April 7, 2020
Dear Bethel Community,
For your information, we do have staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. We also have residents who are suspected of having the virus.
Please be assured that all CDC and NYS Department of Health protocols are being followed in our response to these staff members and residents. This includes extensive monitoring, screening and documenting of any/all changes to determine if further intervention will need to be initiated.
In addition, we continue to implement the “No Visitor” policy, all staff are screened each time they enter the building, all residents are quarantined in their rooms, staff have access to Personal Protection Equipment when needed, and communal dining and group activities remain suspended. Also, rigorous and frequent sanitization of the building occurs throughout the day.
Please check back frequently for updated information. In the meantime, if you would like more information, please call:
Bethel Nursing & Rehabilitation Center – Croton-on-Hudson
Paul Scarpinato, Administrator, 914-739-6700
Bethel Nursing Home – Ossining
Lorraine Festa, Administrator, 914-941-7300
The Knolls – Valhalla
Michael Dobbins, Executive Director, 914-461-4500
Bethel Springvale Inn – Croton-on-Hudson
Patricia Kiggins, Administrator, 914-739-4404
Or send your questions to:
April 2, 2020
From Robert W. Elliott, Chairman, Bethel Board of Directors
To All Bethel Staff,
On behalf of Bethel’s Board of Directors, I want to thank you for everything you do each day for all of our residents and the Bethel organization.
Who knew this would be our reality right now? That “PPE” would become a term known to everyone besides the healthcare community? Or that “front line” workers would be given the enormous responsibility of providing both hope and help to keep the world going, whether it’s medical care, driving trucks, or stocking shelves, etc.? All front line roles are so critical to maintain society’s well-being and sense of normalcy during this time.
And this is especially true for our residents, something, of course, you know better than anyone else. The hope and help you bring to our Bethel residents every day, when you walk into their quarantined rooms, is immeasurable. Just by your presence, even before you say a word, they know you are there for them.
Everyone wants to feel connected and comforted, especially this population and especially right now. So thank you, from all of us on the board. We may not know each of you personally, but we know what you do for Bethel and the commitment you have to our residents.
Robert W. Elliott, Chairman, Bethel’s Board of Directors
Rev. Dr. John E. Carrington
Rev. Kevan T. Hitch
March 31, 2020
A Message to Our Staff
Dear Bethel Staff,
In Governor Cuomo’s Sunday press conference regarding COVID-19, he spent some time recognizing the dedication of front line workers and first responders in NY, as well as describing the special challenge of keeping nursing home residents safe from the Coronavirus.
He called the work of those on the front lines “acts of love and courage” because just like everyone else, these workers are afraid, too. “But there is something more important than their fear,” says the governor. “And that is their passion, their commitment for public service and helping others. And that’s all it is. Their passion and belief in helping others, overcomes their fears. He continued, “That makes them, in my book, just truly amazing and outstanding human beings.”
Governor Cuomo also shared that the number of confirmed cases in NY was 59,513 and that a quarter of those cases are nursing home residents.
And although this is almost 15,000 seniors, Governor Cuomo said, “We are lucky that it’s only a quarter. Coronavirus in a nursing home is a toxic mix. This virus preys on the vulnerable, it preys on our seniors and it preys on people with compromised immune systems and underlying conditions.” He continued, “COVID-19 in a nursing home can be like fire through dry grass.”
He mentioned some of the precautionary measures which were implemented, with this vulnerability in mind, to combat COVID-19 and keep nursing home residents safe such as the “no visitor” policy, staff being screened each time they enter the building and an extensive focus on infection control. With these policies in place and other efforts, the governor hopes to fight the spread of COVID-19 among the nursing home populations.
At Bethel, we have also been emphasizing, from day one, how critical infection control is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our staff is well-versed in these protocols and the need to comply with all guidelines. They are also apprised of any changes in these practices when the Department of Health updates them. We are also doing our best to provide staff with the needed PPE supplies, as well, to keep everyone safe.
And when Governor Cuomo talks about front line staff, we know what he’s talking about because we see it with our own employees. Our front line employees come in every day and put their fears aside so they can put the residents first. We know how hard that is, leaving their own families at home, hoping they will be safe, and worrying about the changes going on all around and what that means to their immediate and future lives.
Thank you so much for everything you are doing to care for our residents during this stressful time. It is very much appreciated.
March 30, 2020
A Front Line Perspective
By Ed Grano, Bethel’s Corporate Director of Rehabilitation
This message appeared on an internal message board for Bethel employees
We are health care providers. We are ALL a special breed of person to have entered into this field. By our nature we have a different kind of courage and work ethic than most other people. We work for the well-being of others, and cannot help but nurture and care for our residents, families, friends, even strangers. Without people like us our society would be unlivable. To do what we all do on a normal, daily basis takes tremendous courage and character, and now our society needs us more than ever. Because we see things in people that others cannot. We see the how precious our elderly are, we learn about who they’ve been and we know who they are now, and we understand that their legacy is what gives us much of what we enjoy today. I have never been more proud to be a health care worker. In this critical time we must stay strong and flex that unique courage we have been blessed with. We must continue to care and care HARD and leave this as our legacy.
