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Heartview COVID-19 Update

Posted 4/09/20 (Thu)

An established icon, the Heartview lantern, continues to shine in the midst of this state’s response to the world-wide pandemic, lighting the way for those in need of help and support for substance use disorder. Heartview Foundation, established in 1964, continues to offer all levels of care and services for its patients. Answering the call from Gov. Doug Burgum for behavioral health care to continue in these times, Heartview offers evaluations, residential outpatient and continuing care, in addition to medication assisted treatment.

 

Heartview is closely monitoring updates on COVID-19, and continues to follow the guidelines and recommendations issued by the CDC as the public health community learns more about how this virus is contracted, spread, and most effectively treated. Heartview is monitoring for symptoms in patients and staff while taking proactive steps to keep patients and staff members safe while serving the needs of the community.

 

Kurt Snyder, Executive Director noted, “We understand now more than ever, individuals and families struggling with addiction are in need of resources. Therefore, Heartview Foundation plans to continue services and offer support, as long as it is safe for patients and staff.”

 

 

Some of the actions implemented by Heartview in the wake of the pandemic included:

  • Suspension of all community gatherings at Heartview.
  • Suspension of all nonessential workrelated travel for staff.
  • Suspension of visitation in our facilities. We strongly encourage the use of electronic methods to stay connected with loved ones including zoom, and extended phone time.
  • Institution of daily screening procedures for staff and patients.
  • Daily disinfection protocol for all facilities.
  • Institution of social distancing requirements for our patients.
  • Staff training on COVID19 and prevention measures.
  • Establishment of protocol if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID19 occurs within the facility.
  • Daily monitoring of COVID19 progression and best practices for prevention.
  • Suspension the HEART family education program.
  • Heartview is doing everything we can to promote a safe and healthy environment during this COVID-19 pandemic

When asked why Heartview has continued to admit patients into residential services in Cando, Director of Operations Heather Gibbons responded, “We are essential services, just like the hospital and nursing home.” She added, “We will continue to navigate these uncertain times to ensure people are getting the essential services they need! Kudos to all who are working so hard to make this happen, including our amazing partners at TCMC and Neumann Drug in Cando!”

As noted by Ben Bucher, CEO of Towner County Medical Center and Heartview Board Member “I want you to know that we will do what we can to support patients at Heartview. We want you to stay open to treat your patients. If these patients do not have Heartview, they are likely to present to our ER with needs and this could overwhelm our health care system in Cando. “

Heartview started to prepare for situations like this in 2010, with the initiation of the Heartview website and social supports through technology. In 2013 Heartview was awarded a SAMHSA grant enabling it to develop and implement Network Assisted Recovery (NAR), a private social network similar to Facebook. By 2016, Heartview was utilizing telehealth to deliver consultation and complete evaluations. In 2018, with the aid of a USDA grant, Heartview and its partners, Coal Country Community Health Center and Towner County Medical Center, were able to purchase additional equipment to upgrade the technology in its Cando facility and the new residential unit in Bismarck. Now, with the amending of standards, Heartview is able to deliver an array of services while patients remain in social isolation in their homes. Psychological and psychiatric services are provided with licensed clinicians, MAT services are coordinated, and groups are now being facilitated by licensed addiction counselors from a distance with the use of technology. Telehealth is offered to all levels of care at Heartview. By using Zoom, counselors are able to conduct group from home, and patients are able to access group or individual therapy while remaining socially distant from their homes.

As one employee stated, on March 25th “… at almost 55 years old and having asthma, I am GRATEFUL that I work at Heartview. Every day we are zoom meeting with leadership, which includes our medical directors, to ensure that staff, patients and community safety are first on our list. I am at Heartview, where we quarantined our patients 3 weeks ago (before anyone else). We also quit allowing visitors 3 weeks ago (before anyone else). Our new patients are asked the COV-19 questions and are reassessed upon arrival, including getting their temp taken. Staff are required to have their temp taken before entering their office…I don’t know any other company/business/nonprofit that is taking the measures that Heartview is at these uncertain times to ensure everyone’s safety. Last but not least, we are so grateful for our wonderful community that supports us.”

As Beth Stroup-Menge, COO, stated, “Our light will continue to shine for others. We will continue to offer quality care for our patients. It may look different from conventional treatment, but we are trying to meet the needs of the patient as we address the safety of our patients and staff. We will see this pandemic through as a community while serving others and meeting the needs of those suffering from substance use disorder.”

 

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