March 20, 2020

Dear Agemark Family Member,

As we all watch the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolve I want to let you know we are continuing to review and update our policies and procedures for providing care within our buildings on a day to day basis. In everything we do, your loved one’s safety is our top priority. This letter will inform you about our most recent decisions related to preventing exposure to our residents and staff.

Last week we restricted visitors and started screening every staff member before their shift started, as well as every Essential Care Partner prior to entering our buildings. Since then, schools and businesses in many locations have closed to slow the progression of this virus, which indicates we made the right decision. It further reinforces that this is a serious matter, so we will continue to take serious measures to prevent the spread to others. We are encouraged by the attention, recognition and care given to the elderly within our population – they are loved and cherished so much that we, as a society, will change our entire lifestyle to preserve their safety.

We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as several state agencies, and have now chosen to limit groups of residents to 10 or fewer, whenever possible, and encourage social distancing. This will affect how we serve meals and conduct our life enrichment activities. Residents who do not require dining oversight will now have the option of having meals delivered to their room instead of eating in the dining room. Additionally, we will offer one-on-one activities for residents in their rooms, prioritize physical and fresh-air activities, and help residents stay both spiritually and socially engaged through staff interaction. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement!

We are also working hard to facilitate regular contact with their families through video or phone. Please call the building to schedule a “virtual visit” with your loved one.

The following established protocols remain in effect:

  • Suspend participation in scheduled activities out of the building that include exposure to groups of people (i.e. malls, movie theaters, casinos, schools, etc.).
  • Non-essential visitors are not admitted, including family members, entertainers and volunteers.
  • Continue bus rides with strict procedures – wash hands before leaving and upon returning, sanitize the bus after outings, etc. Residents may get off the bus to walk in a park or other safe destination.
  • Monitor residents for cough, fever and shortness of breath. A mitigation plan is in place should any individuals present with symptoms.

We have updated our infection prevention policies and procedures to reflect the most recent recommendations by Center for Disease Control (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The American Health Care Association (AHCA), The National Council for Assisted Living (NCAL) and the state or regional Departments of Health and Social Services in our locations. 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.

Thank you so much for your support and understanding that we’re working very hard to keep your loved one safe. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the director of your community. In addition, we’ve set up a wellness hotline at the Agemark corporate office. If you are having any trouble reaching the building, please call 1-800-449-5526 or email wellness@agemark.com.

If you have not already given us your email address, we highly encourage you to do so. We wish to have as many ways to contact you as possible, so we are able to quickly inform you of any updates to our procedures. Please send any additional contact information to the director of your community as soon as you are able.

 

Respectfully,

 

Terri Jo Goldsmith RN-BC, CRRN, CDP

Corporate Nurse, Agemark