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

 

COVID Updates – 10/25/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

“Things are not always right because they are hard, but if they are right, one must not mind if they are hard.” —Winston Churchill

It is hard not going out whenever we want to, limiting time with family and friends, not shaking hands or hugging someone we love, and following all the new COVID precautions. These days, however, it is right to stay safe.

Together, let’s try focusing on the positives and not minding the hard parts. We are fortunate to be part of such a special community at New Horizons, to have witnessed another magnificent fall foliage season, and to be safely and successfully resuming many enjoyable activities.

400 Hemenway Dining Room Update

The dining room will reopen for in-person breakfast service beginning Tuesday, November 3. We will communicate seating times, based on resident historic preferences, to all residents prior to the opening day.

During breakfast, we will be observing the same protocols as the other meal periods: Residents should wear masks at all times, unless actively eating; we will take resident temperatures at the dining room entrance; and we will arrange for socially distanced seating.

We look forward to having most residents join us in the dining room for all three meals. If any residents wish to have all three daily meals delivered to their rooms instead, out of COVID-related concerns, we will, of course, be pleased to make those arrangements. If a resident chooses a combination of both options, the room service meal charge will apply to meals delivered to his/her apartment.

Please call Associate Director Tony Sosa at x5285 with any questions. We are excited to see you back in the dining room for breakfast soon!

New Definition of Close Contact

CDC has updated its definition of “close contact,” which is the type of interaction that requires individuals to quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • The agency previously defined such contact as being within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 consecutive minutes.
  • Now, close contact is defined as being within six feet for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period.
  • Residents, families, and friends will want to keep this in mind as you interact with each other both on and off campus.

For staff members, we must now be mindful that every such interaction with a colleague (except for simply passing in the hallway, break room, or other common space) counts toward a 15-minute allotment for that colleague for the entire day. It is important to bear this in mind throughout your day and to maintain at least six feet between others whenever possible, including when chatting in the break room, setting up the dining room, or stocking housekeeping carts.

Having close contact (under this new definition) with someone who tests positive puts your health—and that of your household members and the New Horizons community—at risk. It will also result in staff members being required to quarantine, and to refrain from reporting to work, for at least 14 days. This is regardless of whether the contact occurred on campus or off, indoors or outdoors, and whether or not face coverings were worn. This unexpected time off can be disruptive not only to your life but also the operation of your team and our ability to serve our residents, which is our top priority.

Upcoming Holidays

With several holidays approaching, we encourage you to celebrate and enjoy the season, but to do so in a manner that minimizes the risk of virus spread. Remember that even if someone looks healthy and has been taking precautions, s/he could unknowingly have and spread coronavirus.

As always, please contact one of the directors if you have any questions.

The New Horizon Director Team

Betsy Connolly, Executive Director
Cheryl Rank, Associate Director
Molly Lukason, Associate Director
Tony Sosa, Associate Director

 


 

 

COVID Updates – 10/1/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

When we last wrote to you on September 16, we were concerned about a resurgence of COVID-19 in the broader Marlborough community. Marlborough has since been upgraded on the Commonwealth’s coronavirus assessment map to “high risk.” Given this status, Marlborough will remain at Phase 3 Step 1 of Massachusetts’ reopening plan, whereas lower risk communities will progress to Phase 3 Step 2 on Monday.

Despite this disappointing development, there is good news: We are delighted to share that there have been no new reported cases of COVID-19 at New Horizons since our last letter to you.

Dining Update

The 400 Hemenway residents have been receiving all three meals by cart service for the last two weeks. Given the absence of new coronavirus cases, as well as the significant benefits of communal dining (in particular, socialization and the physical “workout” of walking there), we will reopen the 400 Hemenway dining room starting Tuesday, October 6.

Breakfast, traditionally the least attended meal, will continue to be served on carts, but lunch and dinner will be served in the dining room. We have found that nearly every resident has breakfast when we deliver it on the carts, which is a positive outcome of the cart service. As has been the case, any residents who indicate that they do not want to come to the dining room for their meals due to coronavirus concerns will be able to continue with the cart service without charge.

Moving Forward

Last Sunday, many residents left the community for Patriots football game parties, and we certainly recognize the desire to enjoy time with friends and family. We encourage you all, however, to continue to pay close attention to whom you are socializing with. Engage in discussions with your family about the risks of transmission based on who or how many people you are in contact with—and who they have been in contact with.

The Commonwealth is seeing coronavirus outbreaks at local colleges and high schools. Marlborough High School reverted to online learning last week after being open for only two days. Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School also reverted to online learning after a number of students tested positive. We know that no one wants to bring the coronavirus to New Horizons, but with the increase in positive cases close to our campus, we should all be extra diligent.

It feels like it’s been years since March, when the Governor restricted access to our community to only essential visitors. Think back and remember how worried we all were of catching the virus as it made its way through New York and up to us. We need to continue to be that concerned now, and we appreciate your efforts to maintain our community’s good health.

Flu Clinic

Our resident flu clinic will be held on October 23. More information will be provided soon. The flu shot will be extremely important this year in light of the additional risk of COVID-19.

We are transitioning this week, as Andy is leaving for New York. He thanks everyone on campus for all of their support during his tenure as New Horizons’ executive director. Effective October 3, Betsy will assume the executive director role. As always, we are readily available if you have any questions or thoughts to share.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 

Betsy Connolly
Deputy Executive Director

 


 

 

COVID Updates – 9/16/20

Dear residents, families, and healthcare agents,

Summer is coming to a close, school is starting up, and cooler weather is here. In every other year, this would mean going back to our usual routines. Unfortunately, that is not the case this year.

While the Commonwealth’s overall COVID-19 numbers are down, new cases are still occurring daily, including those associated with multiple localized clusters that public officials attribute to recent social events. Experts continue to say that the risk of resurging virus spread this fall is very significant, and we understand that Marlborough is already experiencing an uptick in coronavirus.

New Horizons COVID Update

After several weeks with no cases of the virus within our campus community, we have just learned that two of our staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. We have consulted Marlborough Board of Health and are following its advice, as we have all along. The affected staff members are doing well. They and other staff members with whom they were in close contact are now under self-quarantines. The Board of Health has advised that these cases pose a very low risk of exposure to our residents, as there were no incidents of “close contact” (as it relates to spreading the virus) with residents.

