Response to COVID-19
Precautions and Protocols
Letters to Families
March 19, 2020
Residents and Family Members:
Older adults and people with underlying chronic diseases are at a higher risk for developing serious complications COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control, residents in nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes are at the highest risk. (CDC)
We have taken steps over the last several weeks to prevent COVID-19 from entering our communities and are pleased to report that no residents or staff members in our communities have tested positive for COVID-19 as of today. However, as the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, we recognize the need to take further action to ensure the safety of the residents in our care.
Earlier this week, the CDC recommended that all senior living communities assume that they have a resident with COVID-19 and “take aggressive measures to keep residents and personnel healthy.” We are following that direction and will be making the following changes.
As of Friday morning, we are taking the additional step to limit interaction within the building by delivering all meals to resident apartments and cancelling all group activities. This applies to residents living in Independent living, Personal Care and Assisted Living.
Our employees will work hard to limit the negative impact that social isolation can have on seniors. We are already brainstorming creative ways to continue to keep residents active and engaged.
If you need assistance connecting with your loved one, please let us know. We will do our best to arrange for a phone call or Facetime visit.
March 16, 2020
To Our Family Members:
This provides an update to our visitation policy.
We are still not permitting visitors (including family and friends) to enter the community.
In addition, should you choose to pick your loved one up from the community to take them off campus, we will require them to quarantine for 14 days when they return. The only exception to this policy is a trip off campus for a medical appointment.
We are taking these additional steps in light of the growing concern for the spread of the COVID-19 across the nation and the subsequent restrictions various states have put in place. The 14-day quarantine will not apply if your loved one stays on campus when they leave the building. This will allow them to sit outside on our patios/porches and take walks around our campus to get fresh air. However, if they leave campus on a walk or otherwise, they will have to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
We will still allow medically necessary visits and those individuals will continue to be actively screened. You can also still drop off packages outside the building where staff members will accept them.
Our staff is committed to maintaining as much of a normal life in the community as possible. We are still providing normal dining service (with modifications as necessary per CDC guidelines) and offering normal activities such as movies, music and games. We are strongly encouraging our residents to take advantage of on campus activities and discouraging them from leaving the campus with family or otherwise. Residents who need something from the grocery store or pharmacy should talk to an employee.
At this time, we still do not have any residents with COVID-19. Please know that we are taking the danger of COVID-19 seriously and have put these additional precautions into place to diminish the risk of infection. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves.
March 12, 2020
To Our Family Members:
We know many of you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may impact your loved one. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our first priority. At this time, we do not have any residents with COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help.
At this time, we are not permitting visitors (including family and friends) to enter the community. We have posted signs at our entryway doors. Only visitors that are medically necessary will be allowed and those individuals will be actively screened. Deliveries of packages will be made outside the building and a staff member will accept them.
We understand that connecting with your loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider communicating with them. These may include telephone, email, text, video chat or social media. If you need assistance connecting with your loved one, please reach out to the community and we will assist you.
Our staff is committed to maintaining as much of a normal life in the community as possible with a few temporary exceptions. We have eliminated all group outings. We are strongly discouraging residents from leaving the campus with family or otherwise. Residents who need something from the grocery store or pharmacy should talk to an employee.
We continue to emphasize proper hand washing hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. In addition, we’ve encouraged residents to avoid shaking hands or hugging others. Any resident who is experiencing a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, has been advised to let a staff member know immediately.
In summary, please know that we are taking the danger of COVID-19 seriously and have put these precautions and protocols into place to diminish the risk of infection and to keep residents healthy. We anticipate having information regarding the community response to COVID-19 on our website later today. We will post future updates on that site.
March 2, 2020
If you’ve listened to the news or picked up a newspaper lately, you have undoubtedly seen tons of stories about the “coronavirus” (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refer to it as COVID-19: CO = Corona VI = Virus D = Disease 19 = The Year), If you’re like me, these stories have quickly caused you to think about your family and loved ones and how this coronavirus might impact you.
We want you to know that we are thinking about it too.
While the coronavirus sounds scary and there are concerns about how it is spreading around the world, at the end of the day it is a contagious virus and, thankfully, senior living communities have a strong history of responding to contagious viruses and infections. From an operational perspective, we will treat COVID-19 just like we do for things like the flu and norovirus.
How our community prepares for contagious viruses
We follow guidelines from the CDC and state and local departments of health. Here are some steps we take to prevent the spread of any virus in our community:
- We focus on keeping our common areas as clean and sanitized as possible to prevent the spread of germs.
- Our kitchens follow NSF-approved dishwashing techniques.
- All staff members are trained in techniques to prevent the spread of germs specific to their individual roles in serving residents in our communities. Additionally, we ask staff who are sick to stay at home until they are no longer contagious.
- We ask that residents who are sick to stay in their apartments or go to the hospital for further medical evaluations.
- Particularly in Personal Care, Assisted Living and Memory Care, our resident care teams are very tuned into the health and wellness of every resident. At the earliest signs of two or more people experiencing a similar illness and symptoms, we take steps to enact extra infection control procedures, including limiting non-essential activities in the community and notifying families and visitors.
What else we’re doing
The vibrant life that our residents have come to know and love continues on every day. And behind the scenes, we have already started making precautionary operational adjustments in light of the current COVID-19 worldwide situation, in addition to our everyday procedures listed above:
- We are increasing the frequency of the sanitization of common areas.
- We ask that everyone wash their hands with soap and water.
- We have touchless hand sanitizer stations in our communities.
- A sign at our front desks now asks a question regarding recent international travel. This helps us to monitor people entering the community who may have been at a higher risk of exposure outside of the United States.
- We are attempting to order extra personal protective equipment supplies, such as masks and gloves, to have on hand.
How you can help
You can help prevent the spread of viruses like the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. It is important that you avoid visiting the community if you feel sick or have other symptoms of an illness. And if you have traveled outside of the United States within the past 30 days, it is best to avoid contact with seniors for a few weeks after your return.
These sound like simple precautions, but they honestly go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases like this.
If anyone has specific questions, please reach out to the Executive Director. As always, the safety and health of our residents is my number one concern.