COVID-19 Communications Hub

Since the beginning of the pandemic, LifeSpire’s community teams have been working diligently to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The safety, security and health of all our residents is our chief concern. To that end, LifeSpire’s leadership team continues to ask that all team members, residents and visitors follow the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to limit the virus’s impact.

All of LifeSpire’s communities will continue with interventions already in place to reduce the risk of virus introduction and transmission.

These interventions include, but are not limited to:

  • Screening all individuals who enter the communities
  • Temperature screening terminals are in place throughout the communities
  • Ongoing education for team members and residents regarding infection control practices
  • Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting, particularly for common areas, shared spaces and high-touch surfaces
  • Wearing facemasks for everyone, except during dining
  • Residents, team members and visitors are encouraged to maintain a social distance to the extent possible
  • Monitoring residents’ health and rapid identification/response to signs of illness
  • Encouraging/educating residents and team members on the importance of self-reporting any signs of illness and possible exposure to a positive or suspected COVID-19 case

LifeSpire’s leadership team encourages personal protective measures, including, but not limited to:

  • Wear facemasks except during dining
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home and report to a community team member if you experience any signs of illness, even mild

Community Contacts

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to the community’s administrator of health care:

The Chesapeake Barbara Jackson-Ingram – 757-223-1677

The Culpeper Jim Jacobsen – 540-321-1301

The Glebe Ellen D’Ardenne – 540-591-2104

Lakewood Felicity Wood – 804-521-9151

Lakewood At Home Tammy Mackey – 804-521-9243

Questions may be submitted via email at covidquestions@lifespireliving.org.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Virginia Department of Health

Leading Age of Virginia

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

LifeSpire Welcomes Four New Trustees to Its Board

LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to welcome four new members to its Board of Trustees. Sharon Brooks, John Jung, Jr., Pamela Parsons and John Poma officially joined the board on January 1.

With more than 30 years of experience senior living, Brooks’ areas of expertise include market strategy, advertising, sales, consumer research and development planning. Brooks built and recently sold a 50-person marketing consulting firm. Currently, as the chief marketing officer for Boston-based 2Life Communities, she is focused on marketing communications and developing a prototype product for the middle market.

Jung recently retired as senior managing director and head of capital markets at BB&T. In that role, he was responsible for leading BB&T’s capital markets efforts, which included sales and trading, origination, mergers and acquisitions, tax-exempt finance and foreign exchange. In addition, Jung was responsible for integrating BB&T capital markets with BB&T’s corporate and community banks. He was a member of BB&T’s senior leadership team and served on many public and private boards.

Parsons is a registered nurse with over 25 years of experience as a geriatric nurse practitioner. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). At present, she serves as an Associate Clinical Professor and the Associate Dean of Practice and Community Engagement at VCU’s School of Nursing.

With more than 30 years of progressive responsibility for leading teams, executing strategic initiatives, improving and streamlining processes, Poma serves as the chief legal counsel for Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group, P.C. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at William & Mary Law School.

LifeSpire’s Board of Trustees voted in early December to appoint these four new members in 2021. These new members joined as Craig Hopson of Midlothian and Bob Yeaman, III, of Culpeper cycled off the board at the end of December.

It is always exciting to welcome new members to our esteemed Board of Trustees. Our four new members bring extensive knowledge of and expertise in the senior living industry and I look forward to working alongside them as we usher in continued growth and development throughout our organization.

Jonathan Cook
LifeSpire President and CEO

Turkey Time: LifeSpire Team Members Hand Out Turkeys

On December 9, 15 and 16, members of the LifeSpire team braved the cold temperatures, snow, rain and, of course, sunshine to distribute turkeys to every LifeSpire team member.

In total, 356 gobblers were given to each and every member of the team at Lakewood, 200 at The Glebe, 288 at The Chesapeake and 196 at The Culpeper. The Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation coordinated the onsite delivery with Sysco Virginia and Sysco Hampton Roads and several team members were standing by to receive the boxes of the Jennie-O turkeys.

VBH Foundation Vice President Jodi Leonard said the experience was extremely rewarding.

“Our community team members have had a challenging year. What an honor it was to thank them in person for their dedicated, compassionate care for all of our residents. I hope that this small gesture of gratitude relays the enormous appreciation LifeSpire and the VBH Foundation have for their servant leadership. We wish everyone a peaceful holiday season.”

