Jul 28

Prestige Care

COVID-19: Safety & Prevention at Prestige Care

Posted by Prestige Care

Throughout our entire organization, we are closely following CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of communicable diseases and working with state health departments to ensure that our locations have access to the most recent information regarding COVID-19.

Our residents, patients and their families place a great deal of trust in us to ensure their safety and well-being. We will continue our ongoing steps to implement safety precautions designed to protect those we care for.

Our response to COVID-19 includes:

- Attentively monitoring for signs of illness, including routinely checking our residents’, patients’ and staff members temperatures.
- Adhering to the policies we have in place that maintain a clean environment, including increased disinfecting high-touch areas and surfaces with an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant.
- Restricting all visitor access, including families and friends, with exceptions for essential visits.
- Requiring that all permitted visitors, such as necessary personnel, go through additional screenings and hygiene procedures, in addition to limiting entry points and recording all individuals that enter our center.
- Deferring all group activities and outings, except for necessary medical appointments.
- Encouraging social distancing among all community members, including residents, patients, visitors and staff.
- Diligently tracking all resident, patient and staff interactions throughout our organization.
- All staff are wearing surgical facemasks and eye protection per CDC recommendations at all times during their work hours.
- Following guidelines set by the CDC regarding droplet precautions and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

What are Prestige’s infection control protocols?

We strictly follow infection prevention and control recommendations from the CDC, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html.

Key features of our infection control protocols include:

- Maintaining heightened cleaning and disinfecting procedures;
- Closely following CDC recommendations on how to minimize exposure to respiratory pathogens;
- Diligently adhering to personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines and working closely with vendors to ensure we have sufficient supplies;
- Strongly encouraging effective hand hygiene and other sanitary practices for all residents, patients and staff;
- Continually updating and training our team on effective infection control practices and new information from various health organizations; and
- Ensuring that our prevention policies are followed consistently and correctly.

Should the CDC update its guidelines, we will adjust our procedures accordingly, as well.

When does Prestige test residents and patients for COVID-19?

Currently, the criteria for testing is determined by the various health authorities, which can differ by state. Per CDC guidelines and recommendations from state health officials, Prestige refers individuals for testing when they exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as having a temperature over 100 degrees and showing symptoms of acute respiratory illnesses, and other newly identified symptoms. Prestige also refers individuals who have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive to their provider.

We continue to screen residents, patients and staff for signs of COVID-19 and immediately alert local health care authorities of any suspected cases. We are working closely with these organizations, including state health departments, to refer those who exhibit symptoms for immediate testing.

Thankfully, we have been successful at securing more broad testing throughout our organization. Many of our residents, patients and staff have already or will soon be tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms. We have long advocated for broad testing at all our Prestige locations and will continue to do so to help prevent the spread of this virus.  

How does Prestige help safeguard staff?

We’ve implemented a series of enhanced steps to protect our staff, including but not limited to:

- Restricting staff travel between Prestige locations.
- Minimizing the number of staff and health care personnel that interact with residents and patients who have tested positive or have exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
- Adhering to droplet or special droplet/contact precautions, as appropriate.
- Requiring that team members and health care personnel wear PPE, including facemasks, eye protection and gloves, when appropriate.
- When full PPE is not required, requiring the use of surgical masks and eye protection when interacting with residents, patients and in other social settings within our locations.
- Keeping a detailed log of people who enter residents’ and patients’ rooms.
- Rigorously cleaning and disinfecting all areas, surfaces and equipment.

We strongly encourage all members of our team to continue to demonstrate exceptional hand hygiene practices.

We also offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide free counselling services to team members and immediate family members to help cope with stress and anxiety during this difficult time. 

Do residents and patients have to wear masks?

We encourage all members of our Prestige Care community to wear a mask in public areas or areas where it’s difficult to stay at least 6 feet apart from others. There are some exceptions due to medical reasons and we continue to work with these individuals on a case-by-cases basis. 

All residents and patients who leave our communities for medically necessary appointments are required to wear a mask for the entirety of their outing, unless advised otherwise by their medical provider. Those who do not follow this policy will be placed on droplet precautions for 14 days.

Additionally, residents and patients who leave their communities for any non-essential visit will also be required to adhere to droplet precautions for 14 days once they return.

