COVID-19 Information and Precautions

 

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April 7, 2020

 

COVID- 19 Update from Martin

Once again, I apologize for the lack of communication and want you to know that it’s purely a product of too much to do in a day, and the difficulty of finding time. It doesn’t help that things are changing rapidly, so communication can be outdated almost as quickly as it’s posted.

  1. We still have no active/confirmed cases of coronavirus. We’ve had a number of respiratory conditions emerge, which of course warrant the closest scrutiny and management, and we appear to have successfully managed “normal” colds and other respiratory conditions without having to send a person out for testing. We did have a doctor send someone out to the hospital who was twice tested and twice found to be negative for COVID-19! While we are so grateful for the days and weeks now that we appear to have steered clear, I’m assuming it’s inevitable that we will be hit by it. Some might say I’m tempting fate to think that, but I look at it as assuming the worse, preparing as best we can and then seeing what the coming days bring. So far so good, and I am so grateful to the Residents, Staff and Family members for doing their part.

 

  1. Given that we don’t appear to have it in the building, we have our defenses up to try to keep it out. Employees are being encouraged to exercise proper Social Distancing and handwashing in their home lives. Avoiding unnecessary contact with anyone, including loved ones. While in the building employees must wear masks, not to protect themselves, but to protect the Residents and co-workers in case they contracted the virus and just don’t know it. The fact that people can be contagious without showing any symptoms makes it essential for all of us to assume we are carrying the virus and act accordingly to protect others. We are having to re-use masks, which is not ideal, but we are doing it in a manner that we feel strikes the right balance of providing protection while conserving the limited quantities our Nation has available.

 

  1. We have a supply of N95 Masks, gowns, gloves, that we are holding until such time as we have an active case to manage. Masks especially are scarce right now, so we hope and pray we don’t need to use them, but we do have an adequate supply to react quickly and completely should the need arise.

 

  1. Deliveries including Mail must be held for 48 hours before distributing to the Residents. We remain not willing to accept perishable items, including Flowers until further notice. We understand the desire to send special things for the Residents, and this time of year Flowers can be a real pick-me-up, but we can’t run the risk that they are bringing the virus into the building, and we don’t know who has handled them.

 

  1. Meals continue to be distributed to the Apartments since it’s the only way for us to comply with Social Distancing. Gordon Foods is our supplier, and we are grateful to be assured that the supply chain should not suffer under this crisis, and it gives us some comfort to have a “single source” for all perishable and food items. They are professional and like us, have processes in place to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

 

  1. We have received no guidance on Testing Residents and Staff for COVID-19. It seems that the only way to be tested is if you have active symptoms and go to the hospital. Hopefully, this will change soon. It would give us great comfort if we could do some random testing, and hopefully, this will occur soon.

 

We don’t know when this will be over, but there’s evidence we are in a critical 2 week period right now. I am so impressed with the Residents, Families, and Employees, and we have weathered the first part of the storm, and are as well-positioned to deal with what’s ahead as we could hope. We will get through this.


 

March 26, 2020

For the Family and Friends of the Residents and Staff of the Pointe at Kilpatrick.

Sorry, this will be long, and probably still just scratch the surface. I hope it is helpful.

Once again I am excited to wake up and have no texts or voice mail expressing concern that the Corona Virus may have come to the Pointe. Since we went into full “lockdown” a week ago, I have celebrated every such morning, and marvel at the way our Staff, Families and most of all our Residents have managed and coped with this incredible disruption to our lives. Whatever the future brings, I will never forget the countless moments this past week, in which I’ve witnessed the Best in Humanity and felt so Blessed under such horrific circumstances for our Community and the World.

While in many cases I have had to be the one that has had to be the bearer of bad news for Families about restrictions we have to put in place in order to do everything imaginable to prevent the spread of the disease. The temptation to make exceptions or “lighten up” has been ever-present and frustrating. We have done our best to hold firm because whatever comes our way, we cannot afford to have to question whether we did enough to prevent it. Should we be hit, there will likely be people lining up to question whether we did enough, but that’s the least of my concerns. In normal times we bear such a weighty responsibility to care for precious lives, and when things go badly it bends and can even break our hearts. In normal and extraordinary times, we in healthcare accept the responsibilities we have, and try to “tread the needle” of affording Residents freedom of movement and self-determination, while being their “protectors.” This Pandemic has forced us to err on the side of protection. Please forgive me if I’ve ever been less than gracious when I’ve had to explain decisions we’ve made when in that moment there were no good options available.

One of the saddest ironies at play here is that at a time when people need to hug and be hugged more than ever, we must maintain “social distancing.” For healthcare workers, that extends to our home lives. Parents have to somehow try to make their children feel safe and Loved, in a time where having them sit on your lap or hold them in your arms comes with it, risk. I don’t have children, but I honestly don’t know how I would manage that but am quite sure Social distance would be next to, or impossible to maintain with the children. For those of us with parents in Communities like the Pointe, or in the outside community that same dynamic exists. It’s heart bending to live through this aspect of the pandemic. Skype and Zoom meetings will never replace hugs and kisses, but if you haven’t experienced the joy of a Zoom meeting with the ones you love, it’s oddly fulfilling.

