Community Update – April 12th

. Posted in FPH

Hi Family & Friends,

I hope everyone had a joyous and safe Easter week. The residents enjoyed having visitors again. We had an anonymous person drop off Easter lily plants, a church member donated four boxes of decorations, and Chaplain Etta had special services and communion.

Unfortunately, the positivity rate in Polk County is still slowly rising and last week it rose to 7.86%.

The first round of outbreak testing for the Assisted Living was done last Tuesday and all AL staff and residents tested negative for COVID.

Porter McGrath employees continue to test weekly on Tuesdays, unfortunately, and we had a positive staff member last week. There was no direct contact with anyone as this individual was on vacation. However, the Polk County Department of Health still considered it an outbreak.

Therefore, outbreak testing of PMG residents and guests took place last week. Visitation ceased until the results came back. All residents and guests of FPH tested negative after the first round of testing. Visitation has resumed.

When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, we begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation, until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed. Visitation can resume based on the following criteria:
• If the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas (e.g., another unit) of the facility, then visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases. However, the facility should suspend visitation on the affected unit until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing. For example, if the first round of outbreak testing reveals two more COVID-19 cases in the same unit as the original case, but not in other units, visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases.
• If the first round of outbreak testing reveals one or more additional COVID-19 cases in other areas/units of the facility (e.g., new cases in two or more units), then facilities should suspend visitation for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated) until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention
• Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status)
• Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
• Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
• Social distancing at least six feet between persons

These core principles are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for nursing homes and should be adhered to at all times.

Visitors who are unable to adhere to the 3 core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit or should be asked to leave.

Outdoor visitation is preferred even when the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Outdoor visits generally pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow. Therefore, visits should be held outdoors whenever practicable.”

We note that compassionate care visits should be allowed at all times, for any resident (vaccinated or unvaccinated) regardless of the above scenarios. Lastly, we continue to consult with our local health department when an outbreak is identified to ensure adherence to infection control precautions, and for recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Stay safe,

Maria Rivera, Administrator

Seeking Occupational Wellness – During Your Career & Beyond

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

– By Alison Kennedy Hand, MS, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes

The occupational dimension is defined as work that utilizes a person’s skills while providing personal satisfaction is valuable for society as well as the individual. Participating in the paid and unpaid workforce, such as when volunteering, means maintaining or improving skills and helping others. Older adults contribute to society as experienced professionals, mentors, teachers, and volunteers. Occupational wellness is achieved when you find a job or purpose in life that makes use of your gifts, skills, and talents and using those skillsOccupational-wellness-during-your-career-and-in-retirement to enrich the lives of others. Occupational wellness means successfully integrating a commitment to your occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding.

To learn more about the occupational dimension of wellness, we talked to an expert right here at FPH. Dr. Gene Scruggs is a retired educator and author having spent most of his career as a professor at USF in Tampa. His gifts and talents from his professional life have served him well with his volunteer teaching opportunities. He has led Bible discussion classes and creative writing classes here at FPH, as well as being coordinator of the FPH Academy, often serving as a guest presenter. According to Dr. Scruggs, his favorite volunteer activity has been the time spent in the assisted living facility while leading Tuesday Morning Dialogue.

Dr-Gene-Scruggs-Occupational-WellnessI sat down with Dr. Scruggs to gather his input on a few important questions relating to occupational wellness.

Q. What volunteer activities enable you to use your skills and talents to help others?

A. Offering classes on creative writing, drawing and sketching. Conducting classes on developing and composing one’s life story. Also, giving presentations on language and history topics for the Academy.


Q. Why do you think it is important to use occupational skills/talents to help other people?

A. Giving classes keeps me sharp because I must prepare.


Q. What keeps people from using their talents/skills from helping more within their communities?

A. Worry that they are not able to demonstrate their abilities as they would like. Fear of talking to a group.  Thinking their skills are not of much interest to others.


Q. Why do you think this dimension is important for a person’s overall wellness?

A. Wellness depends as much on cognitive exercise as it does on physical exercise. In fact, maybe even more, since anxiety and depression can negate the work that is being done physically.


