Once COVID-19 initiated its outbreak in the United States, it was critical that nursing homes and senior care communities start taking the initial action. With these residents being at the top of the high-risk list for catching and having a higher fatality rate, a new level of compliance is being demanded. Maintaining Compliance
The Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) initiated several restrictions as a way to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19 from entering more senior care communities. These restrictions included the following:
- Restrict Visitors from entering communities
- Remove any Volunteers and Non-Essential Employees
- Begin Routine Screening of Essential Employees and Residents
Enforcing these restrictions were not designed to harm residents but to protect them with all precautions necessary. In order to maintain compliance with these restrictions, we are offering several tips to make this time period easier for residents, staff, and their loved ones while the country moves forward in the pandemic.
Utilizing Audio Visits
Since visitors are not allowed into senior care communities at this time, take advantage of audio visits. FaceTime and other visual apps across several smartphones and devices will connect your senior residents to their family members as though they were sitting right there. While many of your residents may have some form of technology, not many have access to a smartphone. If you have a community smartphone, schedule times with family members and the resident so that they are able to have a meeting and get a face-to-face update.
Develop Primary Care Contacts
With so many residents in your community, it is important to have a primary contact for families. Create a list of residents for each nurse and give that contact information to the families. During their shifts, the nurses or other essential staff can reach out to the families several times a week to give an update on their family members and notify them of any changes.
Increase Sanitation In and Out of Individual Rooms
Since the COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, it is critical to give all healthcare staff access to sanitization across the community. One of the best ways to promote constant hand washing and sanitation is to offer sanitation stations both inside and out of each resident's room. Healthcare staff is able to sanitize their hands before entering the room, they can sanitize while treating the resident, and they are able to sanitize again when they leave.
Spread the sanitation stations to community areas in your community such as the lobby and nurses' station where residents could potentially gather. Although community gatherings are postponed and social distancing is happening in your community, there are still areas that could have to generate some congestion and need for additional sanitizer.
Hospital Grade Disinfectants
In a senior care community, there are so many surfaces that require cleaning throughout the day. Since the community is treated like a home for many senior residents, all senior care facilities should be utilizing hospital-grade disinfectants for cleaning. This grade of disinfectant is essential to kill and remove any signs of COVID-19 before it infects any of your residents.
Maintaining Compliance in the Weeks to Come
With the spread of COVID-19 making its way across the country and even into rural areas, it is critical to maintaining compliance with the restrictions put in place by the CMS. These tips above allow your senior residents to have a sense of normalcy in their daily lives while living with these restrictions. Giving residents and their loved ones the ability to maintain a connection and get reports are critical to their overall health.