Dining Update

In light of these cases and what appears to be a resurgence of COVID-19 within the broader Marlborough community, we will revert to cart service for meals at 400 Hemenway for at least the next two weeks, starting with Thursday’s dinner. For now, the 420 and 370 dining rooms will remain open, as their staffing levels are significantly lower, meaning less potential for exposure.

Moving Forward

We must continue to be diligent. Now is not a time to relax our precautionary measures. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, “There are five easy things that one can do to try and turn that curve around so that as we enter the fall, we’re really at a low baseline. These actions, we know from experience, can help blunt resurgences and prevent new ones from occurring:”

  1. Consistent — and correct — wearing of masks
  2. Avoiding crowds
  3. Keeping distances of six feet or more between you and others
  4. Staying away from places where people congregate
  5. Washing your hands

It is extremely important that residents let us know if they exhibit symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has exhibited symptoms of coronavirus. In addition, we ask that visitors refrain from coming to our campus if they have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with symptoms.

Flu Clinic

Our resident flu clinics will be held October 23. More information will be provided soon. The flu shot will be extremely important this year in light of the additional risk of COVID-19.

Thank you all for your support and cooperation as we continue to work diligently to maintain our community’s good health. We are readily available if you have any questions or thoughts to share.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 

Betsy Connolly
Deputy Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 8/11/20

Dear residents, families, and healthcare agents,

Happily, this week’s update comes sans any pressing issues from the Commonwealth.

Dining Service

Today, we reopened our breakfast service in the 370 breakfast nook, as well as our dinner service in the Broadmeadow dining room. We are heartened by this positive step and this opportunity for more socializing, and we appreciate residents’ understanding that the dining experience is somewhat different than before the pandemic.

Next Tuesday, August 18, we will begin serving meals in the main 400 Concord dining room. Resident surveys were very helpful as our dining room teams coordinated seating assignments and times. Thank you for your continued flexibility and cooperation.

Visitation

Our indoor visits continue to increase, which is yet another positive. The one favor we will continue to request is that you provide at least 24 hours’ notice of your requested visitation. The requirement of an escort for each visitor, as well as a reservation to be made prior, are both directives of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. We have worked hard to say “yes” as often as possible when proper notice has not been provided, but your cooperation in this area would be most helpful and appreciated.

Final Weekly Email

With the pace of COVID-related mandates and others news slowing considerably in recent weeks, this communication will be the final weekly update. While we hope and pray that there will not be a recurrence of the virus in our Marlborough community, or even a single positive test on our campus, we will always keep you apprised when material developments warrant that we do so. We have made every effort to be transparent throughout this pandemic, and that will remain the case going forward. Please contact any member of the management team with questions.

Thanks as always for your support and confidence in the work our team has done to date, and will continue to do going forward. Enjoy the rest of your summer; we hope you have an opportunity for some restorative time before September is upon us.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 

Betsy Connolly
Deputy Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 8/3/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

We are sending an update today to discuss a few important topics.

Positive COVID-19 Test

A third-party provider in our community received a positive test for COVID-19 over the weekend. The contact this individual had with residents and employees was minimal, and the person was compliant with all distancing and sanitizing protocols, and wore an N95 mask, while in the community. Accordingly, no one on campus had “close contact” with the individual, as defined by CDC.

As always, all parties requiring notification of potential exposure were informed. The infected person has begun the mandatory quarantine, and we offer our best wishes for a speedy recovery. This positive test is a sobering reminder of how critical it is for each of us to continue to be vigilant in all aspects of protecting ourselves, as well as those with whom we live and work.

Massachusetts Travel Order

We shared details last Friday of the Commonwealth’s new order issuing directives to be followed by visitors from states other than those designated as lower risk (currently Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii). It also offered visitors the option of forgoing a 14-day quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

Given that the virus could be incubating and not be detectable until after the test is administered -- and given that our residents are the demographic most adversely affected by infection (87 percent of Massachusetts fatalities were over the age of 70) -- we urge individuals from “higher risk” states to carefully consider whether a visit at this time is prudent for your loved one and for the community overall. While fully realizing that this is a significant request, it is made with the health and safety of our residents and staff first and foremost.

Dining Room Reopening

On an uplifting note, we thank our independent residents for their strong participation in our dining room reopening survey. By the end of this week, we will contact you individually with your seating time for when meals resume in our 370 and 420 dining room, on Tuesday, August 11. Our 400 survey will take place door-to-door this weekend, and we will resume meals in our 400 building dining room on Tuesday, August 18.

We hope you are all able to experience some joy and time away as the summer progresses, and to connect in a safe, responsible way with your friends and family. Thank you for continuing to make decisions that are helping to keep our community among the safest in the Commonwealth.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 

Betsy Connolly
Deputy Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 7/31/20

Dear residents, families, and healthcare agents,

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 https://www.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 (see link above). 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.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 7/28/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

Happily, today’s communication is a bit more concise, covering just two topics related to our community’s path to “the new normal”:

Stop the Spread Testing for Marlborough Residents

The free COVID-19 testing for Marlborough residents runs through Friday, August 14. Participating residents and staff will need to provide their own transportation to one of the testing sites below.

Site I - Marlborough Hospital, 157 Union Street

  • Please call 508-486-5809 or visit the website for full instructions.
  • Testing is performed 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The expected wait time is currently three to four hours, and a cell phone will be required to register at the site.

Site II - AFC Urgent Care, 38 Boston Post Road

  • Appointments can be made via website only at www.afcurgentcaremarlboro.com.
  • Testing is performed 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Communal Dining

We are delighted to share that we will resume communal dining in the main 400 building on Tuesday, August 18. We will survey residents door-to-door next week to confirm whether you intend to join us in your respective dining room beginning that day, or you would prefer that tray service continue to the apartment for another few weeks.

In order to maintain appropriate social distance, seating times and meal partners will differ a bit from what had been customary prior. As we endeavor to keep everyone safe and satiated, we ask for your cooperation in beginning and concluding your meals on time. More details on the reopening of the dining rooms will be included in next week’s letter.

