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How We’re Responding to the COVID-19 Virus
Message From Our CEO Anthony Argondizza
Dear Residents, Staff and Family Members,
Testing is a critical tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. In recent days, health offices in the states of New Jersey and Delaware have issued important guidance regarding the testing of residents and staff in long-term care communities and we are mobilizing to meet these new requirements. You will be receiving detailed information from your community on the testing program and schedule, but we wanted to share these highlights.
On May 13 the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health issued an Executive Directive for COVID-19 testing to be conducted for all residents and staff at all licensed long-term care facilities by May 26, 2020. The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of individuals who initially test negative in an effort to detect those with newly developed infection, and further retesting in accordance with CDC guidance. Long-term care facilities also have to amend their outbreak plans to include plans to test and retest staff and residents, cohort residents who test positive, policies for excluding staff who test positive as well as timeframes and requirements for returning to work in accordance with CDC and Department of Health recommendations.
The Springpoint Health Services team is working closely with our New Jersey communities to implement testing beginning on May 19 and will be completed by the deadline of May 26. The current test plan includes testing of all residents in healthcare, all staff members throughout the community and any private-duty caregivers who work in the community. Currently, Independent Living residents will not be part of this round of testing. We are looking at ways to provide testing in the near future for Independent Living residents.
For The Moorings at Lewes, we are following Delaware guidance regarding testing. On May 5, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. Public health experts at the DPH will support clinicians at long-term care facilities with the new testing program and the Moorings at Lewes team are working closely with them to implement this plan, with additional support from our Health Services team. Similar to New Jersey, the Delaware test plan includes testing of all residents in healthcare, all staff members throughout the community and any private-duty caregivers who work in the community.
With this universal testing, we anticipate that we may see an increase in positive cases in some of our communities. These will be individuals who are “asymptomatic” positive as we have been testing all residents and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms and those individuals with whom they have come in contact. Those results will be provided to you as part of the regular COVID-19 notification you receive from the community Executive Director. In addition, we will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health officials to implement any additional protocols or measures needed to protect the safety and well-being of all residents and staff members.
Thank you again for your continued support. And please join me in extending our gratitude to the staff members in our communities for the exceptional job they are doing in managing through this uncharted journey.
Message From Our CEO Anthony Argondizza
Dear Residents, Family and Staff,
Like many of you, I am eager to get back to normal. While we have begun to receive data to support that we may be in the “decline” phase of the healthcare crisis, it is imperative that we continue to follow the guidance of health officials and reduce transmission of COVID-19. While it is not the time to relax our focus and precautions, we should take comfort in signs that we’re making progress and the governor is now talking about plans to re-open. We will continue to follow these developments closely and remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being for all residents and staff. For now, we will stay the course.
As we manage through this pandemic, I am in awe of the resilience of our residents, although not surprised. You and your peers have shared so many challenging experiences throughout your lifetime and you have always been a shining example of how to face adversity with dignity and strength. I am also filled with pride as I observe our Springpoint staff rise to the occasion while they continue to deliver programs and services with great compassion. I’m so impressed with how you’ve managed through this challenging situation, with creativity and determination to make sure that everyone remains safe and healthy. Your grit and commitment to excellence puts a smile on my face. You truly are our Springpoint Heroes. If you would like to see examples of our heroes in action, I encourage you to follow our communities on Facebook.
There has been quite a bit of news lately about the number of COVID-19 cases in senior living communities and long-term care facilities. We strongly believe in transparency and are following requirements for reporting of cases to health officials, families, residents and staff. While The Moorings at Lewes has not reported a positive case, all of our New Jersey CCRCs have experienced positive cases among both residents and staff. We are now seeing success stories as members of both groups are recovering and, in the case of employees, returning to work. Sadly, residents in some of our New Jersey communities have passed away due to complications related to COVID-19. It is always difficult when we lose a member of our community, but particularly so during this time when we can’t join together to share both our grief and memories. Our most heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the residents whom we have lost. We will plan remembrance events for these residents when the time is right.
