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Coronavirus Prevention Updates

Last updated 5/22/2020

As communities around the country and world discuss plans for the easing of COVID restrictions, our utmost concern is for the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us. 

We are facing a virus and disease that seems to be targeting older adults in physical ways and through isolation. Our hearts break for families who have lost loved ones to this disease and we pray for God’s comfort to enfold them. We also ache with family members separated from their loved ones.

We know that our path will continue to be defined by managing the tension between the safety of isolation and the risk of isolation. We continue to work with state and federal agencies and rely on data to shape our plans.

Q. How has Presbyterian Homes & Services responded to COVID-19?
A. PHS maintains standard protocols and procedures to prevent or limit the spread of infectious disease in our senior living communities. Every PHS staff member is trained on these procedures and our employees have demonstrated excellent infection control practices over the years.

To specifically address COVID-19: 
  • An interdisciplinary team is reviewing information from the CDC regularly and working with the state departments of health daily. 
  • PHS staff are receiving additional training to recognize and report symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory illness experienced by residents, volunteers or themselves.
  • All residents and staff reporting symptoms of COVID-19 are immediately put on isolation precautions pending the results of testing and until cleared by medical professionals. 
  • In collaboration with Allina Health, we have set up a dedicated COVID-19 treatment site at our Interlude™ Restorative Suites location in Fridley, Minnesota
  • In addition to maintaining standard practices for good hygiene and infection control, PHS communities are increasing disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Residents in all living options are encouraged to remain in their apartments as much as possible. 
  • Clinical care staff are monitoring the health of residents in our care. 
  • Signs are posted throughout the community reminding everyone to be vigilant about infection control practices. 
  • Hand washing stations and/or sanitizer dispensers are at all PHS site entrances.
  • All employees are being screened before entering the building and are wearing source control masks. 
  • We are working with our suppliers for needed supplies while avoiding stockpiling that could exacerbate shortages. 
  • Reliable and verified information is being communicated by PHS to staff, residents and the public through our website, social media, email and/or print notifications.

Q. Are you testing all residents and employees?
A.  
We are actively working with state agencies in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin to increase access to testing, including testing for those who have not yet shown any COVID symptoms. There is growing evidence that persons with COVID-19 become infectious days prior to developing symptoms, and many develop only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. We have implemented a number of campus-wide tests with the support of state teams and while the supply of test kits remains limited, state testing programs are ramping up capacity with a goal to make tests available to all employees and residents in our care.

Q. Can I visit the community? 
 
Assisted Living, Memory Care and Care Centers

Guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) still restrict visitors in assisted living, memory care and care centers. We understand the extraordinary sacrifice residents, family and friends are making right now by avoiding in-person visits in our buildings. This is a very difficult, but effective step for mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission and we are thankful for virtual, window, and outdoor visits in the interim. We have been only allowing family members to enter our buildings when they fulfill an essential role in their loved ones’ care.  

In our care settings, we are requiring that essential visitors be screened prior to any access to resident living spaces. The screening will include a form that records the name, contact information, duration and purpose of the visit and who is being visited, if applicable, and responses to the following:
 
  • Do you have a new cough, difficulty breathing, or fever?
  • Have you traveled outside of the country or been on a cruise in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had close contact (within 6 feet, without PPE) with someone who tested positive for or is currently being tested for COVID-19 infection while that person was symptomatic?

Families have been informed that only resident and staff key fobs remain activated for the time being and only for a single point of entry for each building. 

Independent Living Settings
With the easing of stay at home orders, visits to independent living apartments or homes may occur during specific hours. Visitors must complete the screening process at each visit. Visitors will be asked to wash / sanitize their hands and will be asked to bring and wear a cloth mask while on the property as well as follow social distancing and group size guidelines in all areas of the building, including resident apartments. Visits will initially be limited to the specific resident apartment, outdoor areas and designated interior common areas. 

As we welcome visitors we have increased our cleaning and sanitizing procedures in common spaces and we will be monitoring and may limit the total number of visitors in our buildings to ensure that we can maintain appropriate social distancing and maximum group sizes.

Q. Are you accepting new residents?   
A.
At this time, we are allowing move-ins for independent living, assisted living, and memory care with robust move-in procedures to ensure the health and safety of the community. In order to provide critical support to hospitals, we continue to accept new admissions in transitional care and long-term care with appropriate health screening, following the lead of the CDC. 

If the results of screening new residents raise any cause for concern, we will further assess and determine next steps before a move-in takes place. All new residents, except for those in independent living, are being put on self-isolation precautions for 14 days to ensure they are free of symptoms.

Q. Can I take a tour of a community?
A.
Generally, we are not offering in-person tours at this time unless a special circumstance warrants it. Each community's Housing Counselor is eager to discuss your goals and answer any questions over the phone or through video appointments. We also encourage you to view the community photo galleries on this website. Every community features a gallery on its home page that displays an extensive view of the apartments and community spaces. Go to Find a Community to select the community of your interest. We also encourage you to follow our Facebook pages.  

Q. Will I be notified if there is an outbreak at a PHS community? 
A. In the event of a positive COVID-19 test result, we will notify residents, staff, and primary family contacts. 

Q. Do you have enough supplies and staff to care for residents in the case of an outbreak?
A. Supplies are available and are being distributed as the need arises. We are working with our suppliers for needed items while avoiding stockpiling that could exacerbate shortages. 

Our PHS leadership team meets weekly to review staffing needs and deployment for all sites. We are fortunate to have our own central staffing group to cover shifts and are deploying our nurses and registered nursing assistants where the need is greatest. 

Q. What can I do to help?
A. You can be helpful in the following ways: 
  
  • Stay healthy and prevent spreading germs by following recommended actions: frequent handwashing; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose all used tissues; avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay in touch with your loved one by phone, text, email or other means that do not require physical proximity.
  • Sign up to be a pen pal or phone buddy with a PHS resident.
  • Join our team! We have many positions available at more than 30 locations and training is provided. Call or text 651-764-8850 or email us at recruiter@preshomes.org and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
  • If you have the ability to make a financial gift and feel called to do so at this time, our foundation is here to help. Gifts of all sizes make a difference.
  • Be in prayer with us for those who have already been impacted by this disease; for the wellbeing of our residents and staff; for those working diligently to provide means of prevention, treatment and cure; and for calm, wisdom and mutual respect to prevail in our greater communities.
Q. How does this impact Help at Home services?
A. For information about Optage Senior Dining Choices, Home Care, and Hospice, please visit the Optage website. 

Q. Where can I find more information about COVID-19?
A. 
There are many resources available: 
  
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