Thank you in advance for your goodwill as we bring our dining rooms back on line.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 7/21/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

We are delighted with the positive feedback so many of you provided as we began to expand our campus offerings last week. Our first outdoor concert on Thursday drew more than 80 residents from all corners of the community, and outdoor exercise classes commenced yesterday. Please read on for news of additional offerings, as well as other updates and reminders.

“Stop the Spread” Testing for Marlborough Residents

The free COVID-19 testing for Marlborough residents runs through Friday, August 14 and is available at the sites below. Please note that appointments are required.

Marlborough Hospital, 157 Union Street

  • Make an appointment via 508-486-5809 or online.
  • Testing is performed 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

AFC Urgent Care, 38 Boston Post Road

  • Make an appointment via the website.
  • Testing is performed 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Marlborough Board of Health has confirmed that on-campus testing is not available. Several residents have already been tested – some report a long wait, whereas others described the process as quite seamless. Residents who opt to be tested will need to provide their own transportation to the testing site, as well as a cell phone number, which the testing staff will use to page you at your appointment.

Campus Happenings

  • Please accept this gentle reminder that, barring extenuating circumstances, we ask for 24 hours’ notice to request a visit. EOEA mandates that all inside visitors be escorted to and from the resident apartment. With up to 30 visits a day, the lead time allows us to plan accordingly for escorts.
  • With visitation time now expanded to 45 minutes, we are booking visits on the hour. As a reminder, you may request a visit via resserv@cummings.com, and visiting hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, except on Thursdays, when the hours are 12:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
  • Our calendar will soon expand to include more activities “under the tents.” All campus residents should feel free to participate in those outdoor programs.
  • We currently expect to reopen the fitness center on Monday, July 27. A sign-up sheet will be provided at the fitness center entrance, allowing you to schedule a one-hour session, with no more than two people in the center at one time. To minimize risks, helping to ensure that this amenity remains open, users will be responsible for sanitizing equipment after use.

As always, we remain readily available if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

 

Weekly Update – 7/13/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

After one week of indoor apartment visits, as well as extended outdoor visits, we could not be more pleased to see the smiles on the faces of all of you as you began reconnecting with friends and family. Please read on to learn about the latest developments within our community.

SALON SERVICES

We are very happy that the Commonwealth has allowed us to resume salon services for our 400 Hemenway residents. Randy Carpenter and his team will reopen the campus salon tomorrow, July 14. We are so thankful that they also continue to reserve "exclusive" time for our independent residents at the JD Salon location on Route 20.

FREE COVID-19 TESTING

The Stop the Spread initiative has begun in Marlborough. At this time, the two designated locations for testing are Marlborough Hospital (508-486-5809) and AFC Urgent Care (508-658-0764), and appointments are required. Per Marlborough Board of Health, additional sites are expected, but on-site testing at New Horizons (or other facilities) is not anticipated.

Testing is free of charge and open to anyone, regardless of residency or symptoms.

CONTINUED CAMPUS REOPENING

We are delighted to share the following new additions to our programming and activities for campus residents:

Summer Outdoor Activity Series

  • This Thursday, July 16, we will kick off our Summer Outdoor Activity Series with a concert at 10:00 AM. Socially distanced seating for up to 50 residents will be available in the rotary parking area of the main building and will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Outdoor concerts, exercise classes, and other entertainment and activities in this reserved area will be open to ALL campus residents. Please refer to our 918 channel for activities scheduled in this new "arena."
  • To accommodate this new initiative, 12 parking spaces in the rotary will be temporarily unavailable. To ensure there is ample parking for residents of our 400 building, we ask that only these residents utilize the remaining spaces in the rotary, and we will need to ticket any non-resident vehicle parked in this area. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
  • Due to the timing of these activities, our Thursday visitation schedule for indoor and outdoor visits will now be noon (instead of 10:00 AM) through 7:00 PM. To ensure we are providing a safe and enjoyable experience, the Summer Outdoor Activity Series will be open to campus residents only.

On-campus Theaters

  • Effective Wednesday, July 15, we will reopen the 370 and 420 theaters. They will be set up with chairs spaced at appropriate distances, and residents are free to utilize the theaters as they choose, while adhering, of course, to all coronavirus best practices to maximize everyone's safety. Theaters in our independent buildings will not be staffed by NHM personnel.

You will also note that we are beginning to set up our various dining rooms for the eventual re-launch of communal dining. As we have stated in the past, we are going to follow the playbook of the Governor and see how our community fares following each phase of our own reopening. Accordingly, we will revisit the possibility of communal dining at the end of this month.

Many thanks for embracing the evolving protocols throughout this ongoing odyssey, knowing that we are working hard to balance so many resident needs simultaneously while operating within the parameters of governing authorities. Your continued cooperation and support remain the centerpiece of our ability to continue to improve campus life for everyone. As always, we appreciate your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

 

Stop the Spread Campaign – 7/8/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

During an afternoon briefing today, Governor Baker announced that the Commonwealth is launching a new Stop The Spread campaign. The campaign will offer free COVID-19 testing to eight Massachusetts communities that were hit particularly hard by the virus, including Marlborough. Gov. Baker shared that Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell, New Bedford, and Marlborough represent 9 percent of the Massachusetts population, but 27 percent of all positive tests in the Commonwealth in recent weeks.

We have been in touch with Marlborough Board of Health, which is currently coordinating how this program will unfold in Marlborough, and we will share additional information regarding the testing of residents as we receive it.

Separately, Massachusetts Department of Public Health has mandated that employees of state nursing homes and rest homes be tested, and recommended that employees of assisted living communities be tested. We will keep our employees informed as this process unfolds.

Both programs want to test not just those with symptoms but also those who are asymptomatic. In sum, the recommendation is for each and every one of us to be tested in the near term. We are embracing this apparent new opportunity for testing just as we did in late April when the Massachusetts National Guard conducted widespread testing in our 400 building. It is our hope that future testing will yield similarly remarkable results.

