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Steps You Can Take Now To Be Prepared For a COVID-19 Case At Your Facility

Posted Mar 27, 20204 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

Dear Members,

We truly appreciate all the hard work you and your teams are putting in to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in your facilities.  Please take note of the following two updates:

Important Note on Competing Guidance, Orders and Regulations on Limiting Visitors 
There is a growing confusion among long term care providers, the media, and surveyors about all the guidance from states, CMS and AHCA/NCAL on limiting visitors and other individuals from entering the building.

All this various guidance is trying to accomplish the same thing—prevent COVID-19 from getting into the your facility. This is best accomplished by limiting individuals entering the facility to those who are absolutely necessary such as immediate family members in end-of-life situations or when it is medically necessary for a resident.

We understand that most family members are grateful for the measures you are taking. There are others that are concerned or even angry. We recommend you identify the main family contact and get them to commit to being the main point of contact for that resident in an attempt to consolidate communication through one family member.

More information is available here.

Steps You Can Take Now to be Prepared For a COVID-19 Case at Your Facility
Given the rapidly evolving situation concerning COVID-19 and the uncharted territory that we all are in together, it is important that long term care providers plan ahead and are fully prepared to tackle situations in case things escalate at your facility.

The impact of COVID-19 is hard to predict, but there are things that all long term care providers should be planning for now in case one of their residents tests positive for the virus in the coming future.

Be cognizant of COVID-19 testing timeframes

  • If you are sending in a test to ISDH, please be aware of the testing availability and timeframe. Current timeframes will evolve and it is critical you ask the ISDH when the test will be run and results communicated, and to whom. We are told that private lab testing will also become more available, and you should ensure that you are informed about the turnaround times must be stated offered by those companies.

Activate your emergency communication plan

  • We can’t stress enough the importance of swift, transparent and open communication.
  • An agile process is essential to relay information to all internal and external stakeholders in a timely manner.

Prepare your facilities for isolation rooms and units

  • Discuss dedicated staff assignments with clinical schedules and roles for resident and family communication, leadership etc. for those rooms and units.
  • Communicate with biohazard waste vendor to ensure removal and pickup of waste is performed and supplies are replaced.

Continue to protect and support your staff 

  • It is important to take utmost precautions so your staff are protected from this virus.
  • At the same time, it is important for providers to be more flexible than ever and develop alternate staffing plans, especially for those who are impacted by ongoing school closures.
  • Consider contract staff as your staff and view them as help, as long as they abide by your facility policies. This includes hospice, dental, podiatry, and environmental (we have had some reports of contract professionals being removed from facilities).

Prepare your facilities with ample medical supplies and plan for judicious allocation of resources

  • Medical supplies for hydration, fever reduction medications, and biohazard supplies.
  • Keep an inventory of supplies, PPE and disinfectants.
  • Ensure paper or disposable items are available for single use consumption.

Prepare for non-communal food service to prevent the potential spread of germs.

  • Think of creative ways in which you can serve food including certain condiments, multi-use salt and pepper shakers, and utensils to minimize the possibility of spreading the virus.
  • Switch to single serving units, as able, to prevent spread of virus.
  • Check your emergency food inventory and ensure it is not expired and supply is sufficient.

Please contact Lori Davenport at if you have any questions or need assistance.