Supporting a Loved One in a Long Term Care Facility
Advantage Living Action Steps
The team members working at our Advantage Living Centers have been doing an incredible job working together to help support our residents and one another. An article in the Battle Creek newspaper summarizes life in the facility from a resident and family side and gives the public a peak into what is happening in all Advantage facilities. The link is at the end of this article.
There has been some media focus on one of our facilities. We would like to share with you some highlights of how we prepared for COVID-19, the alterations we have made along the way, and the communication we have had with state and federal agencies. We will provide you with the highlights.
When the COVID-19 situation arose, Advantage set up daily calls with each facility to give updates, identify resources on hand, and to provide guidance on steps we needed to take to protect residents. We wrote written guidelines to provide team members with direction on how to address COVID related issues. These guidelines are updated and distributed to team members almost daily.
Prior to any resident or staff member showing symptoms or testing positive, each center held a “practice” pandemic drill. This afforded team members the opportunity to experience what it would be like to have a resident with COVID and how, as a facility team, we would react. We already had isolation units set up, allocated the little PPE equipment we had to the unit, and identified teams of staff who volunteered to work the unit. In addition, we added an Appreciation Bonus for team members who would work with symptomatic or COVID positive residents. Teams went through the drill, faced and talked about their anxieties, and prepared for caring for residents.
We followed the restricted visitor orders, no communal dining and no community activities immediately upon learning this was best practice. We purchased additional equipment so residents and families could stay in communication. Our Life Enrichment teams became very creative with activities like hallway bingo and karaoke, cornhole (each resident having their own bean bags), arts and crafts and so many other creative in room events. These continue to take place and more examples of these will be in future blogs.
Our isolation procedures included assigning nurses, CNAs, housekeepers and a Life Enrichment team member strictly to the isolation wing. These individuals were provided with PPE including, at a minimum, gowns, N95 masks, gloves and when they became available, goggles. All residents in the facility were monitored daily for temperatures or symptoms that required surveillance. If a resident had symptoms, they were transferred to the isolation unit, the Clinician hotline was called for a PUI number and testing (if available), and the health department was contacted to report a resident with symptoms. Families were notified to assure they were aware of their loved one’s condition. Most facilities have a corporate team member working in their building several times per week for support and to assure guidelines are being followed.
Advantage has worked tirelessly day and night to find PPE. We have worked with our health departments and local regional coalitions to secure PPE and have received the minimal
allocations they could provide. We have put notices out on social media for any organization that may have PPE they are not using to either donate or allow us to purchase what is on hand. An organization out of California graciously donated N95s which we have distributed to all team members. Team members are using patient hospital gowns over uniforms and we have purchased clear plastic bags from Costco to wear. So, every team member currently wears a mask (surgical, homemade or N95 depending on what unit they work on), a protective cover, gloves and in some cases goggles. This helps protect residents and staff.
We have provided guidelines to team members on how to keep their families safe, including removing shoes when they arrive home, remove clothing outside when possible and put in clothing in the washer immediately and showering before interacting with families. Of course – wash hands, wash hands, wash hands has been our mantra.
We are providing meals to our team members and working to problem solve babysitting issues when possible. Some team members cannot work due to underlying medical conditions. We have hired temporary and support staff to help our medical teams focus on doing medical work. We have bedmakers, activity people to keep our residents from feeling isolated and additional workers in dietary to assure resident care is high quality. Graduate nurses are working with us in various capacities as well – all to assure residents are well cared for.
If a team member or resident has suspected symptoms or tests positive for the virus, our infection preventionists in each facility are maintaining surveillance reports to pinpoint areas where we need increased monitoring. Team members who are sick cannot come to work and are not allowed to return until symptom free following guidelines. The health departments are working with us to give guidance for all residents and staff affected.
As owners, Reggie and I are very involved in the actions we are taking. Reggie is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (NHA) and I am a NHA and a Bachelor prepared Registered Nurse. We care deeply for our residents and team members and are working hard to provide them with the resources needed, including the emotional support to continue in their work. Emotions can run high, and we are identifying when a team member needs to take a day to refresh. Your help in providing encouraging words has re-energized tired workers and we know you are out there praying for us! To anyone reading this, rest assured, we love and are caring for our Advantage Family – residents, families and team members. Our hope is we have reached the peak of the outbreak. God bless you and keep you safe!! Kelsey and Reggie
COVID-19: Safety and Prevention at Advantage Living Centers
CARE NOT COVID
Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t be social! Record a video message for a senior today. They currently aren’t getting visitors to keep them safe from #COVID19 and love messages of support. https://carenotcovid.com/
In our last update, we shared with you the measures Advantage Living Centers have taken to prepare our teams to care for resident who show symptoms of or have COVID-19. Yesterday, we were informed that a resident from our Roseville facility tested positive for the virus while at the hospital. The facility has several other residents with suspected symptoms and the facility activated the isolation unit plan. We have been in contact with the health department and are following CDC guidelines to contain the virus and prevent the spread.
We also called families to keep them up to date about their loved one. We have increased technology so residents and families can connect through facetime and social media. We understand how important it is to stay connected. Residents in all Advantage facilities have been very creative in interacting with one another and families without having in person contact.
A key component of our plan is taking a team approach to care. We have a dedicated team unit that only cares for suspected or confirmed cases of the virus. The team consists of one nurse, one nursing assistant and one housekeeper. They do not care for any other residents except those on the isolation unit. Currently, we have protective equipment to care for these residents. These team members are highly experienced and are working closely with physicians.
We are a company of prayer and 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind. Our staff is calm. They have joined together to secure the health and safety of the people who live and work with us. As things change, we will update the information hotline messaging. That number is 248-416-0165.
We are very proud of our Advantage family. Psalm 91 continues to be the scripture we stand on for peace, protection and assurance that God has our backs.
Kelsey and Reggie
3.19.2020: Organization News and Updates
The team at Advantage Living Centers is doing all we can to protect your family, friend and loved one from the impact of coronavirus in our facilities. We have implemented guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) and are on daily calls with facility teams to update guidelines and identify resources needed.
Currently, staffing at our centers has been good. We are in the process of increasing staffing to assure we have plenty of people to clean, provide dining services (we canceled communal dining), and provide activities for residents including helping residents use social media and participate in self directed activities (no group activities).
We are monitoring residents and staff for symptoms and we have a response team and plan in each facility ready to care for residents should symptoms arise. Currently, we have no positive COVID-19 test results in our facilities.
We are a praying company and are standing on Psalm 91 daily. Rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to support our residents. Advantage Team members have put a new meaning into the word “TEAM” and we are very proud and grateful for each person who works with us.
Thank you for your support and understanding. Please do not hesitate to contact the facility if you have any questions.
Blessing to you and your family
Reginald Hartsfield and Kelsey Hastings
Media statement as of 3/12/2020:
We are taking precautionary measures to reduce our risk of COVID-19 entering our facilities. As of March 12, 2020, all Advantage Living Centers are closed to visitors. All external and internal community events are cancelled.
We are closely following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance including guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to contain the spread of the virus. Advantage’s top priority is the health and safety of our residents and team members.
As of March 12, 2020 there have been no presumed positive COVID 19 cases in our buildings. We have a plan in place to address any emergency incidents in our facilities, especially in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19. If a confirmed case were to occur, we would continue to act in full compliance with the CDC, and local and state health authorities.
Families are encouraged to telephone their loved ones, use social media, etc. to communicate with their loved ones during this time. We would be more than happy to assist with this communication. Please contact the facility social worker or Life Enrichment Director for assistance.
Should you have any further questions, please contact our corporate office at 248-569-8400.