Q. How would you encourage a retiree to make time to share their gifts and talents with others?

A. People need encouragement that their talent and their gifts, however modest they may seem, are valuable for others in the community. Their efforts will be appreciated.


Source: Dr. Gene Scruggs &

Notice of Potential Breach of Information

. Posted in FPH

On February 9, 2021, an FPH staff member found a broken window at the unoccupied home at 939 New York Avenue. The police were contacted, and a report was filed. The police have qualified this as a “burglary.” It was later determined that a number of 5+ year old computer towers, a laptop, and a number of other devices (phones, keyboards, monitors, backup servers, and the like) were taken. It was determined that none of the files stored in that space were taken or touched. Existing residents were notified on February 11, 2021, of the theft.

FPH believes the probability is low that protected health information (PHI)/financial information of residents or staff was accessible on the items stolen due to FPH’s longstanding practice and policy regarding the storage of protected health information, and the age and condition of the items. We could not confirm exactly what information was on the equipment and we do not believe that the equipment was encrypted.

We want to assure you that FPH takes its responsibility to safeguard personal information very seriously.  As a result of this incident, FPH immediately launched an internal investigation into this matter and began taking steps to reduce the risk of future unauthorized access to information.  Below is a summary of the investigation performed by FPH and the preventative measures implemented to reduce the risk of similar events like this from happening in the future.


-The Lakeland Police Department is continuing the investigation of this burglary;

-FPH talked with neighbors of 939 New York Avenue;

-FPH inventoried the accounting office files stored in 939 New York Avenue and determined none of the files were touched or taken;

-FPH has inventoried all of the possible tech items that have been stolen and sent that inventory to the Lakeland Police Department;

-FPH has investigated if any of the items had been encrypted or if information on the storage drives was deleted. Based on the documented information found to date, we cannot confirm that any or all of the information on the technology stolen had or had not been encrypted or if the information on the storage drives had been deleted;

-Based on past practice, as the equipment stolen was older than 5+ years, no protected health information or financial information would have been stored on the equipment. All protected health information is presently stored in the cloud through our Electronic Medical Records and Accounting program and would not be accessible through the stolen technology.


-FPH moved all files from 939 New York Ave. into a double-locked secure room that is not accessible via window entry and the room has a camera monitor and is located within one of our larger buildings where people work and live;

-FPH’s new Information Technology vendor has encrypted all computers and servers, and policies and practices have been updated regarding the storage, destruction, and timely disposition of such technology;

-FPH has installed motion sensor lighting and alarms on 939 New York Avenue. The house has been secured and will not be used for storage of protected information nor assets.

– We continue to touch base with Lakeland Police for updates on a monthly basis;

-FPH has invested in a HIPAA Management Program that will be utilized by our HIPAA Privacy Officer and our CFO. We are presently undertaking a HIPAA GAP Analysis in order to minimize future risks.

If you have any concern that this possible breach may impact you in any manner, please consider the following protective actions:

Although you are not required to take any action, we suggest that you immediately take the following steps:

  • Call the toll-free numbers of any one of the three major credit bureaus (below) to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348-5069.
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742;; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013.
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
  • Order your credit reports. By establishing a fraud alert, you will receive a follow-up letter that will explain how you can receive a free copy of your credit report. When you receive your credit report, examine it closely and look for signs of fraud, such as credit accounts that are not yours.
  • Continue to monitor your accounts (bank and credit card accounts as examples) for any improper information posted.

Out of an abundance of caution, FPH has set up a toll-free phone number for residents and staff that have a concern. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or if you need additional information regarding this incident. The toll-free number is 1-833-586-1686.

We deeply regret that this incident occurred and as shared in this notice, steps have been taken to address it and guard against it in the future.



Joseph J. Xanthopoulos

Chief Executive Officer and

Executive Director

Community Update – March 9th

. Posted in FPH

Hi Family & Friends,

It has been over a month since our last positive staff member. Therefore, we have not had any outbreak testing of our residents. Salon services have resumed and scheduled general visitations. Polk County’s positivity rate continues to go down in the right direction. As of last week, the rate dropped to 7.30% and we continue to test PMG staff weekly. Only six counties are over 10%. Nineteen counties are under 5% and are testing monthly. We hope to join this latter group soon.

