Assisted Living and COVID-19: How The Arbors is Putting Residents’ and Staffs’ Safety First

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Here at The Arbors the health, the safety, and the security of our residents and staff are our utmost priority. With COVID-19 affecting older populations and assisted living homes disproportionately, we are striving to do all that we can to limit the exposure to residents and staff.

We have developed an action plan based on government COVID-19 recommendations, community protocols, and resident and staff suggestions. The Arbors will be implementing several steps to limit exposure; unfortunately, we cannot eliminate the risk 100%.

 

Assisted Living COVID-19 Protocol for Staffing, Operations, and Building Sanitation

Employees and visitors will continue to be screened upon entry into the community. If at any time they leave and re-enter the community they will be screened again. Employees will continue to punch in and out using their mobile device. During this time a 30-day supply of Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) will be maintained and documented.

Mandatory training will be provided for all employees on the following topics:

Proper Hygiene:

  • Proper handwashing technique (20 seconds with soap and water);
  • When to wash your hands (after touching frequently used items or surfaces);
  • When to use hand sanitizer (when hand washing is not available);
  • Avoid touching your face;
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow

Social Distancing:

  • Remaining 6 feet apart as much as possible

PPE Training:

  • When to use PPE;
  • What PPE to use;
  • How to properly put on, wear, and take off PPE.

Symptoms to Report (If at work or home)

Hand washing areas will be available throughout the community. This includes the main entrance and outside of all elevator doors. Hand washing / sanitizing supplies such as soap, disposable towels and sanitizer will be monitored and replenished twice a day. Signs have been placed throughout the community in regard to proper hand washing and hand sanitizing technique.

In addition, our daily routine includes regularly sanitizing high-touch surfaces, such as counters, elevators, door knobs, chairs and other items.

 

Assisted Living COVID-19 Guidelines to Maintain Social Distancing

Staff
All persons including employees and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside the workplace. Seating has been removed from staff areas to ensure appropriate social distancing. For employees, break times are staggered.

Residents
Seating has been removed from common areas including the pub, theater, lobby, and outdoor seating areas to allow for 6’ distancing of remaining furniture. Visual cues have been placed on the floor indicating appropriate placement of seating.

Face coverings or masks are required for all visitors and residents outside of their apartment. Masks are required for all employees.

 

Assisted Living COVID-19 Restrictions for Social Visits

The following visitation policies for The Arbors assisted living communities will be in effect immediately:

Visits with residents will be allowed to occur, provided that the physical distancing and protection requirements described in detail above are followed. The communities also may not have had any positive resident or employee cases in the past 14 days. If there are positive case at any community, social visits will be discontinued until there are 14 days without a new case.

As much as possible, The Arbors communities continue to encourage the use of alternative electronic methods for communication between residents and visitors, such as Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Google Duo.

The Arbors communities may allow in-person social visits in a designated outdoor space or in the resident’s apartment, provided that the following safety, care, and infection control measures are met and visits are pre-determined:

• A resident who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 cannot be visited.

• A resident may be visited if: the resident has recovered from COVID-19 or the resident has been quarantined after a recent hospital stay and is not suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.

•The Arbors must screen the visitor for fever or respiratory symptoms. Any individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 infection (fever equal to or greater than 100.0 F, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, myalgia, chills or new onset of loss of taste or smell) will not be permitted to visit with a resident. Asymptomatic visitors will be asked if they have been in contact with someone known or suspected to be COVID positive in the past 48 hours.

• A visitor must remain at least 6 feet from the resident at all times during the visit.

• Staff and residents must wear a surgical face mask and visitors must wear a face covering or mask for the duration of the visit.

• Visitors shall perform hand hygiene before and after the visit.

In the interest of fairness and in order to accommodate visits for all of the residents and their families, The Arbors has determined new guidelines for visits. Contact us for more information.

 

In-apartment visits are allowed in an Arbor community if the apartment:

  • Is large enough for at least 6 feet of distance between visitor and resident;
  • Is not shared between unrelated individuals;
  • Windows can be opened for ventilation;
  • And all the other guidelines are followed as well.

Staff shall escort the visitor to and from the resident’s apartment to ensure visitors do not stop in common areas or other residents’ apartments. Indoor visits are not permitted in any indoor common space.

Visits with a resident in the resident’s apartment must be scheduled in advance.

 

After a Visit

Any individual who enters an Arbor community and develops signs and symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, myalgia, chills, or new onset loss of smell or taste within 2 days after exiting The Arbors community or designated outdoor space must immediately notify The Arbors community of the date they were in The Arbors community, the individuals they were in contact with, and the locations within The Arbors community they visited.

The Arbors communities will immediately screen the individuals who had contact with the visitor for the level of exposure and follow up with The Arbors community’s Executive Director or resident’s care provider.

All visitors must sign the Visitor Log and provide their contact information in the Visitor Log to enable accurate public health contact tracing should there be a need.

 

Minimizing The Risks

The risk of potential exposure to a virus like COVID-19 increases when we spend time near others, without a face mask, and engage in activities like eating and drinking. According to the Center for Disease Control (2020) residents in Assisted Living are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes because of older age and because they may have underlying health conditions, such as chronic heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. They also may be at higher risk of getting and spreading the virus because of community characteristics, such as social activities, and shared dining facilities.

If you live with significant health issues or compromised immunity, we encourage you to talk to your health-care practitioner for guidance.

Please contact your Arbor community if you would like to schedule an in person or an outdoor visit, a tour, or if you have any questions regarding these visitation policies.

We look forward to your full cooperation in complying with these policies at all times in order to protect the health and safety of your loved ones, our other residents, and staff.

Stay safe. We are all in this together.

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