Individual statistics for New Jersey senior living communities can be found on the Department of Health (NJ DOH) website at this link: https://covid19.nj.gov/#live-updates. Note that the number of confirmed cases includes both residents and staff members. These numbers are derived from the information we report to our local health officials, who in turn report to NJ DOH. Since there can be a delay in the reporting from one entity to the other, these numbers may not match exactly with numbers reported in the community.
Statistics for Delaware COVID-10 cases can be found on the State of Delaware website at this link: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/
Spring is a time of renew and hope. As I watch the trees turn green and the days grow longer, I look forward to the brighter days that lie ahead. I am grateful to all of our residents and families for your continued encouragement and support and I am honored to work with and lead such a dedicated and exceptional team of employees. Together, we shine.
Message From Our CEO Anthony Argondizza
Dear Springpoint Family,
Our teams continue to work tirelessly to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. I am extremely proud of each and every one of our employees who continue to go above and beyond during this unprecedented time. I know that the past few weeks have been extremely challenging, but the hard work and sacrifice of our employees is greatly appreciated—not just by me, but by our residents and those we serve.
I want to take a moment to celebrate our front-line employees, who are carrying much of this burden. It is truly inspiring to see them rise to the challenges we face every day, especially when I know they are also concerned for the well-being of those close to them.
Our front-line employees have demonstrated their dedication to those we serve with unwavering courage and selflessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have proven to be Springpoint’s heroes.
To show our appreciation, we have established a Springpoint Heroes Fund through the support of Springpoint and the Springpoint Foundation. This fund was created to recognize and support the tremendous job our employees are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic as they work tirelessly to promote the safety, health and well-being of our residents and one another.
The Springpoint Heroes Fund will come to life in two ways:
A Thank You Incentive
This fund provides our front-line employees, who continue to work and care for those we serve, a one-time recognition incentive. Full-time, part-time and per-diem employees are eligible for the incentive which they will receive in this week’s paycheck.
Recognition and Support
Additionally, the Springpoint Heroes Fund will provide each community with funds and resources to assist each community in recognizing the outstanding contributions of all of our team members. From morale boosting signage to free meals, give-aways, and more, communities will have the means to celebrate the contributions of this special group of employees.
We’ll be providing each of these outstanding employees with a green and gold Springpoint Heroes ribbon that they can wear with pride. They deserve the distinction as they continue to provide care and service with an extraordinary level of compassion.
We have received requests from residents and family members who want to support our employees during this challenging time and we invite those who would like to help to do so by contributing to the Springpoint Heroes Fund by clicking here.
My heart goes out to all employees and I want you to know that we are in this together. I remain humbled and so very proud of each and every member of the Springpoint family. We will come out of this—stronger than we were before.
Thank you to each and every one of our employees for your hard work and sacrifice.
Message From Our CEO Anthony Argondizza: Update Regarding COVID-19
Dear Residents, Families, and Staff,
As the number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow, our communities remain resolute in their commitment to take aggressive measures to protect the safety and well-being of residents, staff, and families. The work they are doing is exemplary and as an organization we are providing the resources and full force of our Springpoint expertise to support them in this effort.
Many senior living communities in our area are now reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among both residents and staff. We have received questions regarding our process for notification in the event of a positive or suspected case of COVID-19. Following is an outline of our notification process, which is in compliance with federal, state and local health agencies requirements. Our goal is to provide open communication to the greatest degree possible, but to balance that effort in a way that respects the privacy obligations of our residents and staff.
Springpoint COVID-19 Notification Process
- If a staff member or resident is identified as positive or under investigation for COVID-19, we immediately notify health officials and/or emergency management officials—as required—as well as our Springpoint COVID-19 Task Force. Based on the guidance from the local, state, and federal officials and our Springpoint professional staff, we develop our response and notification action plan.
- If an independent living resident is identified as positive, with their consent we notify their family or, as appropriate, their power of attorney or responsible party.
