March 13, 2020
Dear Agemark Family Member,
The Coronavirus (COVID 19) is presenting a rapidly evolving health care situation, and it has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization There is much about this virus that is still unknown, but the one thing we do know is that keeping your loved one safe is our top priority. Any decision we make as a company is with this at top of mind. Our team has been monitoring the situation closely and diligently preparing for potential impact in our communities. This communication is to update you on our most recent decisions related to preventing exposure to our residents and staff.
We are now only allowing essential care partners in our building. Examples include licensed home health and hospice care providers, and physician-ordered specialists such as PT or OT. Any of these individuals that enter our communities will be screened according to CDC guidelines and turned away if they meet any of the high-risk criteria. We are restricting any visits by unlicensed staff at this time. Additionally, we have cancelled events in our building, and we will not give tours to potential residents and their families at this time.
In addition, we kindly request that families stop visiting their loved one in person at this time. We understand that this may be tough to hear. However, we feel that in order to keep your loved one safe, we must limit their contact with anyone who could potentially be exposed to the virus. To combat a lack of in-person visits, we are happy to arrange video calls through means such as Facetime or Skype; phone calls so your loved one can hear your voice; and to provide increased updates from our caregivers.
The only exception to this policy is that close family members with loved ones on hospice will be allowed with strict precautions. If your loved one is on hospice, please contact your community director, who will explain this policy to you personally.
We will continue with the protocol we previously put in place:
- Suspending participation in scheduled activities out of the building that include exposure to groups of people (i.e. malls, movie theaters, casinos, schools, etc.).
- Suspending visits from entertainers and volunteers.
- Using caution when going out for activities – wash hands before leaving and upon returning and sanitize the bus after outings (spray Lysol on soft surfaces and clean hard surfaces with quaternary cleaner).
- Limiting non-essential visits by business partners and/or vendors to our buildings.
We will also continue to follow these procedures:
- Monitoring staff health conditions; not allowing any to work if they have a cough, fever or shortness of breath. Screening, including temperature monitoring, will take place prior to each shift for all staff.
- Posting “No Visitors” signage at all entries.
- Limiting visitors to one entrance
- Posting hand washing signs at all community entries along with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which is also provided throughout the community
- Ensuring that residents wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before meals
- Using cleaning products that meet the recommended criteria
- Monitoring residents for cough, fever and shortness of breath. An activation plan is in place should any residents present with symptoms.
We have updated our Infectious Process Containment Policies and Procedures to reflect the most recent recommendations by Center for Disease Control (CDC), The American Health Care Association (AHCA), The National Council for Assisted Living (NCAL) and Contra Costa Health Services. We will keep you updated if there is new information available or we become aware of any recommendations that would impact our residents, employees, families or visitors. Precautionary interventions will be lifted as soon as is clinically prudent.
We appreciate your understanding while we work diligently to keep your loved one safe. We are grateful for the trust you place in us. Please know that is an honor we do not take for granted. Do not hesitate to reach out to the director of your community if you have questions or concerns about our preparedness efforts.
Terri Jo Goldsmith RN-BC, CRRN, CDP
Corporate Nurse, Agemark