Clearly, as a community we have been fortunate throughout these past months as the coronavirus has raged worldwide. Today's announcement validates that the difficult decisions and sacrifices made were worthwhile in numerous ways, and that there is a real need to remain vigilant. So, I again thank you in advance for your cooperation as we move forward, and I will keep you updated as details are made available to us.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Weekly Update – 7/6/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

We are delighted to report that the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) has sanctioned several changes for assisted living communities that will allow residents to enjoy more socialization with each other as well as visitors. You will likely be pleased to read about the following changes that will be put in place at New Horizons. Each update will be implemented immediately, unless otherwise noted.

Outdoor visits for the residents of our 400 building are extended to up to 45 minutes.

  • All appointments will now be scheduled on the hour.
  • All of the other previous protocols remain the same (i.e., making an advance reservation via resserv@cummings.com, using face coverings for guests and surgical masks for residents, sanitizing hands, maintaining social distance of at least six feet, and limiting guests to no more than two at one time).
  • With the extended visits, it is critically important that you are on time for your visit, as we will have a tighter window in which to sanitize and disinfect.

Indoor visits are now permitted inside resident apartments.

  • EOEA's regulations are specific that no visitation can happen in any common areas inside the community, and that a staff member must escort guests to and from the residents' room.
  • Currently, only one visitor at a time may visit a resident's apartment.
  • EOEA requires that an apartment window or slider be open to provide ventilation during the visit.
  • Inside visits should be scheduled via resserv@cummings.com. Please specify whether you are scheduling an indoor or outdoor visit.
  • Other than the number of visitors, all the protocols for outdoor visits will also apply to apartment visits.
  • We hope you will continue to avail yourselves of outdoor visits whenever possible, as there are multiple benefits to our residents traversing to the visitation stations outdoors.

Visiting hours at the 400 building have been extended to 7:00 PM on Thursdays.

  • All other days, visiting hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

On-site salon services at 400 Hemenway will resume on Wednesday, July 15.

  • A maximum of two stylists and two clients will be permitted in the salon at any time. In order to maintain social distance, there will not be a waiting area by the salon.
  • Reservations may be made by phone directly to your respective stylist, who will then call you on the day of your appointment when s/he is ready for you to come down.
  • We will forward the salon staff's schedule as soon as we receive it.

Communal dining may resume later this month.

  • EOEA has left the timing of this change at the discretion of each community's management team.
  • Similar to the Governor's deliberate approach of analyzing how citizen health has fared before moving to the next phase, so too do we want to be sure our community remains safe and virus-free with increased campus visitation before implementing communal dining.
  • Accordingly, we will continue room service meals to resident apartments for at least two more weeks, at which point we will reassess our community's situation and consider whether it is prudent to begin communal dining once again.

For our Meadows, Cottages, and Villas residents, we hope you continue to view the conservative assisted living reopening process as a guideline for your own daily interactions. Although we are not yet at the stage where you may enter the 400 Hemenway building at any time, we would be happy to schedule a reservation for you to visit with one of your friends.

Ideally, Massachusetts, as well as our campus, will continue on the promising path we are currently traveling, thereby leading to more uplifting news as the summer unfolds. As we have witnessed recently, however, some states that reopened too quickly are experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases, setting their recovery back. We hope you agree that our measured approach has reaped multiple benefits over the past four months, and we ask you to continue to support our reopening plan.

Thanks to all of you for your understanding as we continue to err on the side of health and safety for everyone who lives and works here.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Weekly Update – 7/1/20

Dear residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

It seems incomprehensible that we are already halfway through 2020! Together, we have experienced a time none of us could ever have predicted on New Year's Day.

We continue to be blessed here on our campus with regard to COVID-19, and the numbers in Massachusetts have been trending in the right direction. The explosion of the virus in other parts of the country, however, is a clear indicator that we still need to diligently follow the cautious, deliberate path Massachusetts has chosen. Within that framework, we have looked to offer some relief on several fronts in the past week or so:

  • Outdoor visits for the residents of our 400 building have been extended to 15 minutes They continue to go well, and our entire staff appreciates the great cooperation of residents and families.
  • Randy Carpenter, the long-time proprietor of our campus salon, has opened up JD Salon on Route 20. We appreciate that Randy is offering exclusive days at his location for both independent residents (Tuesday) and assisted living residents (Wednesday). While it continues to be our desire that all residents restrict their off-campus travel (as well as their campus visitors) as much as possible, it is a comfort to know that the off-site services Randy offers are fully compliant with Commonwealth mandates. If you have questions, please call 508-341-8001 to speak directly to Randy.
  • In early April, we suspended all apartment housekeeping in an effort to minimize contact between residents and employees in close spaces. Now that our community members are comfortable with and conscientiously following the face-covering and social distancing requirements, we are resuming our regular housekeeping schedule campus-wide. If you prefer to not receive those services at this time, please call the reception desk at #0, and the Housekeeping Department will be notified of your request.
  • Several new programs and activities were put in place this week in our 400 building to encourage residents to leave their apartments a bit more for exercise and socialization. Those programs have been well-received thus far, and we hope to continue to innovate campus-wide. Rest assured that all programs were created with resident safety top of mind. We continue to ask everyone to avoid congregate gatherings that do not meet the current Commonwealth standards.

Like you, all of us are truly hoping the path to reopening Massachusetts is a successful one, and that there will not be a regression here. Please continue to be responsible to yourself, your loved ones, and everyone who lives and works here. Thanks, and I hope you all have a happy and safe July 4th!

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Father's Day – 6/15/20

Dear 400 Hemenway residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

In advance of Father's Day this coming Sunday, I wish to extend our profound thanks and best wishes to all the dads living on our campus, as well as the wonderful fathers who are part of our extended family tree. For your selfless example and good works, you are so appreciated by your families, and we hope you have a wonderful, restorative day on June 21.

With the approaching holiday, it is important to talk about our current situation as it pertains to COVID-19, and the regulations the Commonwealth has put in place for assisted living communities. This past weekend, our campus had a substantial spike in visitors. Thank you to the many 400 Hemenway visitors who complied with the state-mandated directives surrounding visitation (which we shared in our last two weekly updates). We were disappointed, however, that multiple visitors did not follow the directives set forth by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA).

