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. 

To provide transparency to our residents, families and staff, we are notifying them each time a positive or suspected case is identified in their facility, as well as when three cases are identified within three days in their facility. This notification will occur by 5 p.m. the following calendar day. Further, we are committed to providing families and residents with ongoing updates that will include the cumulative number of positive cases within our facilities.

Note: We do not mean to alarm our residents or families with frequent COVID-related messages; rather, our intent is to keep them apprised and offer ongoing communications.

We encourage our residents and family members to contact our team if we can provide any additional assistance during this time. We appreciate their patience and offer our heartfelt prayers for all those impacted by this virus.

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


 

Frequently Asked Questions (REV 7/10/20)         

INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO CHI LIVING COMMUNITIES AND COVID-19

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

Yes. We are notifying all residents/families and staff each time a positive or suspected case is identified, as well as when three individuals show symptoms within three days. These notifications will occur by 5 p.m. the following calendar day. Additionally, ongoing updates are being provided to residents and families, and will include the cumulative number of positive cases in our facility.

We do not want to alarm residents, their families or our staff by distributing frequent messages related to COVID-19; rather, our intent is to help keep everyone apprised.

Please understand that we can never comment on anyone’s personal health information or status due to privacy laws, including where a resident who tests positive is residing in our facility.

Because COVID-19 is a public health issue, public health officials oversee the coordination and release of relevant information to the public.

How are you notifying residents and staff about COVID-19 cases and any related updates?

To ensure timely and consistent delivery of this news to all residents and families, we are providing a printed memo to each of our residents (unless they are cognitively impaired). We also are sending an email of this same notification to their family/responsible party. If we do not have an email address on file for a resident’s primary contact, we will call them.

Note: We must rely on the resident’s primary contact – the responsible party whom we have on file for each resident – to share this news with all other family members, as needed.

Why are the number of cases you report for your facility different from those released by local/state public health officials or news media?

Due to the timing of when information is reported, released and updated, as well as whether cases are “suspected” or “confirmed,” please understand that the numbers we release may not be the same as the numbers reported by public health agencies, including on their websites or via news media.

We continue to work closely with public health agencies to ensure the information we report to them is accurate.          

Some states/cities are beginning to relax their stay-at-home orders. Does that mean families and guests will be allowed to visit relatives in CHI Living Communities facilities?

Because residents of long-term care facilities are at higher risk for contracting the virus, and often have worse outcomes, our facilities will continue restricting communal activities and visitors, as well as keeping other preventive measures in place, as long as advised by public health officials.

While we understand these temporary measures are difficult for our residents and families, we greatly appreciate your patience. We are following all guidance from the CDC and public health officials to keep your loved one safe.

When visitation restrictions are lifted at our facilities, residents and family members will be notified in advance.

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.

Our activity directors and other staff members are working hard to ensure each of our residents has daily activities to keep them engaged, feeling connected to others and are comfortable.

We encourage you to stay connected by calling your loved one often; use FaceTime, Skype, social media or text; and send cards and notes.

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

Because each of our facilities is part of CHI Living Communities, which is part of CommonSpirit Health – an expansive health care network – we have the ability to move supplies from one facility and/or state to another to help ensure our staff have sufficient supplies as needed, including personal protective equipment. Further, we are continuing to carefully monitor our supplies and identifying sources to purchase more should we need them in the coming weeks.

That said, like other health care 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. Individuals, restaurants and other business can show their support by donating boxed meals, donuts, pizzas, a bag of fresh fruit or snacks, etc. Please call ahead for drop-off instructions (Note: Use disposable containers, plates/utensils.)

Throughout this difficult situation, we are extremely grateful for the outpouring of generous donations from local citizens and businesses that continue supporting us in so many ways! We feel blessed to be part of such caring communities. Thank you!

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.

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 “Caregivers” 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.

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, which they must wear 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:

  • Consistently assess our staff and monitor our residents for any potential symptoms of the virus.
  • Closely follow best infection control practices, such as frequently washing hands and wearing personal protective equipment as recommended.
  • Require all staff to wear masks.

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 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 receive appropriate treatment. If symptoms worsen, we will follow their health care providers instructions, including transporting a resident to a hospital for acute medical care.

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.
 

GENERAL COVID-19 INFORMATION

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 and how soon do they appear?

According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, as well as at least two of these symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.If you have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for instructions. CHI Living Communities residents and staff are being consistently monitored for any potential signs.

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.
  • Try to limit your exposure to others because carriers of the virus may be symptom-free. Leave home for groceries and other essential business, and 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, which they must where 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:

  • Consistently conduct assessments of our staff and monitor our residents for any potential symptoms of the virus.
  • Closely follow best infection control practices, such as frequently washing hands and wearing personal protective equipment as recommended.
  • Require all staff to wear masks.

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, 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 receive appropriate treatment. If symptoms worsen, we will follow their health care providers instructions, including transporting a resident to a hospital for acute medical care.

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?

Yes. To provide transparency and based on feedback we received from our families and residents, we are notifying all residents/families and staff each time a positive case is identified in any one of our facilities, as well as when three cases are identified within three days. Additionally, updates are being provided to residents and families as needed to ensure ongoing communication is provided.

We do not want to alarm residents, their families or our staff by distributing frequent messages related to COVID-19; rather, our intent is to help keep everyone apprised.

Please understand that we can never comment on anyone’s personal health information or status due to r privacy laws. Because COVID-19 is a public health issue, public health officials oversee all related efforts, including release of any information such as positive test results and the number of cases in their jurisdiction.

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?

Because each of our facilities is part of CHI Living Communities, which is part of CommonSpirit Health – an expansive health care network – we have the ability to move supplies from one facility and/or state to another to help ensure our staff have sufficient supplies as needed, including personal protective equipment. Further, 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. Individuals, restaurants and other business can show their support by donating boxed meals, donuts, pizzas, a bag of fresh fruit or snacks, etc.. Please call ahead for drop-off instructions (Note: Use disposable containers, plates/utensils.)

Throughout this difficult situation, we are extremely grateful for the outpouring of generous donations from local citizens and businesses that continue supporting us in so many ways! We feel blessed to be part of such caring communities. Thank you!

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. 

Some states/cities are beginning to relax their stay-at-home orders. Does that mean families and guests will be allowed to visit relatives in CHI Living Communities facilities?

Because residents of long-term care facilities are at higher risk for contracting the virus, and often have worse outcomes, our facilities will continue restricting communal activities and visitors, as well as  keeping other preventive measures in place, as long as advised by public health officials.

While we understand these temporary measures are difficult for our residents and families, we greatly appreciate your patience. We are following all guidance from the CDC and public health officials to keep your loved one safe.

When visitation restrictions are relaxed or lifted, all residents and family members will be notified.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to continue collaborating with us to engage your loved one through frequent phone calls, cards, Skype and/or FaceTime visits. Be assured our staff is working hard to keep each resident safe and comfortable during this time, while providing special activities and offering other support as needed.

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