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.

With gratitude,

Jason Smith

117 North Road, Brentwood, New Hampshire 03833

Jason W. Smith, Long Term Care Services Director

Phone 603-679-5335 Fax 603-679-9456

December 21, 2020

“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!

December 14, 2020

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.

November 18, 2020

Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center(RCRNC)continues with Covid-19 surveillance testing, as directed by our regulatory agencies. This includes testing 10% of our staff each of 3-weeks/month and 100% of staff the 4th week/month. In the event a positive result is reported, we will revert to mandatory testing each week, as determined by regulatory agencies. We continue to be in Phase 1-reopenig. Phases are driven by % of positivity within a county. Based on this, the state may move us up or down in the reopening process.

Rockingham County, along with many other NH counties, continue to have increasing positivity rates. The current rate in Rockingham County is slightly above 5% which may necessitate increased testing. This will be determined by state guidelines. When a county reaches 10% positivity rate, indoor visits stop. A way to reduce this rate and wear masks at all times when you are out of doors and anytime you are with anyone who dos does not live in your home. With the holidays upon us, as much as we want to see our extended families and friends, guidelines from the state indicate we should only have small numbers and only those who live in the home.

New Hampshire continues to have a 14-day quarantine travel requirement so be mindful of your travel, especially with holidays fast approaching. 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.

New Hampshire continues to have a staffing crisis and it is exacerbated with many staff in various counties being tested as positive.  We continue to do everything we can to mitigate our staffing crunch, as you know, this included recently closing of a unit. We have recently offered LNAs a bonus, if they change from day shift to evening shit for a one-month period to help with evening issues. We continue to move forward in a search for a new Administrator and Director of Nursing.

This is a challenging time and we have an amazing team at RCRNC. All employees, in all departments, have risen to the challenge. We can’t thank them enough and you, for understanding that we do all that we do to protect your loved ones, our staff, and the community.

November 2, 2020

Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center(RCRNC)continues with Covid-19 surveillance testing, as directed by our regulatory agencies. This includes testing 10% of our staff each of 3-weeks/month and 100% of staff the 4th week/month. In the event a positive result is reported, we will revert to mandatory testing each week, as determined by regulatory agencies. We continue to be in Phase 1-reopenig. Phases are driven by % of positivity within a county. Based on this, the state may move us up or down in the reopening process. Unfortunately, Rockingham County, along with many other NH counties, continue to have high positivity rates meaning we must remain in Phase one.

Residents and staff have started to receive their influenza vaccines. While we can’t mandate anyone to wear a mask when they are not working, we strongly encourage all to follow CDC and state guidelines. We ask that everyone take extra precautions to maintain social distance, wear a mask, and practice good hand washing. We cannot stress enough, the importance of wearing masks, always when in public (near anyone not living in your household). This includes back yard barbecues, holiday dinners, etc.

New Hampshire continues to have a 14-day quarantine travel requirement so be mindful of your travel, especially with holidays fast approaching.

RCRNC tries to do fun things to keep staff moral up during these challenging times of Covid-19. There was a pumpkin carving contest and dress down Wednesdays continue through December.

New Hampshire continues to have a staffing crisis. Nurses and assistants have left the field due to Covid. We continue to do everything we can to mitigate or staffing crunch, as you know, this included recently closing of a unit. We have recently offered LNAs a bonus, if they change from day shift t evening shit for a one-month period to help with evening issues. We continue to work towards hiring and have recently brought on several new staff.

This is a challenging time and we have an amazing team at RCRNC. All employees, in all departments, have risen to the challenge. We can’t thank them enough and you, for understanding that we do all that we do to protect your loved ones, our staff, and the community.

October 20, 2020

As you are all aware, New Hampshire continues to have a significant nursing and LNA staffing crisis. To provide the best care for our residents, the decision has been made to close a unit. This was done early last year and did reopen a few months later. Residents and responsible parties are being notified this morning. After examination and review, B1B has been selected as the unit to close. It is important to note NO ONE is losing their job! This closure will provide us the opportunity to move staff around in a way that is consistent with our high quality of care, which is and always should be our priority. This will start to occur later next week, with many moving parts and hoped will be completed within a 2-3-week timeframe. This gives us the opportunity to move some LNAs and nurses to other areas to best care for our residents. Residents and families are being notified this am. Department Heads, managers, and supervisors were notified as well, and will be sharing this information with staff.

Covid Update: we continue with surveillance testing, as directed by Department of Health and Human Services. This includes testing 10% of our staff each of 3-weeks/month and 100% of staff the 4th week/month. In the event a positive result is reported, we will revert to mandatory testing each week, as determined but the Department of Health and Human Services. We continue to be n Phase 1-reopenig. Phases are driven by % of positivity within a county. Based on this, the state may move us up or down in the reopening process. This is always subject to change.

New Hampshire continues to have a 14-day quarantine travel requirement so be mindful of your travel, especially with holidays fast approaching.

Our new pharmacy, Partner’s Pharmacy, was implemented October 1st.This was extremely successful. This included acquisition of new medication carts, an automated dispensing machine, and associated lap top technology.

Dress down (ok to wear jeans) Wednesday’s in October if fall colors accompany jeans.

