Though 2020 has been a year filled with new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community saw the best in our people and our partners. From our frontline workers who served countless hours to care for our residents, to the food & beverage team who kept food service running, to our community partners at Middlesex Health who shared best practices and staff – and many, many more.
We are especially grateful for our collaboration and partnership with LCS throughout the pandemic, for providing leadership and sharing best practices, assistance with supplies, communication support and community resources, as well as guidance on reopening.
Leadership and Sharing of Best Practices
“When the first COVID cases were announced in the state of Washington in January, we knew it was time to take action,” said Marikate Lynch, administrator at Essex Meadows. “LCS provided tremendous support by facilitating discussions with its communities across the country, sharing best practices and advising us on policies and procedures to protect the health of our residents and team members.”
Early in the pandemic, Essex Meadows leadership team members gained insight listening to their counterparts in various parts of the country. During regular calls, they had access to LCS senior leaders who were able to connect, help problem solve and share best practices for testing and much more.
Roberta McMenamin, vice president/senior director of operations at LCS, has continued to host weekly conference calls with her division to serve as a resource and continue thought leadership for senior living communities.
“Open dialogue has proven to be an invaluable asset to LCS communities across the country,” McMenamin said. “There is always opportunity to learn from one another. It is an honor for me to facilitate discussion and share key learnings for the best quality of care and outcomes in our communities.”
“Managing a community through such challenging and unprecedented times brought to light how important it is to be part of a larger organization with the experience of LCS,” said Jennifer Rannestad, executive director at Essex Meadows. “It was especially valuable to have candid discussions with other managers across Roberta’s business unit this year. We were all experiencing similar challenges, and collaborative problem-solving was a significant asset to our community. I am truly grateful for the encouragement and support we receive from LCS.”
LCS also assisted Essex Meadows and other senior living communities across the country to source personal protective equipment (PPE), including an initial 4,000 KN95 masks, 10 cases of hand sanitizer and isolation gowns.
“Due to significant demand, our local supply chain was not able to provide the PPE we were accustomed to ordering. Though suppliers at the local level would take our orders, nothing was available to ship,” Lynch said. “LCS, Blake Gillman [vice president, director of post-acute care services] and his team worked with Care Purchasing Services feverishly behind the scenes to get us the PPE we needed. It was a huge relief when shipments began to arrive.”
Care Purchasing Services is a member of the LCS Family of Companies. Lynch adds, knowing that LCS was focused on procuring PPE for the community saved time and energy for the leadership team at Essex Meadows and allowed them to focus on other aspects of the community during the pandemic.
Communication and Community Support
The LCS team also supported its communities with a communications playbook to ensure transparent, timely and accurate communication with its residents, family members and staff. Communications support included FAQs for families, a public website providing additional resources and 24/7 hotline. Additional assistance was provided to complete financial forms for state and federal aid, including the CARES Act, to assist with expenses related to PPE and increased expenditures.
“Throughout the pandemic, our on-site team members were focused on providing quality care to the residents at Essex Meadows,” Lynch said. “The support and expertise LCS provided from a national perspective, including communication and financial among others, allowed us to focus on the immediate needs of our residents while maintaining a national perspective.”
As more than 140 communities managed by LCS across the United States evaluate reopening, the organization has developed a phased process. This includes tracking cases in each community, guiding the reopening process and taking every precautionary measure to prevent reintroduction of the virus into any retirement community.
“We have always known LCS is a phone call or email away throughout the entirety of the pandemic,” Lynch said. “We have someone available to us who specializes in every facet of the business to troubleshoot any issue that may arise. We are never on our own – we have a whole team of experienced and knowledgeable people that can help us, and that provides a sense of calm and comfort.”