News

Information and Updates Concerning the Coronavirus

October, 27, 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.

 

October 27, 2020 
At this time there are eleven known active cases of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village, two known active cases at Bluestem PACE and four known active cases at Schowalter Villa. 

Kidron Bethel Village: The additional case reported is a staff member who was tested due to symptoms but has not been at Kidron Bethel Village in two weeks. This positive case will not trigger extended testing.  

 

October 23, 2020 
At this time there are ten known active cases of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village, two known active cases at Bluestem PACE and four known active cases at Schowalter Villa. 

Kidron Bethel Village: Late last week, a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of delivering care to residents. This triggered a requirement from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct precautionary testing of all health care and assisted living residents and staff. At the same time, CMS also requires twice weekly staff testing based on the Harvey County positivity rate.

As a result of precautionary testing, four health care residents, two assisted living residents and three additional staff have tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, residents are showing no symptoms and are being closely monitored.

All health care and assisted living residents have been in precautionary quarantine since October 17. With the most recent positive results, advanced preventative measures were put in place immediately, including full PPE precautions as required by CMS as well as other procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Resident quarantine and weekly precautionary testing will continue until there are 14 days of no new cases. All staff members will continue to be tested per CMS requirements.

Press release created in collaboration with Harvey County

 

October 22, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village, two known active cases at Bluestem PACE and four known active cases at Schowalter Villa. 

 

October 21, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village, two known active cases at Bluestem PACE and three known active cases at Schowalter Villa. 

 

October 18, 2020 
At this time there are three known active cases of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village, two known active cases at Bluestem PACE and three known active cases at Schowalter Villa. 

Kidron Bethel Village: Due to a positive test result of a staff member of health care, testing of all health care and assisted living residents will begin this week as required by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). All staff members will continue to be tested per CMS requirements. All health care and assisted living residents are also required to be in quarantine/precautionary isolation until we have 14 days with no new cases in the building. In light of this development, we are required to discontinue all outside in-person visitation.

A family update has been sent with more details. If your loved one tests positive, we will contact the DPOA for the resident, by phone. We will also report any positives on our Test Results link above. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community and we will continue to monitor residents closely. Thank you for your support and trust during this time.

Schowalter Villa: These are the same cases reported on October 13. 

 

October 14, 2020 
At this time there two known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village and three known active cases Schowalter Villa. 

These are the same cases reported yesterday. 

 

October 13, 2020 
At this time there two known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village and three known active cases Schowalter Villa. 

Kidron Bethel Village: The two positive staff cases did not result in any health care or assisted living resident exposure or additional staff exposure to COVID-19 as confirmed by the Harvey County Health Department and KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment). Please be assured we will contact individuals directly if an exposure results in a possible risk to health care or assisted living residents and staff. The two positive cases do not affect in-person outdoor visits and those will continue at this point.

Schowalter Villa: The staff positive case is the same as reported last week at the Villa Life Center. There are two independent living positive cases which do not require further resident testing. Positive test results in Independent Living are typically reported to the resident by the Harvey County Health Department or medical provider and the resident then reports to us. If there were to be risk of exposure through an Independent Living resident, those at risk would be notified by the Harvey County Health Department accordingly.

Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa: Please be aware that the current rate of positive test results is on the rise in Harvey County. This could affect future visitation plans. We will make sure residents of health care and assisted living and their family members are informed of any updates regarding visitation plans.

As always, 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. 

Thank you for your on-going support as we navigate quickly changing regulations to create the best quality of life and care for each resident.

 

October 7, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa. 

Schowalter Villa: As required by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and supported by KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment), residents have remained in their rooms since Tuesday, September 22, when we learned of a staff member with positive COVID-19 test results. The requirement is to protect residents from exposure by having them remain in place until 14 consecutive days have passed with no new positive COVID-19 cases.

We have observed significant discouragement, distress and decline in residents, including loss of appetite and weight loss. We, as well as families, have become increasingly concerned for residents’ physical, mental, emotional and psychosocial wellbeing. The Harvey County Health Department agreed with our proposal to have one resident or married couple moving through the hall and/or in a public space/courtyard at a time. We have experience with doing this previously, and resident response to it was positive. Now that residents have the ability to go out of their homes one at a time, studio visits can resume. Family members received an email with information on how to schedule these studio visits.

