Date: September 23rd 2020
Hosts: Bryan Reynolds & Kristin Davenport
Guests: Resident Fran Turner
Update from President & CEO Laura Lamb
Episode 18 Transcript
Bryan Reynolds [00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, welcome to Episode 18 of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. This episode is for the week of September 21st, 2020. I'm Bryan Reynolds Vice President of Marketing for a Episcopal Retirement Services, and I'm here with Kristin Davenport, our director of communications for ERS and our executive producer. How are you today, Kristen?
Kristin Davenport [00:00:28] Today is a good day, Bryan. Thanks for asking. Good to be with you.
Bryan Reynolds [00:00:32] Yes. Seems like false setting in and a little cooler brisk air is coming out. So it's refreshing. Well, I just want to remind our listeners that Linkage podcast is dedicated to educating our audience about issues regarding aging, informing people about the mission of the ERS and how that comes to life in our everyday interactions with residents, clients, families and staff.
Bryan Reynolds [00:00:57] So, Kristen, you want to tell us about the our upcoming show?
Kristin Davenport [00:01:00] Sure, yeah. Today, we've got Fran Turner. Fran is a resident at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community in Hyde Park. And we'll also check in with our president and CEO Laura Lamb. She'll give us all the details about what's happening around the ERS communities. Also, just kind of what's been happening overall for nursing homes and retirement communities in relation to Covid 19.
Bryan Reynolds [00:01:28] Well, great. Just want to do another plug for our. Together We Rise Virtual Gala as the title suggests, we're we're going online this year on Friday, October 9th. And we really would love everyone to join us for a special evening of special celebration and inspiration and some entertainment. All in support of our Good Samaritan and Mission Fund. We've got a great live program, and it's hosted by Channel Five's very own Curtis Fuller. We want to do a special thank you for our sponsors are presenting sponsors, The Model Group, Ridgestone Contractors and Builders, Ohio Capital Corporation and U.S. Bank. For more information, go to our Web site at Episcopal Retirement.com/gala.
Bryan Reynolds [00:02:16] So with that said, Kristin, do you want to introduce our first guest for the day?
Kristin Davenport [00:02:20] Absolutely. Bryan. Here's Fran Turner. Fran is a resident of Marjorie P. Lee retirement community in Hyde Park, and I had not previously met Fran. So it was one of the reasons I love doing this podcast. I got to meet somebody new and I think she had a lot of great thoughts for all of our listeners today. Let's meet Fran.
Kristin Davenport [00:02:47] Well, welcome now, Fran Turner, a resident at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community in Hyde Park area of Cincinnati. Fran, welcome to our podcast today.
Fran Turner [00:02:58] Well, thank you for asking me.
Kristin Davenport [00:03:00] Yeah, you bet. I'm glad to connect with you. As I as I told you when we first talked on the phone, I'm excited. Anytime I can can connect with residents from Marjorie P. Lee. I was used to being able to be there whenever I wanted to. And now, of course, that is all put on hold. So it's good to connect and to talk with you today and see what's happening around the community. Has your day been going today so far?
Fran Turner [00:03:26] Well, so far, so good. Knowing that I was going to have to do something at ten thirty made me move a little faster. So, I got a lot more done and than I usually do.
Kristin Davenport [00:03:38] I like those milestones in my day as well. That's that's for sure. I like to operate. Well it's it's good to hear things are up and moving there at Marjorie P. Lee today. And Fran, would you just share a little bit with our listeners? What are some of the things that you've been doing during the pandemic to to stay active and engaged there at Marjorie P. Lee?
Fran Turner [00:04:00] Well, it took me a while to catch on that I had to do something instead of sitting around and waiting for something to happen. And once I sort of got that idea that things began to open up for me and I realized that I needed to reach out to the outside world via Zoom or the telephone because I'm used to being active outside. And I was missing that terribly. But Zoom and and the telephone helps a lot.
Fran Turner [00:04:33] For instance, every morning I Zoom into a retreat center that I used to go to and they have a morning retreat, which is a wonderful way to start today. And it's with other people. So there's a contact with the outside world. I don't feel quite so, quite so isolated. And then there are great many things that I can do around here within Marjorie P. Lee, the swimming pool is open and the exercise room is open. And so five days a week, I sign up to go to one of the other. And get the exercise that I need, I sorely need. I'll put it that way.
