Coronavirus (COVID-19) Visitation Protocol Update (4/28/21)
Dear Resident Representatives:
I hope that this update finds you all healthy and well. It is hard to believe that we have been fighting the good fight in this pandemic for over a year now. The dedication and perseverance of the Fountainview Team truly has been second to none. Our mission driven team members have given selflessly of themselves to ensure that your loved ones have received the best care possible. Even in the middle of an ongoing pandemic the team achieved the highest rating from the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) – FIVE STARS! We are headed into our fifth consecutive month with this distinction.
While the pandemic is far from over, many of us are starting to feel a sense of “normal” returning to our lives. Not to sound cliché, but the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines truly has been a life saver. 97% of our residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and almost 60% of our staff have been vaccinated. With the vaccine being more accessible, we expect these numbers to increase in the coming weeks. Through our partnership with CVS, we are now able to provide the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to residents and staff onsite here at the center. Additionally, we are also assisting with locating and scheduling appointments for residents and staff who may be interested in one of the other vaccines. If you are interested in more information about this process, you can contact Terence Pope, Director of Staff & Family Education by calling (404) 325-7994 X11.
Recently, CMS updated its regulatory guidance for skilled nursing facilities related to visitations. We are extremely excited to update you on our new protocols and policies related to visitations. There is a great deal of information included below. A copy of the entire visitation policy is included in this update. My management team and I are available to answer any questions. Please be patient with us as we work out any kinks in our updated procedures.
Key points of our revised vitiation policy:
- “Fully Vaccinated” refers to a person who is ≥ 2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥ 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
- “Unvaccinated” refers to a person who does not fit the definition of “fully vaccinated,” including people whose vaccination status is not known.
- Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention refers to actions taken to mitigate or reduce the introduction of the coronavirus (COVID-19) into a population, e.g., wearing masks, COVID-19 screenings, hand hygiene, COVID-19 testing, etc.)
- Effective Monday, May 3, 2021, in room visits will be allowed with open visiting hours, no scheduling required.
- Visitors MUST complete COVID-19 screening prior to entering any resident care area.
- Visitors will be identified by a “visitor” badge that will be given to them after COVID-19 screening at the point of check in.
- Failure to comply with any portion of the facility’s policy may result in restriction or limitation of future visits.
- Residents and visitors may visit without social distancing or source control masks if alone in the residents’ room if the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated.
- If a visitor is not vaccinated, they can visit with a fully vaccinated resident alone in the resident’s room without distancing while always wearing a well-fitting source control mask.
- Visitors that wish to be identified as “fully vaccinated” must present proof, at the time of check-in, that they are fully vaccinated. This can be done by presenting a vaccination card, or any other official document showing dates of vaccination(s).
- If the visitor does not have proof of vaccination with them, on file at the receptionist desk, or prefer not to provide vaccination status will be considered “unvaccinated” until proof can be provided showing otherwise.
- No more than three visitors per resident will be allowed to visit at one time.
- Visitors to shared rooms may be limited to one-hour visits as to accommodate both residents and their visitors.
- Visitors must always wear well-fitting masks when in common areas of the facility.
- Keeping six feet of distance between residents, staff, and others that are not part of their group.
- Visitors may not congregate in common areas of the pavilions.
- If a visitor needs a staff member for assistance, they should use the call light system in the resident’s room to call for assistance.
- Outdoor visits are allowed and encouraged. Visitors may take their loved ones to any of our beautiful outdoor spaces, but all guidelines regarding mask use should still be followed.
- Should the facility experience a new case of COVID-19, resident or staff member, visitations will be temporarily stopped until “outbreak” testing can be completed.
- We will be offering COVID-19 testing for visitors, as supplies are available. If you are interested in receiving a rapid COVID-19 antigen test prior to a visit, kindly let the reception staff now.
(A copy of the entire visitation policy is available by calling the facility, or requesting a copy at the receptionist desk at the facility.)
Again, these are only a few of the key points in our revised visitation policy. The revised policy aligns with the new guidance from CMS (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh-revised.pdf).
While there are still some limitations with these visits, it is a giant leap forward toward getting back to “normal”. For this re-opening plan to be successful, we all must do our part in adhering to the plan and not doing anything that will present a risk.
These are exciting times, and we look forward to seeing you all back in the facility on a regular basis. We are glad to have you back!
Tedd Watts, RN, LNHA-C, CDP, FACHCA