News

Information and Updates Concerning the Coronavirus

August, 12, 2020

In an effort to address questions and concerns about the Coronavirus and its potential impact at Bluestem Communities, this webpage will be updated to provide information to family members, volunteers, visitors and others. This is an evolving situation that we will closely monitor. Promoting a safe and healthy environment for those we serve is our greatest concern. In an effort to continue informing resident family contacts about COVID-19 and any future updates impacting our campuses, please subscribe to notifications. Thank you for considering! 

For further questions, you may call:

  • Bluestem PACE, 620-504-5917
  • Kidron Bethel Village, 316-284-2900
  • Schowalter Villa, 620-327-3400
  • Media Inquiries can be directed to Ariana Kauffman, VP of Marketing, 316-836-4866.

FAQs: Read answers to some frequently asked questions.

TEST RESULTS: See test results here.

In the interest of transparency and public safety we will provide updates as appropriate while following HIPAA regulations and protecting our participant’s, staff’s, and family members’ right to privacy.

 

August 12, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

 

August 7, 2020
At this time there are two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

 

July 31, 2020
At this time there are two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

We are very pleased to share that health care and assisted living has completed the 14-day quarantine period following the last positive exposure. Beginning with breakfast today, Friday, July 31, residents were able to leave their homes for dining, socializing with other residents and sitting in community living rooms. We are asking at this time, that residents remain in their own neighborhood as had been previously practiced. Dining, socializing and other activities will resume with at least six feet of distance between each individual or couple. When in public areas, residents will wear masks except when dining or drinking beverages.

Our Schowalter Villa visitation plan will begin with the implementation of “studio visits”. The studio provides an intercom phone to speak with loved ones. Guests remain outside of the building and can see the resident with whom they are visiting through a window. Family members who have previously signed up for email notifications will be receiving an email with further details on what to expect and how to schedule a visit.

As a Life Plan Community, Schowalter Villa has staff working throughout its campus. Noted positive cases on the test results link above do not always mean they are among the assisted living and health care neighborhoods. If that were to be the case, our practices would be adjusted once again and you would be notified of this change.

Of the two positive cases - one person has been away from the Villa Life center since before the week of July 20. The second positive is a staff member who worked at our Lakeside Village screening station and dined with Water’s Edge staff members during their breaks. The last day this person worked they had no symptoms. Upon identification of symptoms, they did not work, were tested and have remained off work since that time. Today, out of caution, we tested Water’s Edge staff who had direct contact with this individual. Those who had close contact with this individual are not working and have been instructed to quarantine until receiving test results.

Contact with residents and the public was very brief and limited due to the screening process, appropriate use of PPE (personal protective equipment), proper hand sanitation practices, and attention to distancing. Resident and public exposure to COVID-19 through this particular positive case instance is not likely.

 

July 29, 2020
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

 

July 24, 2020
At this time there are two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

On Monday, July 20, a second round of precautionary COVID-19 testing was held for Schowalter Villa health care and assisted living residents and staff members who had direct contact with those staff members who had positive test results.

We are very pleased to share that all Schowalter Villa assisted living and health care residents’ results remain negative for COVID-19. We are very grateful and are rejoicing at this news.  We believe this is through God’s grace and the careful focus of our staff on always wearing appropriate masks with resident care and around the Villa Life Center; attention to good hand hygiene and sanitation procedures.

We continue to receive Schowalter Villa staff test results. Of the results we have received so far, one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member has been away from work in quarantine since the time they were informed of a family member testing positive for COVID-19.  They are under the direction of the Harvey County Health Department. We will report any positive results on our Test Results link above.

According to guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Harvey County Health Department (HCHD), it is advised that all residents continue to remain in their homes until 14 days following the last positive exposure with no additional positive exposures. Yesterday, July 23, we proposed a new plan to the HCHD. Due to the negative resident test results and our increased concern for resident’s physical, mental, emotional and psychological well-being, this plan not only helps protect from COVID-19 but also promotes overall health improvement for residents.

We are actively working on putting this plan in place and are thankful that it has been approved. There are many details to be finalized and ask for your patience as we work as quickly as we can on making this next step happen!  

Until 14 days post exposure, as previously discussed, there will not be public dining or resident gatherings even in very small groups. In-person visitation with residents is also not permitted. We will notify residents and families when this can occur.