Fran Turner [00:05:21] I have arthritis and if I don't keep moving and exercising, I can get myself into real pain and want to sit around more and, you know, sort of a coral pool that draws you down. That's built on wonderful thing. I have several meetings via Zoom that I go to during the week. Enough to keep me feeling that I'm doing something, although it's really kind of passive just to sit there and talk. However, I've also gotten involved in doing some political things, sending out postcards and letters of a nonpartisan thing, urging people to vote. So I also feel as if I'm kind of keeping up with what's happening, because what I miss most of all is is. Interaction with the outside world. Been a bit curtailed.
Fran Turner [00:06:23] And then here there are a small group of us who meet in the courtyard for dinners keeping our distance. But it's a nice group. I rely on them on for real genuine social interaction, which is hard to come by, as is hard to come by for everybody.
Fran Turner [00:06:42] One of the things that I found very interesting is that things that ordinarily I wouldn't have been interested in doing or talking about or being involved with, all of a sudden I've found more, not all of a sudden, but slowly but surely, I've found as long as I keep moving and determinedly staying involved, whether happy or I am right know. So after six months of this, I think I've finally caught on to how to be quarantined.
Kristin Davenport [00:07:15] It sounds like you could kind of write a book, pretty textbook ways that you're dealing with things there and they are all positive. You've given yourself some grace to figure it out in your taking the bright spots and making those work for you. It sounds like sounds like you could write the book.
Fran Turner [00:07:37] Well, three months ago, I would have written a downer. So I think it's you know, it's a new kind of life, definitely. And it's really up to us. So suddenly, you know, I was thinking of this podcast and. I was trying to figure out, you know, what what is it that I'm doing and what's happening? And I didn't realize I was watching the tennis matches, the U.S. Open. Now, the tennis hasn't been on for all summer long. And so it was just wonderful to see people playing tennis again. And they were playing tennis without any audience and nobody was clapping or very few people. But there wasn't the support the tennis players get from the audience. And the announcers kept talking about that. And how it was up to the people out. Up to the players themselves to generate their own support, their own enthusiasm and their own, you know. Come on, let's go. And I thought, well, that's kind of like being here, that we need to generate our own enthusiasm and interest because there's not much that's actually dropping in our laps. The things that are driving in our laps, as are the news of the outside world. And that's pretty frightening right now, I think.
Fran Turner [00:09:18] Yeah, I've found that I have to generate my interest in things that are going on south of things that are going on. Of course, I'd be stuck with myself again. But there there's a lot that can be done. I think the point is to reach out. At least that's what I found for myself.
Kristin Davenport [00:09:38] That's wonderful advice. I mean, you know, generating your own enthusiasm for life is not always something we've had to do, right? I mean. That's right.
Kristin Davenport [00:09:48] Right. Yeah. For quite a while and now.
Kristin Davenport [00:09:51] And things are different now. And it's good to know we haven't lost that scale, I guess.
Fran Turner [00:09:56] Yeah. And I really appreciate that we're allowed to have outside visitors once a week for a very short period of time. But seeing my daughter is keeps me going for quite a while, as does my involvement. I have three kids who live on the West Coast and of course, I'm concerned about all the fires that are going on out there because all of them are being affected by as not the fires themselves, the smoke.
Kristin Davenport [00:10:29] Right.
Fran Turner [00:10:34] We get together more often. It's really interesting. We have time for each other. I guess that's the point. And that's that's been a that's been a blessing, really. So there's some good things that have come out of this.
Kristin Davenport [00:10:52] I agree.
Fran Turner [00:10:52] Although I would have chosen something else.
Kristin Davenport [00:10:55] We didn't get that choice, did we? This is where we are? Yeah. This reminds me of sometimes... When I was a Girl Scout leader and we would do some of that wayfinding where we would start at a starting point where maybe nobody even really knew where are we and where are we going? You know, those were a lot of those questions. Yeah. during the pandemic, we had to answer for ourselves. Where are we? Where are we heading?
