Our Response to
The health and safety of residents, our employees and community partners is our top priority. With this in mind, we wanted to communicate regarding precautions we’re taking as a company in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Company-wide, Agemark Senior Living and our family of communities (Astoria, CountryHouse, Kensington-Evergreen, The Meriwether and TreVista) are following all local health departments and CDC updates and recommendations and are taking steps to protect our communities.
Help us protect Employees and Residents: make masks!
Although Agemark Senior Living communities now have enough PPE for staff and residents, we are still taking masks created by volunteers to replenish our supply and share with resident families. If you are skilled at sewing and can make homemade masks, please click here.
Communication from Our Leadership
Please read the following letters from our COO, Martin Hug,
and our Corporate Nurse, Terri Jo Goldsmith.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was Agemark’s response to COVID-19?
Agemark’s communities were early adapters of best practices related to COVID-19. In late February we began enhancing our policies related to infectious diseases with a goal to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into our communities. These policies were implemented initially in March, and several improvements were made to reflect updated guidelines from the CDC, CMS, ACHA, and NCAL. Policies included increased sanitization of facilities; limiting visitors, screening all who entered the building and encouraging robust handwashing and personal hygiene per CDC guidelines. By mid-March, all communities ceased resident outings and restricted all visitors, allowing only essential care personnel into our communities. By end of March, communities discontinued group activities and communal dining, implemented (at least) 6-feet of social distancing between residents and offered in-room dining. In April, the company gained the ability to do regular testing for employees and residents. Since then, we’ve been testing all staff of our communities on a regular basis. We test residents if we have a positive staff member or if any COVID-like symptoms are detected. Regular testing may be performed by us or by the state or local public health agency, depending on requirements. We are currently pursuing rapid results/point of contact testing in order to better protect staff and residents in our communities.
How close are you to reopening your buildings?
The latest recommendations issued by the CMS includes a three-phase plan for reopening senior living communities. This graduated plan outlines specific criteria that will need to be met to maintain function within each phase, as well as criteria that must be met prior to moving to the next phase of relaxed restrictions. The specifics of each “Phase” may vary due to state regulations. This information has been communicated to employees, residents and families.
For more information on what “Phase” a community is currently in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you limiting visitors?
As of July 1, 2020, some of our communities remain limited to essential care personnel only. Those that are essential to care include our staff, licensed home health and hospice care, and physician-ordered PT/OT.
Other communities have now been able to allow some non-essential personnel in the building, depending on guidelines issued by the state where they are located. Some communities are in a position to allow visitors with precautions such as limiting the number of guests, maintaining social distance, being limited to certain areas of the building and participating in health screenings and wearing masks.
How are you helping families connect with their loved ones?
For the communities who can now allow visits with precautions, we are working closely with families to schedule and facilitate these visits.
If a community has not yet progressed to the “Phase” where they can allow in-person visits, we are facilitating phone and video calls, posting photos on our Facebook pages/sending photos to families. In addition, many families have been visiting their loved ones at their window.
Are you screening visitors to your buildings?
We are screening all who enter our buildings. This includes our staff and essential care partners as well as any and all allowed visitors. The screening process includes a temperature check and a series of questions based on the most updated CDC screening tool. In addition, we stress to all that if they are experiencing any illness or symptoms, especially those associated with COVID-19, they must refrain from entering.
Are you allowing events and tours in your buildings?
As of July 1, 2020, depending on what “Phase” they are in, some buildings can allow some events and tours with strict precautions such as limiting the number of guests, maintaining social distance, being limited to certain areas of the building and participating in health screenings and wearing masks. Others cannot yet allow these activities. We remain very cautious and careful about keeping all in our communities safe and healthy.
Are you allowing residents to eat and do activities together?
As of July 1, 2020, some of our communities have been able to once again allow activities with precautions, such as limiting the number of participants, maintaining social distance, wearing masks or staying under a percentage of the room capacity.
Other communities may not yet be able to do these things, depending on what “Phase” they are in.
Are you able to offer short term stays right now?
For the safety of our residents in our communities, it is important to limit the number of people coming and going from our buildings. This includes day stays. Any short stay participant is accessed for risk. In some cases, we may be able to provide a longer-term “respite” stay for day stay participants – that way we can still help them and their families. In some cases, discontinuing day stays were mandated by state government: this is the case in Maryland and in Iowa. Our communities do not offer day stay services in the state of California.
Are you allowing move-ins in your buildings?
Unless a community has an active case of COVID-19 OR we are limited by the local health department, we are able to allow move-ins. All admissions are considered on a case-by-case basis, must be approved by our Corporate Nurse and COO and require either a negative COVID-19 test OR a move-in under one of our preapproved programs. The health and safety of residents and employees is our top priority, so any decisions regarding admissions will be made with that in mind.
Are employees wearing masks?
Once the recommendation was made by state health personnel, we started requiring that employees wear masks while on-shift for everyone’s safety and protection. Like many health providers, we initially had trouble finding an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and put out a call for anyone willing to make masks for our communities. At this point, we have enough masks for all, but are always accepting more from volunteers to replenish our supply and share with resident families. More information can be found here.
Are residents wearing masks?
All residents are asked to wear masks when out of their rooms. However, this may not be possible for us to enforce in Memory Care Communities.