To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara Gregorio, President
RE: COVID-19 Update: March 23, 2020
Date: March 23, 2020
Testing of Persons with Suspect COVID-19
On March 13, 2020 as testing capacity has expanded, the Department of Public Health (DPH) made changes in COVID-19 testing prioritization. This guidance is based on the CDC’s current person under investigation (PUI) criteria. DPH has also provided some additional clarity/guidance based on the current epidemiologic situation in Massachusetts. Nursing facilities should share the current Testing of Persons with Suspect COVID-19 with their facility medical directors to ensure compliance with this guidance.
Utilizing Non-Direct Care Staff to Support Needs
COVID-19 has interrupted usual daily operations in all long term care facilities. This means some direct or non-direct care staff usual duties are on hold or not urgent during this pandemic. Thus, there is opportunity to engage those staff in supporting activities that must continue despite the pandemic disruptions. Clickhere for recommendations.
Making Decisions on Essential Staff Entering Your Building
When deciding if a person needs to enter your building (including employees or outside contractors such as therapy, pharmacy, lab, portable x-ray, mental health provider, repair technicians, and others), all long term care facilities should consider the intent of the federal and state guidance on visitation and building entry restrictions.
The intent is to restrict entry of as many people as possible to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering and/or spreading in the building. Anybody entering the building must comply with the most current federal and state COVID-19 guidelines. Entering multiple buildings during the day should be discouraged, or increased attention to infection control processes should be applied in cases when it is essential.
This decision needs to be balanced with meeting the needs of the resident. The risk-benefit trade off needs to be made on a case-by-case basis and should be informed by the high mortality associated with contracting this virus in the elderly. This decision process should also be evaluated and adjusted as necessary as the COVID-19 situation evolves in your local community and building.
Resident Laundry Guidance with COVID-19 and When Families Want to Do Residents’ Laundry
With the restriction around non-essential visitors to skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living communities to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, there have been many questions on handling residents’ personal laundry, including for those who may have previously had their laundry done by a family member. AHCA/NCAL has developed some additional guidance on this. Nursing facilities should refer to the CDC guidelines for environmental infection control in healthcare facilities. CDC states that “Infection has not been linked to laundry procedures in residential-care facilities, even when consumer versions of detergents and laundry additives are used.”
Important Webinars/Conference Calls This Week
Department of Public Health
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 11:00 am
Phone Number: 888-390-5007
Participant Code: 3479679
CDC: COVID-19 Update: Optimization Strategies for Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 2:00pm–3:00pm
During this Clinical Outreach and Communication Activity Call, presenters will provide a COVID-19 update and discuss strategies for healthcare facilities to optimize personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies such as eye protection, isolation gowns, face masks, and N95 respirators.
If joining through Zoom, please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16692545252,,1605586706# or +16468287666,,1605586706#
US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666
Webinar ID: 160 558 6706
Free Live Webinar - How to Prepare Your Nursing Home, Rest Home, or Assisted Living Facility for Surge hosted by RPA, a Jensen Hughes Company
March 26, 2020 - 1:00 pm EST
Is your facility ready for an influx / surge of residents? Do you have a surge plan? Please join this webinar to learn more. We will review the Four S’s of Surge:
- Space – Identifying Surge Space
- Stuff – Identifying what supplies, and equipment you will need
- Staff – Identifying staffing requirements
- Safety – Keeping your residents and staff safe