Fran Turner [00:11:29] Oh, those are great things. Yeah. To learn that early. Mercy.
Kristin Davenport [00:11:38] For sure. Like me. You'll be ready for when this is all over and things go back to quote unquote normal. Is there anything that you're going to feel or hoping for or looking forward to?
Fran Turner [00:11:51] Well, the thing that came to mind when I read that question is yes, having Sunday night dinners with my daughter and her family.
Kristin Davenport [00:12:01] Yes.
Fran Turner [00:12:03] Just going over there. Very simple. Nothing extraordinary. And that's that really is a major thing that I'm looking forward to course, I like the idea of being able to go out in my car any time and do whatever I want within within reason and probably with a mask on. But being with them as it is, is prime. And then after that, catching up with other people, too. I mean, just because I have gone to some doctor's appointments, I have been out. And it's just extraordinary to me that people are out there walking around and driving cars and just, you know, kind of normal life. As I say, I drive to the office doctor's office. I see these people moving around and I think, oh, my goodness, wouldn't it be nice just to be free like that?
Kristin Davenport [00:13:04] Yeah, well, you know, hopefully one day that'll be accessible to all of us and not just the few.
Fran Turner [00:13:11] And I hope so. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.
Kristin Davenport [00:13:16] Absolutely. Well, it's been very uplifting talking with you today, Fran, and hearing your take on things over the last six months. And I'm so glad to connect with you today. Thanks for joining our program.
Fran Turner [00:13:28] Well, thanks for asking me. I. I didn't realize how really lucky I am to feel so positive about all of this.
Kristin Davenport [00:13:39] We just got some time to reflect together today. It's been great.
Fran Turner [00:13:44] Yeah, well, most of us here at Marjorie P. Lee are very aware of how lucky we are and we're being taken care of as people are keeping us safe. We are a very lucky position, but we are very extraordinarily fortunate.
Kristin Davenport [00:14:03] Those team members are some of my biggest heroes. I'm so glad they're taking good care of you. And I can't wait until it's safe for me to come by and just say hi in person. Then good to talk to you.
Fran Turner [00:14:14] Good. That'll be fun.
Bryan Reynolds [00:14:18] Kristin, that was a wonderful interview with Fran Turner. I really enjoyed her discussion and her focus on wellness, particularly during Covid 19. Sounds like she's really taking advantage of our pool and using the wellness center and even our virtual wellness opportunities that they've been holding ever since March.
Kristin Davenport [00:14:42] Absolutely. Fran is a great example of how to take whatever is happening and turn it to your advantage. And count her as a new friend, she and I have made a date to get together once all this is past us or once it's safe to get together.
Bryan Reynolds [00:14:58] Oh, yeah, that makes it well worth it when we can build these relationships with our residents. That's fun.
Kristin Davenport [00:15:03] Well, next up, Bryan, I guess we're going to transition now to checking in with our president and CEO Laura Lamb. We're going to get an update on everything that's been happening this week. So here's Bryan and Laura.
Bryan Reynolds [00:15:20] So we're back again this week with our president and CEO Laura Lamb. Hi, how are you, Laura?
Laura Lamb [00:15:26] Doing well, Bryan. How about you?
Bryan Reynolds [00:15:28] Doing well, thanks. It's always great to have you back. And as always, there's never a shortage of updates, I think, for our our listeners. You know, this week, I know there's been a lot of news and chatter about visitation at nursing homes. The governor had some statements this week. I know the CDC has talked about updated guidance and even some chatter in the in the news media. And I was wondering if you could kind of give an update on maybe where we are for our listeners, just as a reminder that, you know, the current guidance of what ERS is doing at this time?
Laura Lamb [00:16:12] Well, you know, I wouldn't be surprised if our listeners were confused because the headline is it's confusing. The problem is, as we've talked about before, is that there's real substantive differences between the states and the federal government. So on the state level, the Ohio Department of Health is really what governs what we do day to day in nursing home and assistant living residential care, senior living housing in Ohio from the Department of Health.
