COVID-19 Update

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mt. Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center continues to take every measure possible to protect the safety, health and well-being of our residents and staff. On this page, you find timely updates, current COVID-19 testing data, information on our comprehensive response plan, and resources for family members to stay connected with loved ones.

If you have any questions, please call 603-627-3811 or contact us here.

Adapting to COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, not many of us imagined we would be well into our second year, but unfortunately here we are. We understand that everyone is just plain tired of it. This has been an extremely difficult time for our residents, families and our staff. The restrictions put into place in March of 2020 for nursing homes were necessary and did indeed save lives. But the cost proved to be very high. Residents suffered from being separated from their loved ones and feeling isolated, without the benefit of socialization with their families and with friends inside the nursing homes. Families suffered by being separated from their loved ones in the nursing home for a long period of time. Staff has also suffered by seeing the residents they love and care for navigating the many challenges the pandemic has brought us. We tried to provide as much family involvement as possible while following the safety requirements given to us by the state and the federal government.

When we thought we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, along came the Delta and other emerging COVID-19 variants. We will continue to adapt, as we must, along with everyone else, and continue to build on what we learned. We know that telemedicine can be very effective as visits can be conducted sooner without waiting for the doctor to come in, resulting in faster treatment. We have learned that extended separation of residents from families is detrimental to everyone. Sadly, we have seen how uniquely each person experiences grief. It is a process that must be worked through individually and collectively for healing. We have learned to support one another during the grieving process – and we will get through this together.

Since last March, we have discovered new ways to communicate with our residents and loved ones, via Zoom meetings, FaceTime, website updates and weekly letters. We offered window visits, virtual visits with computer tablets, outdoor visits when weather permitted, and parades where families and friends could drive by, hold up signs, and wave to their loved ones who sat outside watching. We used social media to share many photos of residents holding signs conveying greetings to their families.

As family members, you are a very important part of our community. We missed seeing and interacting with you too. None of us want that kind of extended lockdown to occur again or experience further restrictions that could be avoided.

Updated Visitor Policy

For many months we were only allowed to offer compassionate visits in special situations. In the Spring, the state and federal governments lifted many visitation restrictions. Indoor visitation has been very successful and is having a very positive impact on our residents, their loved ones and our staff. It has been so uplifting to see our residents reunited with loved ones.

CMS has also allowed us to resume some group life enrichment programs and community dining. We are seeing more engagement, more smiles and hearing more laughter every day! As with most things these days, visits and group activities will continue to look different than in the past for the time being. Below is a summary of the changes to visitation provided to us by the state and federal government in May and some FAQ’s regarding visitation. These visitation guidelines remain in effect. We are still living in uncertain times, with new COVID variants emerging, so these guidelines may continue to evolve as we understand more about how the virus is mutating and what, if any precautions may be added or eliminated.

County case positivity rates change daily and we are adapting our requirements as necessary. For instance, when there are high positivity rates, you will notice staff wearing face shields or goggles in addition to masks. We hope you understand that visitation requirements may also change at any time based on the level of COVID transmission, or on any new guidance we receive from the state or federal government. Please contact the Administrator, Social Worker or DNS if you have any concerns, questions or if you feel the guidelines are not being carried out as they should be.

If your concerns are not adequately addressed, you can also call the Catholic Charities NH Healthcare Services Department at 603-663-0253. You also have the option to contact the Ombudsman, at 603-271-4375, at any time to discuss your concerns.