March 27, 2020
Dear Bethel Community,
The universally shared experience of COVID-19 has also brought a renewed sense of community through empathy and appreciation. Strangers, friends, families, business associates and beyond, everyone wants to connect and help each other in some way. We see it in our personal lives and we see it here, too, at Bethel, as we continue on with our response efforts.
Rest assured we are doing everything we can, 24/7, to keep our residents safe and healthy. Our staff is a dedicated team who are bringing care, encouragement and security to each resident every day. And since the “no visitor policy” remains in effect, the staff is both a welcome link to the outside world as well as reassuring caregiver.
March 25 Update
Dear Bethel Community,
I wanted to give you an update on Bethel’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the latest initiative being implemented to keep our residents and staff safe. Bethel is now following Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order that “non-essential” employees remain at home, which we put into effect on 3/23. We know this is difficult for our staff and their families, but we also understand that this extreme measure mandated by NY State is needed to help stop the spread of the virus. And, of course, for our setting and vulnerable residents, it is particularly critical that we eliminate any chance for exposure to COVID-19.
In the meantime, our front line workers are here 24/7, caring for our residents, keeping them cheerful and taking the temporary place of their family members and friends who are not allowed to visit right now. This dedicated and hard-working group is here every day preparing meals, giving meds, cleaning rooms, providing exercise, replacing light bulbs, engaging residents, and liaising between families and residents, whatever it takes.
I will continue to keep you apprised of our response to COVID-19 and any related developments. Be safe, and in the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me at 914-739-6799×1251.
March 18 Update
Residents Test Negative for COVID-19 at Bethel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
CROTON-ON-HUDSON – Residents at Bethel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center have tested negative for COVID-19, according to a report just issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to the facility. The CDC conducted the tests on a number of residents last Friday, less than 24 hours after a 91 year-old, short-term resident tested positive for the virus at a local hospital, where she still remains.
“Needless to say, we are pleased with the CDC’s test results and what it means for our residents and their families,” says Beth Goldstein. “As the world is learning, COVID-19 is a fast-moving virus so we are especially glad to receive this good news. We applaud the quick response by the CDC and NYS Department of Health in assisting us with all aspects of this response,” she continued.
Another key measure taken was the immediate, 14 day self-quarantining of staff who had/or may have had direct contact with the resident. However, since then, the Department of Health has changed its recommendation for self-quarantining Health Care Personnel. Instead, they can self- monitor and wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment for the 14 day incubation period in the workplace. This will ensure care is provided without any interruption to nursing home residents.
Ms. Goldstein has high praise for all Bethel staff and their response to the COVID-19 encounter. “Our employees have gone above and beyond in every way,” she says. “Clinical, non-clinical and administrative, everyone pitched in to implement protocols to make sure our residents were safe and received the care they needed. I am proud of their compassion and professionalism,” she continued.
In accordance with CDC protocols in managing the virus, the residents who were tested will continue to be monitored closely over the next two week period. Strict adherence to practices that ensure the safety of residents, and the staff treating them, have already been implemented.
This includes measures regarding room quarantines, frequent assessments and the appropriate personal protective equipment for staff such as masks, gloves, etc. Ongoing, frequent sanitization throughout the building is also part of the protocol.
In addition, residents who were not tested because they were not in regular or close proximity to the 91 year-old resident, receive daily screenings as a precautionary measure.
Preventative efforts against the virus at Bethel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had already begun last week when Bethel took the initiative to stop all outside visitors from entering its buildings, prior to the directive issued by department of health. Staff were also screened each time they entered the building which included having their temperatures taken and answering a health assessment questionnaire.
Says Ms. Goldstein, “Clearly, these are unprecedented times. If we all do our part as individuals and as a community, we can stay strong and help those who need it most, especially our vulnerable residents who are relying on us. We will also continue to work closely with the CDC and NYS Department of Health in the days, weeks and months ahead,” she continued.
“Bethel has been serving the community for over 100 years, and doing so as a not for profit. We are proud of this service and look forward to another 100 years of making a difference in the lives of our seniors and their families,” says Ms. Goldstein.
March 13 Update
Bethel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has received confirmation that one of our residents, while receiving on-going medical care at an area hospital, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).
We take the health and well-being of our residents and staff very seriously. We have been proactive with taking the necessary precautions prescribed by New York State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control during this emerging pandemic.
Last week we closed the facility to all visitors and reduced transportation to only necessary outside appointments. The infection control practices of thorough hand washing and environmental controls of deep cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces have been on-going all through the influenza season and continue today.
All residents, employees and necessary personnel are screened daily for signs and symptoms of coronavirus.
The health and safety of our residents and employees remains our top priority.
March 10, 2020
Dear Family Members,
As we are sure you are aware, the Governor has declared a State of Emergency in New York in response to Coronavirus.
In order to keep our vulnerable residents safe we are restricting visitation to all our buildings until further notice.
Only employees and medical personnel will be allowed in the buildings.
We suggest that you telephone or Facetime your loved one in lieu of visiting.
We’re sure you will work with us in our efforts to keep your loved ones safe.
Chief Executive Officer