March 13, 2020
To Our Members, Residents, Families, Friends and Partners,
Today I am writing to address the coronavirus outbreak. The first thing you should know is that action is being taken to protect our residents, caregivers, families and communities. The Washington State Department of Health has provided all long-term care facilities with required action to prevent the spread of the virus. These actions include:
- All homes are implementing infection control measures. Infection control measures and prevention of communicable diseases are now and have always been an expectation of an adult family home. Infection control and communicable disease rules
- Discouraging and limiting visitors to our facilities. Residents are limited to one visitor per day and visitors are to limit movement within the home. Visitors to be screened for symptoms. Adult family homes are also now required to keep a visitor’s log. If you are not feeling well, do not visit. It is understandable that families will want to connect with their loved ones in this time of increased anxiety. Many providers are working to arrange FaceTime, Zoom and Skype meetings to keep in touch.
- Screening of residents. The Department of Health is requiring at a minimum that all residents are screened daily for coronavirus symptoms. Any resident who is screened with symptoms is to be isolated and the home to contact medical professionals to likely be transported to a hospital.
- Canceling group activities. Group activities are to be canceled unless they can accommodate appropriate social distancing (being at least 6 feet apart). Communal dinning is to be canceled and DOH recommends limiting the resident’s movements within the home.
- Screening of employees. All staff entering the adult family home will be screened for signs and symptoms of the virus upon entry into the home. No staff person exhibiting symptoms will be allowed to work. Staff are to minimize entry into patient’s rooms and as supplies are available use personal protective equipment when needed.
This is unprecedented. We are doing our best to ensure that every home is aware and able to take the necessary steps to protect their residents. Information for adult family home operators is available on our website.
I am very impressed with our community’s response so far. We sincerely appreciate the additional precautions and sacrifices that it takes to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. We are available to our members and the community for any questions you may have. As more information is available, we will do our best to share that with you.