Thank you for your continued support, trust and prayers.

 

July 23, 2020
At this time there are three known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

On Monday, July 20, a second round of precautionary COVID-19 testing was held for Schowalter Villa health care and assisted living residents and staff members who had direct contact with those staff members who had positive test results.

We are pleased and grateful to share that health care residents’ results remain negative for COVID-19. Only a few assisted living residents still have results pending. Those which have been received are negative as well.  We thank the Lord for this outstanding result. We are still waiting for some staff results. We will update the website again when all results have been received.

According to guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Harvey County Health Department, all residents will continue to remain in their homes until 14 days following the last positive exposure with no additional positive exposures. After receiving all test results, we will meet with the Harvey County Health Department again to determine our next steps.

 

July 20, 2020
At this time there are five known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

As was communicated on Thursday, July 16, due to positive staff cases of COVID-19 identified between July 5 and 15 at Schowalter Villa, a second round of precautionary testing was held today for all health care and assisted living residents and staff members who had direct contact with those staff members who ended up testing positive.

This retesting occurred 14 days following the first testing according to guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Harvey County Health Department. Tests were conducted using a nasal swab kit, and were obtained by Schowalter Villa licensed nurses.

As with any medical procedure, residents have the right to refuse testing. Those who chose not to be tested will remain in precautionary isolation for 14 days following today’s testing. Progressive Recovery Academy (PRA) has not had direct exposure to a positive staff member and no patient or resident symptoms have been identified. Therefore, patients and residents in PRA were not retested.

We will contact each resident’s DPOA by phone with results once we have them. We will also report any positive results on our Test Results link above. Please note that due to an increase in cases and testing nation-wide, receiving test results can range from a few days to more than a week.

We understand that the last few weeks with identifying positive cases at Schowalter Villa have been difficult for residents, family members and staff. As the community infection rates are increasing, please be assured that we remain focused on promoting resident and staff health and safety. 

 

July 17, 2020
At this time there are five known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

As of 6 p.m. yesterday two staff members have completed, been released from isolation and are now recovered per the Harvey County Health Department.

 

July 16, 2020
At this time there are seven known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

Schowalter Villa Update: As stated in yesterday’s update, the identified cluster is related to positive staff members and their close relationships outside of the work setting. We met with the Harvey County Health Department yesterday, July 15th as to details identifying these positive cases as a cluster. A cluster is defined as three or more cases who develop new onset respiratory symptoms within a 72-hour period. Those staff members had been away from work due to symptoms and were awaiting their results. Three other staff members were asymptomatic and were immediately removed from work as their positive reports were received. Yesterday we were informed of a seventh staff member’s positive test result due to a family member who was positive first..

All health care and assisted living residents tested negative and remain symptom free. 

Our team has been working hard at protecting residents from the COVID virus. The following are a list of infection control measures we’ve had in place and continue to practice: 

  • Staff wear N95 masks for resident care
  • In-person screening for all who enter the building
  • Health care and assisted living residents are being cared for within their home since July 5 when notification was received of the first positive staff member
  • Residents are assessed for symptoms 3 times per day

Harvey County Health Department indicated that our initiatives for infection control and prevention, along with risk mitigation initiatives are a factor considered in how frequently and who is retested. Schowalter Villa has reviewed CMS guidance for retesting and worked with Harvey County to create the following plan.

Re-testing will occur on Monday, July 20, 14 days following the first testing. All assisted living and health care residents and staff members that were in direct contact with those who tested positive will be retested.

We also realize how important this information is and will contact the DPOA for each resident, by phone, with results once we have them. We will also report any positives on our Test Results link above. 

Retesting will occur again in another 14 days if positives are identified or if positives develop as a result of symptoms. If test results from July 20 show all negative results, no retesting is necessary unless new symptoms and/or positive results are identified.

Updates will be posted here as we have them available.

 

July 15, 2020
At this time there are seven known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

Schowalter Villa Update: We have obtained all test results since our last update referencing the testing of all health care and assisted living residents and staff.

All health care and assisted living resident tests were negative and all residents continue to be symptom free.

The seven known active cases above are Schowalter Villa staff members; they are not working. The cluster identified on the test result chart is related to positive staff members and their close relationships outside of the work setting.  

