Coronavirus (COVID-19) Protocol Updates (9/22/2020)
September 22, 2020
Dear Fountainview Families:
I come to you today with exciting, yet cautious news. Yesterday, the Georgia Department of Public Health released new guidelines that permit skilled nursing facilities to allow in-person visitation in designated areas, provided that the nursing facility implements all of the safety, care, and infection control measures set forth in the guidance. This guidance can be found at: https://www.ghca.info//Files/LTCF%20Administrative%20Order%209.21.2020.pdf.
In summary, the guidelines provide for visits by a designated number of people at a time, in a designated space, and the resident being visited must be monitored by a facility staff member. Residents who have the coronavirus, who are suspected of having it or are in quarantine, may not receive visitors for a minimum of 14-days. All visits must be scheduled in advance, and all visitors must be screened before the visit. Finally, all visitors will be required to wear masks and remain six feet away from residents and staff members for the duration of the visit.
We recognize that these regulatory limitations feel restrictive, but it is a good start. The Fountainview Center has established a process by which you can make a reservation to come and visit your loved one. We will work hard to make sure that the process is fair and equitable. Starting at 9:00am on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, you may call the facility to schedule an in-person visit. Each pavilion will have their own respective schedules. Remember, visits must be scheduled in advance.
Visits will start on Thursday, September 24,2020. It has been nearly seven months since we first restricted visitors, and I know that you are all anxious. As this new process begins, I would ask that you all continue to be patient and compliant with these restrictions. They are designed to protect your loved ones and the staff who care for them. We all need to be aware of the elevated risks of a new outbreak if we are not careful with following the guidelines. It will be hard not to reach out and hug your loved ones, but please help us stay compliant. If any visitors are unable to follow the rules, we will have to restrict visits, as allowed by the Federal regulation. Additionally, should one resident or one staff member test positive for COVID-19, visitations will have to cease for a minimum of 14- days.
Following this letter is our In-Person Visitation policy for your review. I realize that there is a great deal of information in the five-page document, but we all need to understand the importance of the regulations and policy so that we do not go backwards.
Here are a few notable highlights from the policy.
- Review the Core Principles that are listed in the policy related to:
- Hand hygiene
- Face coverings
- Social distancing
- Visits must be scheduled no later than 24-hours in advance.
- Visits will be scheduled for Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm, with a lunch break from 12p – 1:30p daily.
- No more than two visitors per resident at a time.
- Between Thursday, September 24th and Friday, October 2, 2020, each resident will only be allowed one visit.
- This is being done to allow everyone to see their loved one, with as little delay as possible.
- Upon arrival to the facility, do not enter the facility more than five minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This will allow adequate time for screening.
- Movement of visitors inside the facility will be limited to a predetermined path.
- A staff escort will take you to the visitation area.
- Any additional business must be conducted via phone or email once you leave the facility.
- Visits will be scheduled every half hour and will be limited to 20-minutes.
- This will allow for disinfecting of the tables and chairs between visitors.
Going back to last week’s update – “Change is the only thing in life that is constant.” We realize that it has been a long seven months since you have seen your loved one. Just as a grandchild might appear to have grown “two feet” since you saw them last, there may be changes that you will notice about your loved one since you last saw them. Maybe they will notice that you have changed a little bit too. These initial re-connecting visits may be awkward or even emotional. Remember that the goal is to capture the “moments”. My team and I will be available to provide support and answer any questions.
This is a great development for all of us, but again, we ask you to share the caution that we have outlined above. We are moving ahead, one step at a time. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
Tedd Watts, RN, LNHA-C, CDP, FACHCA