Laura Lamb [00:16:52] Yeah. And then on the state level, you have or the federal level excuse me, you have CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid. Right. So it would be great if they were in alignment, but they're not. And so we've been struggling for weeks because they're not in alignment on the mandate for staff testing. CMS guidelines says we have it based on this criteria in Ohio, says it's every other week and they're not compatible. And in Kentucky, it's the same thing. You know, Governor Breezier and the health cabinet have one set of standards, but CMS is in conflict.
Laura Lamb [00:17:31] So this week marked, you know, even more confusion. Right. When CMS put out guidelines on family visits. And, you know, the CMS is talking about, you know, it's now now time to think about indoor visits. And that's great. We are in support of what indoor visits are one percent as long as it's safe.
Bryan Reynolds [00:17:59] Right.
Laura Lamb [00:18:00] Well, the criteria that CMS put out is very, very different. And I'll give you one example.
Laura Lamb [00:18:07] CMS says that you cannot have an indoor visit. Absolutely no questions asked. If you've had a positive case of a resident or staff in the last 14 days. Right. Well, let's just pull out Kentucky as an example. The current order for the health cabinet is that you can't have a outdoor visit. If in the last 28 days. So here we are, one document that says indoor visits in 14 days. But we have another that talks about, you know, a different timeline and a different visit. So. Right. The problem is, is that everyone's doing the best that they can, but their work, they're starting from different points. They're using different data. CMS, I don't begrudge them. They're looking at a national level. Right? Right. They're looking at the national horizon, rather, as DeWine and Bashir. They have to look at their health experts and look at the data in our particular.
Laura Lamb [00:19:11] Well, the challenge is, is that, you know, the news media maybe might see a piece of this and not and it's no fault of theirs. This isn't their business. It's confused. It is confusing. And it's not there. It's not their business. So they don't know all the nuances that, you know, the terms are different or we're talking about different things. So the bottom line is, as a health care organization, as a licensed entity, we have to work under the most restrictive guidelines. That's kind of the the rule of thumb. So when the state and the federal government are at odds and any regulation and this is not just about Covid, but it's about length of bed and temperature for, you know, lounges and nursing homes. Whenever there's a conflict, you have to default to the more restrictive standard. Right. So that people are safe. Right?
Bryan Reynolds [00:20:12] Right.
Laura Lamb [00:20:14] So you can imagine that the internal leadership team is extremely busy, you know, unpacking the CMS guidelines. Right. And looking at the governor guidelines and trying to figure out what we have to do. The other problem in all this. And it's not a problem, but another issue is that we know that the current states that we have retirement communities in Ohio and Kentucky are on the verge of issuing new guidance. Right. So, you know, here we have federal government having a broad brush. Look, right. You have families that just want to see their loved ones. Right. And then we have this state kind of in the middle, which is kind of our first line of guidance. Right. And they're they're a little bit. They're not ready to issue their guide. So we have a lot of confused people that, frankly, staff and families that just really want to see their loved ones, right?
Bryan Reynolds [00:21:21] Yeah.
Laura Lamb [00:21:22] It's been it was a extremely difficult week last week to kind of just hand field the calls and help tamp down some of the questions and the confusion, because, you know, we just we just really have to do what's allowed within our jurisdiction. And then what's safe. I was happy that the CMS guidelines did specifically say that these are guidelines. And if there are clinical or safety reasons that the facility is aware of something that obviously the federal government can't be aware of.
Bryan Reynolds [00:22:02] Right.
Laura Lamb [00:22:03] On a macro level that they really rely on the leadership of the community to make good decisions for their residents.
Bryan Reynolds [00:22:12] Yeah, yeah. And just to reiterate, you kind of brought it up earlier about the leadership team. But, you know, we have this risk management team of people that are administrators and clinical experts that, you know, have been doing a tremendous job of of unpacking all of this information. And it's just been amazing to kind of watch from the outside look at that decision making.
Laura Lamb [00:22:40] There we there are phenomenal group. They really are. And this is become their full time job and they're taking it extremely seriously. And, you know, really trying to balance the requests from staff and family and residents with a guideline. And they take it very seriously. But in a very thoughtful, intentional. Balanced, I think, is the word balanced way.