With the increase of cases in Harvey and surrounding counties we strongly support taking steps to help restore health in our community. It remains important to continue wearing face masks, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene. As you are living your daily life, we appreciate you considering the broad impact that your actions may have on our community and beyond.

 

July 11, 2020
At this time there are two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

Schowalter Villa Update: Due to a positive test result of a staff member of health care on Sunday, July 5, testing of all health care and assisted living residents and staff were obtained as a precautionary measure. All resident testing was completed on Monday, July 6. Most staff members were also tested on Monday, the few remaining staff had tests completed Wednesday, July 8.

We are rejoicing that all health care and assisted living resident tests came back negative!

The two known active cases above are Schowalter Villa health care staff members. One was identified with this testing and is not working. The other’s was obtained due to symptoms and had been pending over a week; this person has been away from work since symptoms were identified.

We are still awaiting the results of some Villa Life Center staff members. After receiving all test results, we will meet with the Harvey County Health Department to determine our next steps. 

The Test Results link above will provide the most current results. Thank you.

 

July 9, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

In the Test Results document above, the column titled: “Tests Pending Due to Symtoms” reflects individuals who have been tested due to symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Schowalter Villa: Due to a positive test result of a staff member of health care, testing of all health care and assisted living residents and staff were obtained as a precuactionary measure. All resident testing was completed on Monday, July 6. Most staff members were also tested on Monday, the few remaining staff had tests completed yesterday. We are currently awaiting the results.

We also realize how important this information is and will contact the DPOA for each resident, by phone, with results once we have them. We will also report any positives on our Test Results link above. The staff member has completed, been released from isolation and is now recovered per the Harvey County Health Department.

Kidron Bethel Village: Outdoor family visitation will begin on Monday, July 13th. Family members who have previously signed up for email notifications will receive an email tomorrow with further details on what to expect during their visit. We are eager to have residents and their loved ones able to see each other again.

Please note:  If Kidron Bethel Village has a staff member or resident who tests positive for COVID-19, all visitation to our building will be discontinued. We will reopen for visitors based on guidance we receive from KDHE. In addition, if Harvey county and surrounding county COVID positive cases continue to rise, we retain the right to deny visits if it is believed that circumstances pose a risk of transmitting COVID to the facility residents, staff, and visitors.

Bluestem PACE: The PACE day center is open and serving participants with proper social distancing and personal protective equipment. We also continue to support participants and their caregivers with services in their home. If you or your loved one need additional support during this time please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by calling 844-588-7223 

 

July 5, 2020
A staff member of Schowalter Villa health care has tested positive for COVID-19.

A staff member of Schowalter Villa health care has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus. The last day this person worked, they had no symptoms. Upon identification of symptoms, they did not work and were tested and have remained off work since that time.

We have been in communication with all parties that have been directly affected. We are working with public health officials as required and continue to follow procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Anyone who has had contact with this individual will be notified by the Harvey County Health Department.

Out of an abundance of caution and per KDHE requirements, Schowalter Villa staff and health care and assisted living residents will be tested. Results will be updated on our Test Results link above.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. Please be assured that if your loved one lives in health care or assisted living and tests positive; you will be notified by Bluestem Communities immediately.  If your loved one lives in independent living, they receive their results from healthcare providers directly, and we ask residents to share them with us. Thank you for your support during this challenging time.

 

July 1, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

With the recent uptick of cases in Harvey and surrounding counties we are taking extra precautions as we consider opening for family visitation of health care and assisted living locations. Family members will receive an email with more details on Sunday, July 5 of what they can expect, when visitation will begin, and how to schedule a visit. With the 4th of July weekend we hope everyone continues to stay safe. As you are living your daily life, we appreciate you considering the broad impact that your actions may have on our community and beyond.

Please note: If a staff member or resident tests positive for COVID-19, visitation will be discontinued.

As a reminder this webpage and the Test Results link above is where you can find the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 for our Bluestem Communities locations.

 

 

June 17, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

GUIDIANCE WE’VE RECEIVED FROM LOCAL AND STATE HEALTH AGENCIES

Yesterday the Harvey County Health Department released the following statement:

“Harvey County will transition to the Phase Out guidance of the Harvey County Health Reopening Plan regarding COVID-19 response beginning June 17. Visitation at long-term care facilities will remain restricted through June 23.”