Spring is coming, we will get through this. While I don’t want to predict when we will have the comfort to relax some restrictions, I firmly believe we will have some opportunities in the near future. Spring is coming. We are gearing up to give Residents the opportunity to get out for some fresh air and exercise. I can imagine families being able to see residents outside while maintaining appropriate “Social Distancing.” As we enter that phase, I will again likely have to exert some control in order to minimize risk – but that will, of course, be rooted in what Science is recommending.

It used to sound cliché when we tell Residents Families and each other that the Residents in our Community become extensions of our Families. This has been put to the test by this Virus, and I can tell you with certainty that it’s true and heartfelt. Your Loved ones are Ours too, and they are Loved.

My biggest self-criticism has been my ability to Communicate effectively with everyone; Residents, Staff, and Families. We went through a phase of things changing so rapidly that any communication would require frequent updates and change of course. I’m sure there are technologies, some at my disposal to communicate more efficiently and effectively, and we will figure it out.

Here are the current Restrictions:

No visits, and minimal contact with staff when dropping things off. Hopefully, we will soon be able to forecast the lightening of this, but for now, it’s a key to keeping everyone safe.

You can drop things off, but any perishable foods will not be accepted or thrown out. If you let us know a favorite perishable food item, we will do our best to provide it within reason. Unfortunately the more we try to “cater” to individuals right now, the more it strains our human resources to take care of everyone. If it’s important, please let us know what special things we can do for or provide your loved one.

Non-perishable items, including mail and packages, will be held for 48 hours before being given to the Resident. Exceptions will be made for prescription medications of course. The virus is believed to live on hard surfaces for 48 hours, so that’s something to be aware of at home too. It may or may not be an over-reaction to do the same holding pattern at home, but my wife and I have implemented it in our house. If you pick up non-perishables you can put them in a 48-hour holding pattern and wash your hands after handling them.

Any flowers or packages that are labeled “refrigeration required” will be thrown away. With Spring, the temptation might be to have flowers delivered. We will not be able to deliver them, at least in the current way of thinking about deliveries. I haven’t heard how long the virus lives on plants, so we will treat like perishable food and not accept them at this point.

Residents are “sheltered in place” in their apartments.  Obviously this is a hardship for them,  and we are concerned about the physical and psychological toll it may take on them. Some people need more encouragement than others to do an exercise routine. Some residents prop their doors open to create less of a shut-in feeling, and I am encouraging all to consider this as a small and easy way to reduce isolation. We have been encouraging exercise and are ramping up some hallway efforts for activities and exercises. Residents are able to leave their rooms, and some are going for walks. As long as they are not congregating, this is acceptable. When the weather permits, we will actively escort the less mobile Resodemts out of their rooms to enjoy some fresh air and encourage open windows at least intermittently.

Meals are provided in the rooms except on New Day, where One person eats in the apartment and one eats in the dining room.  This is tough and requires great compromise for Residents and a challenge for staff. We’ve always prided ourselves on our dining program and were actively trying to come up with a plan more tailored to New Day, but now we are having to be satisfied with the basics all around. Spring is Coming, we will emerge from this ready to take full advantage of the freedom that will come when we can relax some restrictions.

A word about Personal Protective Equipment, (PPE)

As I’m sure you are aware, there is a severe shortage of Masks and other PPE. We appear to be in better shape than most, and have a reasonable supply that we are using as needed, and conserving as able. In some direct care situations, employees are encouraged to use masks and gloves, even though no one currently has symptoms. If we get someone with symptoms, we do have an adequate short-term supply (longer than most apparently) that we will be able to keep our employees and other residents safe.

If you work in construction or know someone who does, we would welcome donations of masks used in construction, there’s a very good chance they will be appropriate for healthcare. It’s possible any PPE we collect here will end up going to a Healthcare provider who ends up needing it more than us, but we would appreciate you reaching out to try to locate construction masks, as there are Nurses in some settings being told to use “bandanas” to protect themselves. We are all in this together. Our goal is not to hoard at other people’s expense, but to also ensure we have a reasonable amount of PPE to meet our foreseeable needs. We are in good shape with respect to PPE but welcome any efforts to secure masks and many people aren’t aware that construction masks fit the bill.

Thank you


 

March 19, 2020

Dear Family and Friends:

Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the United States we are taking a proactive approach, following industry standards and asking that you refrain from visiting your loved one at this time.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We realize that social interaction with your loved one is important so we are happy to set up a FaceTime, Video Chat or Skype call with your family member(s) so that you can visit with them safely. Please be assured that we are taking every measure to protect their well-being.

At this time, we are strictly adhering to the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19:

  • We are restricting visitation
  • Should a compassionate care situation arise, such as end-of-life, we will make special arrangements for you to be with your loved one
  • All volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel (HCP), including barbers, are being put on hold
  • We are suspending group activities and outings as well as communal dining for the safety of our residents
  • We are checking the residents daily for any signs, such as fever or flu-like symptoms so that we can prevent any cross-contamination and attend to their needs

We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we work through this global health crisis.

We will make every effort to keep our website up to date as things change during this pandemic.

If you would like more information related to COVID-19 please follow the links below.

http://dph.illinois.gov/covid19

https://www.cdc.gov/