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Learn about our new COVID-19 protocols, which are designed to help keep residents and staff healthy (NHC)

 

COVID-19 – Weekly Update 8/12/20

COVID-19 update: With the pace of COVID-related mandates and others news slowing considerably in recent weeks, future communications will be sent on an as needed basis. Rest assured we will continue to keep you apprised of important developments, and that our management team remains readily available to answer questions. We continue to be encouraged that there have been no new known COVID cases at New Horizons for the past two months. We still, however, urge residents to stay safer at home, wear face coverings that cover your mouth and nose, wash your hands often, and practice social distancing. For your safety and the safety of those around you, we often repeat these important guidelines. The pandemic is not over, and a resurgence is a very real threat. We must remain diligent.

Quote for the Week:

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) naturalist, geologist, and biologist

Outdoor Events – Summer Fun: In addition to our well-received bingo games, residents enjoyed the following events this past week:

  • Tom Smith performed live music to an appreciative audience.
  • Many residents attended our resident meeting. Perhaps the high number of attendees was directly related to the serving of frozen strawberry daiquiris following the meeting?
  • Residents were thrilled to welcome back Hilary with her awesome exercise and fitness class.

Coming Events: Weekly live music already scheduled through September.

Outdoor Visits: With the increase of outdoor events attended by many residents, there may be times when we are unable to accommodate all visitor requests. It is important, therefore, that you schedule your visit in advance, with a limit of two visitors per resident. Upon arrival, complete the questionnaire followed by a temperature reading, wear a face covering, and maintain social distance. At this time, bathroom facilities are not available so please plan accordingly.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we continue to place the health and safety of our residents and staff as our highest priority.

Christine Coakley
Executive Director

Lisa Yarin
Associate Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Weekly Update 8/5/20

COVID-19 update: We continue to be encouraged that there have been no new known COVID cases at New Horizons for several weeks. We still, however, urge residents to stay safer at home, wear face coverings that cover your mouth and nose, wash your hands often, and practice social distancing. Please understand that the reason we often repeat these important guidelines is because the pandemic is not over, and a resurgence is a very real threat.

“We need to remain focused. We need to remain strong. We need to accept that this is challenging, but use these challenges to put it towards something positive and fight this pandemic together.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist, technical lead for the World Health Organization

Travel mandate update: The Commonwealth will remove Rhode Island from its list of “lower-risk states,” effective August 7. This means that those traveling to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, including returning residents, are instructed by the Commonwealth to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Especially given that our residents are the demographic most adversely affected by infection, we ask residents, staff, and visitors to abide by the Commonwealth’s mandate. (Please note that, out of an abundance of caution, New Horizons employees must refrain from reporting to work for 14 days following travel to a higher risk state even if they produce a negative COVID test.)

Barbra Graham, our New Horizons Hero: Boston 25 News highlighted many aspects of Woburn in its Zip Trip feature last Friday morning. During the piece, Barbra was surprised with a beautiful plaque recognizing her as Woburn’s Hometown Hero. All of us at New Horizons are so happy that she received this well-deserved recognition. She really is quite amazing. If you missed the segment, or would like to view it again, simply click here. For residents who do not have access to a computer, we can arrange for you to view it on one of New Horizons’ devices.

As always, our sincere thanks to residents, staff, families, and friends for your support.

Christine Coakley
Executive Director

Lisa Yarin
Associate Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Weekly Update 7/31/20

Dear residents and families,

In lieu of a communication next week, we are sending along this important update put in place by the state of Massachusetts, effective August 1. In a continued effort to keep Massachusetts insulated from a second wave of coronavirus infections, specific interstate travel guidelines have been established. Details are available online at mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order.

Key Points of the Travel Order

  • At present, only eight other states are deemed “lower-risk states” for visitors to or from Massachusetts, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii. No special requirements are necessary for interstate travel from those states at this time.
  • For travel between Massachusetts and any state other than the eight listed above, as well as travel abroad, the Commonwealth has specified that any person must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Massachusetts. Travel to and from all other states will require the completion of the Massachusetts Travel form. The 14-day quarantine can only be avoided by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. If results of the test are pending, a person must quarantine until proof of a negative test result becomes available.
  • Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to $500 per day.
  • The list of “lower-risk states” will change based on the incidence of infection trends of each state, and the link above will update those changes as warranted.

For our community, it is critically important that every member of our extended community—residents, friends, and family—adheres to these requirements. (New Horizons’ employees will be required to adhere to even more stringent travel protocols.) We continue to be fortunate at this time, as our reopening of visitation, programming, dining, and the like reflects. However, with this order now in place, we all need to be mindful that the virus is, for the vast majority of our country, as dangerous and infectious as it has ever been. As we have done since March, we again will make a passionate plea for everyone to fully comply. In fact, at the risk of being blunt, we would urge visitors from any area of the country other than the defined “lower-risk states” to delay visiting our campus until their respective state has been defined as “lower-risk” by Massachusetts. Keeping our residents and staff safe continues to be at the center of everything we do here, and this new law clearly indicates that vigilance and accountability to each other needs to be a guiding principle for all of us.