As this pandemic begins its fourth month of disruption to all of our lives, please remember that not one person on this campus—resident or staff—has been unaffected by the restrictions put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. Easter, Passover, Mother's Day, as well as important family functions such as weddings, graduations and the like, have all been derailed in ways none of us could have ever imagined. We understand that, after nearly 100 days of personal sacrifice, the temptation is great to view Massachusetts' "post-surge" status as an indicator that things have returned to normal.

As it relates to residents of assisted living, however, almost nothing has changed. The EOEA has not modified any of its restrictions that pertain to communal dining, group activities, or who can gain entry to any assisted living community in Massachusetts. Even the new outdoor visitation protocols come with significant safeguards, all aimed at maintaining resident health and safety. To be blunt—we truly need the full cooperation of all residents and families now more than ever. We realize it is difficult to have to schedule time to visit, and then be told to remain six feet apart, wear masks, and restrict the visitor count to no more than two. The Commonwealth put those restrictions in place for a simple, but stark, reason—it does not feel the risk of COVID-19 has yet abated for seniors.

We recognize and certainly understand that families will want to connect with their loved ones on Father's Day, and we want to help facilitate these connections. If a "virtual" visit will not suffice, we welcome those who would like to visit on our campus while following EOEA's precautionary measures. Although it will be different from previous Father's Days, such a visit poses far less risk—to the resident, the family, and the broader New Horizons community—than an off-site excursion for a holiday gathering. Our fathers have all made significant personal sacrifices throughout their lives in the name of our safety and well-being—at this moment in time, please consider this our turn to make a personal sacrifice on their behalf.

We ask that you continue to email resserv@cummings.com at least 24 hours in advance to book your in-person visits, as well as your Zoom/Skype sessions. Several visitors arrived this weekend without having made any request for a time slot, which created complexities for both staff and other residents.

We so appreciate your kind collaboration throughout these challenging months, and will continue to request it for a bit longer. Thanks again for all you have contributed to keeping our campus residents safe. We all fervently look forward to the day when our vibrant "New Horizons Way" can resume!

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Visitor Protocols – 6/8/20

Dear 400 Hemenway residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

Phase II of the Commonwealth's reopening is effective today, while we too begin our own gradual reopening here. With that glimmer of good news, I do first need to share that a resident of our 400 building did unfortunately test positive for COVID-19 late last week. As always, we swiftly notified all impacted parties, and the Board of Health is conducting contact tracing of the affected resident.

This positive test dovetails with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) permitting outdoor visitation to the community. While we are all heartened by this development, it is so critically important that visits be conducted in the fashion outlined by the EOEA. For those who may not be familiar with how to schedule a visit, the process is outlined below;

EOEA-compliant Outdoor Visitor Protocols

  • Outdoor visits must be scheduled via reservation. Family members may direct their request to schedule a visit to resserv@cummings.com, the same email address that families have used to reserve teleconference sessions with their loved ones. Please include a phone number in your email request, should we need to reschedule your visit for weather, or any other reason.
  • Residents can host up to two visitors at one time during any scheduled visit.
  • Visiting hours will be 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, seven days a week, weather permitting.
  • Upon arrival, all visitors will have their temperatures taken at our welcome station and complete the state-mandated questionnaire. Visitors will then be escorted to the designated meeting area.
  • All visitors must wear a face covering and maintain social distance of at least six feet during their visit.
  • EOEA specifies that any resident hosting visitors must wear a SURGICAL MASK, not a cloth face covering. To preserve the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) we have secured for staff members since this pandemic unfolded, families will need to provide a supply of surgical masks that the resident can utilize.
  • At the recommendation of the Marlborough Board of Health, visits may last up to 10 minutes.
  • At the end of each visit, we will ask the resident and visitors to leave the visitation area in timely fashion so the next family visit can commence on time.

The visits this weekend did surface some issues that we do need to clarify, specifically:

  • Please only visit with a resident of our main 400 building with a confirmed reservation, in the designated area only. Visits with residents through their windows, on the veranda, or in other areas of the campus are currently not permitted under the current State statutes.
  • Regular drop-off of groceries, supplies, etc. to our vestibule remains in place, but please do not call residents to meet you.
  • Please send your email reservation request any day between 8 AM to 5 PM when possible, and at allow least 24 hours in advance of your preferred time.
  • Please do not dine while visiting. The guidelines are specific regarding the use of masks during the visit, and eating means compliance is not viable. Thanks for your understanding.

We ALL want to continue to move forward in our reopening, but we need to proceed within the guidelines the EOEA put in place to keep our residents and staff healthy and safe. As always, thanks so much for your continued cooperation and support.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Weekly Update – 6/2/20

Dear campus residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

As the calendar turns to June, it has been so wonderful to experience the cooperation and collaborative spirit of our residents, families, employees, caregivers and vendors over the past three months. You have all contributed greatly to our being able to say that only one NHM resident has tested positive since this pandemic began in March. This is truly remarkable, especially given the size of our community and the high rate of infections at so many other senior communities.

The affected resident has, thankfully, made a full recovery, but we still need to be vigilant in order to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. We are also fortunate that only seven of nearly 200 employees of our combined NHM and Aveanna staffs have tested positive to date, with all of them similarly convalescing well. These numbers do not include positive cases at Robbie’s Place, which is located on our campus, but are completely separate entities. While the city of Marlborough has seen a spike in positive tests recently, it is a testament to each and every employee’s commitment to the job at hand that we have such a low incidence of infection to date.

Several of you have inquired as to when we may relax some of the state-mandated constraints that have been in place since mid-March. The honest answer is that nothing is likely to happen imminently. Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) have not yet communicated as to how assisted living communities should proceed in their “reopenings.” What remains undeniable is the sheer number of those aged 70 or older who have passed away from COVID-19 (5,813 of 6,846 total deaths in the Commonwealth). Based on those numbers alone, we expect our governing bodies will proceed cautiously.

