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Coronavirus Preparedness Mission Critical for Wisconsin Long-term Care & Assisted Living Facilities

Long-term care and assisted living facilities should have an effective COVID-19 response plan in place. A facility may or may not be able to fulfill its mission of serving its residents’ health care needs if it is not prepared for such an emergency. The current data on COVID-19 indicates that the elderly and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions are among those more at risk to contract COVID-19 and, if contracted, are at a greater risk of serious illness.

As an employer, long-term care and assisted living facility leadership have a number of measures to consider addressing exposure and contagion issues with staff, including considerations under rules governed by OSHA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, FMLA/Leaves of Absence, and more.

Long-term care and assisted living facilities face significant challenges in containing and treating COVID-19 and need to consider the following, as further discussed in Coronavirus Preparedness for Long -Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities:

  • Facilities need to engage in a candid and comprehensive assessment of the adequacy of their current infection control capabilities and health care worker protection programs.
  • Facilities are encouraged to support hand and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette by employees, residents and visitors.
  • Facilities should have an aggressive system in place to screen residents, visitors, staff and volunteers for signs of COVID-19 and restrict individuals showing such signs.
  • Facilities should consider identifying dedicated employees to care for COVID-19 residents and provide infection control training to staff.
  • Facilities should provide the right supplies to ensure easy and correct use of personal protective equipment.
  • Facilities transferring residents should notify the receiving facility prior to transferring a resident with an acute respiratory illness, including suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Non-emergency surveys of nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, and ICF/IIDs are temporarily suspended in order to focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious disease and abuse.
  • Facilities should address special procedures in their COVID-19 protocols to protect the privacy and confidentiality of COVID-19 patients and exposed health care workers in compliance with HIPAA and Wisconsin privacy and confidentiality laws.
  • Licensees, administrators, owners, operators and governing bodies should be aware of the facility’s efforts to develop a COVID-19 response plan and ensure the general adequacy of that plan.
  • Facilities should review and update their health care worker protection programs and employment-related policies to plan for the potential impact of COVID-19 on their employees.

If you have any questions about how to prevent and prepare for COVID-19, please reach out to Kelsey Derrick Adoray's CEO. Below we have provided some signage and resources from the CDC for posting in your facility. If you would like hard copies of these signs brought to you please contact Erin Flug-Geissler by email at e.flug-geissler@adorayhomecare.org or by phone at 715-307-0781. 

Thank you for all you do to provide excellent care and services to our community! 

Kelsey Derrick (formerly Delander)
CEO/Executive Director
k.delander@adorayhomecare.org | 715-629-1700

As local Senior and Assisted Living facilities take action to protect residents and tenants by implementing best practices of limiting and screening visitors into the facilities. “Social distancing” is the new phrase that describes most of this, and it goes against what we typically advocate for our older population. As we promote the benefits of social engagement and remind them of the poor health outcomes associated with social isolation. Now, with COVID-19, the times have changed. But along with the risk of coronavirus infection comes the risk of social isolation. How should family and friends of older people balance these competing recommendations?

During a time of social distancing, here are four ways for elders and their loved ones to stay socially connected.

1. Learn or Utilize Technology

Portal, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and lots more. All sorts of online options exist to talk with family and friends. And you don’t have to be tech-savvy. Doing the basics is easy, and for most people, fun. If setting up an account is daunting, ask a neighbor, niece or nephew for help or watch a quick tutorial (below are a few).

2. Stay Active in the Community From Home

It may sound counterintuitive. How can you remain a part of the community if the goal is to separate from the community? But maybe there’s a remote option. Many organizations — political parties, faith-based groups, nonprofits like Adoray— rely on volunteers to make phone calls. You can do that clearly community-based activity right at home.

3. Go on a News Diet

Stay informed, know what’s going on but don’t get locked into endlessly watching “breaking news” on the 24-hour news channels. Typically, not much changes hour to hour. But enduring the repetitious pummeling from TV all day long can bring needless anxiety. Our patients have found the following advice helpful: Watch a news update in the morning, then check in again at night. Don’t stay with it all evening — 30 minutes or an hour is plenty.

4. Reach Out to Family & Friends

Stay in touch with the people close to you, especially those who are social distancing too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that communities create “buddy systems” to make sure vulnerable and hard-to-reach people stay connected, particularly to news about COVID-19. This can be done through your church, social group or daily neighborhood email blasts. And for those of you who are not elderly – why not make it a point to check in on your older friends and relatives? Such thoughtfulness is always greatly appreciated.

Social distancing does not mean social isolation, and even a potentially deadly virus should not force us to be “alone”. Now, more than ever, people need to find smart and safe ways to stay connected.

Adoray Home Health & Hospice
990 Main Street, Suite 1 | Baldwin, Wisconsin  54002
7156291888 | a.bettinger@adorayhomecare.org

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