This will become the “law of the land” in Massachusetts effective tomorrow morning. Please take the time to click on the link and familiarize yourself with the specifics of the travel order. Thanks so much for your anticipated cooperation regarding this critical new development.

Christine Coakley
Executive Director

Lisa Yarin
Associate Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Weekly Update 6/3/20

This is our weekly Wednesday email with COVID-19 related updates:


Quote for the week:
Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) Poet, author, singer, civil rights activist

COVID-19 Update:
We are grateful to report that it has been nearly four weeks since our last reported case of COVID-19 in our community. Due to the very real risk that this pandemic still poses, however, we continue to stress the importance of continued diligence at this time.

Outside Visits:
In an effort to keep communities even safer, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) has just issued additional protocols with respect to outdoor visits. Like all essential visitors and staff have been doing for several weeks, all individuals who visit with a resident outdoors must now complete a questionnaire and have their temperature taken before the visit takes place. In addition, the mandate specifies a limit of two visitors per resident and requires the visit to be scheduled in advance. As always, face coverings must be worn and social distancing maintained. If you have questions or would like to schedule a visit, please feel free to contact us.

Safer at Home:
We are so grateful to our residents and their families for continuing the sacrifice of staying home. Let’s all hope the phases of reopening Massachusetts will result in a clear path to increasing normalcy for all of us. Until that time, please stay safe and please stay strong.

Hair Salon:

We have spoken with a representative from Massachusetts Assisted Living Association (Mass-ALA), which serves as the voice of assisted living in Massachusetts, providing information and education, and advocating on behalf of assisted living communities. The representative informed us that Mass-ALA is working closely with EOEA as to re-opening in-house salons. We appreciate your patience and hope to have more information soon.

Christine Coakle
Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Weekly Update 5/27/20

This is our weekly Wednesday email with COVID-19 related updates:


Quote for the week:
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) Poet, author, singer, civil rights activist

COVID-19 update:
For the second week in a row, we are grateful to report there are no new cases of COVID-19 in our community. Each of us, however, must remain cautious and diligent for our current good fortune to continue. Because the pandemic is ongoing and there are new cases every day, we must not waver from the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and other governing authorities.

Thank you for your cooperation:
Residents are playing a vital role during this crisis. We appreciate that, in a continued effort to stay safe and healthy, they are wearing face coverings, sanitizing their hands, and practicing social distancing when out of their apartments. That commitment is also evident in our staff and outdoor visitors who are complying with the utmost caution. Please keep up the good work.

Safer at Home:
This is a reminder from last week’s update concerning the Safer at Home Advisory from Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The new guidelines advise those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions to stay home, except for trips that are required for healthcare or are otherwise absolutely necessary. We urge residents to stay safer at home. Please avoid venturing out to stores, hair salons, etc. for the time being. Let’s continue to be extra cautious as there is still so much uncertainty.

Hair Salon:
We are anxiously awaiting word from the Executive of Elder Affairs as to re-opening our in-house salon. Once we hear, we will immediately share the news with all the residents.

Our most sincere thanks for the well wishes we have received from so many during this time. Your unwavering support means the world to all of us at New Horizons. Please reach out at any time to schedule a Facetime visit with a loved one or to ask any questions.

Christine Coakle
Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Weekly Update 5/20/20

This is our weekly Wednesday email with COVID-19 related updates:


Quote for the week:
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

COVID-19 Update:
We are grateful to report that since our last communication, we have had no new reported cases of COVID-19. One of our residents has been seen wearing a T-shirt that reads: I survived Coronavirus 2020. She commented: “I went through the sickness and the lingering aftereffects. It is obvious to me that we must continue to follow the rules.” We are thrilled for our community members who have recovered from this illness, and are grateful for the relatively low incidence of the virus at New Horizons – yet we must remain cautious and vigilant.

Safer at Home:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health replaced the Stay at Home Advisory with a Safer at Home Advisory. The new guidelines advise those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions to stay home, except for trips that are required for healthcare or are otherwise absolutely necessary. We urge residents to stay safer at home. Please avoid venturing out to stores, hair salons, etc. for the time being. As Governor Baker said, “We do not want to take one step forward and two steps back.”

