CHI Living Communities Statement


Responding to COVID-19

At CHI Living Communities, our Number 1 priority is the health and well-being of our residents. To help deter the spread of COVID-19 among residents, their families and our staff, we have been following guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from the start, and continue partnering with public health officials.

As more is known about COVID-19 and published, we will further adapt our procedures as recommended.  We will share updated information with our residents and family members.

We encourage our residents and family members to contact our team if we can provide any additional assistance or support during this time.

Thank you for placing your sacred trust in CHI Living Communities, where home is here.

We are currently restricting visiting

What does this mean? 

This means we are NOT allowing visitors except if a resident is actively dying and visitors meet the following requirements: 

  • Participate and pass an active health and travel screen administered by one of our staff members including a temperature check 
  • Receive education on hand hygiene

Depending upon your status, you may be required to wear personal protective equipment.

  • If you are not able to effectively demonstrate the above items, we ask that you defer your visit to another time when you are able to do so. 
  • If you are able to meet the above requirements, a member of our staff will escort you to and from the resident’s room.
  • Visitors are not permitted in any other area of the facility. 
We appreciate your full cooperation with these visitation requirements as we strive to maintain the health and safety of our residents and staff.
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (REV 4/1/20)         

What is COVID-19 and how is it spread?

2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread when an infected person comes into close contact with another person. While most healthy people are at low risk of getting sick from the virus, older adults and those who have underlying medical conditions may be at high risk.

What are its symptoms?

Depending on the person, those with COVID-19 may have mild to severe respiratory symptoms that may include a fever, dry cough and/or shortness of breath, plus sometimes present with other symptoms. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for instructions. CHI Living Communities residents are being consistently monitored for signs, and are employees are assessed for symptoms each time they report to work.

What are ways to prevent spreading COVID-19?
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough into your sleeve or elbow; or use a tissue, then dispose it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Only when soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer that has an alcohol content of at least 60%.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like your cell phone, and countertops, door handles and faucets.
  • Stay at home unless you are an essential employee who must report to work. Leave home only for groceries and other essential business, and then stay at least six feet apart from others.
What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19—a fever, dry cough and/or shortness of breath—follow these guidelines:

  • Contact your healthcare provider for instructions. Be sure to call ahead before visiting the office.
  • Stay home! Restrict activities outside your residence and especially avoid visiting public places.
  • If you are advised to go to the ER, call ahead and ask for instructions to help prevent spending a long time in a waiting area where COVID-19 may spread.
  • If you need to call 911 because you or a loved one has a medical emergency, notify the operator that you have been, or are being, evaluated for COVID-19 so that rescue personnel may wear appropriate protective equipment.
Where may I get more details and the most updated news about COVID-19?

Several resources include your county and state health department’s websites, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When did CHI Living Communities begin addressing COVID-19?

After President Trump declared a State of Emergency in mid-March 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services issued specific guidance for long-term care communities. Those guidelines included suspending group activities, including communal dining; restricting nonessential staff; plus restricting visitors except for people visiting residents near the end of life.

CHI Living Communities has followed guidance from the CDC from the start, in addition to working with local and state health departments, to ensure we are taking appropriate measures to help keep our residents and staff safe. As public health experts learn more about COVID-19, we will continue adapting our processes to follow their recommendations.

Has CHI Living Communities implemented social distancing?

Yes, each of our facilities has restricted visitors, except for guests of residents who are near end-of-life. Their guests must be assessed for COVID-19 before given a mask to visit. We’ve also suspended all group activities, including communal dining, to help prevent spread of the virus.

Based on recommendations from health departments, we also may require residents to shelter inside their apartments, schedule laundry room visits so those areas may be disinfected between usage, place garbage outside apartment doors to be picked up by our staff, and/or not visit their mailbox because mail will instead be delivered directly to their apartments.

What other measures have been taken by CHI Living Communities to help keep residents safe?

From the start, CHI Living Communities has followed—and continues to follow—guidance from the CDC. We also are continue partnering with local and state departments of health. Because public health officials are continually learning about COVID-19, we are adapting our processes and protocols as advised so we may use best practices to prevent, monitor, identify and treat the virus.