To provide clarification, the Harvey County Health Department Director Lynnette Redington made the following statement at press conference on June 16:

“[The full phase out] has restrictions for our long-term care facilities to determine for themselves how strict they need to be in regards to having visitors and changes that they have with their systems and protocols. We do obviously encourage hygiene, high hygiene, practices for all of them.”

As you can glean from the above statement, the Harvey County Health Department is allowing each long-term care community in Harvey County to determine their own plan for reopening while still following the guidance given to us by state and local health agencies.

In the Harvey County Health Reopening Plan (at the bottom pg. 14) you will find the following guideline for long-term care facilities under Phase Out.

Visits to Long-Term Care Facilities: In-person visits to these facilities may be gradually reinstated. Screening measures for all visitors are strongly encouraged to be continued. Those who must interact with residents must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene and screening.

In addition to the Harvey County Health Department, we have received guidance from Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). On the bottom of page 2, you see that KDADS recommends we open slower than the rest of the county.

“In general, reopening nursing facility to visitors and outside services and resumption of activities should be slower than the rest of the county or community.”

 

OUR PLAN: OPENING FOR VISITORS JULY 6

For several weeks now, we have been working with the state and local health agency on a plan to safely allow visitation to resume. Based on the above guidance to open slower than the rest of the county, Bluestem Communities has chosen to reopen for visitors on July 6. Waiting until July 6 allows us to continue to monitor COVID infection rates in our county and surrounding counties following the Phase Out. As long as there is not a spike in cases, we will open for visitors July 6.

Please know that we are taking this cautious approach with resident health and safety as our first priority. We are excited for families and residents to be reunited and know that this has been a very difficult time to be separated from your loved one.

When you come to visit your family member beginning July 6 you can expect the following:

  • There will be designated visiting hours
  • You will complete a health screening. It will include hand washing, answering several questions and having your temperature taken.
  • All visitors will be required to wear a mask while inside the building. Visitors will be required to supply their own masks.
  • Residents will be required to wear a mask during the visit.
  • Visitors must be at least 18 years of age
  • If you have traveled to any the locations identified here by KDHE, you will need to finish your 14-day isolation before visiting our building

Before July 6, we will communicate in more detail what visitation will look like. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

 

May 27, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

Visitors and Next Steps

Due to Governor Kelly’s rescind of the Ad Astra plan, we are now working from the Harvey and McPherson county plans to determine next steps in all areas of our services. We are actively working on a plan to determine timing and best practices to begin allowing visitors to health care and assisted living.

Please keep in mind that allowing visitors into health care and assisted living is contingent on several factors including the current status of COVID-19 cases in Harvey County and surrounding counties. It is important that the public continue to adhere to the governor’s recommended precautions as we strive to keep residents and staff healthy. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community.

Happy Moments

During this difficult time we will continue to bring joy and happiness to residents. Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see what we've been up to. 

 

May 14, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community while adhering to the protocols given by the CDC, CMS and KDHE. You can expect the website to be updated in the following ways effective May 8, 2020:

The website will be updated by 5:00 p.m. the following day of our knowledge of:

  • A new confirmed case of COVID-19 at any Bluestem location
    • This includes residents, staff members or PACE participants
  • A cluster of suspected cases at any Bluestem location
    • A cluster of suspected cases is defined by CMS as three or more persons who develop new onset respiratory symptoms within a 72 hour period
    • This includes residents, staff members or PACE participants

The website will be updated weekly beginning with cumulative totals.

  • Check the website after 5pm on Wednesdays.

The TEST RESULTS link in the intro section is where you can find these totals. 

 

May 5, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

May is National Nurses Month and Wednesday, May 6th is National Nurses Day. We invite you to share some words of encouragement and support to the nursing and front line staff that are working hard to provide quality care at Bluestem PACE, Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa. Email your words of encouragement to livewell@bluestemks.org with the subject line: We Support Healthcare Heroes.

A Video Message from Secretary Howard to Healthcare Workers

Secretary Laura Howard and Governor Laura Kelly extend their appreciation and a sincere thank you to healthcare workers in nursing and long-term care facilities for the compassionate around-the-clock care they provide to our most high-risk Kansans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video here.

When will Bluestem Communities resume normal operations?