Another great statistic is the 80% drop of positive cases in Nursing Homes from January 1, 2021, through February 7, 2021. This may be a correlation of vaccinations being administered; behavioral activities during the holidays and/or the seasonality of the virus.

We are still under an executive order and visitation continues on a scheduled basis. Please continue to wear a mask and wear them appropriately over the mouth and nose; conduct proper hand hygiene and maintain social distance. A new visitation sign-up link will be released later this week.

This week we will be having various activities for our staff as we celebrate National Employee Appreciation Week. We have so much to be appreciative of. Help us thank our hard-working staff that has stood in the gap for our residents during these unprecedented and challenging times.

Stay well,

Maria Rivera, Administrator

Visitation at FPH

. Posted in FPH, News

FPH offers visitation for residents in Assisted Living and the Porter McGrath Health Center, in accordance with the latest Executive Order, DEM 21-001. Visiting hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, daily. Please be aware that face masks must be worn on our campus at all times. Visitors must sign in at the screening desk, located in the lobby of the Porter McGrath Health Center.

Please be aware that we are currently drafting new policies/procedures to comply with the recent executive order and guidelines. We will update our family and friends on the changes as soon as possible.

Please reach out to a member of our team if you have any questions. Stay safe and be well!

Florida Presbyterian Homes Participates in World Day of Prayer

. Posted in Events, FPH, News

World Day of Prayer is being held on Friday, March 5. It’s a worldwide, ecumenical movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service. This year’s theme is “Build on a Strong Foundation.”

Florida-presbyterian-homes-celebrates-world-day-of-prayerThe symbol for World Day of Prayer was developed by the women of Ireland. Its design is made up of arrows converging from the four points of the compass, persons kneeling in prayer, the Celtic cross, and the circle, representing the world and our unity through all our diversity.

According to Chaplain Etta Owens, the residents of Florida Presbyterian Homes have chosen to join with the women of Vanuatu in worship and prayer, centered on the scripture in Matthew 7:24-27.

The Wise and Foolish Builders (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The land of Vanuatu is in a tropical archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean, prone to earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions and rising sea levels. This scripture tells a story about the kingdom of heaven using the image of a house and the land on which the house is built. Choosing the land on which to build is an important decision for the people in Vanuatu. Women around the world will unite this day in prayer and symbolic solidarity for Vanuatu.

Celebrating Nutrition & Hydration Week – March 15-21, 2021

. Posted in Events, FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

florida-presbyterian-homes-celebrates-nutrition-and-hydration-weekFlorida Presbyterian Homes is proud to celebrate Nutrition & Hydration Week from March 15-21. The mission of this national week is to join in a global movement that will reinforce proper nutrition and hydration as fundamental elements to maintaining good health and well-being. Organized by FPH’s Wellness department, this special recognition also serves as an opportunity to bring people together to create energy, focus and fun during the week.

The following events will be held on the FPH Campus:
  • Monday, March 15 – Fruit Smoothies in Forrer Bunker Lobby at 3:30pm on the South side
  • Tuesday, March 16 – ‘Stay at Home Tea’
    • Simply stop by in the morning at the McArthur Center Bistro (North side) or the Forrer Bunker Lobby (South side) to pick up all the ingredients you need for a special cup of tea.
  • Thursday, March 18 – Fruit Smoothies in the McArthur Center Bistro at 12:00pm on the North side
  • For the Assisted Living Facility Only –
    • Tuesday, March 16 – Citrus Water in ALF Garden at 10:00am.
    • Wednesday, March 17 –  Green Smoothies in the ALF Second Floor Dining Area at 1:00pm.
    • Thursday, March 18 – Citrus Water in ALF Garden at 10:00am.

“We’re excited to once again highlight Nutrition and Hydration Week,” said Alison Kennedy-Hand, director of FPH’s Wellness department. “We encourage residents and staff to take part in learning more about good nutrition and proper hydration all throughout this important week.”

Apartment Specials Now Available

. Posted in FPH, News

EXTRA….EXTRA…Read all about it!

If you’re looking for comfortable senior living, then today may be your lucky day! Florida Presbyterian Homes has recently updated and modernized their move-in ready apartments. Studio and one bedroom units are currently open and available.

