Important Coronavirus Information
At Benedictine Living Community-Wausau, our priority is the health and wellness of our residents and associates. We know that the frail and elderly are especially susceptible to the coronavirus and that is why we have been doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus onto our campus.
We are thankful to have hosted COVID-19 vaccine clinics offering the vaccine to our residents and associates. We do encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you, particularly those who are at increased risk for severe illness. Getting these shots will not only protect you from being infected; it will help us take a big step towards ending this pandemic.
So, as we are vaccinated and wait for the vaccine for all, we must continue to remain vigilant with wearing our masks, wearing them properly, practicing good hand hygiene and maintaining a safe social distance.
We are very excited to share the news that state and federal guidance regarding visitation in our setting has been revised. As a result, we can safely open our doors to more visitors. The new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is different for those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (which means you have received both doses of the vaccine and 14 days have passed since your last vaccination) and those who haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t reached fully vaccinated status.
If the resident is fully vaccinated, it means they:
- may choose to have close contact (including touch) with the persons visiting;
- do not have to quarantine after non-medically necessary outings unless you spend 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone who can spread COVID-19.
- may choose to attend a place of worship or other group event that complies with current state mandates or restrictions or shop or eat in a public establishment. It is strongly recommended to attend places of worship or other group events only when the 14-day county positive rate is below 5 percent.
If the resident hasn’t been vaccinated or hasn’t reached fully vaccinated status, and they may have to quarantine depending on if they haven’t tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, tested positive more than 90 days ago, or tested positive by antigen test and had no symptoms.
All visitors must be screened for COVID-19 before their visit, wear a well-fitting face mask over their nose and mouth for the entire visit, maintain social distance from other residents and staff, practice good hand hygiene and remain in the resident’s room or designated visiting space for the duration of their visit.
We are required to inform visitors that there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 while visiting. Adhering to the basic infection prevention measures helps to mitigate the risk.
Our COVID-19 Update:
Benedictine Living Community-Wausau is providing regular coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to our employees and as needed to residents and employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This effort helps to identify those who may have the virus and may not show symptoms so we can care for them and potentially limit transmission to others. We will update our hotline – 715-260-2743 – if our testing identifies any new positive cases.
We continue to monitor all our residents and staff for signs and symptoms of the virus. We remain in close communication with our local health officials to ensure we are taking all appropriate actions. As we have for the past few months, we will continue to monitor all residents and employees for signs or symptoms of the virus.
Infection Control Measures
Since March, we have had aggressive infection control measures in place. We have implemented all recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and our state and local health departments to protect our residents and staff. Because we have taken this situation very seriously, our campus has:
- Provided face masks to all residents to wear whenever one of our staff is in their room/apartment or when they venture outside their room/apartment.
- Screened all residents daily for symptoms, temperature and oxygen levels.
- Restricted visitors to only essential health care and compassionate care situations, such as end of life. Those individuals were required to pass a health screening before entering.
- Encouraged health care providers to use telehealth when possible.
- Implemented social distanced dining and activities.
- Screened all our associates for symptoms and temperature at the beginning of their shift each day. Associates are not allowed in the building if they are ill.
- Required all associates to wear face masks and face shields while providing care.
- Implemented enhanced infection control measures, including extra efforts to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building.
As we navigate this challenge, we are especially grateful for our dedicated caregivers, who are working tirelessly to ensure a clean, safe environment for all who live and work here. We all remain focused on providing exceptional care and services for all our residents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are your residents wearing masks?
Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff. The latest infection control measure we have implemented is to provide a face mask for every resident. Residents are encouraged to wear the face mask anytime one of our caregivers is in their room or if they leave their room for any reason. They do not have to wear one while they are in their rooms. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks as a way to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus.
Can I visit my parents?
While we have restricted visitors to specific, limited, compassionate care situations, we are encouraging and offering families several ways to keep in touch with their loved ones.
- Phone calls
- Write them a letter, card or piece of art and send via snail mail.
- Send an email via our website. Please fill out the “Connect With Us” form and put your message in the comments section. We will make sure your loved one gets the message.