In addition to restricting visitors and suspending group activities, all CHI Living Communities have taken these measures:

  • Conduct daily assessments of employees when they report to work, and consistently monitor our residents for any potential symptoms of the virus.
  • Being extra vigilant about best infection control practices, such as frequently washing hands and wearing personal protective equipment as recommended.

Further, be assured our team has been educated and is well-trained on how to handle emergencies; how to identify and treat COVID-19 symptoms; and take necessary precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment as advised.

What if a resident or staff member shows signs of COVID-19?

If a resident shows any respiratory signs or symptoms, they will be placed in isolation and treated by our staff. If symptoms worsen and a resident needs acute medical care, they will be transported to a hospital.

Employees who show potential symptoms of COVID-19 will notify their Executive/Nursing Director and follow their provider’s instructions, such as self-isolating at home.

If a resident is placed in isolation, when may they come out of it?

The CDC recommends this decision be made on a case-by-case basis and includes the person meeting requirements such as:

  • No presence of fever (without use of fever-reducing medicine).
  • Free of symptoms, including a cough.
  • Testing negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected 24 hours or more apart.
Can someone who was quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

Quarantine means separating people who’ve been exposed to a contagious disease but not showing symptoms from those people who have not been exposed. Quarantine helps to prevent the possible spread of contagious diseases. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.

Why is the quarantine period for COVID-19 14 days?

The quarantine period is 14 days from the last date of exposure because two weeks is the longest incubation period thus far seen for similar coronaviruses.

Will you let residents and families know if someone in your facility tests positive for COVID-19?

We understand your concern, but no – we can never comment on another person’s health information or status due to our respect for the resident’s and family’s privacy, and because we must follow HIPAA and other privacy laws. Because COVID-19 is a public health issue, public health officials oversee all related efforts, including release of any information such as test results.

How can I help my loved one in CHI Living Communities feel less isolated during this time?

We understand restricting visitors and suspending group activities may present challenges for both our residents and their families. And, if we must quarantine a facility to better safeguard all of our residents and employees, this additional isolation may add to feelings of loneliness. Please remember these restrictions are temporary and our staff is carefully watching over each of our residents.

We encourage you to stay connected by calling your loved one often; using FaceTime, Skype, social media or texting; and sending cards and notes. Many years ago people didn’t rely on the modern tools we have today, like cell phones and computers, yet felt more connected than ever!

Does CHI Living Communities have enough supplies and equipment to treat COVID-19?

We are continuing to carefully monitor our supplies and identifying sources to purchase more should we need them in the coming weeks and months. That said, like other healthcare organizations across the U.S., supplies may become limited and more difficult to purchase if COVID-19 continues to spread. That’s why it is so important for everyone to do their part in preventing spread of this virus.

Do you accept homemade facemasks at your facilities?

Yes, our campuses are in need of a backup supply of cloth facemasks to conserve the use of commercially produced masks. The pattern is easy to follow and requires only two items: (1) tightly woven cotton or cotton-blend material, and (2) elastic, bias tape or long strips of cloth.

Step-by-step instructions of the pattern and a video demonstration are available at www.deaconess.com/masks. (Disregard details on this website that are related to donating masks.)

Finished masks can be mailed to our campuses or, if the donation is large, call ahead so a staff member can meet you when you drive up to our facility. Along with your donation, please provide a sheet of paper with your printed name and address so we may acknowledge your contribution.

May I help your caregivers by donating food?

Yes! During COVID-19, our employees are facing unprecedented times. If an individual, restaurant or other business would like to show their support by donating boxed meals, donuts, pizza, a bag of fresh fruit or snacks, etc., items may be dropped off at the front desk. (Please use disposable containers, plates/utensils.) We’re very grateful for your thoughtfulness and ongoing support.

May I send cards or notes to your residents and caregivers?

Yes, we welcome members of the community to send encouraging words for our residents and staff, especially when residents are confined to their rooms and our caregivers are going above and beyond their regular duties to keep our residents safe and comfortable.

Please write only if you are healthy—specifically, do not write if you: have a fever, sore throat or cough; have been in contact during the last 14 days with anyone who might have COVID-19; or if you have travelled in the last two weeks by plane or cruise ship.

Address your cards and notes to “Resident” or “Caregiver” and mail them to our campus address. If you have a large number of cards, please call ahead and we’ll have a staff member meet you at our front entrance. 

Additional information about COVID-19 is available on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html