Now that the governor has lifted the stay-home order, you may be wondering what this means for Bluestem Communities, the seniors we serve and their families.

We receive our directives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the CDC; due to the vulnerability of the individuals we serve, we do not anticipate visitor restrictions to be lifted anytime soon.

When we have more information, we will gladly share it. We know families are eager to see their loved ones and we are eager for them to be able to enjoy one another’s company again.

Water’s Edge and Hesston Bakery & Cafe will continue to offer curbside pickup only. Bluestem Wellness Centers will remain closed until further notice. Visit bluestemwellness.org for at-home exercise classes. For the latest updates be sure to follow them on the web or via their Facebook pages.

Please continue to make healthy and safe decisions in regards to the places you go and people you interact with. Continue to participate in recommended precautions such as wearing a mask, good hand washing and seeking delivery services whenever possible. 

Thank you from Bluestem Communities staff

During this time of social distancing, we’ve never felt closer. These are challenging days, and it’s been said many times throughout history that tough times will show you what people are made of. Well, you’ve shown us what you’re made of, and it’s left us overwhelmed with gratitude. We want to say thank you. Thank you to all of the individuals, businesses and organizations that have come together to support Bluestem Communities during this time. Thank you for the countless gestures–big and small–within our communities that shine as examples of what it means to go above and beyond. Thank you for making masks to keep our staff safe and healthy. For donating supplies, volunteering your time and generous financial support. The shared words of encouragement and your prayers. All of this has made a difference. Thank you for reminding us that we will weather this storm, and that when all is said and done, we will emerge better and stronger. Together.

 

 

April 23, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

There are no known active cases of COVID-19 at any of our Bluestem Communities locations. We have created a FAQs document that we will be updating when necessary to continue to answer questions that you may have. You can find the link to the FAQs above this update below the contact information. 

In a recent targeted infection control focused survey conducted by CMS on April 21st at our Schowalter Villa location in Hesston, we received zero deficiencies and found to be in compliance with CMS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended practices to prepare for COVID-19. This successful survey is a testament to the great work each department is doing here to follow infection control protocols and promote the health and safety of every resident and staff member. Thank you to our staff for continuing to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. 

 

 

April 15, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

On April 7th, Bluestem Communities informed the pubic of a case of COVID-19. The diagnosed individual served by Bluestem Communities has recovered from COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus and is no longer contagious. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community while adhering to the protocols given by the CDC, CMS and KDHE.

The residents and participants of Bluestem Communities are still receiving social connections in creative ways. We are thankful for the support of the greater community and our dedicated staff members for making these connections happen.

  • Bluestem Boosts: Residents and participants have been receiving encouragement from the community via Bluestem Boosts. People are able to email livewell@bluestemks.org to send fun and creative messages to residents. We have received poems, photos of nature, grandbabies and more!
  • Video chatting and window visits: Many friends and families have been able to continue to see and speak with their loved ones outside of windows and also via video chat facilitated by our life enrichment teams.
  • Arts and music: A group of community members painted beautiful designs on the outside of the dining room windows at our Hesston location. Residents enjoyed viewing the art at their meals. At our North Newton location, our chaplain has been playing music in the hallways.
  • Furry visitors: In March, baby goats came to visit while residents sat outside in the courtyard (appropriate distance between them) and watched them play.
  • Easter fun: The Easter bunny delivered lunch to residents Easter weekend—he even wore a mask. In addition to the traditional Easter dinner, the culinary team made chocolate covered peanut butter eggs and chocolate dipped strawberries for residents to enjoy. Residents have also enjoyed planting seeds and dying eggs at our Hesston location.
  • Encouraging staff: Encouraging messages for our health care heroes have been on display outside our communities in North Newton, Hesston and McPherson. We are proud of our staff and the incredible work they are doing to serve residents and participants while promoting health and safety for all.

 

 

April 7, 2020
An individual served by Bluestem Communities has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus.

An individual served by Bluestem Communities has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus. Anyone who has had contact with this individual has been notified by the Harvey County Health Department. The individual received treatment at a local hospital. We have been in communication with public health officials as required and continue to follow procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during this challenging time. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

We ask that our residents, their families and our staff continue to do all that they can to support our community by following the recommendations set forth by the CDC:

  • Social Distancing/staying home if possible
  • Frequently sanitizing your hands or washing them for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended
  • Self-isolating if showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • Seek medical assistance as necessary

Thank you for your support.

