March 6, 2020 – Democrat & Chronicle – Nursing homes and other adult care centers are ramping up preventative measures against the additional risks raised by the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
Mostly that has involved signage, increased sanitizing and availability of hand sanitizer, strict screening out of new admissions with any respiratory illness and ordering staffers with any such ailments to stay home.
St. John’s Home distributed letters to residents, families and visitors this week encouraging basic prevention each could take, particularly when it comes to handwashing, while emphasizing there currently was no risk of exposure.
“We have to be very proactive,” said Dr. Marie Aydelotte, vice president of medical services for Jewish Senior Life, which numbers 330 beds in long-term and short-term rehab/transitional care, in addition to its independent and assisted living units. “All 330 of our people are high risk (for the novel coronavirus).”
The facility has a large stockpile of masks, gowns and gloves, a sizable pool of per diem staffers to call upon, if needed, and all its rooms are private, making it easier to isolate a resident should the need arise. A flu outbreak at the facility several years ago provided some indication of what to expect, she said, and the strain it can put on everything from nursing to dining to janitorial. Aydelotte said she also is in regular contact with regional, state and national colleagues.
More extreme preventative steps are possible, such as limiting group gatherings for concerts and Bingo, of which there currently are a couple every day, or asking guests to visit just one person, not go person to person, encourage greater use of Facetime and Skype.
But a quarantine, as has been seen elsewhere, shutting down a facility to visits, “is something we really don’t want to do,” she said, adding: “Our residents are very supported by families. … Limiting visiting altogether is something very much against our philosophy.”