Isabella Center COVID-19 Update

Dear Family Member or Designated Representative,

It has been two months since CMS and the Department of Health had all nursing homes in New York City close their doors to visitors. We realize this has taken an emotional toll on you and on your loved one. We would like to let you know what we’re doing to support you both during this health crisis and ways in which we are increasing our communication efforts:

  • A Hotline has been set up so that you can call and check on how your loved one is doing. Our nurses on the floors are happy to speak with families but are often in resident’s rooms providing care and are not able to answer the phone. So, we have added a Hotline that will be available for you to call 7 days a week from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. This phone line will be answered by a bilingual member of the Isabella team. If they cannot answer your question, someone who can will call you back that day. For HIPAA privacy reasons, only individuals authorized in your loved one’s medical record may be given information.
  • Video calls with residents continue to be available. If you have not done so already, please download the application, WhatsApp, then contact us to schedule an appointment for your video call.
  • The Daily Update Line provides information about COVID-19 related activity at Isabella the prior day.
    Based on new CMS guidelines, effective May 8th, the outbound recording will now be updated by
    5:00pm each day. Feel free to share this number with family and friends.

Isabella is here for you and your loved one and is doing all that we can to help ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and staff in the face of this unprecedented crisis. This includes following state and federal guidelines for infection control.

Please reach out to the social work department if you have misplaced the phone numbers for the Hotline, scheduling video calls or the Daily Update Line.  Also, please let us know if you have any concerns, questions or suggestions by calling 212-342-9625.

Sincerely,

Loyola Princivil-Barnett
Chief Operating Officer
Administrator of Record

Updated May 1, 2020

The following statement is in response to recent allegations made / media coverage about Isabella.

Our hearts are with all the patients and families that have been impacted by this terrible virus. COVID-19 is a tragedy that literally targets residents of nursing homes: the frail, elderly and people with multiple medical conditions who all live together under one roof. COVID-19 was in New York City long before anyone knew it. Isabella, a 705-bed not-for profit facility, has been, and continues to, follow state and federal guidelines for infection control. Unfortunately, Isabella, like all other nursing homes in New York City, initially had limited access to widespread and consistent in-house testing to quickly diagnose our residents and staff.  Sadly, while we have always had daily health screenings of staff, this hampered our ability to identify those who were infected and asymptomatic, despite our efforts to swiftly separate anyone who presented symptoms.

Fortunately, nursing homes in New York City, including Isabella, are now getting more access to testing. Our community is in a tragic situation, and our heartfelt thanks goes out to our staff who come in every day to take care of residents despite the personal risks. They are heroes. Together, we will continue to fight this virus tirelessly and do everything we can to protect our residents and people.

Here are the facts:

(1) Isabella has truthfully and accurately reported data to the Department of Health. From the beginning of this pandemic, Isabella has reported truthful and accurate data requested by the Department of Health. We have shared daily the number of confirmed and presumed positive cases at both the residence and hospital, including deaths.

(2) Isabella follows New York State Department of Health infection control and reporting guidelines. As of April 29, Isabella has had 20 confirmed COVID-19-positive deaths in the nursing home, 26 confirmed COVID-19-positive deaths of residents that were hospitalized, 40 suspected COVID-19-related deaths in the residence and 12 suspected COVID-19-related deaths of residents that were hospitalized.

(3) Isabella secured PPE to protect our staff and residents. Like every other health organization in March, we were concerned about having enough PPE for our employees, which is why we repeatedly appealed to—and worked with—city, state and federal officials, private resources and vendors to secure and purchase as much as PPE as possible. Although we faced initial challenges with securing enough PPE, for example, Isabella spared no expense or effort to ensure our staff had—and continues to have—the PPE they need. Put bluntly, at no time has our staff been unprotected.

(4) Isabella is proactive to have appropriate staff to care for our residents. When we experienced staff shortages, we hired staff from outside agencies.

(5) Isabella is committed to testing. Like most nursing homes across New York City, we have been frustrated by the lack of testing. While we did test where possible, widespread and consistent testing was not available. Fortunately, nursing homes in New York City, including Isabella, are now getting more access to testing.

(6) Residents’ families are part of our community. We have kept family members informed of their loved one’s changing condition. When we believe their loved one is nearing death, we do reach out to a resident’s primary contact and ask if they would like to say goodbye in person or via phone or an app. In-person goodbye visits were never interrupted and continue to happen.

(7) Isabella cares for our residents at all stages above anything else. Our commitment to caring for our residents with compassion, dignity and respect continues after the person has passed. We are thankful that we had the foresight to order the refrigerator truck because funeral homes across New York City, overwhelmed by widespread COVID-19 losses, are not picking up the deceased for days when historically, they picked up in hours. The tents were put up out of respect for the decedents and the community. We are not embarrassed that we are doing the right thing.

(8) Isabella is dedicated to keeping our residents safe as our local, national and global communities continue to fight this pandemic. The leadership and staff of Isabella are committed to doing whatever we can to keep our vulnerable residents safe in the midst of this horrific health crisis. Every life lost is one too many.

La siguiente declaración es en respuesta a las recientes acusaciones/coberturas de los medios sobre Isabella.

