News And Events

Covid-19 Plan

We at St. Francis Health Services of Morris take caring for your loved ones very seriously.

In response to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have aggressively implemented prevention and preparedness activities in all of our care centers (nursing homes, assisted livings, and group homes).

These interventions are intended to address the risk for our residents and employees from contracting and spreading the COVID-19.  We continue to follow guidelines provided to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies.

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Restricting all visitors effective immediately, with the exception of compassionate care. Essential visits are determined and evaluated case-by-case.
  • Restricting all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel.  Some volunteers have been assigned to screening tasks and limited to entry.

Infection Control Practices

  • We are monitoring our residents for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection and will work with our providers if someone becomes symptomatic.
  • We are following the guidelines of quarantine when a resident is newly admitted, been out of the care center, or been exposed to individuals at risk.
  • We have limited essential entrance to the building to one location.
  • We are actively monitoring and screening all employees/contractors upon entry into each of the care centers.
  • We have cancelled all group activities including communal dining.
  • We are practicing social distancing within each of our care centers.
  • We ask all deliveries be left at the care center identified door exterior entrance.

Status of COVID-19 Monitoring

  • We continue to monitor for updates, changes, and recommendations on a daily basis from all legitimate sources.
  • We have a designated team that is reviewing and updating infection prevention practices and emergency preparedness activities.
  • We are in contact with our local and state health department and emergency preparedness contacts.
  • We will continue to update residents, families, and this website as new information becomes available.

Trusted Resources for Official Updates:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-new-measures-protect-nursing-home-residents-covid-19 

Minnesota Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

County Positivity Rates Increase – Testing Twice Weekly

Dear Family and Friends,

Due to county positivity, our care center is now routinely testing staff twice weekly and when an employee or resident show signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or has had exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19. As of today, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Unfortunately, while cases in long-term care centers remain relatively low due to vaccination efforts, case rates in our local communities have climbed dramatically again. County positivity rates continue to dictate testing frequency and visitation policies. Data published Tuesday show there were 193 people in Minnesota’s hospitals getting intensive care for COVID-19 complications the day before, a rise of 21% from last week.

You are a key partner in keeping our care center open for visiting and ending this pandemic. We encourage you to connect with your primary health care provider or use the Vaccine Locator map (Vaccine Locations / COVID-19 Updates and Information – State of Minnesota (mn.gov)) to find a vaccine appointment near you.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our care center with any questions or concerns.  

One Year Since 1st COVID case was Confirmed in MN

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on 2/23/2021 and we are happy to say that all staff came back negative.  Our care center will test weekly and our next testing date will be Tuesday, March 9th. . We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This Saturday, March 6th, marks one year since Minnesota confirmed its first case of COVID-19. The state has since recorded 485,230 total confirmed or probable cases. Now, more than 52% of Minnesotans 65 and older have received at least one dose of either COVID vaccine. This week, Governor Tim Walz stated Minnesota will expand vaccination eligibility when 70% of that population gets their first dose. Vaccine eligibility would expand to people with high-risk health conditions and targeted essential workers. Younger groups and the general public would follow in the late spring and summer.

Johnson & Johnson has now received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine, the Janssen Ad-Vac. The J&J vaccine is different than its Moderna and Pfizer 2-dose vaccine counterparts in two ways. First, the J&J vaccine is a one-shot vaccine, not a two-dose vaccine. Second, the J&J vaccine uses a more common vaccine technology and does not utilize the mRNA vaccine delivery method. The vaccine is published as 85% effective 28 days post vaccination. Side effects listed for this vaccine are similar to those listed for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

COVID Update – Vaccine Connector Tool

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on 2/23/2021 and we are happy to say that all staff came back negative.  Our care center continues to test staff monthly at this time. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

We continue to receive questions on how and when family and friends will receive their vaccine. Health officials have created a Vaccine Connector tool found at https://vaccineconnector.mn.gov/. This tool helps Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine. After you fill out a simple form, the Vaccine Connector will alert you when you are eligible to receive a vaccine, connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment, and notify you if there are vaccine opportunities in your area.

It is not necessary to sign up if: 

  • You have already received your COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You previously registered for the COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program. You’re already on the Vaccine Connector list, and there is no need to re-submit your information.  
  • You completed the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Child Care survey. You’re already on the Vaccine Connector list, and there is no need to re-submit your information. 
  • You completed the Health Care Connection Form, you do not need to re-submit your information. The Minnesota Department of Health will work with health systems and local public health agencies to notify you about when and where you can get vaccinated. 