- Any staff, resident, or family member who may have had exposure due to close contact (as defined by health officials) with the individual who tested positive or is under investigation for COVID-19 are notified in a one-to-one communication and provided with instructions on specific actions they need to take to prevent further transmission and to monitor for symptoms.
- A written notification is sent to residents, family, and staff once there has been a reported positive case in a community. If you have not received such a communication, then your community has not yet reported a case of COVID-19.
- Effective 4/6/2020, communities with active cases will distribute a written report indicating the total number of confirmed and suspected cases among residents and staff, and will issue an updated report within 24 hours if there are additional cases.
For reference, attached is a recap of the steps we have taken in our communities in response to COVID-19. We will keep you up to date as our approach and response continue to evolve. Thanks to all of you for your support and words of encouragement as we manage through this unprecedented situation. Our community staff and home office team are going above and beyond—we are so proud of all that they are doing during this extraordinary time.
Springpoint Continuing Care Retirement Community Response
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of New Jersey Department of Health, Delaware Division of Public Health and local health officials have issued guidance specific to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities. Below is an overview of our response to these guidelines:
- Stay-at-home orders: We strongly encourage all residents to comply with the stay-at-home orders issued by the governor, which means remaining in your residence. We can provide you with support for deliveries of meals, supplies, medications, and pet care, so you do not need to make unnecessary trips outside the community to the grocery store or pharmacy. These stores pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and should be avoided completely at this time.
- Limit the number of non-essential visitors: A strict no non-essential visitor policy has been implemented in our Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Independent Living neighborhoods.
- Screen workers and essential visitors: We screen all employees and essential visitors for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This includes taking each person’s temperature using a no-touch thermometer and asking about symptoms or potential exposure. Employees are advised that if they develop fever or symptoms of respiratory infection while at work, they should immediately inform their supervisor and leave the workplace.
- Guidance for sick employees: Sick employees are required to stay home. We have implemented flexible sick-leave policies and to the extent possible flexible attendance policies. We emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, and ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available in all areas of our communities.
- Cancel all public or non-essential group activities and events: The CDC specifically cites staggered meals as an appropriate response. We took this recommendation a step further by eliminating congregate dining completely. We continue to offer free meal delivery to all residents. We have suspended group activities, meetings, and events.
- Clean and disinfect all common areas and shared facilities: All common areas throughout the community are cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day, paying particular attention to “high touch” surfaces such as door handles, faucets, toilet handles, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, countertops, chairs, tables, and shared exercise equipment.
- Encourage personal protective measures: We have encouraged residents and employees alike to limit their interactions and to maintain proper social distancing. Staff members who must provide direct care or services to residents are provided with appropriate personal protective equipment as recommended by CDC guidelines.
- Limit risk of transmission: We have eliminated all non-emergency visits to resident apartments. This includes any social visits by employees, routine maintenance services, and routine housekeeping services. We only enter a resident’s apartment for emergency medical, maintenance, or sanitation purposes and employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Inform residents, workers, and visitors about COVID-19: We have been communicating with all our stakeholders since early March. This includes written communication, verbal communication, and postings throughout the community.
Message From Our CEO Anthony Argondizza: Update Regarding COVID-19
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
Times of great uncertainty and challenge often bring out the best in us. Over the past few weeks, as we’ve dealt with the sudden and unforeseen impact brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed an amazing coming together of staff, residents, and families to support and help each other through these trying times.
We are grateful to our residents and family members for your understanding and cooperation as we increased restrictions on activities and movement about the community to help lessen the chance of transmission. Your kind words of support and encouragement have helped sustain many of us as we carry on with our essential work. Moreover, it is heart-warming to learn of the efforts of those residents who are taking time to virtually connect with one another so that no one feels alone during this time of social distancing and self-isolation.
We are grateful to our staff for the tremendous job they are doing to assure the safety and well-being of all residents and one another. These employees are putting their own uncertainties aside, selflessly serving our residents, and going above and beyond. Their tireless efforts and compassion for others is an inspiration. Know that Springpoint continues to follow established protocols and directives from our local, state, and federal agencies to promote employee and resident safety and reduce the chance of exposure or transmission.
