News

Information and Updates Concerning the Coronavirus

June, 03, 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 Morgan Redding, director of communications, 316-836-4837.

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.

 

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 Morgan Redding, director of communications, 316-836-4837.

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!