Jodi Leonard
VBH Foundation Vice President

COVID Vaccine Update

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the vaccine for COVID-19. As senior care providers, all of LifeSpire’s communities are on the list to be one of the first areas serviced by CVS and Walgreens clinics to vaccinate residents and team members through a federal partnership. There is still information pending from the Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but LifeSpire’s leadership team wanted to provide some direction.

First and foremost, the choice is up to each individual if they want to receive the vaccine. The FDA fact sheet will be included with the consent forms so everyone can make an informed decision. After consultation with many medical professionals, regulatory agencies, LifeSpire’s community medical directors and nursing professionals, the leadership teams strongly recommends that all residents and team members receive the vaccination.

Each LifeSpire community team will be developing a schedule for all team members and residents to receive the vaccination and will follow up with the next steps for vaccination administration.

All LifeSpire communities were given the choice to opt-out of the federal administration program. Doing so likely would have led to difficulties procuring the vaccination. Within the federal administration program, team members and residents should expect insurance providers to be billed for these services. Also, the federal program will provide pharmacy team members to administer, track and report all the data required by the FDA and other regulatory bodies.

Though the vaccine is approved, LifeSpire communities will still need to monitor infection rates, screen visitors and operate much like it has been for some time meaning community life will not return to normal immediately.

Glebe Residents Express Gratitude This Thanksgiving

The ongoing pandemic has forced all of LifeSpire’s teams to get creative when it comes to connecting residents with their loved ones. Because many residents at The Glebe will not be able to celebrate in person this Thanksgiving, they were given the opportunity to record video greetings for family members to express gratitude for their many blessings.

This holiday season will be unlike any other, but the message remains the same: the extended Glebe family has so much to be thankful for.

Hear snippets of some of the video messages sent to loved ones near and far:

Update on the Governor’s Nov. 13 Executive Order

Earlier this month, LifeSpire’s leadership team released communications regarding precautions for holiday celebrations for the safety of residents, families and team members. The previous memos stated that plans might need to change based on regulations and recommendations from various governing agencies. The governor released new guidance, which we would like to share with you.

On November 13, Gov. Ralph Northam released an executive order tightening certain restrictions due to COVID-19. This statewide order, which applies to all Virginia residents, went into effect on November 16. LifeSpire’s team consulted with the Virginia Department of Health and other subject matter experts to help us understand how to apply these additional restrictions to the communities reasonably. 

After review and consultation, the LifeSpire leadership team determined that much of the governor’s directive is already in place in our communities. For the most part, the holiday plans previously shared will be carried out without modification.

For all levels of care, the approach to dining will remain the same as previously implemented. Tables will be six feet apart. Residents and guests must wear face coverings except when eating. The space will be cleaned and disinfected frequently. The number of visitors will be limited. Reservations are required.   

Based on the recent governor’s order, the following will be effective immediately:

  • Independent living programs and activities will not exceed 30% of allowed occupancy for the room in use. In previous directives, these spaces were allowed up to 50%.  
  • Twenty-five individuals will be permitted in assisted living, memory support and healthcare program and activity areas.  
  • Specific programs/activities may need a reservation/sign-up ahead of time. The number of participants for all care levels may be limited. Each community will provide specific guidance in this regard.
  • Fitness areas: all participants should maintain a distance of 10 feet apart.
  • Entertainment areas and events: all participants should remain six feet apart. However, if physical activity is to occur, residents and guests should maintain a distance of 10 feet of separation.
  • More than 25 individuals may attend religious services in all levels of care with the appropriate precautions.
  • Gatherings not covered above are limited to no more than 25 individuals.

LifeSpire communities will continue with the previously communicated plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Seven-day quarantine for residents who live in healthcare, assisted living or memory support upon return from a family gathering/holiday celebration, with testing on day eight.  (Any resident who declines a test on day eight will need to quarantine for a total of 14 days.  The test will be sent to the lab for processing which may take 24 to 72 hours.  Quarantine will continue while awaiting results). 
  • Monitor all healthcare, assisted living and memory support residents for any illness signs to quickly identify and respond.
  • A recommendation that residents do not leave their home if diagnosed or have symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for test results or are exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Encouragement for independent living residents to self-monitor and self-report immediately any signs/symptoms of illness and to avoid community gathering areas for at least seven days if attending a holiday celebration away from the community.
  • The encouragement that all community members wear masks (when not eating), social distance and frequently wash hands. 
  • Screen all individuals before entering our communities.

