How Do Assisted Living Facilities Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic?
It’s been a few months now since we first heard about the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Although, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have provided us with a lot of important information about the COVID19, there still is the fear of the unknown. We have been dealing with a lot of uncertainty since the beginning of this pandemic, and up to this day, we are still getting a lot of new information about this mutating virus.
Now that the economy is reopening, more and more senior care facilities have started accepting new residents. It is important to know what the current safety guidelines and procedures are for these Assisted Living facilities, for peace of mind.
Assisted Living, Memory Care and other types of Senior Care Communities have been taking the coronavirus very seriously. They have been taking precautionary safety measures to protect the health and safety of all their residents and staff members.
Here are some of the most recent safety protocols that are being observed in the Senior Care Communities:
1. Limiting Visitors – Only immediate family members and medical providers are allowed in the community. Although visitors are very limited, the assisted living communities are encouraging families and friends to stay connected with their senior loved ones. Senior Care communities encourage and support the use of technology, like Facetime, Zoom, Skype, and other platforms/apps that will help provide interaction and constant communication for the residents and their loved ones.
2. Screening Protocol – Assisted Living communities have implemented a new screening protocol wherein they take the temperatures of all the visitors, staff members and everyone else who enters the facility. They are not allowing any sick visitors to enter the facility for the safety and protection of all their residents and employees.
3. Touring Policy – Most of the communities do not offer actual tours. Virtual tours and Video Calls, including Facetime, Zoom, Skype and other video platforms, are available. However, there are still some senior care communities that are able to provide in-person tours, provided that safety precautionary measures are observed.
For those Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities that allow actual tours they will designate common areas for tours. This means that the potential residents and their families will only be allowed in certain tour zones all throughout the community.
4. Move-ins – Most of the communities have started allowing move-ins during the coronavirus pandemic. However, before they are able to admit new residents, they will require a Physician’s Report (with negative TB Testing Result) and a COVID Certificate that states the senior is COVID-free).
Many of the assisted living facilities are required to do a 14-day quarantine for new residents to ensure the safety of everyone in the community. As for the actual moving day, they will limit the number of movers who will be allowed to enter the facility. Of course, everyone who enters the assisted living community will be screened to ensure that they are not sick.
5. Proper sanitizing and cleaning throughout the community – Common areas will be sanitized as well as frequently used or touched surfaces. This includes door handles, tables, light switchers, handrails, electronics and other shared objects and equipment in the community.
Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol or disinfecting wipes will be provided in all the common areas. Bathrooms and wash stations will be checked regularly to ensure that soap and paper towels are available.
6. Group Activities – Currently, most of the assisted living communities have cancelled group activities unless they are able to ensure social distancing.
7. Communal Dining – Instead of serving meals in the dining rooms, most of the assisted living communities deliver the meals directly to the residents’ rooms.
8. Regular monitoring of all residents – Assisted Living facilities are consistently monitoring all their residents. If someone at the facility is sick or is showing symptoms of coronavirus, they will immediately isolate the resident in their room. Then they will notify a medical profession to check on the resident and will notify the health department.
9. Transportation Services – Communities are only providing transportation for essential appointments, like to and from the doctor’s office/hospital.
10. Strict Safety Protocol for Staff Members – All caregivers and staff members are asked to wear masks and gloves while in the community to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. If staff members are sick, they are required to stay home and will not be allowed back to the facility.
This will be the New Normal in the Senior Care Industry. Proper safety guidelines and procedures need to be followed at all times to ensure safety and protection for all the assisted living residents and employees.
If you need more information about the current policies and procedures pertaining to Coronavirus, for Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care Communities in your area, please feel free to connect with one of our Senior Care Advisors. You can call them at 877-523-6523.
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