Bryan Reynolds [00:23:13] And so, you know, speaking of that, you know, studying and ingenuity, that that's really come out of all of this. I know that some some new structures were built to kind of facilitate some of these some of those visits. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that.
Laura Lamb [00:23:33] Yeah. I just really want to say thank you to our facility, our maintanence staff, John Parker and Wayne County specifically, that they have done an amazing job. So we gave them the risk management team, gave them the challenge of saying, well, OK. In this time of shortage of plexiglass, we want you to find plexiglass. And we want you to build a structure that we could use outdoor visits, because that's where we're at right now. All right. Bye. Maybe they could be modified and used indoor. As it gets colder. And so imagine a three sided structure where it's made of Plexiglas and two by fours and lots and lots of washer rubber washers to make it work. And it's just they've done such a great job. So to date, we have three structures made. Fourth one probably will be finished on Monday. But the goal is to have, you know, at least one, if not two at each of our campuses, depending on where where we're going to put it and. Right. What type of visits we're allowed to have.
Bryan Reynolds [00:24:45] Right. And just to clarify, these are for outdoor visits at this time.
Laura Lamb [00:24:49] At this stage, they're they're pretty big. So they're four I'm sorry, eight feet wide. Oh, eight feet tall and four feet deep, if you will. The wings are the sidewalls or whatever. But but it's a nice experience. I had the chance to sit in one and you can hear outside and just between a really clean piece of Plexiglas, you get to see your loved ones. So it's you know, it's not it's a you know, I just want people to know. It's not it's not the same. It's not. But it is our best attempt of saying, OK, we've got some lemons. We need to make lemonade. How can we make this work? So one of the things immediately staff and family said is, well, it's difficult to hear between Plexiglas. Well, yeah. Yes, it is. It is. So we've equipped the residents with one of our phones so that you know, you can sit in a nice patio chair, your loved ones on the other side of the Plexiglas. They have their cell phone and you can talk in real time and and spend some great.
Laura Lamb [00:26:04] Somebody said, well why can't we cut holes in the Plexiglas so that we can hear. And I think, well, that same ability to hear is the air that we're trying to restrict. So, yeah, but yeah, it's not it's not easy Bryan. But when the team is I love how you framed it, that they're trying to be innovative, they're trying to take what has been given to them and figure out a yes. And and I just am so proud of them for working hard to come up with the yes and.
Bryan Reynolds [00:26:34] Yeah, yeah. I mean that's that's kind of what we've had to do since since March. And again, we just have to keep thinking of new ways of doing things to help. So the bottom line. Yeah.
Bryan Reynolds [00:26:50] So I think the other thing I wanted to bring up this week, we made an announcement. You made an announcement earlier in the week. You know, certainly Covid 19 has presented some challenges for our organization as we stopped admissions and we've noticed some of our occupancy drop and particularly in some some areas households than others throughout the organization that, you know, we're as an organization being proactive to manage this. ERS is a very healthy organization, very financially stable. But there's certainly things we have to do to manage through this these challenges. And we made an announcement regarding Parish Health Ministry this week, which was not an easy decision. But I was wondering if you could maybe kind of provide the update for our listeners about about ERS and Parish Health Ministry.
Laura Lamb [00:27:46] You know, Bryan, I mentioned that last week was a really tough week. And this is this is probably the significant reason why. So just as you said, you ERS is strong and stable financially. I don't want anyone to worry about your at ERS future. We are very, very strong. But I believe that we're strong because we're proactive, right? I think we'll always be strong if we make sure that we're looking ahead. And the truth of the matter is, we don't know how long this Covid this kind of shut down for nursing homes and senior living is going to be. And it has taken a dramatic toll on our ability to bring new people into our communities, whether it be, you know, at the beginning, absolute. You can't have admissions to limitations to whatever bottom line.
