January 12, 2021
Dear Residents, Staff and Family Members,
I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Long-Term Care Services Director, a position I’ve accepted with gratitude and excitement. As conditions allow, and as soon as I can, I look forward to meeting you and your families, learning about your needs and hopes, and working with the entire team to deliver care and choice to all our residents.
I bring over twenty years of experience managing senior living operations. My career has focused on providing leadership to Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Home Communities throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.
I was a middle school student when I started working as a volunteer at Rochester Manor in Rochester, New Hampshire, and at this point, I feel like I’ve done a little bit of everything a person can do in long-term care. I’ve led activities, provided dietary services, been a nursing assistant, worked with medical records, social services, and administration. In 2007 I became the Executive Director at the Courville Community right around the corner in Nashua, and most recently, I was Director of Healthcare Services at Kendal at Hanover a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Hanover, NH.
I grew up in Rochester, and this position brings me closer to my family and friends here in southern New Hampshire. I bring an understanding of the local community with my passion of long-term care and assisted living to our community. I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues and together fostering a culture of unity and transparency.
I also would like to introduce Michelle Melanson-Schmitt, who will be our new Director of Nursing Services when she joins us on January 25th. Since 1988, Michelle has been working in long-term care in roles as a Licensed Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, MDS Coordinator, and Unit Manager. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rivier College in 2001 and holds a Master of Science in Nursing, Leadership, and Administration. Michelle comes to us from the Courville Communities in Nashua, where she served for nine years as their Director of Nursing Services.
Much of my experience has been focused on improving service and building trust. I have worked my whole life for one purpose, delivering every single resident the best, person-centered care possible.
117 North Road, Brentwood, New Hampshire 03833
Jason W. Smith, Long Term Care Services Director
Phone 603-679-5335 Fax 603-679-9456
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” (William E. Vaughn)
This year, I imagine, if you are like me, pessimism mostly took a hold. As a society, as a nation, and as a community, we certainly have had 9-months of reasons to be pessimistic. As we look towards 2021, there is hope! We have a vaccine aimed at helping us squelch Covid-19 virus ~ this is a great reason for optimism.
Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center residents and staff have the vaccine available to them this week and soon will the general public have access. This is reason to celebrate and to ring in the new year with excitement, like never before! The vaccine is a huge step to getting us one step closer to squelching this deadly virus and opening our doors to allow you to spend time with your loved ones here at RCRNC. We must remember that vaccination does not mean we can open our doors, it’s only a step closer.
We urge you to continue to wear your mask any time you are outside of your home to decrease the local positivity and spread rate. This is what drives our ability to open for visits. Please wear mask anytime you are with anyone who does not live in your home, family or otherwise. With the holidays upon us, as much as we want to see our extended families and friends, guidelines from the state continue to indicate we should visit only those who live in the home with us.
This pandemic has taken its toll on us all. Our amazing staff, in all areas, all departments, have the privilege of caring for your loved ones, while they can’t spend time with their own. Our employees have risen to great heights, worked countless hours of overtime to meet the needs of your loved ones.
We can’t thank our team here at RCRNC enough and we can’t wait for the new year to be upon us at midnight on 12/31/2020, we will stay up to see the New Year in and to make sure the old year leaves!
Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (RCRNC) continues with Covid-19 outbreak testing, as directed by our regulatory agencies. Last week 100% staff and residents resulted in 100% negative tests! Today, we have completed our staff and resident testing again even Santa Claus came to get tested!
If this reports out 100% negative, we can open slowly again! What a great holiday gift that would be!
If we test negative, we go back to surveillance testing. Rockingham County is currently above 10% positivity which means all staff will have to be tested twice a week. Once the County goes below 5%, it is weekly. This is a moving target.
We have received updates regarding the vaccine. We are all anxious to get it! By getting the vaccine, this does not mean we will allow in-person visits or that we stop wearing masks and protective equipment. This is one small step in getting us to the point of visits ~ the more people get vaccinated, the sooner we can put this all behind us! Information will be going out to residents/families once we receive additional on vaccine availability. We may receive a day or two’s notice that is on its way to us, so please bear with us as we work to get you accurate information once it becomes available.
Continue to wear your mask any time you are outside of your home to decrease the local positivity and spread rate. This is what drives our ability to open for visits. Please also wear mask anytime you are with anyone who does not live in your home, family or otherwise. With the holidays upon us, as much as we want to see our extended families and friends, guidelines from the state continue to indicate we should visit only those who live in the home with us.
New Hampshire continues to have a 14-day quarantine travel requirement so be mindful of your travel. There is a new recommendation that you can ‘test-out’ of a travel quarantine, if you get a PCR (not antigen) Covid test on day 7-or later and the results are negative. This does not hold true to those who work in our nursing home, given the high risk our residents are at – ours remains 14 days with no test-out.
New Hampshire continues to have a nursing/LNA staffing crisis We continue to do everything we can to mitigate our staffing crunch. Our new Administrator, Jason Smith starts 12/28 and we are very excited to have him start. We continue to move forward in our search for a Director of Nursing.
This is an unprecedented time. Our employees have risen to the challenge. We can’t thank them enough and you, for understanding in that all that we do, we do to protect your loved ones, our staff, and the community.