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 has Agemark’s response been to COVID-19?
Agemark’s communities were early adapters of best practices related to COVID-19. For example, 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. We increased sanitization of facilities; requested that families, friends, care partners, and business partners not visit if they were experiencing any signs of illness; and encouraged more robust handwashing and personal hygiene per CDC guidelines. By mid-March, we instructed all communities to cease resident outings and restrict all visitors, only allowing essential care personnel into our communities. Further, all essential care personnel began a screening process upon entering our buildings, which included screening for fever and a review of personal protective equipment. In addition, all admissions were paused. Shortly thereafter, all of our communities discontinued group activities and communal dining, implemented (at least) 6-feet of social distancing between residents, and offered in-room dining.
Are you limiting visitors?
Yes, we are limiting visitors 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.
Can families visit?
At this point, no. We’ve asked families to stop visiting for now. We will begin allowing visitors again once it is determined clinically prudent. The only exception to this policy is that for residents near passing, are allowed visitors. These visitors are screened for risk using a screening tool and are managed very carefully. If this should apply to a family, they are worked with individually.
How are you helping families connect with their loved ones?
We are facilitating Facetime/Skype/Google Duo/Phone calls at family’s requests and posting photos on our Facebook pages/sending photos to families. In addition, many families have been visiting their loved one at their window.
What is your screening process for essential care providers?
This is our screening process (updated 4/28/2020) for all essential care providers, including our staff:
Screening will include asking:
- Are you currently, or have you been (within the last 72 hours), ill with cough, fever (>99.5), chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing beyond your usual baseline (not otherwise explainable)?
- Have you been diagnosed with, or treated for, COVID-19?
- Are you currently under investigation for COVID-19?
- Have you had close contact* with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is under investigation for COVID-19? *Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) or within the room or care area for a prolonged period of time (15 minutes or greater) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
- Have you been exposed to or had contact with anyone who meets the above criteria?
- Have you worked at another place where there is anyone who has been tested positive for COVID-19 or there are pending positive cases of COVID-19?
- Have you traveled to an area deemed an “epicenter” of infection within the US in the past 3 weeks?
- Have you traveled on an airplane in the past 3 weeks?
If the answer was “yes” to any of questions 1-4, the individual is asked NOT to visit our community until 7 days have passed since the first day of symptoms and they have been 72 hours fever free (without the use of a fever reducer) and 72 hours with improved symptoms.
If any potential visitor answered yes to any of the questions 5-8, the individual is asked to please not visit our building until they have been symptom-free for 14 days.
Are you allowing events and tours in your buildings?
No. We have canceled events that would bring those from the community at large into our buildings. We have cancelled entertainers that normally perform at our buildings. We are not doing in-person tours currently – instead, we are doing virtual tours using Facetime, Video, etc.
Are you allowing residents to eat and do activities together?
On March 18, we began limiting the number of people gathering together in our communities per recommendations. This involves limiting activity/dining to groups of 10 or less and implementing 6 feet of space between individuals. In late March, we tightened up our policy even further and have ceased all group activities, stopping group dining and are continuing to offer in-room dining to all residents.
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?
We temporarily limited move-ins to our communities while getting more comfortable with our new policies. However, after many inquiries from families in need, we began training several of our communities to implement a special move-in procedure which allows move-ins to our communities for individuals assessed to be low-risk and who are willing to be temporarily isolated from the rest of our community with a family member caring for them while we monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19. We also tested move-ins on a case-by-case basis in all of our IL/AL communities (not memory care). So far, our procedures have been successful, and we’ve had residents move in under each procedure. We have now given selecte communities the ok to move forward with admissions, however, 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 we initially having 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.