Laura Lamb [00:28:44] You know, in an organization where, you know. Ninety nine percent of our revenue is is resident fees and that sort of thing, it it it impacts quickly. So the servant leadership team has been working diligently on monitoring the trends and and forecasting. And, you know, they they take this very seriously. And the absolute last thing that we typically do in kind of reforecasting or thinking about things differently is thinking about impacting on residents or staff. But unfortunately, there there is a staff and a community impact to one of our decisions. So this is just one of many, many, many things that we've had to change or redo or, you know, pause. But the one that I wanted to share with our callers is related to parish health ministry, a beautiful, wonderful ministry that we serve our parishes in our diocese as well as other denominations.
Laura Lamb [00:29:52] And we have decided first we decided that our Refresh Your Soul conference could not work in its current imagined form, i.e. an in-person conference. So where you and parish health ministry staff. Kind of went off and said, OK, could we have this conference virtually? And candidly, it was just an extraordinary lift and a time when I, you know, we need you and your team and others to be focusing on helping us open up our retirement communities. Right. So we decided that we would put a pause on Refresh Your Soul for twenty twenty one. And then an out out birth of that is, you know, really we need to look at the parish house programs. So we shared with the staff this week and after lots of prayers and consulting our our board members that are, you know, clergy and just really praying about it. We decided that we needed to press the pause on the entire program. And we're going to be doing that now through May next year. I don't have a crystal ball, but I can tell you and tell all of our listeners that this isn't a stop. This is a pause.
Bryan Reynolds [00:31:20] Right.
Laura Lamb [00:31:20] And we're hoping that the world does. Our world gets back. Yeah. Back more quickly. And that we can hit the start button sooner rather than later. That's our goal.
Bryan Reynolds [00:31:33] Yeah. Yeah. And like you said it, it's such an important part of ERS and the relationships that we have built with all the parishes, you know, throughout the year, and that the the parish health ministry team and the fabulous work they do. Year in, year out. Yes. You know, we'll be temporarily missed. And we'll look forward to bringing them back soon.
Laura Lamb [00:31:56] Absolutely. And I think I think the parish health ministry staff have done a great job of facilitating parish health in the congregation. So, you know, this is an opportunity, I said to one parish lead. This is an opportunity for us to make the parish health ministry staff at our congregation. So, you know, we're making proud of us that that they've given us the tools and resources to continue the ministry at the parish level. Wow. We take a pause at the ERS level, but we'll be reunited again next year.
Bryan Reynolds [00:32:31] Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, the other thing worth mentioning, I think you mentioned in in some of the communications was we'll continue the dialog and the communication with with the parishes over time. Absolutely. Well, Laura, thank you so much again for joining us this week. It's always a pleasure to catch up. And we'll look forward to getting together again next week.
Laura Lamb [00:32:55] Thank you. Have a great week.
Kristin Davenport [00:32:57] Bryan, as always, Laura has a lot of great updates and details for us about what's been going on. I'm particularly interested in those a plexiglass enclosures. I think that's an exciting way for families to stay connected to their loved ones.
Bryan Reynolds [00:33:12] Yeah. Yeah. There's so much going on throughout our communities and just making those connections as much as we can with family members and residents during this challenging time as it is a big priority for us, and especially as there's kind of moving targets on how we can hold those visits and when we can hold those visits. Laura's really on top of those those guidelines and regulations and is really. You know, really wants to make sure that those can happen. So glad, glad to see that coming to life.
Kristin Davenport [00:33:48] Never worry that she doesn't have her finger on the pulse of that.
Bryan Reynolds [00:33:51] That's right. Right. Right, right. Well, that does it for another episode of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. For more information about us, you can visit our Web site at Episcopal Retirement dot com. We've lots of great content, including our linkage online blog, our resources to learn more about aging and the services we offer and so much more. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube to see what's going on within your ass and our communities. If you have any questions or feedback for us, please e-mail us at info@ERSlife.org. The Linkage podcast is produced by Kristin Davenport and Bryan Reynolds. Feoshia Davis is our associate producer and our technical director is Michelle Hoehn. I'd like to thank our guests today, Fran Turner and of course, our president and CEO Laura Lamb for always giving us an update. On behalf of myself, Bryan Reynolds and Kristin Davenport, thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to our podcast next week. Thanks so much, Christine.
Kristin Davenport [00:34:54] Thank you, Brian. See you next time.