We look forward to the day we can throw our doors wide open to the community. Until then, there are multiple ways residents in our setting can interact with one another and with their loved ones. We have resumed socially distanced communal dining and small group activities. We are currently able to offer indoor visits, virtual visits, essential caregiver visits, and compassionate care visits. We do ask that visitors are tested prior to entering our care center. Due to cost, we will no longer be able to test essential caregivers, compassionate caregivers or visitors in the care centers.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

COVID Update

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on 02/16/2021 and we are happy to say that all staff and residents came back negative.  Our care center continues to test staff weekly. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Currently, vaccines are being distributed to adults 65 and older, educators, school staff, child care workers, health care workers, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. We have received many calls requesting information about vaccinations. If you qualify in one of the above categories, please check the state’s online vaccine locations map (https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp) or contact your health care provider about appointment availability. Our staff and residents continue to have opportunities for on-site vaccinations through our pharmacy partnership. Our next clinic is on February 28th, 2021.

Minnesota continues to see new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as MN lessons the restrictions in public areas.  The numbers of cases and attributable deaths are declining as vaccinations roll out. State and local health officials continue to stress social distancing, mask use, and frequent hand washing or sanitizing.

With vaccinations becoming more prevalent, and knowledge that vaccinations are providing a positive impact in reduction of active outbreaks; it is frustrating that use of PPE and visitation constraints must continue within our care centers.  Until the CDC and MDH have supporting science to assure the spread of COVID-19 is reduced with vaccinations, we are required to maintain the same infection control protocol.  

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

COVID UPDATE

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on 2/2/2021 and we are happy to say that all staff and residents came back negative.  Our care center continues to test staff weekly. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As of today, the MDH is not recommending any changes to our current visitation process.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,977 residents of Minnesota’s long term care facilities have died from COVID-19, accounting for 63% of the deaths from the virus statewide. However, last week, Minnesota recorded an average of just 64 new coronavirus cases per day in long-term care settings; the lowest the state has experienced since September! On Tuesday, MDH released more data showing that overall trends are improving, and not just in senior services communities. The state’s positivity rate of testing has fallen to 4%, the lowest rate since June! The rate had peaked at 15.5% in November amid an upsurge in cases.

The drop in new cases is a hopeful sign that the vaccines are starting to provide the protection we need and the infection control protocols put in place are working. Our staff continue to find creative ways to ensure social distancing does not stop social interaction. This week we plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day by having special treats and small group Valentine’s Day get together.  Please remember with any holiday, we see an increase in visits. Please schedule your visit by Friday with Mary Olander, 218-927-5510.

This week, the Minnesota Association for Geriatrics Inspired Clinicians (MAGIC) launched a new video resource to help providers in our community to address hesitations and misinformation related to the COVID vaccine. MAGIC COVID Vaccination Video was developed to provide accurate and up to date information and dispel myths regarding the vaccine. The goal is to increase vaccination rates, specifically among frontline health care workers, by providing meaningful information from a trusted source that allows them to make an educated decision. Our care centers next vaccine clinic is on February 28th.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

COVID Update

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on 2/2/2021 and we are happy to say that all staff and residents came back negative.  Our care center continues to test staff weekly. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The CDC released a report that indicates a national average vaccination rate for care center residents of 77.8% and of care center staff, 37.5%. Minnesota is in a category with higher rates for both, with more than 80% of residents and more than 40% of staff. As of Wednesday of this week, 70,049 residents and staff of Minnesota’s long term care centers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are excited to announce we have conducted our second vaccine clinic giving many residents and staff their second dose of the Moderna vaccine! We will be hosting our 3rd on 2/28/21. As of today, 91% of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine and employees 63%.

