Live Update to Residents-April 22, 2021

Today’s Live Update on our in-house TV970 covered the latest news at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. It featured John Burns, President and CEO; Will Blackwell, Vice President Health Services; Kathleen Pender, Horticulturist; Tom Henning, Director Construction Management; and David Curtis, Chaplain. The next Live Update will be Thursday, April 29.

The following updates were shared.

John Burns

COVID-19 Updates

Westminster Canterbury Richmond has no new cases of COVID-19 in residents or employees. Mary Morton Parsons Health Center employees are tested weekly due to the positivity rate in Henrico County, currently 6.2%. Residents of Parsons Health Center Third Floor South and East are in quarantine until Saturday, April 24. One of the two employees who previously tested positive for COVID-19 has returned to work.

We have expanded in-person programming, increased Dining to allow reservations for four people and increased visitation in Independent Living and Assisted Living. As a reminder, residents of Independent Living and Avalon may determine the number of visitors in their apartment based on the size of the apartment and ability to maintain social distancing. In The Gables and Monticello, visitation is limited to one person at a time to ensure social distancing. Groups of two or more may visit outside or schedule a visit by contacting Sloan Verlander or Ermelinda Chicas. Masks continued to be required for everyone throughout the community.


98.5% of our residents and more than 75% of our staff received vaccination during the vaccination clinics earlier this year and are fully vaccinated. Since that time, many new residents and employees have received vaccination outside of Westminster Canterbury. We are tracking the ongoing changes in vaccination numbers and will update you in the coming weeks.

While our care and interest in one another is natural, questioning employees about personal health information should be avoided. Personal health information, including receiving or declining a vaccine, is considered private, personal, protected health information under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Westminster Canterbury management cannot share vaccination status, and staff cannot be required to disclose it if they choose to keep that information private. We continue to offer protection through screening employees as they arrive to work each day, educating on appropriate safety precautions and requiring masks and social distancing. Our vaccination percentage is increasing, which helps protect our community.

Thank you for your care and concern as we continue to encourage vaccination for everyone! Now that vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older, we encourage all visitors, volunteers, contractors and employees to find appointments for vaccination at local pharmacies and other sources in the community.

Vibrancy! Frequently Asked Questions

A narrated tour video of the Vibrancy! project is available at 4 p.m. on TV971 daily. It will be shared with the public in the next week. Additional images and plans will be available for reference closer to the beginning of construction.

What is the overall cost of Vibrancy! and how is it being paid for?

The overall construction costs for Vibrancy! are approximately $130 million. There are additional costs for architecture, engineering, consultants, permits, fees, marketing and more that bring the project total to approximately $160 million.

The funding for Vibrancy! comes from three sources. A cash contribution made by Westminster Canterbury Corporation will pay for the elements of the project required to maintain the community regardless of adding additional apartments. These include parking, the Fitness and Aquatics Center and Salon improvements. The cash for this comes from investment returns that were saved for this investment. The second source of funds will come from the new entrance fees associated with the new apartments being added to the community. The third source will be new debt in the form of a tax-exempt bond. The monthly fees from the new units will cover these ongoing debt payments.

Current residents’ monthly fees are not paying for any part of Vibrancy!. Westminster Canterbury Foundation does not raise any funds to cover new residences. Gifts to the Foundation help provide the margin of excellence in programming and other efforts that ensure the best life possible for our residents. Vibrancy! will fund itself, and the benefits of scale achieved by adding new apartments will benefit all residents moving forward. There have been and will continue to be analysis to ensure Vibrancy! funds itself and is beneficial to the organization.

How will this project benefit current residents?

Vibrancy! is what current residents have wished for and told us they want. Thanks to input from past Resident Satisfaction Surveys, the work of Residents Board Committees and the staff who work with residents every day, we designed plans that allow us to achieve our goals in offering the best life possible in senior living.

How are we planning for the impacts to current residents?

Staff-led Expansion Task Forces were established in 2020 to plan for Vibrancy! The goal of these Task Forces is to stay on top of issues that may impact the way we provide services and programs. Each Task Force has a resident representative to provide input. The Task Forces are: Dining, Facility Impacts, New Resident Move-Ins, Public Relations/Communications, Resident Relocations, Resident Satisfaction, Safety, Spiritual Center, Staff Office Relocation, Technology/AV, Transportation/Courtesy Services and Vital Living Center.

