July 6 update letter to residents and families

Dear Families and Responsible Parties

I hope you all were able to enjoy the holiday weekend! We’ve been so thankful for the sunshine despite all the heat.

I have a few COVID-19 related updates I wanted to share:

First, we are pleased to report that baseline testing at the Care Center, which is required testing for all residents and staff, is complete. We have received 100% of the test results for the residents and they are all negative! We have received the majority of the staff results and they are also all negative so far. Please continue to pray with us for the health of all residents and staff.

Second, you may have noticed recently in the news that our governor has made changes to the visitor restrictions in senior living communities. We are glad to see some of these restrictions beginning to lift. Resthaven is eager for you all to be able to visit again. While our goal is to have indoor visiting become a reality soon, there are specific criteria for specific circumstances in which an in person indoor visit may occur.  Our team has been working to ensure we have systems in place to facilitate these visits, once the requirements are met, to keep residents, staff, and you safe. It is imperative that Resthaven continue to follow all guidelines/orders to the best of our ability as we start to open up to visitors in these specific situations. While doing so, we much also continue to follow all other rules associated with senior living that remain in place.

Because of the work that will go into determining who meets the requirements that would allow a visit, your social worker will reach out to you if we are able to move forward with an indoor, in person visit for your loved one. We must clearly document how we’ve met all requirements and how we will continue to mitigate risk of exposure if a visit is able to be scheduled.

I received a call from a reporter today asking how Resthaven has been so successful at keeping this virus out of our buildings – not one of our residents have tested positive in any program. I shared with her that it is because everyone has been doing their part – residents have shown great resilience in adjusting to the new regulations and orders (though that is not to say it has been easy or something we would ever want to do again!), staff has been prompt in adapting, and you families have been supportive, encouraging, and willing to follow the guidelines set in place.  We know it’s hard to visit outdoors, in the heat, six feet away and with no exchange of physical affection or gifts. We are thankful for your willingness to follow these rules so we can continue to have visitors.  It has taken a team, and I am grateful to everyone who has worked to help keep our residents and staff healthy.

We continue to advocate for your loved ones at the state level. Educating those who are making decisions about what can or cannot happen in senior living communities and how requirements may vary by region or level of care is part of this advocacy. We continue to react to new guidance and the very slow relaxation of some requirements. Our team is committed to doing everything we can to make the lives of your loved ones the best they can be in many ways – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Your partnership is welcomed through this process. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or suggestions.


Thank you,



June 10 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

Last week Wednesday members of Resthaven – both staff and residents – volunteered to be tested for COVID-19. 160 people were tested. The results are still trickling in, but so far we have received all negative results. We are so thankful for this good news!

I wanted to take a moment and update you on the executive orders and our plans for reopening as those orders expire. On June 15, we will be able to reopen our beauty shops. By June 18, we anticipate being able to start doing small group activities again (10 or less people per group) and shortly thereafter opening up our dining rooms (all with social distancing in place). The executive order which prohibits any visitors at Resthaven remains in effect through June 26. We have guidance from the CDC and CMS on our reopening, but both sources say to refer to your Governor for further requirements/guidance. We are starting to hear a little bit from the state but nothing complete yet. We have a plan ready to go assuming no new guidance is given and will adapt if we hear anything further from the governor prior to June 27.

This has been a long journey. While we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we still aren’t quite there yet. COVID-19 has been on our minds and in our thoughts for three months now. During that time life both at Resthaven and in our communities did not stop. Outside of Resthaven our news feeds have been covered not only with COVID-19 updates, but also protests, political campaigns, tragedies in our great lake, and a host of other national and international happenings.  Our team has dealt with constant adjustment at work while also experiencing a host of different circumstances in their lives outside of Resthaven– some good and some not so good! It has been a lot to take in all while COVID-19 has been ever present on our minds. Caring for and about the highest risk population has left its mark on all of us. And yet I’ve heard time and time again from the staff here at Resthaven how honored and privileged they are to be able to work with your loved ones.

