Heritage Ministries designs COVID-19 testing stations

Heritage employee Don Robbins is shown building one of the testing stations designed by the Heritage Ministries team. Submitted Photo .

As mandated testing of employees in long term care facilities has been ordered across New York State, two of Chautauqua’s largest providers of skilled nursing services, Heritage Ministries and Lutheran Jamestown, have begun working together to ensure employees and residents within both organizations remain safe throughout the new testing process. This includes a newly designed testing station created by the team at Heritage, with the help of a locally owned small business.

Lisa Haglund, newly confirmed Heritage Ministries President and CEO, shared, “The health and safety of our staff and residents are of the utmost importance. As we have been directed to move into mandated testing for all employees by Governor Cuomo’s office, we needed to determine how we could implement that efficiently, while complying with all regulations. We have to balance these changes with the actual realities of supply chain challenges, increased prices of personal protective equipment (PPE), the impact to staffing ratios, and preventing any impact to care.”

Haglund also expressed that she and Tom Holt, President and CEO of Lutheran Jamestown, share the same thoughts, and will be working together to continue providing a safe environment for the residents, staff, and families of each organization. “Tom and I have spoken at great length, and we are both committed to the continued support and protection of our staff and residents as we navigate through these new policies”. The collaboration efforts will include best practices for COVID-19 prevention, advocacy with state and federal officials, as well as other infrastructure needs, as it relates to testing of staff.

Randy Jackson, Heritage Vice President of Facilities Management, and his team, led by Glenn Williams, have been working with a local Chautauqua County business, D & S Glass, to meet these new testing needs. A mobile testing booth has been designed that will provide the ability to safely administer COVID-19 tests on-site while limiting exposure in both directions. D & S Glass will be providing materials for the project to allow Heritage to quickly implement the new testing process with their staff and residents after product testing.

Jackson explained that the booths will be adaptable to allow staff members to adjust to the height of each staff person or resident, accommodating for those who are unable to actively sit up or stand easily. The booths will feature a plexiglass wall with a small access panel for test administration. The wall will protect both residents and staff from exposure, and will also help preserve valuable, and sometimes difficult to obtain, personal protective equipment (PPE), which would normally have to be changed out after each test and potential exposure. Heritage is also developing a plan to effectively clean and disinfect each station after use with the help of their certified infection control nurse.

“I am thankful for our team and Michael LaTone at D&S Glass for working quickly to develop a solution to protect everyone”. Haglund went on to say, “It is this collaboration of local businesses that is so important now, as we all come together to protect our county and move forward.”

Haglund also discussed that in the same spirit of cooperation, Heritage will be sharing this design with Lutheran so they may also quickly implement in their senior living communities in Chautauqua County.

“At this difficult time in our industry, it is important that we work together to protect our most vulnerable population, our seniors. Working with our fellow senior living communities is essential in order to provide the absolute best care for all of our residents,” she stated.

Tom Holt shared, “Working together has never been more important. We need to protect our most vulnerable population: our seniors. It is the right thing to do and it is the thing we must do in order to provide the best care to those who have been entrusted to us. Kudos to Heritage and D & S Glass for the creative design. We look forward to implementing its use on our campus.”

Lutheran, located in Jamestown, offers a continuum of care that supports an individual’s journey through life with compassion, dignity, and respect. Lutheran’s vision for the future is to be an innovative leader and first choice for employment, living, and care.

Heritage Ministries was founded in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations across the United States. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, memory care, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, lessons, and a therapeutic riding program. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit www.heritage1886.org.


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