Resuming in-house services:
In an effort to make it more convenient to remain on our campus, we are happy to report the following:

  • Podiatry: There will be a podiatry clinic here on May 28 and another in early June. Please visit the Wellness Office and see Tricia to schedule an appointment.
  • Hair Salon: Recognizing that many residents are anxious for a haircut, we are working on determining the earliest date on which Nina could resume hair styling services at New Horizons. We ask for your patience as we first ensure that such an activity complies with Executive Office of Elder Affairs’ mandates. In the meantime, we urge residents to wait before making appointments with outside hair salons, given the potential risks involved with a visit that would likely include contact with a number of people.

As always, our sincere thanks to residents, staff, friends, and families for your support.

Christine Coakle
Executive Director

 

 


COVID-19 – Resident and family memo 3/19/20

Dear residents, families, and health care agents,

New Horizons continues to maintain a vigilant approach to keeping its residents and staff healthy. We are closely following the evolving guidelines communicated by Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) regarding COVID-19, and we are pleased to relate some modifications to its recent mandates.

Small group activities reinstated
Although large group gatherings are prohibited, EOEA has determined that small group activities may recommence, provided that residents maintain the prescribed physical distance from one another, and that recommended hygiene and sanitizing protocols are adhered to at all times.

Modified communal dining permitted
EOEA has relaxed its earlier mandate prohibiting communal dining to allow for group meal service under the following conditions:

  • Residents are seated at least six feet apart
  • Proper hygiene and sanitizing protocols are observed at all times

New Horizons has resumed serving meals in the dining room and several common areas. We have removed many chairs to ensure that residents are seated a safe distance apart. The resulting atmosphere of resumed social congress (albeit at a six-foot distance) has been an overwhelmingly positive one. Residents are still welcome to request in-room meal delivery at any time for no fee.

The health and wellness of our residents is of paramount importance to the entire New Horizons team. Given this rapidly changing situation, the former mandates might be reinstated at any time. We will continue to safeguard our community by adhering to EOEA’s guidelines.

As always, we remain available to answer your questions or connect you with a family member by phone or online.

Thank you,

The New Horizons Management Team
781-932-8000

 

 


 

 

COVID-19 – Resident and family memo 3/17/20

Dear residents, families, and health care agents,

We reiterate the gratitude expressed in previous communications for your adherence to the safety protocols put in place as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) announced two new mandates yesterday that will be in place until further notice.

1. Communal dining prohibited
Dine-in eating at restaurants has now been prohibited statewide to minimize community spread of COVID-19. Likewise, dining room meal service has been suspended at all assisted living communities in the Commonwealth. Our staff will be delighted to connect with residents as they deliver meals to each resident’s room three times daily.

2. Group activities prohibited
Group activities have been discontinued until further notice. To promote continued social engagement during this time of necessary physical separation, we encourage residents and family members to connect by phone or through FaceTime or Skype. New Horizons staff members are happy to facilitate virtual visits with their smartphones. Please contact us to arrange a FaceTime or Skype video conference with your loved one.

Are residents still permitted to come and go as they wish?
EOEA has not yet placed restrictions on the comings and goings of residents. Because the health of all our residents depends so heavily on protecting the entire community from any contamination, we are urging both residents and their families to consider suspending outings as a measure against unintentional spread. We thank all residents, families, and staff for their vigilant participation in this important team effort.

The health and wellness of our residents is of paramount importance to the entire New Horizons team. We remain available to answer your questions or connect you with a family member by phone or online.

Thank you,

The New Horizons Management Team
781-932-8000

 


 

COVID-19 – New mandates – non-essential visits and visitor screenings 3/13/20

Dear residents, families, and health care agents,

All of us at New Horizons are grateful for how understanding and accepting you have been of the new protocols in place as a result of COVID-19. We greatly appreciate your cooperation with the new measures, which are intended to keep New Horizons’ residents and staff healthy.

The commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) announced new mandates yesterday that will be in place until further notice.

Non-essential visits prohibited
Although we recently asked that non-essential visits be limited, the Commonwealth has now totally prohibited them. Individuals who will be permitted are generally those here for a health care-related purpose (e.g., health aides, physical therapists, medication delivery staff, etc.).

We certainly recognize the importance of spending time with family and friends. Given, however, the significant risks that health officials believe coronavirus poses to seniors, such visits are currently considered non-essential. Phone calls and video calls are encouraged to keep in touch during this time.

Visitor screenings required
All visitors must:

  • Answer questions about their health status and risk of having coronavirus through a questionnaire to be completed by guests upon each and every arrival. See below for the current version, which is subject to change.
  • Submit to having their temperatures taken. New Horizons will use temporal or forehead thermometers for this purpose and sanitize the equipment after each use.

Visitors who answer “yes” to any item on the questionnaire, or who show a temperature greater than 100.3 degrees, may not access the building.

To facilitate these requirements, all visitors must enter through the building’s main entrance. Other doors will be locked and have signage directing visitors to the main entrance for access.

