PLANS AND PROTOCOLS
What We Are Doing
While we are not a "health care facility" (hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are), we have a preparedness plan and protocols in place for all viruses like this, including the flu and norovirus. The health and safety of our residents and our associates is always our top priority.
We know our associates play an important role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents, visitors and fellow associates. Our associates have been trained on respiratory illness, including infection control practices and monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Just as with any virus or infection, we follow guidelines established by the CDC, and state and local health departments. Below are steps we have asked our associates to take to help prevent COVID-19 from entering our communities:
- Wear a facemask at all times while at the community.
- Wash hands regularly, especially when arriving to work, after interacting with residents, after using the restroom and after personal activities such as eating.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if sick or showing symptoms of coronavirus.
- Notify a supervisor or the executive director if they have traveled outside the United States within the past 14 days or have plans to in the future.
- Ensure hand hygiene, tissues and masks are readily available for our residents and their loved ones.
- Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing our common areas to prevent the spread of germs.
- Follow approved dishwashing techniques in our kitchens.
- Ask residents who aren’t feeling well to stay in their apartments or go to the hospital for further medical evaluations.
- Our on-site resident care professionals, particularly in Assisted Living and Memory Care, are extensively trained to support our residents and monitor their health. At the earliest signs of one resident’s experiencing a similar illness and symptoms, we’ll enact extra infection-control procedures, including limiting non-essential activities in the community and notifying families and visitors.
Resident Illness Intervention Protocol
In the event that any resident or associate displays symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19, we will immediately place the resident under full isolation protocols and implement CDC-recommended precautions. We will seek medical attention by contacting their medical provider or calling 911 if the resident is in distress or needs immediate medical attention. We will also report the situation to the public health department, and restrict the non-infected residents to their apartments unless there is a medically necessary purpose.
The Resident Care Director and/or Executive Director will ensure associates and residents follow the guidelines below for responding to a resident with COVID-19:
- Upon entering the apartment of a resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19, staff MUST wear full PPE gear. This requires gowns, gloves, N95 or higher-level respirator, (facemasks can be used if N95s are unavailable), and eye protection. This includes outside health care providers or anyone entering the resident’s room such as housekeeping, maintenance, etc.
- Wear gloves when touching an ill resident, potentially contaminated environmental surfaces, or items potentially contaminated with respiratory secretions, contaminated tissues, vomit or fecal matter.
- Gowns must be worn when providing direct care to an ill resident, and gloves and gowns must be changed after each encounter with an ill resident. After removing gloves, associates should immediately, without touching surfaces or objects, wash their hands with soap and water.
- When finished providing personal care, personal protective equipment (gloves, masks and gowns) must be removed prior to leaving the resident apartment or care area and discarded in an appropriate waste container. All used personal protective equipment must be treated as potentially infectious.
- If there is a concern about the safety of disposing of personal protective equipment within a resident’s apartment, care associates will be trained on where to appropriately dispose of soiled equipment that minimizes the spread of infection.
- Increase screening/monitoring of residents and staff for signs and symptoms when there are active cases in a community.
- Screen staff at the beginning and end of each shift.
- Screen residents for symptoms during each shift.
- If a resident requires a higher level of care than what you can provide, coordinate a transferral of the resident to an appropriate medical facility.
- If necessary/possible, consider grouping ill patients together in a dedicated area of the community.
- Continue to prohibit visitors (unless medically necessary), group activities and dining room service.
- A surgical or procedure mask will be placed over the ill resident’s nose and mouth, if tolerated, when transport or movement of the resident is necessary outside of their room.
- The resident will be instructed to use tissues to cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. A bag or other waste receptacle will be provided for disposal of contaminated tissues.
- Hands will be washed or sanitized with an alcohol-based hand hygiene product frequently throughout the day, before they leave their room, and after hand contact with respiratory secretions or contaminated tissues.
- A supply of gloves will be kept in the resident’s room, unless there are concerns about the resident’s safety.