  • We distributed our dining room survey to our 400 Hemenway residents on Saturday, and will tabulate and assess the findings this week. Thanks very much to all those who took the time to complete the survey. We hope to similarly distribute a questionnaire in the coming days to residents participating in our 370 and 420 dining programs.
  • We continue to appreciate the residents affected by our quarantine protocols. Thus far, we have not had a resident test positive while under quarantine, but the recent outbreak of infection in our city supports the merits of our approach.
  • We recently thanked the various first responders who have served our community so well during this pandemic, delivering more than 150 meals to the police, fire, medical, and EMT services that care for our residents every day.
  • Because of the excellent pre-planning of our executive chef, Marcos DeOliveira, we are fortunate to have not been adversely affected by the meat and poultry shortages affecting many other senior living settings. Chef Marcos’ anticipation early in this process paid dividends to us – thanks so much, Marcos!
  • Please remember that the 400 building porch furniture is reserved for campus residents only until the mandatory social distancing and “safer at home” guidelines are changed. And to any visitor who must be on campus, we remind you to wear your face covering and remain at least six feet apart.

Here’s hoping the positive trends in our state, and certainly in our community, continue. It would be a treat for all of us to get some well-earned relief this summer!

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

NHM COVID-19 – Employee Letter – 5/22/20

Dear New Horizons staff and parents/guardians of our minor staff members,

With Memorial Day upon us, it is a prudent time to reflect on where we have been and what still lies ahead. For the past two months, we have all functioned very differently than previously, as our response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic required flexibility in every aspect of our workplace. We have also worked in incredibly successful fashion. Thus far, only one NHM resident has been infected by the coronavirus, and we know that infection came on the heels of a stay in a local rehabilitation hospital where COVID-19 was present.

Our success, in large measure, is due to the diligence of each and every one of you. Your efforts to keep the community clean in every way and to follow all the protocols, as well as your compliance with remaining home when you have not felt well, have all contributed mightily to keeping our residents healthy and virus-free. Your commitment has been obvious, and I cannot thank you enough.

As we head into the holiday weekend and the impending summer, it is important to keep in mind that there is still much work to be done. The fact of the matter is that, to date, six employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The Board of Health traces the movements of all those who test positive, in an effort to determine whether a potential “hot spot” for infection exists and to, hopefully, prevent other infections. In our case, a major cause of contagion for our employees has been infection via someone residing with them. We share this today to remind you to please do your very best to keep yourself as safe as possible outside of the workplace. Some obvious ways to do that are to continue to refrain from large gatherings of family and friends, such as birthdays, anniversaries, barbecues, and other large social situations. It would also be helpful to insist that all those residing with you take every precaution necessary to maintain their own good health, whether at home or in their workplaces. As a reminder of the key best practices, please see (and share) the attached training flyer with your household members.

As has been the case since the outset, we ask you to stay home if you exhibit symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has exhibited symptoms of coronavirus. We also ask that you keep us informed if you work in another setting that has experienced COVID-19 infections. Associate Director Cheryl Rank, RN works very closely with Marlborough Board of Health and has been able to facilitate testing for employees who initially were unable to do so. Continuing to communicate with HR Generalist Jen Tremblay (jlt@cummings.com or 508-460-5200) with any concerns or questions you may have is also strongly encouraged. As always, please keep your team leader or director informed, as well.

We have much to be proud of to date, but yesterday’s success is no guarantee it will continue in the future. Thank you for the critical role you play in keeping our residents and other staff members safe, healthy, happy, and cared for.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

COVID-19 – Mother's Day – 5/8/20

Dear campus residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

First, please accept all of our best wishes for a happy and blessed Mother’s Day to all those who will be celebrated on Sunday. As a collective “family,” we appreciate all you have done to enrich the lives of each and every one of us.

With the impending holiday, we so much understand the wish to be together as a family. We must also be mindful, however, that the low incidence of COVID-19 at our community thus far is no guarantee of what the future will hold. The fact that a resident tested positive forty eight hours after our National Guard results were shared reminds us of the fragility of our situation. During this crisis, we must all commit to taking every precaution to stay safe.

In an effort to minimize the risks of the virus entering and spreading within our community, we strongly discourage in-person visits of any sort on Mother’s Day. We recognize this is a sacrifice, especially given that we have been social distancing for several weeks already, but it is truly in the best interests of residents and staff members. In lieu of visits, we encourage you to set up a FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype visit on Saturday or Sunday. We have witnessed the joy this type of “visit” brings to our residents and their families, and we are more than happy to arrange it.

If you still elect to visit in person despite the serious concerns conveyed herein, please be absolutely certain that your visit will be outdoors. All visitors must wear appropriate face coverings and maintain at least six feet of social distance. In addition, we ask that your visit be limited to 10 minutes, with no more than three guests. Please know that, if visitors are observed to be in violation of these guidelines, you may be asked to leave our campus.

Although virtual visits are the safest way to express your love this Mother’s Day, brief in-person visits with the precautions mentioned above are still preferable to off-campus visits. We strongly urge residents not to leave campus to visit or have meals with family. The car ride alone, not to mention the extended time spent with multiple other people, could have tragic results.

One resident recently asked if I thought it would be okay to visit her family for brunch this Sunday, especially as she has not yet met her newest great-grandchild. When I expressed concerns about such a visit, she nodded and said, “Yes, after we’ve done so well, I certainly don’t want to be the one to bring the virus here and kill my neighbors.” I concurred and expressed that we very much want to ensure that she and every other resident are still here to celebrate Mother’s Day with us next year.

In closing, it is important to share that the two highest death totals recorded in Massachusetts since the virus has been tracked were reported 11 and 12 days after Easter Sunday. The “curve” had originally begun to trend downward a week prior, only to spike following the holiday. Please keep that in mind as your calendar takes shape this weekend and going forward.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Coronavirus Test Results– 5/1/20

Dear campus residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

We are so pleased to report the spectacularly good final results of the COVID-19 testing performed at New Horizons on Tuesday, April 28: zero cases of coronavirus. Of the 306 tests administered that day, five were damaged in transport, but the other 301 reported 100 percent as negative for the virus!

Thank you to every one of you who were part of that extraordinary day. I cannot commend more highly the cooperation and responsiveness of the vast majority of our community -- your sacrifices continue to allow us to keep our campus residents and staff safe.

