and cleaned?
The chairs are useable, but they are not being wiped down. Like anything else you touch frequently, you should consider wiping the chair with a disinfecting wipe. Don’t touch your face, and wash your hands.

16. Is it okay for a resident to go for a drive or be taken for a drive (by a spouse) even if nobody gets out of the car or interacts with the public? We do not recommend that you leave the campus except for an emergency.

17. Can I still go to the pharmacy to drive through and pick up my prescriptions?
We do not want residents to leave the campus. This is not only about individual actions, this is about the safety of the entire community. There are options to have the scripts delivered.

 18. If the smoke alarm goes off in the hall, should I evacuate?
Yes. You must always follow the proper evacuation procedure when any building alarm goes off. When you get outside, please adhere to the social distancing protocols.

19. Should I consider purchasing a UV handheld sanitizer?
These may be effective on places such as telephones and keyboards, if you do not have sanitizing wipes. However, these cannot be used on your hands – your best defense in all cases is handwashing.

20. Can rubbing alcohol could be used as a disinfectant?
Alcohol solutions must be at least 70% alcohol to be effective against the virus.

21. Is it safe to make sanitizer at home?
Hand sanitizer is safe to make at home; however, you must be certain that it contains enough alcohol to kill the virus. The CDC says that “alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol … should be effective.” A safe ratio is about 4 parts of 90-91 percent alcohol to 1 part (total) of any other dilution (for example, 1 cup of 90 percent alcohol mixed with ¼ cup of aloe). Never mix alcohol with bleach.

 22. Are we eligible for any federal money to help cover Lasell Village expenses?
We received a payment (not a loan) of $155k from the initial distribution from the CARES Act. We can also defer the employer portion of the FICA payments through the end of the year, repaying this in 2021 and 2022. Restrictions on eligibility for some government COVID grants will prevent us from qualifying for all programs.

 23. What is happening with testing for COVID 19?
Lasell House, with our most vulnerable population, had a first round of testing by the National Guard on Tuesday, April 14th.  They tested symptomatic residents at that time.  The National Guard is returning on Friday to do additional testing of staff who interact with Lasell House residents including nursing staff, CNA’s, housekeepers and more. We continue to try to get all residents and staff of Lasell Studios tested. Testing for all other staff and independent residents remains challenging.

We recognize that there are a few residents without internet access. Please contact the Concierge Desk for assistance on general matters, or call the Café with your food orders, or Pete’s Store orders.

COVID-19 Q&A #1 (April 11)

Questions and Answers

Regarding COVID-19

April 11, 2020

We are working hard to provide answers to our community’s excellent questions. We will continue to update this question and answer document to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks, csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

1. Can we test all the residents?
We are seeking testing for the entire community through multiple avenues. The state is prioritizing skilled nursing and assisted living facilities where there are symptomatic residents. We have already requested testing in Lasell Village Studios and the Newton Board of Health is assisting us in achieving this. This is a fast-evolving area with new information daily. We will keep you abreast of our progress.

2. Would I be called if I am exposed to a known, infectious person at Lasell Village?
The Newton Board of Health has provided guidance to us that we are following.

When we were made aware that residents within Lasell Village and Lasell Studios had received a positive diagnosis, Robin Scully, Director of Wellness, immediately called the Newton Board of Health, and followed their next steps. The Newton Board of Health asked us to contact anyone who had up-close contact with the infected person lasting longer than fifteen minutes. We contacted the people they advised are at increased risk.

 3. What should I do if I don’t feel well?
Should you feel unwell, please let your Primary Care Physician and our Wellness Department know immediately so that you can be tested.

4.  Can Lasell Village share the name of any resident or staff member who tests positive?
No. Under HIPAA rules, we are not allowed to share that person’s name, gender, or address.

5.  Are there additional housekeeping services performed in areas where there is a positive case?
If a resident is diagnosed or presumed positive, we have arranged with an outside contractor with the right equipment to do a deep cleaning 72 hours after the quarantine is complete, and as warranted.

6. What is Lasell Village doing for infection control and sanitizing?
We are continuing to maintain our practice of cleaning every common area four or more times throughout the day, including sanitizing of high-touch points such as door handles, handrails, and elevator buttons.

7. How did the Village independent living resident and Studios residents get the virus?
We do not know how the residents were infected. Please presume everyone is a carrier.

8. How can I minimize exposure?
The best way to minimize your exposure is to isolate as much as possible. Refrain from personal contact and stay home. Only leave your apartment for emergencies, critical treatments or walks outside. Wear a mask when you are not in your apartment alone.

 9. May I walk outdoors? What protection do I take?
Yes, we encourage you to get fresh air. You should wear a mask whenever you leave your apartment. Once outside, if there is no one around, you can remove the mask. Keep it handy, in case you encounter someone. Wash your hands when you leave your apartment and when you return.

