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How We’re Responding to the COVID-19 Virus
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.