PLANS AND PROTOCOLS

COVID-19 Senior Living Reopening Plan

Because many of our residents and associates have received the vaccine, we are beginning to gradually phase out some of our COVID-19 protocols in our senior living communities as appropriate. The outlined changes apply only to those communities in which 70% of current residents are fully vaccinated, which is defined as:

  1. Completed all required vaccine doses
  2. Being at least two weeks past the final vaccine dose

Reopening in Phases

We will be following the recommendations of health experts and reopening in multiple phases with a two-week pause between each phase to ensure there is not a resurgence in symptoms or cases. This phased approach will impact culinary, activities, outside services and visitors.

Each area has the following phases:

  • Red – full COVID-19 protocols
  • Yellow – some relaxing of COVID-19 protocols
  • Green – fully reopened

The reopening protocol for visitors has an additional orange intermediate phase.

The reopening plan will be initiated based on these criteria:

  • No active cases in the community
    • A community may not reopen if there have been active COVID-19 cases among associates, residents or essential visitors in the past 14 days.
  • National guidance from the CDC
    • Our communities always follow the latest CDC guidance for long-term care and/or assisted living environments.
  • State reopening orders
    • Our communities will follow state orders – from the governor and health department – to confirm any specific directives to senior living communities.
  • County and city directives
    • Reopening plans will also be guided by local directives at the county or city level.

General Guidelines

  1. Visitors
    1. Residents should always be allowed to have family and friends visit. These visits can take place in a designated visiting area or in the resident’s apartment when allowed by state guidelines.
      1. Contact between the resident and the visitor is allowed, and if both parties are vaccinated, they can choose not to wear a mask during the visit.
    2. All persons entering the community must be screened for signs and symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19.
    3. All visitors must adhere to the mask/face covering policy outlined in this plan.
    4. We will post appropriate signage informing guests of our visitation policy and reminding them not to visit if they have symptoms of respiratory illness.
    5. Hand sanitizer will be available at entrances.
    6. If in-person visits are paused, we will use technology to help family members communicate with residents. This can include telephone, video conferences or mobile devices.
  2. Monitoring/Screening of Signs and Symptoms
    1. All persons entering the community will be screened for signs and symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19, including taking their temperature.
    2. Existing residents will be monitored/screened for signs and symptoms at least once per day, including taking temperatures.
      1. Fully vaccinated residents may be exempt from daily screening. These residents will be educated/encouraged to perform daily self-checks and report if they are feeling sick or have a fever. These residents will be screened anytime they return to the community from an outing.
    3. All visitors will be screened each day they are in the community.
    4. Screening of staff will take place at the start of every shift.
  3. Cleaning and Disinfection
    1. Common areas and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected frequently using an EPA-approved disinfectant.
      1. Examples include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks and touch screens.
    2. Dining areas will be cleaned and disinfected between meals.
  4. Masks/Face coverings
    1. Unvaccinated Residents:
      1. Will be asked and encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when outside their room/apartment.
    2. Vaccinated Residents:
      1. Are not required to wear a face covering when in groups with other residents who are also fully vaccinated.
      2. Will be asked and encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when in the presence of unvaccinated residents.
      3. May be exempt from wearing a face covering at all times if allowed by state and local health department guidance.
    3. Unvaccinated Staff:
      1. Must wear a medical/surgical mask at all times in the community.
    4. Vaccinated Staff:
      1. Generally expected to wear a medical/surgical mask when in the community.
      2. May remove their mask in small groups/meetings with other staff who are also fully vaccinated.
      3. May be exempt from wearing a mask if allowed by state and local health department guidance.
    5. Unvaccinated Visitors:
      1. Must wear a cloth face covering when in the community.
    6. Vaccinated Visitors:
      1. Must wear a cloth face covering when in the presence of unvaccinated residents.
      2. May be exempt from wearing a face covering if allowed by state and local health department guidance.
  5. Social Distancing
    1. If possible, keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and someone who is coughing, is sneezing or has a fever.
  6. Culinary
    1. In communities where at least 70% of residents are fully vaccinated, residents who do not live in the same apartment may dine together at the same table.
    2. Visitors who are fully vaccinated may participate in communal dining unless restricted by their state or local health department.
  7. Activities and Outings
    1. If all residents participating in an activity are fully vaccinated, they may choose to have close contact and not wear a mask during the activity. If unvaccinated individuals are present, all residents in the activity must remain 6 feet apart and wear a mask.
    2. Outside performers, entertainers or volunteers can participate in activity programs to the extent visitors are allowed. They will be screened.
    3. Visitors who are fully vaccinated may participate in activities unless restricted by their state or local health department.
  8. Environmental Practices To Reduce Potential Exposure
    1. Doors and windows will be left open when possible to reduce touching by multiple people and to improve ventilation.
    2. Frequently touched objects will be removed from common areas.
  9. Respond Aggressively to Signs and Symptoms
    1. Symptomatic residents will be quarantined until tested, and communities will follow directions from the resident’s physician and local health department.
    2. Associates will be reminded and encouraged to stay home if they feel ill.

          If you have any questions, please reach out to your community’s Executive Director.

          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:

          Associates

          • 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.

          Residents:

          • 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.

          Please check our updates page for the latest information. If you have questions about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our FAQ page.