- Video chat—you can schedule a time through our website to visit using Zoom or other technology. Please fill out the “Connect With Us” form and select “schedule video chat.”
- Regularly check out our Family Update page on our website and Facebook page for highlights and photos of the activities we are hosting to boost spirits all while protecting the health of our residents.
- Where possible and free of snow and ice, we welcome you to come to their window to share messages of love. If you let us know you are coming, we can make sure your loved one is able to use the phone to speak with you. Please call Suzanne Lindner at 608-615-7446 to arrange this window visit.
Is it okay for resident’s to order food delivery and/or for family to bring in food or drink to our front reception desk?
We want to minimize the number of persons coming into our reception area and prefer our residents choose meal options from their dining room menus. However, if food delivery is an integral part of the resident’s psychological well-being (ethnic food, comfort food etc.) it can be allowed providing the delivery person does not enter the community and leaves the food at the front desk and then exits.
What kind of faith-based services are being offered?
Our spiritual care staff realize how important faith practices are to our residents. To ensure our residents’ needs are met, we will be connecting with area clergy to offer phone contact in addition to our onsite chaplain’s services. We are also providing Mass on local channels and window visits with the facility priest.
Wellness and social activities can be the highlight of a resident’s day. Here are ways we’re bringing social and wellness activities to your loved ones:
1. Daily Exercise
3. Dice Games
4. Ice Cream Sundaes
5. Arts and Crafts, etc.
I used to do my mom’s laundry for her, now how is her laundry getting done?
Our staff is picking up right where you left off and ensuring that any services our residents were receiving from their families are now being met by our staff. Please call 608-788-9870 directly if you have specific questions about your loved one’s needs.
Can I drop off care packages or supplies for my parents?
Yes, we will gladly receive deliveries for our residents at the main entrance door, and our staff will bring them to the appropriate residents’ apartment. Please call the front desk at 608-788-9870 to make arrangements for this to happen.
How are the residents feeling about the visitor restrictions and social distancing?
Residents and families have been supportive of the steps we’ve taken focused on protecting residents’ health, wellness and safety, which are in line with federal and state guidelines. Our community staff are providing compassionate care to make sure residents are staying mentally healthy and stimulated while adhering to social distancing guidelines. And both residents and staff are very appreciative of the daily activities that are taking place. There is positive feedback and understanding of why every precaution is being taken.
What can I do to help brighten a resident’s day?
We are excited to announce our new “#GramsForGrands” program that invites local children, family members and the public to send cards, letters, artwork, drawings or inspirational messages to our residents. The messages and artwork will be shared with our center’s grandmas, grandpas and other residents as well as posted on an “art gallery” wall in the center for residents and staff to enjoy. Please send messages and artwork to the Activities Department or Suzanne Lindner at 2902 East Avenue South, La Crosse WI 54601.
My dad enjoys walking around the campus and flower gardens. Can he still go outside?
Yes, our residents can go outside and walk or sit as long as they are safe in doing this activity. Residents need to remember to maintain the 6 foot distance from other residents.
My grandma just moved in last week. What are you doing to help her settle in to her new home and make friends?
We will be working closely one-on-one with your loved one to make sure she feels right at home, including welcome visits by key staff, giving her an orientation/tour to key locations within our community, and introducing her to her new neighbors and activities within current social distancing guidelines.
Is my mom able to have her hair done?
Current federal and state guidelines prevent our hair stylist from working at this time. Our staff are stepping in and assisting with grooming needs to ensure your mom looks and feels her best.
How can I protect myself?
Make sure you protect yourself and loved ones by using the following “best practice” infection prevention strategies every day:
- Wash your hands frequently (20 seconds of really washing well with soap and water – sing “Happy Birthday” twice). Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is also acceptable.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your sleeve, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home and get medical attention if you are feeling sick.
- When out in public, maintain a “social distance” which means stay a minimum of 6 feet away from anyone else.
We sincerely thank our residents, their families and our staff for their patience and dedication as we keep the safety, health and wellness of our residents and associates our top priority. Given the coronavirus situation is changing frequently, we will be working hard to provide additional information on this page and through other communication methods as it becomes available.