Coronavirus Update

Samaritas Nation,

We know there is deep concern about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may have an effect on us here at Samaritas, where we have five senior living communities across the state: Bloomfield Hills, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Traverse City and Cadillac. Ensuring our staff and residents are in a safe and healthy environment is our greatest concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building.

Meeting the Care Crisis

Effective March 9, 2020, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also taken significant action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers in the wake of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States. We are following CMS’s recommendation and they now effect the visitation to the residents of our community.

We are deeply committed to our residents and need your help in battling COVID-19. Due to CMS recommendations regarding visitation, we are implementing the following:

  • We are restricting all visitors in general from coming to the community during this time.  Please do not visit our community unless absolutely necessary. Limited visitation for certain situations will be considered such as: end-of-life situations, essential resident emotional well-being and care, etc.
  • For those visitations that fall under the limited allowed visitations, we are actively screening those visitors using a questionnaire and only allowing those who answer ‘No’ to the follower criteria:

* Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.

* In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with any respiratory illness.

*  Reside in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.

  • If visitation does occur we are limiting visitation location to only the resident’s room – limiting visitation to reduce walking in the halls, avoiding dining rooms, activity rooms, etc., and taking the visitor’s temperature.
  • We are restricting all vendor access inside our communities. Deliveries are being made to the door only. 
  • We will support those who are able to visit by showing visitors how to properly use hand hygiene, limit surface touches, and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • We are working to provide alternative means of visiting, such as Skype and will communicate with you as these are developed. We encourage phone and video-communication.
  • We require visitors to report to us any exposure or signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness if this occurs within 14 days after visiting our community.

We are also re-educating our staff on infection control and how to protect our residents and themselves. Below are some examples of how our staff can help protect our residents and themselves, as well as prevent the spread throughout the community:

  1. Sick employees should stay home. At this time, we request that they stay home if they have any symptoms of respiratory illness. Those symptoms include: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath.
  2. Notify us if they develop respiratory symptoms while at work. These include: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath.
  3. Practice proper hand washing hygiene. All employees should clean their hands before and after interaction with residents and their environment with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Samaritas has launched a clean hands count campaign across the organization (this was started prior to corona virus), which consists of education on appropriate hand washing, is being proactive to prevent infection and spread including having hand hygiene coaches and observations completed, we are reviewing the data and ensuring 95% compliance or higher for appropriate hand washing. Staff are re-trained on effective infection control prevention and have been shown how to wash hands appropriately while providing care. We discuss the hand hygiene compliance every day at safety huddles and identify any risks that come up. Upon entry to the facility we are checking that everyone uses hand sanitizer and are encouraging families and residents to ask us if we have washed our hands upon entering their rooms. We are following the CMS and CDC guidelines for appropriate hand hygiene.
  4. Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. 
  5. Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No special cleaning is necessary for COVID-19.

Our community is following the recommendations of the CDC and CMS on using basic contact precautions to prevent the spread, which includes wearing gowns and gloves when interacting with residents who are sick, as we always do. We also are staying up-to-date with the CDC and CMS recommendations as they are updated.  In addition, our community is in close contact with the local and state health department and are following their guidance.

Meeting the Care Crisis

 

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MEDIA INQUIRIES

Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430