If there are no more positive test results by October 14, we will be able to resume resident participation in public dining, small group physically distanced gatherings, flexibility for moving around the neighborhood and public spaces and scheduling in-person outside visits on Thursday, October 15. We will send more information about those visits as we get closer to that date.

The Life Enrichment team continues to plan theme weeks for residents and staff to celebrate each week. The following are the themes we’re celebrating this month: 

October 4-10: Poetry week

October 11-17: Winnie the Pooh

October 18-24: Pumpkins & Leaves

October 25-31: Halloween & favorite animated characters

 

Kidron Bethel Village: Residents continue to engage and be active in many activities such as water color painting classes, succulent club, book club, FaceTime sessions, musicals, baking peppernuts, manicures, yarn wrapping, van rides, worship services with Chaplain Eric and more. While this year’s annual Senior Olympics was canceled, residents enjoyed an indoor picnic as well as a fair themed food day. 

With no positive cases we continue to offer outdoor visits. Please call the front desk to schedule a visit with your loved one.

 

 

September 30, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa. 

 

September 24, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa.

Schowalter Villa: It has been determined in working with the Harvey County Health Department, that we are also now required to test assisted living residents at this time due to the positive staff test outcome from yesterday. It is required that all assisted living and health care residents be in precautionary isolation until we have 14 days with no new cases. Please be assured that if your loved one lives in health care or assisted living and tests positive, the resident’s DPOA for health care will be contacted immediately.

UPDATE: The COVID-19 testing of all assisted living and health care residents has been completed. We are very pleased to share that all assisted living and health care residents’ results remain negative for COVID-19. In 3-7 days, as required by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), we will conduct another round of testing for all staff, assisted living and health care residents. Residents are also required by CMS to remain in precautionary isolation until we have 14 days with no new cases.

 

September 23, 2020 
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village and one known active case at Schowalter Villa.

Kidron Bethel Village: The one positive case is the same from last week and did not result in any resident exposure or additional staff exposure to COVID-19.

Schowalter Villa: Due to a positive test result of a staff member of health care, testing of all health care residents will begin this week as required by KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment). All staff members will continue to be tested per CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) requirements. At this time, residents in assisted living do not need to be tested. All health care residents will be in precautionary isolation until we have 14 days with no new cases. At this time, all assisted living residents will need to stay in the assisted living space, having meals delivered to their rooms but will not be placed on precautionary isolation.

If your loved one tests positive, we will contact the DPOA for the resident, by phone. We will also report any positives on our Test Results link above.

 

September 18, 2020
At this time there is one known active case of COVID-19 at Kidron Bethel Village.

Kidron Bethel Village: As a Life Plan Community, Kidron Bethel Village has staff working on campus and remotely from home. Noted positive cases on the test results link above do not always mean the staff member works in our assisted living or health care neighborhoods. In the one positive result listed on the chart, this is the case. This one positive case did not result in any resident exposure or additional staff exposure to COVID-19. Please be assured we will contact individuals directly if an exposure results in a possible risk to residents or changes the way in which individuals live on our campus.

Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa: Today we received new federal regulatory guidance regarding health care and assisted living visitation from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). We are reviewing this guidance to determine how we will proceed. We continue to monitor the Harvey County positive levels and will work with Harvey County Health Department to approve any updates to our visitation plans.  

We are working to make visitation as safe as possible for residents, staff and visitors. We will make sure residents of health care and assisted living and their family members are informed of any updates regarding visitation plans, including increased opportunities or methods to visit, as soon as we know more.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate quickly changing regulations to create the best quality of life and care for each resident.

 

September 16, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

With the current rate of positives in Harvey County, health care and assisted living facilities are required to test staff one time this week. Testing will be completed by Friday.  

 

September 11, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new testing requirements for long-term care facilities in which all staff members in health care and assisted living are to complete regular precautionary testing for COVID-19. The testing frequency is based on county positive percentages and ranges from as little as once per month to as much as twice per week. Health care and assisted living residents are not being tested with this routine surveillance testing.