For further questions, you may call:

  • Bluestem PACE, 620-504-5917
  • Kidron Bethel Village, 316-284-2900
  • Schowalter Villa, 620-327-3400
  • Media Inquiries can be directed to Ariana Kauffman, VP of Marketing, 316-836-4866.

In the interest of transparency and public safety we will provide updates as appropriate while following HIPAA regulations and protecting our participant’s, staff’s, and family members’ right to privacy.

 

March 31, 2020
There are no known cases of Coronavirus at Bluestem Communities. 

“Social distancing and now a stay-at-home directive is a common practice not only in our Bluestem communities but around the world. As we forego group gatherings and outings at this time, I have continually been amazed to hear the stories of how residents and staff are continuing to support and encourage one another through phone calls, emails and other creative outlets. I believe this event will ultimately draw us closer together and strengthen our community and love for one another. 

I realize that during this time it can be a little scary to think about the potential of contracting COVID-19. This is why we implemented strong precautionary measures to promote the safety of our residents and our staff weeks ago. Continuing to be diligent in using standard precautions like handwashing, using PPE, social distancing and following CDC, CMS and KDHE guidelines for infection control are vital. We deeply appreciate that you’re taking this very seriously too. Your families and loved ones greatly benefit from you adhering to these precautions, as well as your neighbors and Bluestem staff. Thank you for choosing to be a part of our community! We are grateful for you and we are here to support you during this time.” 

With gratitude, James Krehbiel President/CEO of Bluestem Communities

To learn more about the Kansas Stay-at-Home order click here.

 

 

March 24, 2020
There are no known cases of Coronavirus at Bluestem Communities. 

To date, there are no known COVID-19 cases at any of our Bluestem Communities locations. We are taking every precaution to keep our residents and staff safe which includes following the guidelines and directives from CMS, KDHE and the CDC. We are thankful to our caring staff and amazing residents for their support.

Prepare Your Home

The CDC recommends creating a household plan to help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. To help you prepare, you should base the details of your plan on the needs and daily routine of your household members. For a checklist of what should be included in your plan visit the CDC’s website.

Send a BLUESTEM BOOST!

Let’s all continue to live well! Thanks to those who have sent letters, poems, fun photos, words of encouragement, videos and drawings to share with residents! Please keep them coming by sending them to: livewell@bluestemks.org

Your message will be shared with all residents who need an extra boost, however if you have a specific resident you want your encouragement to go to please type their name and campus in the subject line. (Example: John Smith – Kidron Bethel Village)

Thanks for sharing connection, creativity and love with residents during this challenging time. We appreciate your support and encouragement!

 

 

March 19, 2020
There are no cases of Coronavirus at Bluestem Communities, but we have closed our Bluestem Wellness Centers. 

View a video message from James Krehbiel, CEO/President of Bluestem Communities. 

On this first day of Spring we want to take a moment to enjoy the sunshine, the flowers blooming and the birds singing. Our communities aren’t the same without all the visitors seeing their loved ones and bustling action at our restaurants or wellness centers. No matter how strange things seem right now, remember we’re all in this together.   

As we hear more about the continuation of social distancing, we believe connection is an integral part of living well so we ask that you continue to call your loved one, send them photos, video chat, or get creative with staying connected. Our life enrichment teams are also accepting messages to residents and participants. Send an email with words of encouragement, photos, poems, or others to livewell@bluestemks.org to help boost someone’s day.

 

March 17, 2020
There are no cases of Coronavirus at Bluestem Communities, but we have closed our Bluestem Wellness Centers. 

As we continue to promote wellness amongst our community, we believe it is in the best interest of the public’s health for us to temporarily close our Bluestem Wellness Centers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Effective 3/18/20 our centers will be closed. This includes both the North Newton and Hesston locations. The equipment rooms, pool, continued cancellation of classes, locker rooms, walking path. We thank you for being a valued member of the Bluestem Wellness Centers. We will update you when we reopen. 

With gratitude,

Jason Jones
Director of Bluestem Wellness

 

 

March 13, 2020
There are no cases of Coronavirus at Bluestem Communities, but we are now restricting visitors.