  • Visits will still need to be scheduled in advance with the facility.
  • A proper surgical mask must be worn at all times. We will provide one if you don’t have one when you arrive. An exception can be made if both the visitor and resident are fully vaccinated during a private visit. Even if you are vaccinated, we may need to ask you to keep masks on, depending on circumstances at the time of your visit.
  • Additional protective equipment may be needed, depending on circumstances at that time, such as a gown or face shield.
  • Children are able to visit as long as they are able to keep a mask on. Babies or infants may be allowed, but we ask that you notify the facility ahead of time if you are planning to bring a small child.
  • Pets are allowed if they are leashed or in a carrier at all times. Please notify the facility when you schedule your appointment if you plan to bring a pet. There are some pet screening questions we will need you to answer.
  • We offer visiting outside when weather permits or inside in a visiting area. You may choose to visit in your loved one’s room; however, if your loved one shares a room, their roommate must be consent to the room visit. If the roommate does not want the visit in the room, we will respect their choice and arrange to visit in another location.
  • Social distancing must be maintained at all times with one exception. If the resident you are visiting has been fully vaccinated, the resident may choose to have personal contact such as hugs, hand-holding, etc.
  • You may bring in food for your loved one, however, if masks cannot be removed due to vaccination status, food may not be eaten during the visit.
  • We ask that you maintain good infection prevention practices while you are visiting, such as wearing the protective equipment we may provide and washing your hands before, during and after the visit. A staff member will explain any additional measures needed when you arrive and will answer any questions you may have.
  • We have the ability to provide you with a rapid COVID-19 test should you agree to be tested. This is optional, but it is another way to help keep you, our residents and our staff members safe.
  • We will continue to ask health and travel screening questions and take your temperature when you book your scheduled visit and again when you arrive.
  • We ask that you let us know if you experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19 within two days of your visit. This will help us to put appropriate infection prevention measures in place.

We all look forward to the day when our home will be open to you again without these restrictive measures, and you can choose to visit at your convenience without an appointment, just like we did before COVID-19.

Millions of people have now been vaccinated throughout the country. We encourage all visitors get vaccinated, if able to, in order to allow for less restrictive visits with their loved ones. The government recognizes that this is a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully, we are on track to control this pandemic in the coming months if we continue to keep many of the measures in place that have been successful in moving us toward this goal. If you or your family member would like any information about vaccinations please ask to speak with the Director of Nursing or Infection Preventionist. We offer regular vaccine clinics for our staff and residents. You and your family members are also welcome to participate and get your vaccine at our facility should you choose to. We will get through this together and we sincerely hope that you are enjoying your in-person visits with your loved ones again, as much as they are enjoying being with you.

COVID-19 Testing: Current Update

Residents Week Ending October 22, 2021 Since March 01, 2020
# tested 87 2,712
# tested positive 0 49
# tested negative 0 2,576
# of pending test results 87 87
# hospitalized due to COVID-19 0 1
# treated in the facility due to COVID-19 0 48
# of deaths due to COVID-19 0 8
# with respiratory symptoms 0
Staff Week Ending October 22, 2021 Since March 01, 2020
# tested 118 8,235
# tested positive 0 36
# tested negative 0 8,087
# of pending test results 118 118
# with respiratory symptoms 0

Recent Updates to Family Members

COVID-19 Symptoms

In recent weeks, the CDC has expanded the list of symptoms of COVID-19. While this list is not inclusive and guidance continues to evolve, an updated published list of symptoms and timeframes are as follows:

  • Fever is not a reliable indicator. If present, it may manifest only with mild elevations in temperature.
  • COVID-19 may begin with various types of cough without fever, sore throat, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, back pain and fatigue.
  • It can also present with severe body aches and exhaustion.
  • A reliable early hint is loss of the sense of smell in the first days of disease onset.
  • In serious COVID-19, shortness of breath is a critical differentiator from other common illnesses.
  • Almost no one develops shortness of breath, a cardinal sign of the illness, in the first day or two of disease onset.
  • Shortness of breath can appear four or more days after onset of other symptoms.
  • The first days after shortness of breath begins are a critical period that requires close and frequent monitoring of patients by telemedicine visits or in-person exams.
  • The most critical variable to monitor is how the shortness of breath changes over time. Oxygen saturation levels can also be a valuable clue. Blood oxygen levels can drop precipitously with exertion, even in previously healthy people.
  • A small number of people may never develop shortness of breath. Instead, they may have other symptoms of low oxygen levels, including dizziness or falling.
  • Anxiety is common among patients with viral symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, and anxiety can also induce shortness of breath.

Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time. If you have any questions, please call 603-627-3811 or contact us here.

For important COVID-19 updates and information,click here.