In the coming weeks, the most impacted resident groups will receive information about plans to accommodate for the disruption and maintain a high degree of safety and quality of life during the most difficult periods.

Why are we renovating the Promenade?

Westminster Canterbury’s culinary team created a plan for four separate dining venues. The Tower Lobby and current Promenade dining areas will be renovated and expanded to create engaging spaces that will promote socialization and delight the culinary senses!

A new coffee bar and cocktail lounge space connects indoors and outdoors with lovely views of the Ellipse. A flexible dining space will be available for gathering and special events. A small dining space will feature farm-to-table inspired meals in multiple courses in a warm, vibrant dining room with wine displays and an intimate feel. The main dining room, the Promenade Room, will feature a kitchen that is visible from the dining space. A new Virginia Room offers space for small groups to dine in private. The Promenade Project will begin June.

Will Blackwell

Dining Update in Mary Morton Parsons Health Center

Beginning today residents in Parsons Health Center may make reservations for lunch only in the Marketplace by dialing ext. 6030. At this time, we cannot serve outside guests, private duty sitters or family members. Residents may have lunch with resident neighbors or friends within Westminster Canterbury.

Medical Director

Westminster Canterbury is pleased to announce our new medical director effective June 1, 2021.

Why do we need a medical director? In the Mary Morton Parsons Health Center, it is a requirement and a federal regulation to hire and maintain a medical director. We are regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) because we accept payment from Medicare and Medicaid; therefore, we must meet this requirement.

The facility must have a licensed physician who serves as the medical director to coordinate medical care in the facility and provide clinical guidance and oversight regarding the implementation of resident care policies. The medical director collaborates with the facility leadership, staff and other practitioners and consultants to help develop, implement and evaluate resident care policies and procedures that reflect current standards of practice. The medical director helps the facility identify, evaluate and address/resolve medical and clinical concerns and issues that affect resident care, medical care or quality of life; or are related to the provision of services by physicians and other licensed health care practitioners.

The medical director is a member of the Health Services Committee of the Corporate Board and sits as the chair of our Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement Committee. The medical director also reviews all new Independent Living and Assisted Living applicants’ health assessments before admission to Westminster Canterbury.

It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Danny Felty as Medical Director at Westminster Canterbury since 2013. We appreciate his diligence for quality care, leadership and willingness to work closely with the residents, nursing staff and other physicians at Westminster Canterbury.

Effective June 1, our new medical director will be Dr. James Lee Wright, M.D., Ph.D., MATS, CMD. Dr. Wright received his Ph.D. and M.D. from VCU Medical School in Richmond, VA, and holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Union Presbyterian Seminary as well as a Certificate in Bioethics from Loyola University, Chicago. He specializes in geriatrics and is medical director of two other facilities in Richmond, Our Lady of Hope and The Memory Center.

Dr. Wright is widely published in a number of peer reviewed journals including The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and The Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. He has a particular interest in improving quality of care and quality of life for those living in long-term care and assisted living settings. He writes and speaks on the intersection of religion, ethics and medicine.

You may recognize Dr. Wright as a previous speaker at Westminster Canterbury’s Life Planning Series session on Advanced Medical Decisions in November 2016. Dr. Wright is married to Dr. Jennie Webb-Wright, a palliative care physician with Bon Secours/Mercy Health System and is the proud father of four children who are either attending or have graduated from UVA, VMI and William & Mary, with one currently at Goochland High School. He is active in the music ministry at River Road Presbyterian Church and is in a band called WKNDR, whose first album is dropping at the end of April. Dr. Wright is thrilled to be joining Westminster Canterbury Richmond.

Dr. Reed, Dr. Cook and Kathi Pack will continue seeing residents at Westminster Canterbury. The change in medical director has no effect on their partnership with us. Dr. Wright will be accepting new residents only in Parsons Health Center. He is not able to work in the Independent Living Clinic. He will be working with Dr. Reed and Kathi Pack.