Through this we have seen the resilience of Resthaven’s residents and staff, and also the continued genuine care from our community of supporters. In the midst of ongoing uncertain times, we remain grounded in the truth of God’s love for each resident, each staff member, and our community as a whole.

We are not finished with COVID-19 yet. But we intend to finish strong. We may be weary but we are also up for the challenge. We are ready for the pandemic to be over and return to life as we prefer it. We are eager to open our doors and visit with you all once again while continuing to protect the health of your loved ones. We keep reminding ourselves that we are almost there – thank you for cheering for us along!



June 2 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

There have been no further positive COVID-19 cases at Resthaven. We are well beyond the 14 days since the one staff member who tested positive last worked. We are so thankful for the health of our staff and residents!

On Saturday, May 30 the Governor signed Executive Order 2020-108 which extends  Executive Order 2020-72. This order restricts visitors to all of our communities (Maple Woods, Warm Friend and Care Center) through June 26.  This means that for the time being we still may not have any visitors into our facilities. As of right now, Executive Order 2020-95 is the order that prohibits all internal and external group activities and communal dining. This order expires June 17.

On June 1, the Governor ended the Stay Home order. Because of this change, we are pleased that we can now offer window visits again at Maple Woods and Care Center. We still need to follow the rules of the other executive orders that are still in place. This means that the window visits need to follow social distancing protocols including being 6ft apart and wearing a face mask.  We can have the windows open so you can see and talk with your loved one. We would like to assist in the scheduling of these. Please contact your social worker so we can help facilitate these for you. We are still exploring how and when we can start outdoor visits, and then have a different plan in the works for indoor visits once that is allowed. We will keep you posted on this as details become available.

As a reminder, tomorrow we have free COVID-19 testing available to Care Center and Maple Woods residents and staff members. This was coordinated by the National Guard but tests for residents will be administered by Resthaven staff if we received consent. We should have the results by early next week at the latest.

I know this is a lot to keep track of and the dates keep changing. We are doing our best to stay up to date and I will certainly keep you updated on any other news/updates as they become available.

We continue to appreciate your patience and understanding and prayerful support!





May 26 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

No Resthaven resident has tested positive for COVID-19! With the growing number of senior living facilities in west Michigan reporting more and more cases of COVID-19 with their residents we continue to celebrate that our residents have not become ill with the virus. As most of you are aware from my previous update, we did have a staff member test positive last week on May 20. The staff member worked at the Care Center and last shift worked was May 14. That means we are 12 days post potential exposure and we have no additional cases. We continue to pray that our workforce remains healthy moving forward.

I have had many people ask about whether we will do testing for all residents and staff. With the governor’s briefing today expanded who can get tested and when. While I do anticipate that this will be mandated at some point by the Governor, at this time she has not mandated it yet so we are still exploring options related to this. If we do start testing all staff and residents you will be notified.

We have been working hard on our reopening strategies for each building. We have heard from you and certainly understand your frustration about not being able to visit. We are saddened about this as well but we still must follow the direction of the CDC, CMS, MDHHS and the Governor’s executive orders, including her most recent extension of the Stay Home order. We are very hopeful that in the coming weeks we will be able to welcome visitors back onto our campus. We are planning on doing this in phases, with pre-scheduled visiting times to ensure we maintain the social distancing we expect to continue throughout the summer. The moment we have the green light to accept visitors we will let you know and put our plan into action!

While we are acutely aware of COVID-19 and how it has impacted our community and our residents, I remain encouraged by how hard the staff are working to make life good for each resident and elder we care for. It isn’t easy doing this work in normal times and it is even more challenging with all the added requirements that come from COVID-19. And yet, our staff has not complained.  I am so thankful to them for their positive attitudes and willingness to do whatever is needed for the residents.

We also remain grateful to each of you for your support and understanding as we do all we can to provide a good home for your loved ones while also keeping them as safe as possible by following all the guidelines given to us. We appreciate your on going prayers and flexibility as we do life at Resthaven a little differently.