 10. How is Lasell Village protecting the Studios staff?
All staff in the Studios are always wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), with specific staff assigned for symptomatic residents. Dietary, activities and housekeeping staff are not entering the Studios. Maintenance will enter only under critical situations, and with personal protective equipment. We have requested testing for all residents and staff in the Studios and are working with the Newton Board of Health to achieve this.

 11. Can I leave Lasell Village to go spend time with my family?
This is not the time to visit family or friends. Our Medical Advisory Committee Chair says that this is risky behavior. Despite this recommendation, if you choose to leave the premises to visit family or friends, you will be required to go through the Welcome Desk health screening when you return to the Village. If the screening brings to light any symptoms, you will not be allowed to return to your apartment. If you are not symptomatic at that time, you will be required to quarantine in your apartment for 14 days upon your return.

12. Can we go out to “senior hours” at the grocery store? Or use drive-up windows to pick up items?
No. Every time you leave the building, you are putting yourself and others at risk. We ask that you stay home and only leave the campus for emergencies or critical treatments. We have expanded our offerings from Pete’s Store, and encourage you to order at LasellVillageNet.com.

 13. Where can I get housekeeping supplies? Borrow a vacuum?
Attached to this email is a flyer from the Facilities Department, which outlines how to purchase common cleaning materials such as mops, brooms, and cleaners. We will deliver purchases to your unit.

Vacuums are available for loan the same day of each resident’s regular cleaning day, for one hour. If requested, the vacuum will be dropped off outside your apartment door and then will be picked up in the same manner. The equipment will then be sanitized by a staff member before it is shared with the next resident. Please call 617-663-7049 to request a loan.

14. How is trash pick-up handled?
We will also pick up trash twice a week from your apartment door.  We are working on operationalizing this practice.  Stay tuned for additional information regarding what days the mail will be delivered and the trash will be picked up at your apartment.

 15. How is outgoing mail handled?
Call the Concierge Desk to arrange for pickup of outgoing mail.

16. How is incoming mail handled?
We are working on a plan to start delivering mail to your apartment door twice a week beginning next week. This is not a small thing, and several staff have volunteered to assist with this project. We appreciate your patience while we work out the details. Don’t worry if there is mail in your individual mailboxes. We’ll get it to you at the beginning of next week.

Please continue to send questions to the Lasell Village management team via Nancy Snow, nsnow@lasell.edu, and copy Cheryl Sacks,csacks@lasell.edu. Many thanks for your partnership and diligence as we all work to keep Lasell Village healthy.

 

A Resident's Gratitude

We are happy to share the following reflection from one of our residents, Inge Thorn Engler, who eloquently expresses gratitude and wisdom in the midst of the current chaotic and challenging time.  We are grateful to her for lifting our spirits!

Them’s Fightin’ Words

A neighbor from the street where we used to live wrote me the other day, saying: “You didn’t know what
you were getting into, did you?”

For some reason that raised my hackles: yes, senior residences are vulnerable in this time of peril, but one never knows what one is getting into in life anyway! Did we ask to be born into our families? We probably had a glimmer of an idea when we chose what would be our life’s work, but did we understand the full extent of it? Or how about when we chose our spouses? You make an educated guess, gather all the facts you have at your disposal, invite your heart in to second-guess your mind, and go for it with all you’ve got.

We didn’t choose Lasell Village lightly: location, education, size, mission, residents we knew or met while searching, the trees all around, underground parking, the proximity of the T — oh, there’s a check-list a mile long. When we arrived and settled in, we discovered how wonderfully the chef catered to one of humans’ basic needs. How concerts and lectures supplemented the course offerings, and how incredibly friendly everyone was. Unbelievably helpful staff! And the combined talent living here: quilters, gardeners, flower arrangers, poets, painters, authors, scientists….

So, let me get to the point and spell it out clearly: we are living in an unusual time of danger and the unknown. We, the older generation are most vulnerable to this new virus. I think I prefer it that way, rather than to have the flower of our humanity be snuffed out before future generations can be in place.

Which brings me back to Lasell Village: we are having more and more restrictions placed on our daily lives, but not out of pique or because we are a nuisance, but rather in a heroic plan to preserve our lives. I am endlessly grateful for all the care showered on us, for the energy the staff is expending, having never bargained for the tasks they are now assuming, The delicious and ample meals being delivered to our door by smiling (I think?) staff, the masks being distributed, the opening of Pete’s store so that, if we plan carefully and do not insist on having everything just as we have always had, we can stay here safely.

Did I know what I was getting into? It was only an educated guess, and I am grateful.

Inge Thorn Engler, Lasell Village Resident

Looking for an earlier update you don’t see here?  Click below to visit the COVID-19 archive page.

 

 

Meet some of our Lasell Village heroes:

In addition to Lasell Village updates, Lasell University regularly posts COVID-19 information.  Click below to visit the University’s COVD-19 info page.

Other reliable sources of information you may find helpful:

Font Resize
Contrast