This extraordinary situation has required an extraordinary response. Springpoint’s senior management team and leadership from all lines of business are working 24/7 to help manage our response to this unprecedented challenge. There is no playbook for this unique moment, but we can all take great comfort and pride in knowing that an exceptional combination of commitment, professional experience, and expertise is guiding our efforts.
This is an anxious time for all of us. While each day brings new challenges, we do know that our efforts can make a difference. The sacrifices we make today in limiting our social interactions, practicing good hand- hygiene, and monitoring our health can help.
My thoughts are with all of you during this trying time. Along with our Board of Trustees and leadership team, I am committed to focusing all the resources and talent needed to manage through this challenge, for as long as necessary.
We are in this together.
Anthony A. Argondizza
Springpoint continues to take aggressive measures to protect our residents and staff from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase, we feel it is necessary to implement additional measures to ensure social distancing and to limit the potential for transmission.
We should all try to take care of one another by self-isolating as much as possible. This is the most important action we can take right now. When testing becomes more readily available to the public, we will be able to understand just who is infected and be more effective in reducing exposures. Until that day, the most important thing we can do for ourselves, our friends, our family, the staff and the greater community at large is to limit social contacts.
To that end, we are immediately suspending all non-essential services performed in apartments and/or cottages, including:
- Non-emergency maintenance services, like picture hanging, painting and furniture moving
- Routine housekeeping services of apartments and or cottages. Linen services, if typically performed, will be provided in a manner that minimizes potential for transmission.
- Beauty/barber salon services will be discontinued until further notice.
- Social visits by staff to residents, in apartments.
To assist in our social distancing efforts, we ask each resident to limit social or business-related visits to staff members’ offices and encourage residents to conduct business over the phones as much as possible. We are hopeful that the change in services will be of a short duration, and as soon as possible, we will begin offering these services again.
The requirements and responses related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continue to change and evolve. This update is part of our continuing effort to keep you informed of these changes and how they might impact your daily lives and routines. The following changes are in effect:
- For the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff, we have implemented a no visitation policy throughout our CCRC (Life Plan) communities with certain exceptions – including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care. Questions regarding the policy should be directed to the community Executive Director.
- Permitted visitors, employees, and residents will be asked to complete a health assessment questionnaire prior to entering the community. Everyone entering the community will be required to stop at one of the approved entry points in order to complete the questionnaire.
- Employees and permitted visitors will not be permitted in the community if they are: diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or have signs or symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or sore throat; or have come in contact with someone who is either diagnosed with COVID-19 or has the signs and symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or sore throat.
- Residents with respiratory symptoms, coughing, sore throat, and/or fever will be monitored by clinical staff and asked to stay home. Meals will be delivered at no charge. Residents will contact their personal physician and will keep staff informed.
- All dining areas are closed. Meals are available for pick up or free delivery and will be provided with disposable dinnerware.
- Housekeeping is using the “high touch” approach to frequent sanitizing of public area
surfaces and transportation is sanitizing all vehicles daily.
- The fitness center is providing supplies for each person to wipe down equipment, and staff is doing the same. Residents are encouraged to wash their hands after exercising and practice social distancing.
- As we practice social distancing as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control, we will not be holding any group activities and the common areas will be closed to group gatherings.
Here are some resources that may be useful to you and your family on COVID-19 (Coronavirus):
- Center for Disease Control
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- New Jersey Department of Health
- Delaware Health and Social Services
We know there is growing concern as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. Springpoint continues to adapt our practices and respond to new information as it becomes available.
Yesterday we made the decision to change our practice on visitation to our healthcare centers. In alignment with guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we are restricting non-employee, non-essential visits to our skilled nursing and assisted living centers, including memory care neighborhoods, until further notice.
We acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for families and residents and please know it was not made without careful deliberation. However, we feel this measure is essential to assure the well-being of our most vulnerable residents. We understand that special visitation circumstances may arise. Families are advised to bring those circumstances to the attention of the Health Care Center Administrator or community Executive Director for consideration.
