These are challenging times, however, as always, Vitality is 100% committed to our vision of creating vibrant senior living communities where residents thrive, families engage and team members are proud to work. To that end, we are working tirelessly – and have been since February – to limit COVID-19 exposure for all these groups. Here are measures we’ve taken.
Vitality Living’s Leadership Team has daily calls in which we discuss guidelines and recommendations from local, state and the federal government. Based on CDC guidelines, we update protocols regularly to try to stay ahead of the situation. Our team members have been able to adjust on the fly as necessary and are diligently focused on taking care of residents because we understand this is most difficult on them and their families.
We want to provide total transparency. That’s why in mid-March we started live-streaming daily COVID-19 updates from executive directors at each Vitality Living community to provide the opportunity for families to ask questions and get updates as they’re announced. Vitality also places the recorded version on each community’s Facebook feed to be accessed at your convenience.
Our community Facebook feeds also provide great insight into how we’re helping senior living residents to continue enjoying life and to stay engaged safely. We’ve come up with some tremendously creative ways to do this, such as happy hour delivery carts and fun contests!
We also use technology to help prevent loneliness and isolation now that access to loved ones has been restricted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. From encouraging FaceTime to providing computer and tablet access to helping residents connect, we believe it’s important for them to regularly communicate and ‘see’ their family and friends.
Precautions We’re Taking
While there have been mandates at the local, state and national levels, in many cases we had already implemented those recommendations on our own such as restricting visitors to providers of essential care only. We simply felt it was the right thing to do, mandate or not.
In any case, it’s our goal not only to meet mandates as they arise, but to go above and beyond in the states in which we operate. We are:
- Screening essential visitors via a COVID-19 questionnaire which gauges their risk of exposure; if answering ‘yes’ to any question they are prohibited from visiting.
- Screening employees via a COVID-19 questionnaire which gauges their risk of exposure; if answering ‘yes’ to any question they are screened further.
- Taking the temperature of all essential visitors and employees before entering the building and anyone with a temp of over 98.9 will not be allowed to enter.
- Checking resident temperatures 2x a day.
- Restricting anyone under the age of 18 from entering the community.
- Prohibiting outside pets.
- Practicing frequent hand hygiene with CDC-approved alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water; washing for at least 20 seconds.
- Frequently disinfecting commonly-touched environmental surfaces to decrease environmental contamination.
- Taking standard precautions, such as wearing masks, gloves and gowns as situations warrant their use.
In addition, we’ve recently begun or will soon implement:
- In-room dining in independent living and assisted living; meals will be delivered to residents similar to room service.
- A requirement for all essential employees to wear masks.
Preparedness is Key
There are several benefits that Vitality Living offers to residents during this time. One advantage versus nursing home settings is that our apartments are essentially their own ecosystems with individual heating and air systems. Even in shared rooms, we have options to create better isolation if needed.
Another advantage is that we offer a community pharmacy. We’ve partnered with Guardian, which is a closed pharmacy, meaning there are no customers in and out, automation is used to fill orders and delivery drivers comply with all CDC guidelines so you (as well as us) can feel confident your medication has much less risk of exposure than through a standard retail pharmacy,
We also offer Tena incontinence products which can be ordered by the community, charged to your statement and delivered to your door, again giving you added confidence. To sign up for either the pharmacy service or Tena, simply contact your executive director of wellness.
Even with these advantages and the precautions we’re taking, at Vitality we know that being prepared is key as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. That’s why we are:
- Contracting with a company that specializes in facility cleaning if needed.
- Sourcing additional protective equipment and disinfectant/cleaning products.
- Working on isolation protocols such as taking sections of buildings that aren’t full and preparing them as potential isolation areas.
- Sourcing onsite COVID-19 testing capabilities by partnering with a lab group and working through the protocols of how we might be able to use this tool for select groups to learn results sooner.
- Working to put in place communication protocols should a resident or employee contract COVID-19.
For more information on our response to COVID-19, please visit: https://www.vitalityseniorliving.com/vitality-covid-19/