This week Deutsches Altenheim received much-anticipated guidance from the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health (DPH) and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), our regulatory agencies for German Centre and Edelweiss Village, respectively, about allowing in-person visitations on our campus. The easing of restrictions comes with several necessary precautionary measures; however, residents and families alike are buoyed by this news. Visits will begin next week based on a carefully-designed schedule.
Per the agencies’ directives, all visits must take place in a designated outdoor space, are limited to two visitors per resident and must follow outlined safety, care, and infection control measures. Social distancing and masks are expected. Visitors will be screened by our staff for fever or respiratory symptoms and they will be briefed on all regulations. All visits must be monitored by a member of our staff trained in resident safety and infection control measures. A complete list of visitation guidelines can be found here.
We recognize that these policies seem restrictive, yet it is important to note that, while COVID-19 cases have declined on our campus and in Massachusetts generally, the virus remains a threat, particularly to the elderly. The health and well-being of our residents is our priority.
In order for us to be successful in meeting the guidelines and for the safety of all concerned, visitation schedules have been developed and families were notified. Many of our residents have not had an in-person visit with family or friends since mid-March. As you might imagine, the phones have been ringing off the hook to schedule a visit! We are delighted, and certainly not surprised, by the response.
We are grateful to our residents and families for their tremendous patience throughout this unprecedented period of separation and we are excited that modified family visits may now resume.
In other news…
Our Transitional Care Unit (TCU) has been admitting patients for short-term rehab for the past three weeks. At this time, all those admitted must have tested negative for COVID-19 and, as a precautionary measure, are placed in 14-day quarantine. Unfortunately, this also means quarantined patients are not able to participate in the visit schedule at this time.
In late April, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced the COVID-19 Nursing Facility Accountability and Support Program, which enables facilities to qualify for additional funding to battle COVID-19 based on performance in bi-weekly clinical audits. DPH developed a 28-point Infection Control Checklist to review the safety and infection control protocols of nursing homes. Based on a facility’s score on the 28-point checklist, it is rated as being In Adherence, In Adherence but warrants reinspection, or Not in Adherence. To date, German Centre has had two inspections and has been found to be In Adherence.
We are all experiencing tumultuous times right now. Pandemic restrictions and civil unrest have put a strain on us all. I hope that you are staying safe.
Chief Executive Officer