To conduct this testing, CMS has provided long-term care facilities with rapid point of care (POC) diagnostic testing devices that allow facilities to conduct the testing in-house. Both Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa have received their POC devices. Schowalter Villa began its first round of health care and assisted living staff testing on September 9, and Kidron Bethel will begin its first round of testing on September 14. The one device provided by CMS will be taxed by the volume of tests required at Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa. Both campuses will supplement the device with some tests submitted to an outside lab. With the current rate of positives in Harvey County, the facilities are required to test one time per week at this point. Based on CMS guidance, we will re-evaluate testing frequency every two weeks and adjust if necessary.

If a staff positive is identified during this process, we will need to conduct testing of all health care and assisted living residents and staff. At that time, residents would be required to enter into precautionary isolation, and their DPOA will be notified of changes in resident routines. If a resident tests positive, their family contact will be notified immediately. We will not email or send letters every time there is a positive result so please use the chart above to stay informed. Thank you for your support and trust as we navigate these ever-changing times.

 

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

 

September 2, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

 

August 31, 2020
At this time there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Bluestem Communities.

 

August 26, 2020
At this time there two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa

 

August 25, 2020
At this time there two known active cases of COVID-19 at Schowalter Villa and one known active case at Kidron Bethel Village.

Schowalter Villa:  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. The two positives listed on the chart are the same that were reported last week. 

Kidron Bethel Village:  A staff member at Kidron Bethel Village, who had no close contact with staff, health care or assisted living residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This individual worked for 30 minutes on August 16 and had not worked for three days prior. While working on the 16th, this person received notification of a close contact that tested positive. Upon notification, they immediately left the building. They later developed symptoms and were tested, receiving a positive result over the weekend. They have remained off work since initial notification on August 16. Anyone who has had contact with this individual has been notified by the Harvey County Health Department.

Due to the limited contact, both the Harvey County Health Department and KDHE assessed the situation and advised that testing all residents and staff was not necessary. We are grateful for this outcome and the quick response of this staff member.

We remain diligent with sanitization practices, including the screening process, use of appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), proper hand hygiene and attention to social distancing.

Thank you for your continued support and trust during this time.  

 

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

Schowalter Villa:  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.

Please be assured we will contact individuals directly if an exposure results in a possible risk to residents or changes the way in which individuals live on our campus. We remain diligent with sanitization practices, a health screening process, use of appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), proper hand hygiene and attention to social distancing.

On Friday, July 31, our visitation plan for assisted living and health care residents began with the implementation of “visit studios”. Those who have experienced this interaction have been pleasantly surprised with the joy it’s brought both their loved one and themselves. Several families have shared it was the best visit they’d had in a long time. To schedule this type of visit in health care, please connect with a nurse, social worker or life enrichment coordinator for the neighborhood where your loved one lives. Assisted living appointments may be made through the Mullet Place Welcome Center receptionist or Life Enrichment Coordinator.

Kidron Bethel Village:  Outdoor in-person visitation for residents of assisted living and health care to connect with family and friends has been a wonderful change of pace over the last six weeks. However, due to a recent influx of positive COVID-19 cases in Harvey County, we have decided to put the visitation program on hold for the current time. Our decision to take a step back in our visitation plan was made in consultation with the Harvey County Health Department and went into effect on Tuesday, August 18.

Our infection control policies of hand hygiene, PPE, increased sanitization, temperature checks for every person who enters the building and daily health screenings of all residents and staff have, to date, resulted in the most favorable outcome of no positive COVID-19 cases at Kidron Bethel Village at this time.

Maintaining that outcome remains our highest priority. We will remain in consultation with the Harvey County Health Department and adjust any practices and policies as necessary to ensure the highest levels of health and safety for our community.

We encourage individuals to find other ways to continue connecting with residents. Please continue to call regularly, have window visits, schedule Facetime or Zoom chats, send letters, cards and photos. We are hopeful that through county-wide mitigation strategies, the situation will begin to improve and we can again host face-to-face visitations in time.

 

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 equipm