Resident and employee health and well-being is our top priority. A Banyan Residence is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as its impact continues to spread. COVID-19 is a factor when we think about safety, group interaction, and visitation. There is much to learn about the newly emerged COVID-19, including how easily it spreads.
Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. Close contact can occur while caring for a resident, including being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a resident with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time and having direct contact with infectious secretions from a resident with COVID-19. In order to be prepared, we are staying informed about the local COVID-19 situation, we have reviewed our facility’s emergency plan, we have relationships with key healthcare and public health partners in our community, and we have created an emergency contact list accessible throughout the facility. When it comes to communication, we will share information with all —- staff about what is currently known about the virus, the potential for surge, and our facility’s preparedness plans. As for visitors, both health providers and families, we will continue to allow on the property but we encourage the use of remote audio/video (phone call, Face Time, Skype, etc.) when suitable.
Our facility and staff are happy to accommodate any requests to speak with a resident remotely. The less outside traffic we have as a facility, the less opportunities for infection will be possible. Additionally, the less often our residents leave the property, the lower their risk of exposure to the virus. All visitors and new residents will be screened for symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing) before entering our facility through a questionnaire at our front desk as well as temperature being checked by a thermometer. We will ensure proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE) for visitors who come in close contact with confirmed or possible residents with COVID-19. Employees that are sick will be encouraged to stay home. Finally, we have an inventory of available PPE supplies with more on the way, if needed.
Residents are going to be monitored closely for any symptoms of a respiratory infection. We will assess and triage these residents with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the resident and isolating them in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available. There will also be dedicated staff assigned to care for isolated residents. Visitation with infected individuals will be allowed on a “need” basis.
To reduce the risk of spread, we have hired additional housekeeping staff. Every day we will have all common areas disinfected continuously. This includes, but is not limited to, the front gate, counter surfaces, dining room, activity room, indoor/outdoor chairs, door handles, community bathrooms, etc. Our staff will also be regularly washing the hands of residents on a frequent basis.
When visiting the facility, you will see signage posted in common areas that support hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as cough etiquette by residents, visitors, and employees.
Preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases include:
• 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 wipe
• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask
• 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
As of my writing this, we do not have any residents with a respiratory illness or symptoms of one. Because of that, we are not yet banning congregation in groups among residents to maintain the quality of life and stimulation our residents are used to. With that said, we will monitor the situation with critical attention and change this policy if need be. This may include, but is not limited to, meals being served in resident rooms, activities being provided to individuals rather than groups, and asking all non-essential personnel to refrain from visiting the property.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and working with us to keep our community safe and free of infection. I’m grateful for your cooperation with adhering to all of our safety measures. If you have suggestions for how we can further protect our staff and residents, you have the full attention of our management team. Additionally, we will be listening to any updates from the CDC that come available as well as additional preventative measures as we learn more about this virus. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call my office.