Community Outreach Events at Sauer Health Care in Winona MN


New COVID-19 updates! 

Recently MDH issued new guidance related to visitation. We hope these are the first of many changes we will see in the coming months.  Although there are several new things we want to review, many of the guidance is not that new for Sauer since we’ve been offering indoor visitation since last October (aside for our need to halt when the county positivity rate rose November-December).  At this time, Sauer is not going to be offering in room visitation, but it is coming soon.  There are several new documents that came out on March 17th and  we have reviewed and updated our policies.  I want to briefly review some of the changes and then encourage you to call and ask if you have more questions.  At anytime we are happy to get you copies of policies, but know these are changing quite regularly based on updated guidance we get.  Here are some of the highlights from the recent memos we received:

  • Indoor and outdoor visits no longer requires our staff to supervise!
  • New admissions, that are fully vaccinated (as defined below) and have not had prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days, are not needing to quarantine (this includes hospital returns)
  • Residents who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after non-medically necessary outings, unless they spend 15 mins or more in a 24 hour period within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19.
  • Residents who are fully vaccinated, can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting mask (if tolerated) and by performing hand hygiene before and after.   However, visitors should stay 6 feet away from all other residents and staff in the building.
  • If the county positivity rate rises to medium or high again, Sauer may consider offering testing to visitors-we are working on the logistics of how this would work. More information to come.
  • Neither testing nor vaccination will be required of visitors as a condition of visitation.
  • Unvaccinated residents who leave the building, may not be required to quarantine when they return if they:
    • Tested positive by RT-PCR testing within the 90 days before returning to the facility from an outing
    • Tested positive by antigen test within 90 days before returning to the facility from an outing and had symptoms during the infection.
    • Have been released from isolation per MDH and CDC guidelines prior to outing.

Residents are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after their second dose of a vaccine that requires two doses or two weeks after they get a single dose of a vaccine that requires one dose.

March 24th 2021

We are excited to learn that a significant amount of new guidance came out this week that will impact all of us as we move forward.  The media has presented it as “federal officials relax guidance on nursing home visits”.  Although new guidance is being released, the true impact on Sauer still needs to be determined.  As we sit in on calls with our local and national government,  we are learning there are still facilities not doing indoor visits and most of this guidance is aimed specifically at them.  The MN Department of Health has assured us they are going to “adopt” the new CDC and CMS guidance, although they have not officially changed MN nursing home guidance.  We ask that you give us some time (till mid next week) to review the new guidance, wait to see if MDH updates their guidance and for us to update our policies.  When we have done that we will communicate this to families via our website and Facebook page, and to residents via verbal communication and our internal TV channel and to our staff via verbal communication and signage.

Below is a summary of the most significant changes we will expect to implement in the coming week.

  • Fully vaccinated health care workers with a high risk exposure, who are asymptomatic do not need to be restricted from work for 14 days following their exposure.
  • Quarantine is no longer recommended for residents who are being admitted to a post-acute care facility (nursing home), if they are fully vaccinated and have no had prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • A resident who has been fully vaccinated can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after the visit.  Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  • Outdoor visitation remains the preferred method for visiting residents in nursing homes.
  • No changes to outbreak testing for Sauer Health Care at this time re: visits.  All visits are suspended during outbreak testing.  Compassionate care and end of life visits will continue during outbreak testing, however each visit will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

Again, we ask that you be patient as we review the latest memo from the federal government and await guidance from the MN Department of Health. 

March 12th 2021

This week we implemented a new phone system. We appreciate your patience as we work through the “kinks”. Currently the residents’ phones only ring for 20 seconds before an automated message comes on saying the resident is not available. We will be increasing the time to 1 minute to give residents’ time to answer their phones. Our phone numbers have not changed. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any troubles reaching the right person! Thank you!! ☎️

February 10th 2021

We are excited to announce that we have completed our second round of COVID-19 Vaccinations on February 3rd.  Thank you to all the residents and staff who have gone through this process with us and continue to fight COVID with courage!  Please note, that at this time the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has not communicated any changes to our current safety protocols and has not indicated their intentions to relax restrictions.  We are hopeful for this to change in time but for now we will continue with the safety guidelines set forth by MDH in our facility and during your indoor family visits. 

We have been grateful to begin hosting indoor visits in our chapel with family and friends once again.  Since we re-opened on January 21st we have hosted 37 visits in our Chapel!  Please contact the TR Department to schedule your visit by calling 507-494-6290 or emailing resident@sauerhealthcare.org.  TR staff are available to make appointments Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, but please leave a message and we will return your call.  Visits are available some evenings and on weekends in the afternoons.  Time slots fill up fast so it is recommended to call at least 2-3 days prior to your desired visit. 

Again, indoor visit guidelines have not changed with our vaccination clinics.  Residents and their families are asked to wear appropriate masks and eye wear (provided by Sauer), remain socially distant throughout the entire visit, not share items back and forth during visit, and not eat or drink during visits.  We ask for your understanding and cooperation with these guidelines that are in place from MDH. 

February 5th 2021

Many thanks to our residents and staff for their cooperation with our recent outbreak testing and COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  We look forward to our next vaccine clinic on February 3rd, at which time, many of our residents and staff will receive their second dose of the vaccine and where others will have the opportunity to receive their first.  Consent forms will again need to be signed for the 2nd vaccine.  Residents or their POA will be receiving them soon.

Following our most recent outbreak testing, we anticipate resuming our indoor visits on Thursday, 1/21 pending test results from 1/19/21. Contact our TR staff Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00 to schedule an indoor visit by calling 507-494-6290 or email resident@sauerhealthcare.org.  We will do our best to accommodate your needs based on times available.   Thank you for your patience as we know how important indoor visits are and how frustrating it can be when visits need to be canceled due to county positivity rates or COVID cases within the facility.         