Deedre Vriesman

May 12 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

At the front entrance of the Care Center we have a chalk board that states how many days we have been COVID-19 free. We do not take for granted the fact that we have avoided this virus for 9 weeks. It has taken a lot of work by the staff. It has been challenging for our residents who miss their visits from you and being able to spend time with other residents. It has not been easy and yet we are so grateful to be able to report once again that Resthaven has avoided this virus for another week!

We continue to monitor the residents in the Care Center and Maple Woods regularly – taking temperatures, reviewing respirations and oxygen levels, and noting any other respiratory symptoms. While we continue to have residents tested as needed per the guidelines our medical directors have given us, we feel comfortable that we are catching any symptoms early on and managing appropriately. This morning we received the results of the only outstanding COVID-19 test we had and it was negative!

There are a lot of questions regarding what each state should do regarding facility-wide testing of residents and staff. At this time, Resthaven has not been asked to test all residents and staff for COVID-19. If we were to have a COVID-19 positive test in one of our programs we would reach out to our local health department for the most current recommendations and guidance on facility wide testing. We would certainly let you know if this were to occur.

On a lighter note, last week I mentioned that Resthaven was celebrating Tulip Time even though the festival had to be canceled. It was so fun to see the floats that the staff put together in each building with the help of the residents. We loved continuing this tradition ‘Resthaven Style’ and we got wonderful feedback from the residents as well. Please visit our Facebook page to see pictures taken at the different parades in each program!

This pandemic and all the requirements that go with it can be emotionally exhausting and stressful. Please know that as a team Resthaven staff members are doing well. They are leaning on each other (from 6ft away!) for support and doing an amazing job encouraging each other so that we can continue to serve your loved ones in the best way possible. We appreciate your support and encouragement along the way.


Deedre Vriesman, President/CEO

May 5  update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

Resthaven remains COVID-19 free! We continue to be so thankful that we have been able to avoid this virus within our community. We know it is not easy to be unable to visit loved ones or socialize with others. We are glad, however, that it has helped to keep this virus away from our residents and staff. We have had several residents and staff who were tested over the past week but all tests continue to come back negative.

On Sunday evening, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-72 which extended the timeframe during which senior communities may not have visitors/vendors unless they are deemed essential. The original order which limited visitors to senior communities was set to expire after May 3. The Governor’s extension does not come as a surprise to us, but we still feel saddened that we may not allow visitors until at least May 31.

Tulip Time was scheduled for this week. Since the festivities downtown have been canceled, our Life Enrichment Team has coordinated hallway Tulip Time parades in each building complete with floats, banket, and tulips (purchased directly from Tulip Time!). The floats will move to all buildings throughout the course of the week.

We remain thankful that our workforce is strong and dedicated. We have not had problems staffing our programs during the pandemic. I can say this is not the case for all of the senior living communities in West Michigan. I am so grateful to the team here at Resthaven for all they are doing. Each staff member was given a t-shirt that says “Essential” on the front and “Resthaven Team Member” on the back. We included a note that said “They say essential. We say exceptional!”. We want to celebrate this team who is working so hard for you and your loved ones.

If you have been Facetiming with your loved one, you may notice that residents have not had their hair cut in at least 8 weeks. We know that not having your hair done can be upsetting and can make people look or feel disheveled. First, please know that we continue to provide our usual grooming services at the Care Center and Maple Woods. Unfortunately, we cannot have any beauticians in the building at this time and no staff member is allowed to cut hair. As soon as we are able we will coordinate hair-care services for all of our programs. In the mean time longer hair will be the trend here at Resthaven.

We pray that your families remain healthy both physically and emotionally. We know this situation is challenging in many ways both for the residents and you. Please know that we hold you all in our prayers.