Interpreting “negative” results
While this news is certainly welcome, the reality is that, as a campus, we are in no position to relax the safeguards that have contributed so mightily to these results. Negative results, especially in asymptomatic individuals, should be interpreted with caution, as they represent one point in time. Individuals who test negative could still be within the incubation period of the virus or could still easily contract COVID-19 at a later date. Knowing that our situation could change at any moment we will continue to diligently follow all guidelines and protocols.

A vulnerable population
Each and every day, we are unfortunately presented with the stories of nursing homes, rest homes, and assisted living communities that have experienced heartbreaking losses. The Commonwealth reported 252 deaths on Wednesday, a number that represents the highest one-day total in Massachusetts to date. The total number of deaths in the state stands at 3,562. As sobering as those two numbers may be, 3,050 (or 86 percent) of those who have been lost were over the age of 70. On a campus such as ours, that is the number we all need to keep front and center at this time.

Going forward
We will continue to succeed if each and every one of us continues to respond in a responsible and accountable way. We have all felt the pain of separation from family members and friends – every one of us. Fifty days have passed since our Town Hall meetings of March 12. With 50 days to adapt to the best practices required to flatten the curve, it is disappointing that we still have to speak directly with some residents and family members about compliance. Please take this as one more reminder that the very best way to express your love for your family member right now is by remaining apart.

Thank you again for your contribution to our remarkable test results. We wish everyone in our community continued good health.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Vice President and Executive Director

Betsy Connolly
Vice President and Deputy Director

 


 

Coronavirus National Guard Visit – 4/28/20

Dear 400 Hemenway residents, families, and healthcare agents,

UPDATE – we received our call from the Command Center this morning, confirming that the National Guard will be on-site at approximately 9 a.m., with testing to begin shortly thereafter. The balance of what is below represents the information shared with you last night.

 

We have received notification that the Massachusetts National Guard will be on site to conduct COVID-19 testing tomorrow, April 28, sometime between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. We expect to receive an estimated time of arrival early tomorrow morning.

The 180 residents in the 400 building will be tested in their apartments. For the 200 New Horizons and Aveanna staff members, we have established testing areas in Concord Dining Room, O’Connor Common, and Wayside Theater. In order to facilitate the National Guard’s work, we ask you to review the items below.

We do not know how long the Guard contingent will be on campus, but have learned from other test sites that they work efficiently (160 residents and employees were tested at New Horizons at Choate in two hours).

Thank you again as we move forward with another significant milestone in our efforts to keep the virus out of our community.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

COVID-19 Testing – 4/23/20

Dear 400 Hemenway residents, families, healthcare agents, and staff,

As promised, here is our update on the campus-wide testing program referred to in my communication of Monday, April 20. New Horizons is now in the queue for COVID-19 testing by the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Residents of our 400 building, the entire New Horizons staff, and the on-site staff of Aveanna Healthcare all qualified with the Commonwealth for inclusion.

I have been advised that we should expect the Massachusetts National Guard on campus in three to seven days to perform the testing. We will inform you of the exact date and time by email (and by hard copy letter for residents) as soon as we have it, which we understand will be the night before their arrival.

You will not need to do anything other than to be available that day, and there is no cost to you. Residents will be tested in their apartments, and employees will be tested in O’Connor Common, as well as the Concord Dining Room.

As always, thank you for the wonderful cooperation you have exhibited during these extraordinary times. We are readily available if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Weekly Update – 4/20/20

Dear residents, families, health care agents, and staff,

I hope you are able to celebrate Patriots' Day in some form or fashion today. Hopefully, the rescheduled marathon will be one of the many positive events in the not-too-distant future that will hearten all of us when some sense of normalcy is restored to all of our lives.

  • I will lead with the best information I can offer in a weekly update—we registered no new positive tests for COVID-19 among our residents or staff this past week.
  • While the bullet above is certainly encouraging, there are some issues I do wish to share with you out of an abundance of caution. Specifically, there has been an uptick of friends and relatives interacting with residents on the property, particularly the past two Sundays, when we enjoyed blue skies and warmer temperatures. The particular concern here is proximity of less than the stated six feet minimum. I know it is very difficult for all of us to continue under the government-mandated quarantine, but I ask you to redouble your efforts to be in full compliance with the request to avoid contact with your loved one. We have been blessed to date, and I know the message is repetitive, but it is also true—all it takes is one positive test on campus to put us all in jeopardy.
  • I will also offer one sobering statistic provided by the State that I hope will make our request for cooperation resonate with you. Through yesterday, there have been 1,706 deaths related to COVID-19. Of those who have passed away, 1,452, or 85 percent, were over the age of 70. That number alone should be sufficient to keep our entire campus focused on following every precaution vigilantly.
  • Armed with such data, we are pursuing the campus-wide testing program made available to assisted living communities by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The testing, which will provide a snapshot of the current status in communities, is intended to mitigate the spread of coronavirus by identifying individuals who are unaware that they have the illness. When we have submitted the paperwork necessary to be placed in the queue, residents and staff will be tested here on campus by representatives of the National Guard or Fallon EMS Service. As we move further along in the application process, we will be sure to keep you apprised with updates.

Massachusetts is reportedly at the "apex" of the virus this week, which essentially means there will be more dark days ahead before we may see light at the end of this tunnel. Thanks again to the vast majority of you who have been so cooperative and supportive throughout this time, and please keep the campus in your thoughts and prayers as a new week begins.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

Weekly Update – 4/13/20

Dear residents, families, health care agents, and staff,

As promised in my communication this past weekend, here is our weekly COVID-19 community status report. We will look to send this to you each Monday, but please be assured we will communicate more frequently, should the need arise.

