April 21, 2020
It is important to us to keep in touch often with all of our members throughout this pandemic. Communication, transparency, and daily flexibility to solve unfamiliar situations (there are many!) is what helps us be stronger together during this time.
With the growing focus on nursing homes in the media, and some senior living communities, we thought it would be great to start a Q&A announcement in addition to our other email updates among our members.
If you have a question for me or Tina (our director of nursing), please respond to this email to submit a question and we will post it for all Members to see on a weekly (if not more often) basis. Should we need to ask our visiting physician, IDPH, or our other industry professionals, we will get the answers to you. Each day we are learning more and more.
To get started, here are a few questions we have answered today:
Q: What happens if The Birches' has their first case?
From what we've learned as of today, we have adjusted our original pandemic plan we posted to families early March. If we have one positive COVID-19 case in assisted living, we will isolate that individual with additional symptom monitoring, there will be no activities, dining will go back to serving in apartments, and we will isolate all residents to their own floor. If the positive resident cannot remember to isolate in their own apartment, then a private caregiver will be hired to keep the resident in their apartment.
If we have one positive COVID-19 case in Encore, we will isolate that individual with additional symptom monitoring. If the positive resident cannot remember to isolate in their apartment, then a private caregiver will be hired to keep the resident in their apartment. As it is hard to keep residents living with memory loss in their apartments, dining will be structured and activities limited.
We have called local resources to see who would be great partners to work with should we have to involve an outside party to help keep our residents, in their rooms, safe.
Q: What happens if my mom is in the hospital, for non-related COVID-19 issues, and needs to go to a nursing home for rehab?
Unfortunately, we have just learned the hospital is struggling to place our residents that need skilled nursing care (since we aren't licensed to meet these needs) in local nursing homes. We have involved IDPH to make them aware this is a disservice to our seniors, and our visiting physician to help put pressure on local nursing homes and hospitals to figure this out sooner than later. We are probably not the only assisted living struggling with this at this time. Because many nursing homes are caring for those with positive COVID-19 cases, they have decided to shut their doors. This shouldn't and cannot be the 'new normal.'
We take each situation case by case, and if we are able to creatively figure out a way to meet our residents' skilled needs, we will always push to have them return home to us with the permission from our licensing agency, IDPH.
We are taking it one day at a time here at The Birches. Stay healthy, and if you have questions, please send them my way.
Jacqueline Sander, executive director