April 28 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents & Families of Resthaven,

Last week I shared with you the new reporting requirements we received from our regulatory officials related to COVID-19 (if you missed it, please visit our blog for more info:  Part of this requirement was regarding when we would need to inform of you a positive case of COVID-19, and how we need to inform you if we have 3 or more staff or residents present with new respiratory symptoms within 72 hours. Over the past 6 weeks we have had several residents and staff with symptoms that could have been associated with COVID-19. We have had many residents and staff tested for COVID-19. All of these tests were negative.

Yesterday we had to make our first notification based on this new guideline as we had 3 residents/staff with new respiratory symptoms at the Care Center. I want to remind everyone that this is a new reporting requirement, and does not mean that each person with respiratory issues is suspected of having COVID-19. I also want you to know that our clinical practice has not changed, rather our reporting to you has increased. The COVID-19 testing done related to these persons with respiratory symptoms were negative.

Resthaven remains COVID-19 free!

I recognize these are stressful and challenging times. I apologize that some of the updates we send may cause alarm – that is not our intent. We have promised since the beginning of this pandemic to follow the guidelines of the CDC, CMS, MDHHS and our Governor. We continue to do that. Please rest assured that Resthaven remains vigilant in following these recommendations to keep the residents and staff of Resthaven safe. You will likely hear from us again as it is not uncommon for a staff member or residents to have respiratory issues even when not related to COVID-19. We will inform you of all of these as required, even when we know the cause of the illness is not COVID-19, as is required of us.

The extended Stay Home order by our Governor was expected but still disheartening to many of us here at Resthaven. We miss having residents visit. We miss seeing families and volunteers in our buildings. We miss being able to encourage fellowship over a meal among the residents, and gathering for worship and other group activities. We recognize, however, that we must stay vigilant during these unprecedented times. So we will continue to follow the guidance issued us and do all we can to keep our residents safe while maintaining their social, physical, spiritual and emotional health in new and different ways.

Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your prayers.



Deedre Vriesman, President & CEO


P.S. Many of you have already given special support at this time and we are so grateful! I’ve had several people reach out and ask about how they could access the Resthaven Amazon Wish list. Please click here if you would like to support Resthaven in that way. You may also visit donation page if you are so moved.


April 21 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

Resthaven residents and staff remain free of COVID-19 as of the writing of this letter. We are so grateful to have a healthy workforce to care for the residents of Resthaven. Resthaven has changed many of its practices to do our best to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings in order to protect our residents and are pleased that so far it is working!

Resthaven continues to follow guidance issued by CMS, the CDC, our Governor, and MDHHS. Recently we were issued new guidance from CMS specific to nursing homes regarding when and how to contact families and residents for communication related to COVID-19. Prior to this guidance, Resthaven would inform residents and families when a positive COVID-19 case was confirmed with one of our residents or a team member (which has not yet happened). This new guidance expands that and states that should we have more than 3 residents and/or staff members who present with respiratory issues within 72 hours of one another, we need to notify all families and residents of these symptoms within 12 hours.

Resthaven has a practice of tracking staff illness as part of our infection control procedure and has been doing this for many years.  I wanted to alert you to this extra notification requirement so that you aren’t alarmed if you start hearing more from your administrator/director about people with symptoms.  Resthaven has had several residents and staff members who had symptoms and were tested for COVID-19 but all results have come back negative. When staff have symptoms they stay home. When a resident shows symptoms, they are put under isolation precautions until results are confirmed.  Moving forward, you will know if someone is being tested due to this new requirement. Please note that we will be informing you about symptoms, and would separately inform you if we had a positive case. These notifications will primarily occur via email.

With 400 staff members and over 300 residents living at Resthaven each day, the likelihood that 3 people would exhibit respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other is quite probable especially given it is also allergy season. Please know that we will follow the communication requirements but don’t want to cause alarm when it is not necessary. You may email Rita O’Kon, infection control nurse ([email protected]) or myself ([email protected]) if you have additional questions regarding this reporting.