  • Happily, no new positive tests for COVID-19 among our residents or staff were reported over the weekend. Additionally, the two Robbie's Place residents tested by the National Guard on Friday also received the good news of negative findings.
  • It is with great appreciation that I tell you Easter Sunday on campus went just as requested—that is, very quiet. Thank you to families who waved from their car, who stayed in the parking lot while residents waved from the lobby, or who showed their love by staying home. Campus traffic in general reflected that the urgency of the situation is resonating with the vast majority of you. The State has not softened any safeguard put in place to protect its residents, and neither have we, so please continue to likewise follow all directives.
  • Many residents of our 400 building have happily taken advantage of our ability to offer Skype and Facetime technology for them to "virtually" see their families. As per family requests, Zoom is now a contact option, as well. Please follow the directions below if you want to activate a Zoom connection with your family members. As a reminder, please continue to send your reservation requests for a 30-minute session to resserv@cummings.com.
  • Zoom teleconference set-up instructions: First, go to zoom.us and create an account by clicking on "SIGN UP/IT'S Free."" You will receive an email instructing you to click "Activate Account." Once your account is established, please email a request for a Zoom meeting to New Horizons at resserv@cummings.com. Once a date and time for your meeting is confirmed, you will receive an invitation from New Horizons to your email address. Simply click on the link in the email at the appointed time to join the meeting.
  • If you use social media, follow us on Facebook throughout the week to read and see what else we are up to at New Horizons.

Thank you for all of the notes and well-wishes we continue to receive from so many of you—we appreciate your appreciation! Every New Horizons employee in every department has certainly represented the organization, and themselves, in outstanding fashion. That will continue for as long as needed, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Here's hoping (and praying) for a quiet, uneventful week.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

COVID-19 – Social Distancing – 4/3/20

Dear residents, families, health care agents, and staff,

With Passover and Easter coming up next week, I wanted to be in contact with you today to encourage your continued vigilance regarding COVID-19 precautions. The unfortunate reality is that the confirmed number of cases in the City of Marlborough has grown from nine one week ago to 53 today.

Combined with the national extension of the business/school shutdown through (at least) May 4, and forecasts that say the apex for deaths due to the virus in the U.S. is projected to occur in mid-April, compliance is more critical now than ever.

While I have been heartened by the vast majority of residents, family members and staff cooperating with our requests (and those requests, in fact, are State mandates), there seem to be some individuals who are failing to understand that one infected person is all it takes to bring the virus to our community.

To our 400 building residents and families — visits to the community by anyone but licensed caregivers or essential personnel have essentially ceased. However, any time you visit and hug a loved one outside of the community, leave here to run non-essential errands, or continue to gather without sufficient social distancing (6 feet), this poor judgment at this critical juncture puts all of our residents and staff at risk. Families dropping off supplies are reminded to drop those items on the table in the vestibule, where our staff will retrieve and deliver. Please do not call the resident to the lobby to meet you — it seriously defeats the purpose of the safeguard!

To our independent residents — while the same visitation restrictions cannot be imposed, you also must consider the potentially dangerous impact of your actions. In that spirit, there should be no resident anywhere on our campus hosting family for the upcoming holidays. Likewise, it is foolhardy and dangerous for residents or staff to attend holiday gatherings at this time. We will also continue to reiterate that, while family members visiting the community have significantly decreased, this practice needs to be further curtailed by some as soon as possible.

I realize that, while the language of this communication is intentionally very pointed, it is also completely appropriate given the current situation - please heed the message contained herein. For those who continue to not comply, it may be necessary for me to speak with you on the topics contained herein individually. Thank you in advance for your cooperation today, and going forward.

Sincerely,

Andy Eick
Executive Director

 


 

COVID-19 – Staff Precautions 3/20/20

Dear Parent/Guardian of our NHM Youth Staff,

As we all navigate these unprecedented times together, I wanted to communicate with you in a nontraditional way. Generally speaking, most of the workday issues pertinent to our staff are handled directly with the staff, as it should be. There are two important points, however, I did want to discuss specifically with you, the parents and guardians of our youth staff.

The first point – on behalf of every resident and adult staff member here at New Horizons, I want you to know how proud we are of all of your sons and daughters. They have always been a highly valued component of our dining staff here, appreciated not only for their customer service skills but also for the youthful companionship that is not otherwise available to many residents. With state-mandated meal deliveries to resident apartments now in place, however, they have needed to operate outside of their routine, and have done so in stellar fashion. They have been here when needed, working in teams to distribute meals quickly and efficiently, and doing so with wonderful customer service. Some are operating walkie-talkies, enabling them to communicate when there is a need for additional meals (or in some cases, to request assistance when they’ve discovered an issue upon their arrival to an apartment). I know you are so proud of your sons and daughters – I just thought it was appropriate that you know all of us here are, as well.

The second point is to enlist your assistance to ensure your sons and daughters are taking all of the necessary precautions in their daily lives to minimize their exposure to COVID-19, and the possibility of them bringing the virus here. We know that frequent hand-washing and sanitizing are essential practices. My specific request today is to please assure that they are compliant with social distancing. If they continue to gather with large groups of friends, relatives, etc., then I would ask you to instruct them NOT to sign up for shifts here at New Horizons. Our campus is comprised of over 400 seniors, who are the most vulnerable to the virus. I request this both as executive director AND as a parent, and thank you for helping us in any way you can.

Thank you again for the great job you have done as parents and guardians. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 508-460-5200, or via email at directors@cummings.com

Sincerely,

 

Andy Eick
Executive Director
New Horizons at Marlborough

 


 

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.). Please note that, per the newest official regulations, non-assisted living residents from 370, 420, the Cottages, and Marcos Villas may not enter the 400 building for the duration of the current emergency.

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 to anywhere in 400 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
508-460-5200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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 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, effective 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 family members and other guests 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. Guest meals in our dining rooms are 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 who access our 400 building, including staff, residents, and visitors, should come and go through the building’s main entrance, sign in at the front desk, and use the available hand sanitizer upon arrival. Signs will be posted at all other 400 building entrances, directing visitors to come through the main entrance.
  • Non-medical deliveries to 400 residents (e.g., packages, food) will be left at the Front Desk, and residents will be notified of their arrival by phone.
  • The New Horizons bus will be used only to take residents to scheduled medical appointments. If you need assistance with shopping, please consult with your family and friends, or arrange for products to be delivered to you.
  • New Horizons-sponsored activities involving non-residents, to include bus trips and entertainment, will be postponed or canceled.

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 508-460-5200, or via email at directors@cummings.com

Thank you,

Andy Eick
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.