Please consider the governor’s tightened restrictions as you make and revise your holiday plans. Please contact the community leadership team directly with questions or to discuss individual situations.

Though these frequent changes can be frustrating. The LifeSpire team would like to reassure residents, families and team members that the extended community continues to be our top priority. Community teams are working hard to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 while facilitating the essential connection between residents and their families. We continue to explore ways to make the holiday season as memorable as possible for all.  

LifeSpire Hosts Statewide Opportunity Expo

On November 10 – 12, LifeSpire’s talent management team hosted its first ever statewide Opportunity Expo with a goal of filling dozens of positions. Careers available included everything from certified nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses to cooks and transportation team members.

Over the course of the two-day talent search, organizers of the event were able to hire 50 new team members—five at The Culpeper and The Glebe, 15 at The Chesapeake and 25 at Lakewood.

Corporate Recruiter Jillian Perez said it was a successful event despite the ongoing pandemic.

“Lots of people came out to the communities, and most of the events were held outside in climate-controlled tents to ensure social distancing,” Perez said. “We used a text check-in system so applicants could wait comfortably in their cars. We were able to make on-the-spot offers and begin pre-employment screening.”

Several positions are still available and Perez said the talent management team would love to continue scheduling interviews. An up-to-date list of careers is searchable online.

CDC Issues Guidance for Thanksgiving Gatherings

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for families across the country and the world regarding the safest way to celebrate this year. These precautions come as public health officials in the U.S. announced more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases on November 12, the first day over 150,000 since the pandemic began.

According to the CDC, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, the following steps are recommended make your celebration safer.

Wear a Mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Socially Distance

  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19.
  • Keeping six feet from others is especially important.

Wash Your Hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a Gathering

According to the CDC, taking these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering can help to make the holiday safer.

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.

Hosting a Gathering

If having guests to your home, the CDC recommends the following steps to make the holiday safer:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

The CDC has concluded that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, and therefore recommends staying home to protect yourself and others.

If You Do Travel
  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least six feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
  • Watch television and play games with people in your household.
  • Shop online, utilize curbside pickup or browse and an open-air market.
  • Write down things you are grateful for and share with your friends and family.

On November 6, the LifeSpire management team issued guidance on how the holiday season will be handled. Since then, each LifeSpire community team issued community-specific plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Detailed plans per community are as follows:

Lakewood
The Chesapeake
The Culpeper
The Glebe

Please note these plans are subject to change at any time and in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health and per CDC guidance.

Holiday Planning During the Pandemic

As the holiday season approaches, residents and families will, of course, want to spend as much time together as possible; research shows quality time is crucial for residents’ wellbeing, emotionally and physically. The LifeSpire team is committed to facilitating this connection and providing accommodations to the extent possible.

According to county positivity rates, which are updated weekly, visitation processes may change as test results are received for both residents and team members. These changes are challenging for LifeSpire’s community teams as they strive to stay in compliance with standards set forth by various agencies, but not as overwhelming as it is for residents and families not seeing loved ones.

It is LifeSpire’s mission to empower residents’ choices while keeping them safe. Achieving the right balance between safety/protection and choice is challenging. The decision-making process is based on what is best for residents while following regulations and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

In part, on-campus visitation practices will be dependent on circumstances LifeSpire’s team cannot control, and such changes will be communicated as they have been previously and as quickly as possible.

LifeSpire’s detailed plan regarding the upcoming holidays is available online.

LifeSpire Names Vice President of Clinical Services

LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to announce that Paula Bolton has been named vice president of clinical services. Bolton, who has served as LifeSpire’s corporate director of clinical services since May 2019, was promoted in acknowledgment of her dedication to LifeSpire residents and team members, especially throughout the ongoing pandemic. 

Her commitment to successfully procuring protective equipment for community team members has enabled them to continue providing top notch care to residents and kept her fellow team members safe.

“The time, dedication and commitment that Paula extends to our communities has not been lost on anyone in our organization,” said LifeSpire Chief Operating Officer Ray Fisher. “The vice president title is reserved for a select group of senior key contributors of LifeSpire. Paula’s leadership and continued contributions to LifeSpire are recognized and greatly appreciated by me and the Board of Trustees.”

Bolton joined the team at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire community, in January 1997. While employed there, she held various positions within the nursing department, including the assistant director of nursing for nine years. In 2008 Paula transitioned to the role of assisted living administrator and was responsible for the daily operations and oversight of the delivery of care and services to residents in all levels of care within the community.