The Governor’s executive order last week also further limited our ability to do group activities at Maple Woods and the Care Center. We are so grateful for the financial support we have received and the gifts from our Amazon Wish List which allow us to continue to provide life enrichment activities to each resident in their room. Thank you for your understanding as we adjust our care and practices to stay in compliance with the guidance we receive.

When I visited our different programs over the weekend, I saw several residents and staff sitting in their doorway at the Care Center listening to Chaplain Leigh’s sermon that she had pre-recorded on TV. When I was at Maple Woods I saw residents face timing with loved ones and listening to music on the Ipads we were able to purchase. Life looks a little different, but the mission and values of Resthaven have stayed the same and we continue to work each day to live out that mission in new and creative ways during this pandemic. The caregiving team here at Resthaven is phenomenal and dedicated to you and your loved ones.

We covet your prayers and thank you for your ongoing support.


Deedre Vriesman, President & CEO 

April 15 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

As more and more senior living communities have announced that they have a case of COVID-19 in their community, we are proud that we have been able to keep the virus out of our community this long. We are grateful to remain COVID-19 free at Resthaven among both residents and staff.

At our leadership team meeting this morning we were reflecting on some of the positive things that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s appropriate to lament over opportunities we’ve lost, trips we’ve canceled, visits and celebrations we’ve had to postpone, challenges we now face at home and at work, we wanted to also note the good things that have happened.

We want to thank you, our residents and families, for the outpouring of support we’ve had from you. We appreciate the comments on Facebook, the notes of encouragement, the gifts from the Amazon Wish List, the donation of face masks, the financial donations and your prayers. Thank you for partnering with us as we do life at Resthaven a little differently – whether that’s being willing to participate in Face Time visits, adjusting to virtual meetings with the clinical staff, and finding alternate ways to stay in contact with your loved one when an in person visit is not possible. We have truly experienced community through this pandemic and we are so grateful that you are a part of it.

We’ve also seen our staff members at Resthaven rise to the challenge and work harder than ever to protect the residents. We’ve seen their creativity, their adjustment to change, their willingness to try new and different things. The threat of the virus has affected the way every single department in each building of Resthaven does their job. I am so thankful for the dedicated, supportive team members who have committed to serving Resthaven even in these challenging and unusual times.



Deedre Vriesman, President & CEO


April 6 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

Resthaven is grateful and feeling very blessed to be able to report again this week that there are no positive cases of COVID-19 among our residents or staff. We continue to pray for the safety of our residents and the staff committed to caring for them.

This week Resthaven will be implementing several additional safety measures.  These are all precautionary but we feel they are important at this time for the continued health and safety of the Resthaven community.

  • We have designated specific areas within the Care Center should we have a COVID-19 positive case. Residents of the Care Center, including long-term residents, would be moved to this designated area if they were to test positive.
  • If someone from Maple Woods or Warm Friend were to test positive for COVID-19 we would like them moved to the Care Center for their care. This will be coordinated with the resident’s physician and power of attorney.
  • Effective Wednesday April 8, all resident laundry at Maple Woods and the Care Center will be done by Resthaven staff.
  • To help limit the items you need to bring into the buildings, we will be providing soaps and shampoos to all Care Center and Maple Woods residents. Warm Friend residents can continue to purchase these items at the Warm Friend store during its open hours.
  • We will be calling families of Care Center and Maple Woods and encourage Warm Friend residents to review their advanced directives to ensure any changes desired during this pandemic are noted.
  • We ask that care packages and baked goods drop-offs be discontinued until further notice. We are so appreciative of all that has been sent to staff and residents and are sad to restrict these.

We will be following Governor Whitmer’s order as announced today, April 6. This includes the requirement that our staff members wear masks while they are in the building. Again, I want to assure you that currently there are no positive cases of COVID-19 and this is all precautionary.

In her address this morning Governor Whitmer also extended the restriction on visits to senior living communities including Warm Friend. Unfortunately, this means that Resthaven will continue to restrict all visitors to its buildings. We know this is in the best interest of the residents and staff members but it is a challenge for everyone! We recognize how much you miss visiting with your loved one(s) and how much these changes are impacting each person.