Infection prevention: Residents and staff have started to receive their influenza vaccines. As a reminder, while we can’t mandate anyone to wear a mask when they are not working, we strongly encourage all to follow the CDC and state guidelines. We have started to see an increased number of cases in New Hampshire and Rockingham County. We ask that everyone take extra precautions to maintain social distance, wear a mask, good hand washing. This protects you and our residents.

This is a challenging time and we have an amazing team who has risen to the challenge. We thank them and you for your understanding as we continue to move through this pandemic ad all it brings with it.

October 13, 2020

Dear Residents/Family Members/Responsible Parties:

We are writing to provide you an update about the current state of Coronavirus Disease (COVID- 19) at Rockingham County Nursing Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. We are extremely happy to report that National Guard testing last week yielded no positive results. After discussion with the state this morning, they have agreed to take us out of outbreak status.  

Being out of outbreak means we can reopen to prescheduled visits. These visits will be coordinated through Social Services. With infection control measures in place such as mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and increased cleaning and disinfection, residents are free to move above the building on their home level. The snack bar will reopen, and communal limited dining can resume. We hope to resume other services, as we move forward as we work through the guidelines to determine what is best for our residents, based on these guidelines.  This may include hairdressing, dermatology, and podiatry.

We continue to screen anyone who enter the buildings. Regardless of where we are in the Covid-19 crisis, we follow all state, federal and Center for Disease Control guidelines regarding precautions and disinfection. In the event, we do have a positive, during our continued testing, we have the possibility of returning to outbreak status; of course, we are hoping that doesn’t happen!

It is because of our dedicated staff, who work hard every day to safeguard your loved ones and your unwavering support in keeping your loved ones safe, that we have managed to only have one resident test positive, very early on in this pandemic. We appreciate and thank you for your understanding of these inconveniences caused by Covid-19. Protecting your loved one continues to be our ultimate responsibility.

Finally, as a reminder, additional information please visit our Blog which is updated every couple of weeks, or so.  It is located at: www.RockinghamCountyLTCnews.org

Sincerely,

Donna Roe, DNP, APRN-BC, CEN, RN-BC

October 12, 2020

Update: As a reminder, subject to change based on current CDC/state guidelines.

Covid: We continue to be in outbreak status as identified by state/DPH guidelines. This means 100% of staff and residents continue to be tested weekly. Our last round of outbreak testing was held Wednesday 10/07/2020 and completed by the National Guard. If you see a Guardperson, please thank them for their continued service! We are waiting on results. If all negative, which includes tests off site, we can continue a phased reopening again. Off-site results do take longer to get results back.

Sentinel Covid surveillance testing will start up again once out of outbreak stats and staff are not required but highly encouraged to be tested at that time. This typically is 10 % of residents and staff.

New Hampshire remains a 14-day quarantine state so be mindful of the travel policy. This impacts staff and potential visitors. Once visitation is opened again, Social Services will reach out to coordinate visits, with the understanding that in the event of a positive case again, things will change. For the safety of our residents and staff, please take every precaution including wearing a mask, social distancing, and good/frequent hand washing when not in the building.

Dress down Wednesday’s in October; wear fall colors and jeans!

Influenza vaccine: Please make every effort to get your vaccine. Staff can please reach out to Occupational Health to set-up a time for your vaccine. If you opt to have at your local pharmacy, please provide a copy of your vaccine to Occupational Health so we can best track staff testing- this will help in the event of an outbreak. All visitors, please help keep our residents and staff safe by getting an influenza vaccine.

This continues to be a challenging time. I cannot thank our team enough. Everyone, in every department, continues to go above and beyond to keep each other and our residents healthy, physically and emotionally.

September 22, 2020

Thank you for your continued work and dedication to our residents!

Important updates but as a reminder, all are subject to change in a moment’s notice and based on current CDC/state guidelines.

Covid: We continue to be in outbreak status as identified by state/DPH guidelines. We will be having 2nd round of outbreak testing of resident and staff testing this Thursday 10am—2pm.Once we have no positives for a period of 2-rounds of testing, the state will let us know when we are out of outbreak status.

CMS (our federal governing body) has now mandated testing for 100% staff and residents when in outbreak status. There is a brand-new policy approved regarding mandatory testing and sequel to those who refuse to be tests. Please see the new policy and memos posted. It is the hope of CMS this new mandate will better safeguard our residents.

Sentinel Covid surveillance testing will start up again once out of outbreak stats and staff are not required but highly encouraged to be tested at that time.

New Hampshire remains a 14-day quarantine state so be mindful of the travel policy.

Dress down (ok to wear jeans) Wednesday’s in September 9/23 (welcome fall); 9/30 (Rockingham Pride Day- wear your shirt)

Flu Clinics start this week- please make every effort to get your vaccine. If you can not make a influenza clinic please reach out to Occupational health to set-up a time for your vaccine. If you opt to have at at your local pharmacy, please provide a copy of your vaccine to Occupational health so we can best track staff testing- this will help in the event of an outbreak.

While we can’t mandate wearing a mask when staff are not working, we strongly encourage you to follow the CDC and state guidelines. We have seen an uptick in cases with schools opening so please take extra precautions to maintain social distance, wear a mask, good hand washing. This protects you and our residents.

This is a challenging time and you are an amazing team. We have risen to the challenge and will continue to do so, together! Thank you for everything you do!