Last week we implemented a number of protective measures in our CCRC (Life Plan) communities, including the screening of all residents, employees, visitors, and vendors for symptoms, known exposure to the virus and/or recent visits to high-risk regions (China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Italy, or Washington State) in the last 14 days. If any of these are affirmed, non-resident, non-employees are not permitted on our campuses. Residents are required to be confined to their homes and employees will be self-quarantined off-site for 14 days with instructions to contact their physicians.
Additional protective measures include screening of all employees prior to each shift with questions related to symptoms and exposure, as well as having their temperature taken. Large group activities and trips have been postponed and small group activities are being adjusted to provide for proper social distancing. Events and meetings held on our campus by outside organizations have been postponed or cancelled. Modifications to our dining service have been made, which include changes to our practices for brunch and self-serve areas to ensure enhanced risk reduction.
Additionally, we have encouraged residents to take advantage of take-out meal service (without additional delivery charge) as opposed to coming into the dining rooms to eat in a large group setting. We have also implemented enhanced housekeeping infection control measures such as disinfection of frequently touched hard surfaces including door knobs and hand rails.
We will continue to respond to this situation as it develops, and we will keep you informed as our practices change.
Springpoint continues to take significant, proactive measures to protect those who live and work in our communities and offices against the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Springpoint has no reported coronavirus cases. We are acting with an abundance of caution in following strict protocols and guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health departments.
In addition, we have established the following recommended policies for our communities:
- Signs posted at community entrances asking those who have traveled recently to China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Washington state not to visit the community.
- Disinfect hard surfaces and community vehicles twice a day.
- Limit the number of large community gatherings.
- Eliminate brunch, salad bars and dessert bars in the dining areas.
- Offer take-out or room service meals at no charge for residents who do not want to eat in the dining room.
- Increase supply of personal protective equipment, food and paper goods.
- Educate staff and residents on proper disease prevention measures, including hand washing and social distancing.
- Strict enforcement of policy that sick employees should not come to work.
Since this is a very dynamic situation, we continue to monitor the recommendations from state and federal agencies and adjust our practices to provide the safest environment for our residents and employees. Our senior management team and community leaders hold daily conference calls to review updates and any needed changes to assure open and consistent communication and practices.
We will continue to send out updates as we have them. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Executive Director.
Members of the Springpoint Senior Management Team want to make you aware that we have a plan to ensure we will be able to maintain our operations under any challenging conditions, including any outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the flu and COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. Springpoint is following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which has released guidelines to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The same precautions we have in place to contain the flu will minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Listed below is some advice from the experts at the CDC to prevent getting sick with the flu and other infectious diseases, including the Coronavirus:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- If you are sick, please avoid contact with other residents including not visiting residents
who may be in the healthcare center or in assisted living If you have family members or
friends who are sick, please avoid visiting with them until they are well
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based
hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always use soap if your hands are visibly soiled. When to wash your hands:
- Before and after eating
- After going to the bathroom
- After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
The CDC DOES NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. It is also important for healthcare professionals to wear a facemask if caring for a patient with respiratory symptoms.
Most common symptoms of possible COVID-19 is fever, cough, sore throat and mild to severe respiratory illness including shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, please immediately seek medical attention. You may call or go to the Healthcare Clinic, call your attending physician or go directly to the hospital emergency room. Hospital emergency rooms can test for COVID-19.
We will follow the CDC recommendation for confirmed cases in healthcare settings. Those guidelines include steps to minimize chances for exposure, adhering to personal protection protocols and managing visitor access.
We hope this information is helpful. We care about the well-being of our residents, employees and visitors. If you have questions, please contact Linda Rose at 732-430-3727. If she does not answer, please leave a message and she will return your call.
This information is provided by Linda Rose, MS, APN, LNHA, Senior Vice President Health Services and Chief Clinical Officer based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in collaboration with our Senior Medical Consultant, Dr. Eric Burkett.