Come take a safe, personalized tour any time before the end of March 2021 and you’ll receive a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. And, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift card for one of Lakeland’s finest restaurants. (This special applies to new prospects only through 3/31/21.)

If you sign a contract by March 31, 2021, the first month’s service fee is waived!

When you’re ready to experience a lifestyle worth living, contact our Marketing Department for more information: Call: 863-577-6001 or email:

Spiritual Health Proves Important in Achieving Overall Wellness

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

– By Alison Kennedy Hand, MS, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes

Importance-of-spiritual-wellnessIt is said that Wellness is the harmony between mind, body and spirit. So, this month’s focus is on the spiritual dimension of wellness, which is defined by Grand Rapids Community College as such: “Spiritual wellness involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope, and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose.”

To learn more about Spiritual Wellness, I sat down with our very own Chaplain Etta Owens here at FPH and asked her a few questions regarding the importance of the spiritual dimension of wellness.

Question: How would you define spiritual wellness?

Answer: A complete sense of who I am in relation to the One who created me, world around me, and my purpose in relation to each.

Q: Why is it important for someone to think about being spiritually whole?

A: We are all persons made up of mind, body, and spirit. If one part of the triad is incomplete, it creates a void that will reflect in our total personhood.

Q: What purpose does it serve for wellness experts to include spirituality into the wellness wheel?

A: If our spirituality is left unattended, there is a void within us that may cause issues in other areas if not attended to properly. Once we determine who we are and how we relate to all in this world, then and only then can we move forward to live a complete and purposeful life.

Q: What are some examples of how someone can practice spiritual wellness?

A: Learning what feeds our spirit and how to go about practicing those disciplines/rituals (i.e. prayer, fasting, worship, Sabbath rest, meditation, reading, journaling, devotionals, music, service for self and others.

Q: What does wellness mean to you?

A: Wholeness of mind, body, and spirit; health and well-being; and practice of disciplines to enhance entire-being.

I’d like to thank Chaplain Etta for her time. I think from her responses, we can all agree about the importance of incorporating spirituality into our overall Wellness goals.

Community Update – February 23rd

. Posted in FPH, News


We are happy to report that we have no positive COVID-19 cases in staff, residents, nor short-term rehab guests to report. The positivity rate has dropped below 10% in Polk County.

Bernhard Kloppenburg, Epidemiologist, Florida Department of Health in Polk County, shared the following information:

  • COVID-19 activity is still elevated, and while slowly decreasing remains above the increased activity that began after Thanksgiving.
  • COVID-19 deaths are a lagging indicator and while we were seeing roughly 12 deaths per week prior to Thanksgiving, we’ve seen over 50 per week in January and over 60 deaths reported thus far in February.
  • Influenza activity continues to remain low in Polk and across the state.
  • We are seeing indications of increased norovirus activity in Polk County.

Quarantine Clarification:

The headlines surrounding the CDC last week created some confusion for senior living providers. The CDC has clarified that residents of nursing homes, assisted living, or independent living facilities must still quarantine after direct exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

  • Visitation – There are no changes to the directives and guidance related to visitors to long-term care facilities.  The following memorandums (CMS QSO 20-39-NH and DEM Order No. 20-011) summarizes the applicable orders that are currently in place for all assisted living and nursing home facilities.
  • Vaccines – The federal government announced that it had secured 200 million additional doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine with enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by this summer. These doses do not include the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is currently being considered for emergency use authorization.
  • Masks – The CDC has issued Improve How Your Mask Protects You. This new guidance provides recommendations for better protection against new variants of the virus, including double masking and securing a better fit around the face.

We continue to allow visitations by appointment, and with education on proper handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing from others. Once past the screening process, the visitor may only go to the location of the visit and is not to approach other areas, staff, or residents. I understand that many may question why this still necessary if residents, staff, and family are vaccinated. However, we are still under executive orders and will notify you of any changes. Please continue to schedule your visits through the following link: Please review the visitation guidelines available on the website prior to your visit.


Stay safe and healthy,

Maria E. Rivera, Administrator

© 2019 Florida Presbyterian Homes
16 Lake Hunter Drive - Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863-688-5521 or Marketing: 863-577-6001