We continue to work creatively and with increased effort to ensure the psychosocial needs of each resident is met. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting Resthaven during this pandemic – through your prayer support, your purchase of items off our Amazon Wish List, your financial gifts, and your words of encouragement. We are honored to be able to serve each of you.


Deedre Vriesman
President & CEO

March 30 update letter to residents and families

Dear Residents and Families of Resthaven,

It’s been well over two weeks since Resthaven started changing its practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our staff and residents. As I write this I am thankful to report that to date we have not had any residents or staff members of Resthaven test positive for COVID-19! We are grateful for the health of our Resthaven community.

We continue to prepare for the possibility that the COVID-19 virus will be more prevalent in Holland and may even at some point reach our doors. While we are hopeful this won’t happen, it is our responsibility to be ready to care for our residents and our community through this crisis. Through a variety of trainings, meetings, collaborations and research, we have continued to ensure that we have the expertise, staff, and resources in order to meet the needs of our community. The preparation has taken a lot of hard work and I am tremendously grateful to the team members who have been working tirelessly on this.

Despite all the changes that are happening, we know that God is in control. We are thankful for health. We are thankful for our staff who come in each day and care for our residents in a multitude of ways. We are thankful for our supporters and families who keep us in their prayers. We are thankful to our donors who help to financially support our extra efforts.

We appreciate you cooperating with our request for no visitors and the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe order. We understand how difficult it is for you and your family member. The staff at Resthaven have gotten creative in how they support our residents despite social distancing, revised and restrictive procedures, and without volunteers to support us. We are lucky to have dedicated, thoughtful, committed staff members. Life enrichment staff are helping to connect residents through Facetime and other technology. We have also increased our life enrichment staffing and our social work department is checking in regularly with each resident to ensure their well-being.

We are also very appreciative of the support we have received from the community. Local businesses have been donating supplies to us including gloves, hand sanitizers, masks, etc. We have also been fortunate to receive some financial donations which we will be using to help fund the extra costs Resthaven is incurring because of the COVID-19 crisis. We are blessed by a community that supports the mission of Resthaven and for the team members who live it out each day. We know that these are uncertain times. I want to assure you that Resthaven is doing all we can to care for you/your loved one today and into the future. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we all work together to get through this pandemic. We will continue to keep you updated, yet feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.


Deedre Vriesman, President & CEO

March 12 update letter to residents and families


Dear Resthaven Residents and Family Members


As of March 10, 2020, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and a State of Emergency has been declared by Governor Whitmer for resources towards combating COVI-19. As of March 11th, the World Health Organization has characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has been provided regarding the monitoring and/or restricting of visitors. Therefore, to keep our residents at the lowest risk possible for contracting COVID-19 in our clinical programs (Maple Woods and the Care Center), we will be restricting visitors and volunteers until further notice. At the Warm Friend, we strongly discourage residents from having visitors at this time.

Staff members and clinical partners (including but not limited to hospice providers, physicians, home health clinicians, laboratory technicians, pharmacists etc.) will continue to be allowed into the building after following a screening process. When entering our buildings, only the main entrances will be available. At each of these entrances, the following screening questions will be asked of staff and clinical partners:

  • Do you currently have any signs or symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever above 100.0, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
  • In the last 14 days have you had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or are currently under investigation for COVID-19?
  • Have you traveled internationally in the last 14 days?

For individuals who do not meet the above criteria, we may allow entry but may also require that personal protective equipment such as facemasks be worn at all times.

Thank you for your understanding as we work diligently to protect your health. This is a rapidly changing situation and we are committed to keeping you informed.  Should you have further questions or concerns, please contact Rita O’Kon, our Assistant Director of Nursing and Infection Preventionist at 616-796-3615 or [email protected].



Deedre Vriesman
President & CEO


In-home medical care and household help for those that need extra support while staying in their own homes.