Staff temperature checks required
New Horizons will take the temperature of all staff members at the beginning of each shift. Any team member showing a temperature greater than 100.3 degrees will be sent home.

IMPORTANT: In the best interest of the entire New Horizons community, no one should prop open, or let an individual in through, a door other than the main entrance.

New Horizons will also be taking the temperature of all residents before they enter the dining room at each mealtime, starting with today’s dinner. We are electing to implement this measure for the benefit of the community and to satisfy EOEA’s mandate to take reasonable efforts toward identifying residents or staff with a fever or flu-like symptoms and then separate those individuals. We will be delighted to provide room service (using disposable plates, cups, and utensils) to anyone who prefers not to have his/her temperature taken, but s/he may not enter the dining room.

We look forward to reverting to our standard visitation policy as soon as we are able. In the meantime, our management team will continue to closely monitor guidance from prevailing health authorities and will be readily available to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you,

The New Horizons Management Team
781-932-8000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

COVID-19 – New precautions and restrictions 3/11/20

Dear residents, families, and health care agents,

New Horizons continues to monitor the situation related to coronavirus (COVID-19) and–in the best interest of residents and staff–to pay close attention to the guidance and recommendations from Centers for Disease Control, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and Governor Baker. We have also consulted directly with the local board of health and a leading community health professional.

Among the preventative measures we have taken thus far are: increasing the frequency and extent of cleaning and disinfecting common areas; providing additional staff training; and placing hand sanitizer, facial tissue, and no-touch waste baskets in common areas.

Because the health and safety of our residents and staff is always our priority–and because health officials have determined that seniors are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus–we are implementing new precautions and restrictions, effectively immediately. These measures are designed to limit the number of individuals entering our community, thereby reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 being introduced to New Horizons. Please bear in mind that individuals may carry and spread the illness without exhibiting symptoms.

Visitor restrictions:

  • We strongly urge family members and other visitors to limit non-essential visits. Please consider calling (or video-calling) your loved one instead.
  • When visits are necessary, they should be restricted to the resident’s apartment.
  • Participation by non-residents, including family members, in meals in our dining room and social activities is also suspended.
  • Postings at the building entrance will notify visitors not to enter the building if they are displaying signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat; if they have had contact with someone with a confirmed or presumptive positive diagnosis of COVID-19; if they are under active investigation for COVID-19; or if they have traveled outside the United States in the last 14 days.

Other precautions:

  • All individuals, including staff, residents, and visitors, should come and go through the building’s main entrance, and use the available hand sanitizer upon arrival.
  • Deliveries (e.g., packages, food) will be left at the Front Desk, and residents will be notified of their arrival by phone.
  • New Horizons-sponsored activities involving non-residents, to include bus trips and entertainment, will be postponed or canceled.
  • The New Horizons bus will not be used to take residents grocery shopping. If you need assistance with shopping, please consult with your family and friends, or arrange for products to be delivered to you.

We look forward to returning to our usual operating mode as soon as it is deemed prudent to do so. Although government authorities have not recommended a timeframe for precautionary measures, rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation, evolve our plans as necessary, and keep you apprised of new developments.

Thank you for your cooperation, as these measures are intended to reduce the chances of coronavirus affecting New Horizons. Please remember that this effort is a shared endeavor that requires the thoughtfulness and care of the entire community, including residents, family, staff, and every guest to our campus.

As always, we welcome your questions. The New Horizons management team is readily available at 781-932-8000.

Thank you,

Christine Coakley
Executive Director

 

 


 

 

Health advisory – 3/3/20

The health and safety of residents and staff is New Horizons’ top priority. With the recent detection of the novel coronavirus in the United States, we are monitoring recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and we are maintaining close contact with the local board of health. 

What are best practices for prevention?
According to DPH, the risk of the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) to residents in Massachusetts remains low. The risk for influenza, however, is currently high. DPH advises the following measures to help prevent colds and the flu as well as other respiratory viruses such as COVID-19:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay in your suite and avoid contact with others if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
  • Get a flu shot, if you have not already, not because it will prevent the spread of COVID-19, but so you stay healthy and avoid infecting others.

According to CDC, no additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time. New Horizons will continue its standard “flu season” protocol of regularly cleaning common areas, including frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, railings, elevator panels, chairs, and bathroom surfaces. 

What can health care agents and families do?

  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment if symptoms appear.
  • Have residents request room service at the first sign of any infection. We will be pleased to provide in-room meals with disposable cutlery and trays.
  • Remind residents about covering their cough/sneezes.
  • Stay home if you are sick, and ask guests to delay their visits if they are ill.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit: www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

As always, the New Horizons management team is readily available. If you have questions or concerns, please call and speak with one of the directors at 508-460-5200.