As we continue to stay up to date with the recent news of a positive case of Coronavirus in an adjacent county (Sedgwick), we must make some difficult decisions in regards to visitation, activities, events and other services offered at our communities.

At this time, we must restrict all non-essential visitors, including family members, to Bluestem Communities. We understand that connecting with loved ones is incredibly important, but as we follow CMS and CDC guidelines and recommendations we must put into place the precautions and protocols that are in the best interest of the at-risk elders we serve, as well as our staff who provide the around-the-clock care necessary in keeping those we serve healthy and safe.

We are actively screening individuals, including staff, who need to come into the building. Limiting the traffic in our buildings may prevent or slow the spread of the virus.

We need your support and cooperation as we focus all efforts on the safety and well-being of residents, participants, staff and the community at large. Please assist us with notifying other family members and friends about these important measures, and stay tuned here or our Facebook or Twitter page for the latest updates.

Changes to our programs/service lines in effect until further notice:

  • Bluestem Wellness Centers: All classes are canceled until further notice. At North Newton the pool/hot tub is closed but the equipment room remains open. At Hesston pool and equipment room remain open. For updates follow Facebook or Twitter
  • Hesston Bakery & Cafe: Offering call ahead orders for drive up only. No dining in at this time. To place an order, call 620-327-3570 or fax 620-327-3810 during regular business hours Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm Sunday 7am-5pm. For updates follow Facebook (We will not take orders through Facebook messaging as it will be difficult to fulfill requests.) Outside catering is still taking place.
  • Water’s Edge Restaurant & Catering: Offering call ahead orders for drive up only. No dining in at this time. Call 620-327-4099 to place your order during regular business hours Monday-Saturday 7am-2pm Sunday 11am-2pm. Thursday evening meals have been canceled until further notice. For updates follow Facebook (We will not take orders through Facebook messaging as it will be difficult to fulfill requests.) Outside catering is still taking place.
  • Main Street Gifts: Closed until further notice

For more information on the Coronavirus, including what you can do to help lower the risks, visit www.cdc.gov.

Members of the media should contact: Morgan Redding, Director of Communications, morganr@bluestemks.org 316-641-7266.

 

March 10, 2020:

As a reminder, we care for many at-risk elders, and we need the community’s help in following the guidelines below to ensure the safety of those we serve:

  • Do not visit Bluestem Communities (Schowalter Villa, Kidron Bethel Village or Bluestem PACE) if you have a fever, symptoms of a respiratory infection, have traveled outside of the country in the last two weeks, or have been exposed to a person with Coronavirus or being tested for Coronavirus.
  • If you are at all concerned that you may have—or could have—an infectious disease, do not visit. Your best course of action is to seek care at your primary care physician’s office.
  • If a visitor is exhibiting symptoms, he or she may be advised to leave and come back when they are well.
  • As with any respiratory virus, the best way to prevent infection is to use the strategies normally used to prevent the spread of illnesses, including washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when experiencing symptoms of illness. Additionally, all surfaces should be routinely cleaned with disinfectants to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Frequently wash your hands if you visit and use hand sanitizers located throughout the building.
  • There is still flu activity in the U.S. which is more likely to cause serious illness than the Coronavirus. If you have not yet received a flu shot, it is not too late and is still being recommended by the CDC.
  • Follow guidelines and recommendations issued by the CDC, Harvey County Health Department and other federal, state and local officials.

As a skilled nursing organization, preparation is not new for us. The people we serve are more susceptible to illness, and in this situation we are implementing similar measures that we would implement if we were preparing for a flu outbreak.

In addition to our rigorous infection prevention and control practices, we are:

  • Continuing to follow the guidance and recommendations from several key officials and organizations not limited to the Governor’s Office, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the CDC and the Harvey County Health Department.
  • Increasing communication and signage throughout our buildings that promote good infection prevention and control procedures.
  • On a day-by-day and case-by-case basis we are evaluating planned activities, meetings and visits within our communities, and we are limiting the scheduling of future group visits within our homes. 
  • Holding frequent meetings with staff and communicating regularly with our stakeholders and partners to ensure that we are prepared to adapt to this evolving situation.

For more information about the Coronavirus, visit www.cdc.gov.

 

In an effort to continue informing resident family contacts about COVID-19 and any future updates impacting our campuses, please subscribe to notifications. Thank you for considering!