These measures are consistent with the guidance by the CDC and are an important part of limiting the spread of this illness.

When can I visit my loved one?

We understand this is a challenging time and you are eager to see your loved ones. However, limiting visitor access and enforcing social distancing guidelines continues to be one of the best ways to reduce the spread of this virus.

All Prestige locations are following guidelines set by the CDC and CMS for reopening, which may operate on a different timeline than those offered by state health officials. Currently, we continue to restrict or limit visitor access throughout our organization, including families, friends and non-essential vendors, with exceptions for essential visits, and we will continue to do so to keep our residents and patients safe. Of course, we will update our residents, patients and their families directly when we learn more from the CDC and CMS on the next steps for gradual reopening at each location.

How is Prestige connecting families while adhering to social distancing mandates?

We are committed to helping connect residents and patients with their families during this evolving situation and continue to help establish video chats using a number of platforms. Some of our staff have also volunteered to use their personal cell phones to help connect families via FaceTime.

We have several families that visit our residents and patients through their windows. Many of them also tape pictures, cards and other personalized messages on the windows to help spread warm wishes.

Families can send flowers or drop off care packages in designated areas. We also welcome cards, letters and other paper gifts, such as drawings and homemade artwork, from the community. We are taking extra precautions, asking those bringing items meet a staff member at the entrance, and disinfecting items as they come in.

How is Prestige keeping its residents and patients engaged during this challenging time?

Our leadership team meets daily – if not hourly – to continually reinforce our protective measures while working to ensure that we maintain a positive environment.

At many of our locations, communal dining and other group activities are on hold as we adhere to social distancing mandates, although we are providing in-room activities to keep residents and patients engaged. Some of these new daily activities include hallway bingo, individual crafts and courtyard/hallway concerts for residents to enjoy at a safe distance from others.

How will communities begin to reintegrate activities when they reach appropriate reopening phases?

We are diligently monitoring evolving federal and state reopening orders and guidelines issued by local health departments and are in the progress of easing certain restrictions on a location-by-location basis after the community meets or exceeds criteria set by state health authorities.

At the direction of their respective state health departments, Prestige locations that have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington will soon start the gradual and cautious process to introducing some activities within their communities, such as socially distanced group dinning and limited group activities.  

In all scenarios, individual communities will need to submit a plan to their local health department for approval. Once we receive the greenlight to move forward, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

- The number of participating individuals will be limited, at the direction of the local health department.
- Social distancing will be required for the entirety of the event.
- After each event, we will sanitize the area following CDC guidelines.
- Sharing of objects or food will not be allowed. 
- For dining, tables will be placed eight feet apart and limited to a single diner per table. Exceptions may be made for couples and roommates.

We will continuously work with local health authorities to ensure our locations are meeting or exceeding criteria set by the state and maintain heightened levels of sanitization and other preventive measures. Any time we suspect or receive positive test results for COVID-19, we will implement all rules and regulations prior to these changes. 

Additionally, select locations in Oregon and Idaho that meet or exceed criteria set by state health authorities – such as having no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 – are preparing to allow for limited visitation. Visits are by-appointment only and we are enforcing all guidelines set by the Oregon Department of Human Services and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Please know that we will reach out to you directly whenever there is a change to your location’s visitation policy.

What’s next?

As always, our highest priority is our residents’ health and safety, and we remain vigilant in our efforts to limit the spread of this virus.

Prestige remains proactively focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 or any other communicable diseases. We are closely monitoring for updates from the CDC and other health officials and will ensure that our preventive measures align with the latest guidelines from these organizations.

General COVID-19 Questions:

What is COVID-19, or the Novel Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered human coronavirus. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, such as the common cold.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19, and how does it spread?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath, and cough. Some may also experience aches and pains, loss of appetite, change in sense of taste or smell, sore throat or diarrhea. Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through person to person contact (within about 6 to 10 feet) and can also spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are transmitted when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

How do I protect myself and my family?

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and recommendations for keeping yourself and your family healthy, we recommend checking out the CDC website for regular updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

As with other communicable diseases, prevention is the first line of defense. Here are some precautions, as listed on the CDC website.

- Wear a cloth mask in public.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.