Nuestros corazones están con todos los residentes y todas las familias que han sido afectados por este terrible virus. La COVID-19 es una tragedia que apunta literalmente a los residentes de los hogares de convalecencia: las personas débiles de la tercera edad y aquellas con varias afecciones médicas que viven todas juntas bajo un mismo techo. La COVID-19 estaba presente en la ciudad de New York mucho antes de que lo supiéramos. Isabella, un centro sin fines de lucro con 705 camas, ha cumplido y continúa cumpliendo con las pautas estatales y federales para el control de las infecciones. Desafortunadamente, como todos los demás hogares de convalecencia en la ciudad de New York, en un principio, Isabella tenía acceso limitado a las pruebas extensas y constantes en el establecimiento para diagnosticar de forma rápida a nuestros residentes y personal. Por desgracia, si bien siempre hemos realizado pruebas de detección diarias a nuestro personal, esto dificultó nuestra capacidad para identificar a aquellos que estaban infectados y asintomáticos, a pesar de nuestros esfuerzos por separar rápidamente a cualquiera que presentara síntomas.

Por suerte, los hogares de convalecencia de la ciudad de New York, incluido Isabella, ahora tienen más acceso a pruebas. Nuestra comunidad se encuentra en una situación trágica y le damos un sincero agradecimiento a nuestro personal que asiste todos los días para cuidar a los residentes a pesar de los riesgos personales. Ellos son héroes. Juntos, seguiremos luchando de manera incansable contra este virus y haremos todo lo que podamos para proteger a nuestros residentes y nuestra gente.

Estos son los hechos:

(1) Isabella ha informado con sinceridad y precisión los datos al Departamento de Salud. Desde el comienzo de esta pandemia, Isabella ha informado con sinceridad y precisión los datos solicitados por el Departamento de Salud. Hemos compartido a diario el número de casos confirmados y presuntos casos positivos tanto en la residencia como en el hospital, incluidas las muertes.

(2) Isabella cumple con las pautas de control e informe de las infecciones del Departamento de Salud del estado de New York. Desde el 29 de abril, Isabella tuvo 20 muertes confirmadas de casos positivos de COVID-19 en el hogar de convalecencia, 26 muertes confirmadas de casos positivos de COVID-19 de residentes que estaban hospitalizados, 40 muertes presuntas relacionadas con la COVID-19 en la residencia y 12 muertes presuntas relacionadas con la COVID-19 de residentes que estaban hospitalizados.

(3) Isabella garantizó equipos de protección personal (PPE) para nuestro personal y residentes. Como cualquier otra organización de salud en marzo, nos preocupaba no tener los suficientes PPE para nuestros empleados; por esta razón, apelamos en repetidas ocasiones a los funcionarios municipales, estatales y federales, los recursos privados y los vendedores, y trabajamos con ellos, para garantizar y comprar la mayor cantidad posible de PPE. Si bien nos enfrentamos a desafíos iniciales para garantizar los suficientes PPE, por ejemplo, Isabella no escatimó gastos ni esfuerzos para asegurar que nuestro personal tuviera, y siga teniendo, el PPE que necesita. Dicho sin rodeos, en ningún momento nuestro personal estuvo desprotegido.

(4) Isabella es proactiva cuando se trata de contar con el personal adecuado para cuidar de nuestros residentes. Cuando hubo escasez de personal experimentado, contratamos empleados de agencias externas.

(5) Isabella está comprometida con la realización de pruebas. Al igual que la mayoría de los hogares de convalecencia de la ciudad de New York, hemos sentido frustración por la falta de pruebas. Si bien realizamos pruebas cuando fue posible, las evaluaciones extensas y constantes no estaban disponibles. Por suerte, los hogares de convalecencia de la ciudad de New York, incluido Isabella, ahora tienen más acceso a pruebas.

(6) Las familias de los residentes forman parte de nuestra comunidad. Los familiares siempre han estado informados sobre la condición cambiante de sus seres queridos. Cuando creemos que sus seres queridos se encuentran próximos a morir, nos comunicamos con el contacto primario del residente y le preguntamos si le gustaría despedirse personalmente, por teléfono o por una aplicación. Las visitas de despedida en persona nunca se suspendieron y continuaron teniendo lugar.

(7) Isabella cuida de nuestros residentes en todas las etapas por encima de cualquier otra cosa. Nuestro compromiso con el cuidado compasivo, digno y respetuoso de nuestros residentes continúa después de que la persona ha fallecido. Estamos agradecidos por haber previsto pedir el camión refrigerador ya que las funerarias en la ciudad de New York, desbordadas por las pérdidas a causa de la propagación de la COVID-19, no recogen a los fallecidos durante días, cuando históricamente lo hacían en horas. Las tiendas se montaron como muestra de respeto a los fallecidos y la comunidad. No nos avergüenza hacer lo correcto.

(8) Isabella se compromete a mantener a salvo a nuestros residentes mientras nuestras comunidades locales, nacionales y mundiales continúan luchando contra esta pandemia. La dirección y el personal de Isabella nos comprometemos a hacer todo lo que podamos para mantener a salvo a nuestros residentes indefensos en medio de esta terrible crisis sanitaria. Cada pérdida es una tragedia.

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