We want to remind our friends and family that may be participating in Super Bowl activities to please social distance, wear a mask, and wash or sanitize your hands often.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank You

Ali Meyer

Administrator

COVID Update

Dear Family and Friends,

We have received all test results back from testing on Tuesday, January 26th and we are happy to say that all staff and residents came back negative.  Our care center continues to test staff weekly along with our residents. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This week, MDH health officials contacted a computerized random selection of Minnesotans aged 65 and up, who signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, with only 11,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to give away, many on this list will not receive the vaccine this week. If you were not contacted on Wednesday, your name will remain on the list for the next round of vaccine distributions. For staff and residents at our care center our next vaccination date is on 1/31/21.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and like previous holidays throughout the COVID Pandemic, must be celebrated cautiously. MDH and CDC have not changed guidance regarding residents leaving our care centers during the pandemic and do require residents to quarantine upon return. With any holiday this year, we have seen an increase of visits requested. Please remember to plan ahead and schedule your virtual visit or, if available, indoor visits, with Mary Olander at (218) 927-5510 as soon as possible.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank You

Ali Meyer

Administrator

COVID Update

Dear Family and Friends,

We had one staff member test positive this week for COVID. All residents that were tested were negative. Our care center continues to test staff weekly along with our residents. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This week, Minnesota is beginning a new COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. There will be nine vaccine sites that will serve persons 65 years of age and older as well as prek-12th grade educators, school staff, and child care workers. All appointments available for the nine sites were immediately booked. These sites will begin administering vaccines at the end of this week.

We are thrilled to see the enthusiasm and determination of our community to be vaccinated and help protect our most vulnerable from the COVID-19 virus. The CDC has released data proving that this Pandemic has disproportionately affected seniors. From May 2020 to August 2020, 78% of COVID-19 deaths were aged 65 and older.

As a reminder, our care center will be hosting 3 separate clinics for vaccinations for our staff and residents. Any residents or staff members who were unable to attend the first clinic are encouraged to attend the 2nd and 3rd clinics for their free vaccinations. Our next clinic is on January, 31st, 2021.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank You

Ali Meyer

Administrator

COVID Update

Dear Family and Friends,

As of today, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our care center. Our care center continues to test staff weekly along with our residents. We are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Please be patient about changes in safety protocols as vaccinations roll out across Minnesota. Even though the vaccine is here, the virus is still being transmitted throughout our state and we need to continue to be cautious to protect the health and well-being of residents and staff.

Until we receive updated guidance from the State, we ask that everyone, even those not connected directly with our care center, continue infection prevention and control practices. Please wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face when you’re out and stay home if you’re feeling sick. These measures will help keep the positivity rate low and allow our care center to host safe and socially distanced visitation for residents.

Looking for ways to help? We have a variety of positions available with flexible scheduling and on the job training. For more information or to apply, visit www.jobswithus.org.

Please follow our Facebook page (@Aitkin Health Services) or our website (www.sfhs.org) for all COVID updates and information on what is happening inside our care center. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ali Meyer, Administrator, at almeyer@ahs.sfhs.org or by phone at 218-927-5514 if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank You

Ali Meyer

Administrator

Falls Prevention

Aitkin Health Services, an affiliate of St. Francis Health Services of Morris (SFHS), is pleased to announce we were recently awarded a Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) focused on preventing falls.  The initiative for fall prevention and fall reduction began January 1, 2021 and will continue through December 31, 2022 within our care center and related SFHS’ skilled nursing care centers.

The Falls Prevention Project will provide our care center with additional resources to make positive system improvements to prevent falls for individuals receiving services that is focused on each individual’s preferences and needs.  This program will have three components; expanding falls prevention and person centered education, implementing Safe Being technology, and increasing exercise program opportunities.

The education component of the Falls Prevention Project comes to us with a new partnership with Pioneer Network to expand our work force knowledge of Person Centered/Directed care. Pioneer Network is the national leader for culture change that advocates and builds a culture of aging where individual choices are respected and fosters care that is directed by the person receiving it.  Staff will learn how to better address needs and lifestyle choices to reduce an individual receiving services’ risk for falls. 

In the second part of our Falls Prevention Project, we will be installing Safe Being technology in our care centers.  The Safe Being system provides the capability for real time remote monitoring while respecting the person’s privacy.  Safe Being uses a watch-like device that provides data on lifestyles and daily activities and interprets gestures identifying how/when a resident is moving, eating, drinking and sleeping.  Each person wearing the device will send an alert when there is a change in status or has been identified as being at risk for a potential fall or has fallen. 

The third component of the Falls Prevention Project will be increasing exercise program opportunities such as Bingocize and Otago to improve strength, flexibility, and balance to help reduce falls. 

The Falls Prevention Project is intended to build sustainable practices throughout our care center beyond the original two year grant period.  SFHS is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization.  In addition to their skilled nursing care centers, they offer a variety of services that include customized/assisted living, a full range of therapies, senior housing, transitional and skilled nursing care, and behavioral and residential programs throughout the State of Minnesota.