Kathleen Pender

Tower Resident Gardens

The Tower Resident Garden Plots located next to the Todd Greenhouse will be temporarily relocated to the Ellipse as we prepare for construction this summer. On Thursday, April 22, and Friday, April 23, our Grounds Crew will oversee the construction of raised wooden planter beds that will serve as temporary garden plots for Tower Residents for Summer 2021. The Grounds Crew will assist in setting these new planter beds in place, filling them with garden soil and coordinating the reworking of irrigation heads and installation of new water hydrants to make the space ready for Tower Resident Gardeners.

We anticipate beginning to transplant plant materials from the existing Tower Resident Gardens to the new temporary location at the Ellipse on Tuesday, April 27. The Grounds Team is happy to assist residents with digging, transplanting and transporting plant materials from the current Tower Garden Plots to the new temporary planter beds at the Ellipse. The Grounds Team will utilize their carts and trailers to move plant materials to the new area by resident request. If you would like assistance, please contact Kathleen Pender at 264-6045 or to set an appointment. Lucie Lee Crews, the Landscape, Garden and Greenhouse Committee Chair and Tower Resident Garden Plot Liaison, will assist Kathleen and team with coordination of new temporary resident garden planter bed assignments.

We are currently working through the permitting process for the new permanent Tower Resident Garden location with the City of Richmond. The plan is for the new garden plots to be constructed using retaining wall stone block, similar to the existing Courtyard Resident Garden plots located behind The Gables. We also plan to place a Garden Tool Shed equipped with cubbies similar to the current Tool Shed. Our goal is to complete the permitting process with the City of Richmond this summer and to deliver this new permanent space to Tower residents for gardening by Fall 2021.

We are very excited that we will have a dedicated, safe space for our Tower Residents to enjoy gardening this summer and are eager to share additional information as we work through the final details for this project. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Kathleen.

At the beginning of June, removal of the large Willow Oak tree at the Ellipse will begin. While this must be removed due to the future construction, there are plans for repurposing wood from the tree into the Promenade and other projects. Our team of Arborists and the Vibrancy! construction team advise that the process for drying the tree will require curing time over two summers.

If you got an early start on summer plantings this year, frost is expected tonight, so please cover your tender perennials, herbs like basil or dill and tomatoes.

Tom Henning

Tower Lounges

Remaining lounge furniture will be installed this week and into early next week. TVs have been installed and are being programmed this week. Wood shutters are being manufactured and installation will follow. An updated timeline will be shared soon.

Tower Laundry

Renovation of the Tower laundry rooms on the First, Third, Fifth and Seventh Floors is underway. Residents on these floors may use the newly renovated laundry facilities on the other floors during the renovation time. An updated timeline will be shared soon. Other improvements will be made to the ironing boards and recycling and trash bins.

Instructions on using the new machines have been developed. Because the washing machine uses less water, please use a high efficiency liquid soap that is labeled HE. There a special location in the detergent drawer for liquid softener and bleach that will properly dispense during the wash cycle. The washers and dryers show the length of time required for the cycle.

The remaining decorations will be installed next week along with the freestanding ironing boards and final cabinet modifications. Chairs will be added in the future.

If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Tom Henning at ext. 6033.

David Curtis

Pastoral Care Updates

Work continues on the sound and picture quality for services broadcast from the Sanctuary. We are working with a contractor and staff on improvements and hope the system will be working effectively soon.

A Sermon for Every Sunday will air on Sunday, April 25, at 4 p.m. on TV970. Fr. Michael Renninger from St. Mary’s Catholic Church will preach on Acts 4:5-12.

Music in the Sanctuary

On Tuesday, April 27, at 11 a.m., Susie Frazer will play familiar tunes. Please call David Curtis at ext. 5179 to reserve a seat. Many thanks to Nancy Bain, Susie Frazer, Sally Maynard and Annette Sparks for giving of their time and talent to offer these programs.

Please join us for a pop-up concert in the Sanctuary, on Wednesday, April 28, from 2-2:30 p.m. Bob Cafaro, professional cellist and son of resident Kit Cafaro, will play. Tickets are not required. Please arrive in the Sanctuary by 1:50 p.m. for seating.

Amos 5:24

But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Return to the blog.