Deutsches Altenheim is actively responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. As always, our top priority is protecting the well-being and safety of our residents, patients and staff. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, COVID-19 is present at German Centre, our skilled nursing community. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Edelweiss Village, our assisted living community.
Deutsches Altenheim is in continual contact with, and following guidance from, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Staff are being vigilant with monitoring and screening of all patients, and ordering testing when there are symptoms. According to recommended protocols, we are isolating from the other residents any individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Dedicated clinical staff are assigned to work with this group of patients to avoid cross-contamination.
Across the campus, we have bolstered our already strict infection prevention and control protocols with increased cleaning of high-touch areas, cancellation of communal dining options, and cessation of group programming. Our caregivers are receiving ongoing training in infection control procedures. Upon reporting to work, all staff are assessed for symptoms and are given a mask, which is to be worn at all times while in the building.
We are doing our utmost to ensure that frontline staff have the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed –masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields – for their protection and that of our residents. We are actively exploring all avenues for securing PPE to maintain an adequate supply, an ongoing challenge. We are very grateful to have received several generous in-kind donations from supporters in the community. We welcome any and all donations of these supplies.
Each day, staff are reporting to work to do what it takes to care for our residents. This pandemic has resulted in a staffing shortage – not only at Deutsches Altenheim, but throughout the healthcare community. Recognizing that they are putting themselves and their families at risk, Deutsches Altenheim has instituted an enhanced pay structure for all staff who report to campus during this crisis. We hope this provides them with some small measure of comfort as they juggle stressful conflicts between work and home.
To fight social isolation, we are actively expanding virtual programming, video chat capabilities, and other creative ways to engage residents. We remain in contact with families as much as possible, as we understand their fears surrounding the vulnerability of their loved ones. We encourage creative visiting, whenever possible.
Residents in our assisted living community are asked to self-shelter at home, meaning that they are asked not to leave their apartments. Daily wellness checks enable our staff to assess residents for the potential presence of infection. Fortunately, to date there have been no suspected cases. While our strong preference is for residents to avoid going outside, we recognize how important this activity is for some of them. We ask residents who do go outside to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and infection control and we have provided face masks for residents who needed them.
For updated notices about any changes related to the virus that affect our campus or our policies and procedures, please refer to our website at www.germancentre.org/covid-19-updates.
Be well and stay healthy,
Michael B. Lincoln
Chief Executive Officer
Download the update: April 10 Update