January 20th 2021

From our Tuesday testing we had 2 staff members test positive with this weeks routine testing.  Residents (and their families) who have had a potential exposure have been notified and will be on a 14 day quarantine. 

This also means that our indoor visits have, yet again, been suspended.

We thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this entire process.  We continue to have hope that with the distribution of vaccines we will start on the path to being able to open our doors to family and friends this year.    

    January 7th 2021

Today was a historic day in the fight against COVID-19 and a personal victory for those of us at Sauer Health Care.  January 6th 2021

While our staff continues its schedule of two times weekly testing until January 15, we remain optimistic that the Winona County case rate will continue to decline and we do not report any new COVID cases within our facility.  Our routine check of the Winona County case rate reports the rate at 4.9%.  This means, that as long as we do not discover any positive COVID cases within our residents or staff, we can resume indoor visits.  Please contact our TR staff at 507-494-6290 or resident@sauerhealthcare.org to schedule an indoor visit. 

We look forward to our vaccine clinic on Wednesday, January 6th!  We are currently getting consent forms signed by residents and families.   Please check our additional posts with videos and information if you have questions about the vaccine. 

    January 4th 2021

Travis LaCore, Consultant Pharmacist COVID-19 Vaccine Information

 Trav Vax Video2 Revision 1.mp4

December 22nd 2020

For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine please visit COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC   December 17th 2020

Dear families/friends of Sauer Health Care,

This has been a very difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are pleased to share some good news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective, and our staff and residents are a first priority to receive it! This is very encouraging news!

The vaccine will soon be available and we expect to hear word any day about when we will start vaccinating our residents and staff.  Staff and residents will not be required to get the vaccine, however our Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Edin and our Pharmacist Consultant, Travis LaCore, strongly encourage everyone at Sauer Health Care to receive it.  We are moving forward with our plans and will provide additional details soon.  We need a signed consent form for the pharmacy to administer the vaccine, however we are waiting on a fact sheet for the vaccine we will receive.  We have partnered with Walgreens to receive and administer the vaccine to our staff and residents.  As soon as we have more information on exactly which vaccine we will be receiving we will let you know. There will be no costs to get the vaccine.

We encourage as many residents as possible to get this vaccine. We know too well the elderly have a much higher risk for getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19. The vaccine has been shown to provide a great deal of protection against serious illness due to COVID-19. The more residents that get vaccinated, the better we can protect our facility against potential outbreaks and save lives.

This vaccine has gone through testing and clinical trials to ensure it meets the highest safety standards. It also is safe to get if you already had the virus. The health and safety of our residents is always our top priority, and we are confident this vaccine is a much better option than the risk of getting this virus.

There are potential side effects and when we receive the fact sheet we will share that information with our families and residents. What we are told is that these side effects are similar to the potential side effects of the flu shot, but they occur more frequently. The vaccine requires two doses. Residents and staff will need to get both doses to ensure the best results. The second dose will be given approximately 21 to 28 days after the first dose.

We will continue to take all necessary precautions after the vaccine is administered, including wearing personal protective equipment and conducting regular testing, to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. We will also work with public health officials to determine how and when to adjust our policies for visitations and social activities and will keep you updated.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are hopeful that the vaccine will be a lifesaving turning point in the fight against COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. You may also visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines to learn more about the vaccine. 

Warm Regards,

Sara Blair, Administrator                                            Cindy Kaehler, Director of Nursing

507-494-6280                                                                     507-494-6283

sblair@sauerhealthcare.org                                   ckaehler@sauerhealthcare.org

December 15th 2020

We are happy to report that all residents and staff have been negative for COVID-19 for the last several weeks.  We remain diligent in our infection control practices and ask all of you to continue to perform very good hand hygiene, wear masks and engage in social distancing measures.  At this time, our routine testing for staff will continue twice weekly through December 31st for all staff.  Indoor visiting requires negative test results on all staff and residents for at least 14 days and a county positivity rate of less than 10%–our current county positivity rate is 10.5%.  We will check it again on 12/18. 

We are expecting the vaccine to be available for administration to nursing home residents and staff by Christmas.  Please be thinking about whether or not you will be getting the vaccine.  There will be a required consent form that will signed prior to receiving the vaccine.  Our Medical Director and our Pharmacist Consultant are in support of staff and residents receiving the vaccine.  If you’d like to speak with our Medical Director or Pharmacist Consultant re: the vaccine, please let Sara or Cindy know.   sblair@sauerhealthcare.org  ckaehler@sauerhealthcare.org  December 15th 2020

Thank you Hope Lutheran High School for caroling and the gifts for our residents! December 11th 2020

Congratulations to our very own Lydia Paulson, RN who was honored as a Top Nurse in 2020! Lydia started her career with Sauer Health Care in 2008 as a CNA and has since earned her BSN and is pursing a MSN. Sauer is so proud of our health care professionals and their amazing contribution of high quality care giving as they advance their careers. November 5th 2020

November is National Career Development Month and we couldn’t be more proud of our awesome staff here at Sauer! In 2020 we celebrated 7 promotions and awarded 12 employees $3,000 tuition grants through the MN PIPELINE Dual Training Program! We are excited to have open applications for up to 8 new student employees to take part in the program in the Spring 2021 semester. This is a great time to start a rewarding health care career! November 1st 2020

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  October 30th 2020

We are excited to announce we are allowing visitors back into our building.  These visits must be scheduled with the TR Department and will occur by appointment only.  At this time visits will be 1 hour and residents will be allowed 3 visitors at a time.  We are excited to welcome you back in! Contact TR to set up your appointment:  507-494-6290 October 26th 2020