Frequently Asked Questions: Residents and Families
In an effort to keep you informed, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we have received over the past week from our residents and family members. While we want to maintain strong communication and give you clear answers, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment that changes daily, and even hourly at times. As we focus on transparency in the FAQ below, please be aware that these answers pertain to today (March 26, 2020) and could certainly change as confirmed cases across the country increase. Thank you for trusting us to do the right thing for you and your loved one during this trying time. By standing united together, for the common goal of caring for our residents, we will be in a better position to deliver on our mission of Living Better.
How are the communities taking precautions to prevent the virus from entering the building?
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in our state, we are taking many steps to reduce the possibility of the virus entering our building:
- Travel Restrictions: At this time, associates who travel out of town are communicating with building leadership to talk through details of the trip (where they’re going, what they’ll be doing, what exposure risk they have), and whether or not a self-quarantine upon their return is needed. Out of an abundance of caution, we have asked associates to self-quarantine already and many associates have decided to postpone travel plans to a later date.
- Temperatures: Individuals who enters our community, including associates coming in for their workday, will have their temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature 100.3 or greater, will be asked to leave the community.
- Central Access: While our communities have multiple entry points, we have limited access into communities by closing all perimeter doors and only allowing visitors in through the main entrance.
- Limiting Visitors: We are only allowing essential visitors at our community at this time, that are critical to medical care or building operations. We are asking families to understand the goal of this request is to reduce the potential for exposure, and was not designed to take you away from loved ones. We encourage you to reach out to our team if you’re interested in setting up communication through FaceTime or Skype!
- Extra Cleaning and Disinfecting: Community staff have stepped up to the plate to wipe down frequently touched surfaces including buttons, handrails and doorknobs at least three times per day. This occurs more frequently depending upon use of common areas.
Can a resident still come and go from the building, as long as they stay six feet away from others?
Our communities are not currently under “lock down”, and residents can still leave the buildings if absolutely necessary. We strongly encourage residents and families to avoid any outings at this time. This virus is easy to pick up from any surface and there is a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 every time the resident leaves the building. The risk for spreading the virus to others in the building multiplies when that resident returns. Please consider the potential implications of COVID-19 for all residents, who are at high risk of complications if they should catch the virus.
What are communities doing to be prepared for a positive case?
- Home office leadership, including operations and clinical, are meeting daily to discuss increasing cases in our city and talk through recommendations by governing bodies.
- Executive Directors (ED) and Directors of Healthcare (DOH) attend a weekly community-specific call with leaders from the home office Pandemic Planning Committee, to discuss the virus as it pertains to their individual building. Discussions on these calls range from essential staffing plans and updated pandemic protocols, to new CDC guidelines and steps for communication.
- The Pandemic Planning Committee at the home office holds a weekly video conference call for EDs and DOHs from all communities, where new recommendations and guidelines are discussed from a company perspective.
- Each community has established an essential staffing plan, in the event of a confirmed case in their community. This plan details the minimum number of associates required to ensure necessary care to our residents is maintained.
- Associates exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (cough, sore throat, fever or respiratory distress) will be asked to leave the building, while residents with these symptoms will be placed in isolation until medical attention has been received and resident is cleared of having the virus.
- While Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is low throughout the entire world, we are in daily contact with a variety of resources and business partners, in an effort to continue stocking our supply.
- Just as fire drills are a key component to being prepared in case of a fire emergency, the same is true for this pandemic. We are increasing training procedures and creating COVID-19 role play scenarios for our team members, so we can be prepared in the event of a confirmed positive in our building.
What happens if we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our building?
Here are the steps we will take in the event our community has a confirmed positive for COVID-19:
- The resident exhibiting symptoms will have already been isolated to their apartment, to be proactive in the event the test was positive
- The lab conducting the COVID-19 test will be the first to know, and will alert public health and community leadership if the test is positive
- Community leadership will work with the health department and the home office
- Each employee who has been exposed will be notified and will follow up with public health for instructions
- Executive Director will follow protocol established with the Pandemic Planning Committee and follow real time instruction of the public health department
- The resident with a positive COVID-19 test will remain in isolation until directed to be released, and staff will need to wear PPE upon entering resident’s apartment following the guidelines established by the Director of Healthcare
- All residents will go into quarantine, which requires them to stay in their apartment but does not require the staff to don PPE upon entry
- Limitations on visitors may be reviewed and tightened, with further restrictions implemented.
We realize this is a challenging time for everyone, and there are frequent updates to our policies and procedures as the number of COVID-19 cases grow. We are continuously inspired with your dedication to keeping your loved ones and other residents safe by restricting visits. We have seen visitors stop by a resident’s exterior window (with the window closed!) to say hello, and many family members have increase their usage of communication through technology. Thank you for finding creative ways to keep in touch with loved ones. We know it’s important and meaningful for everyone. The best way we can keep residents safe is by your support during this time. Many, many thanks to our families, friends and residents! If you have additional questions or concerns, we encourage you to talk directly with the Executive Director at your building.