Date: 03/14/2020 COVID-19 Update #3

Subject: COVID-19 Update #3, change to visitation guidelines.

To Our Residents, Friends and Family Members:

This letter is written in follow up to the letters sent out 3/10/20 (Update #1) and 3/13/20 (Update #2). Copies of these letters are posted to our website and can be reached at the following link: https://www.thevirginiahome.org/events/covid-19-update/

Since our last communication, the CDC has published updated guidelines for restriction of visitors to nursing homes. The most recent guideline can be found at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html

  • Below is an excerpt from the guideline:
    Updated guidance to recommend that nursing homes:
    • Restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations
    • Restrict all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel (HCP), including non-essential healthcare personnel (e.g., barbers)
    • Cancel all group activities and communal dining
    • Implement active screening of residents and HCP for fever and respiratory symptoms
    COVID-19 is being increasingly reported in communities across the United States. It is likely that SARS-CoV-2 will be identified in more communities, including areas where cases have not yet been reported. As such, nursing homes should assume it could already be in their community and move to restrict all visitors and unnecessary HCP from the facility; cancel group activities and communal dining; and implement active screening of residents and HCP for fever and respiratory symptoms.
    Therefore, according to CDC guidance, The Virginia Home has determined that a complete ban of visitation is required at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for this abrupt notice.

We have made this difficult determination for the safety and well-being of our residents, staff and visitors. While we understand that visiting friends and family is important to maintaining relationships, our overarching responsibility is to the health and safety of our residents who are among the most vulnerable population in the healthcare system.

Effective immediately, visitors are not allowed at The Virginia Home except for very specific situations. If you feel you need to visit, please complete the TVH Visitation Request below and we will assess your request within 2 business days. We ask for your patience in the coming week as our staff members juggle many competing demands including continued preparations for COVID-19 and staying up to date with changing public health and emergency management recommendations.

We understand the gravity of this decision and the impact it will have on the residents and their families. For all that we know about COVID-19, these actions could indeed be life-saving. We will work closely with families to determine the best way to manage this crisis situation for each individual resident.

TVH Visitation Request
The Virginia Home has implemented a ban on visitation except in very specific situations (essential visits) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will review requests for visits within 2 business days.

Please email your completed request to William Coleman at [email protected] and we will assess your request within 2 business days.

Your Name:
Resident’s Name:
Today’s Date:
Requested Visit Day and Time:
Please State the Purpose for Your Visit:

We will notify you via email of any updates to our COVID-19 preparation and response plans. In the meantime, specific questions from friends and family should be directed to Colleen Lobb, Director of Nursing at 804-359-4093, ext. 251 or [email protected]

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring the health and safety of The Virginia Home community.

For additional information, please visit the CDC or VDH websites.

For additional information, please visit the CDC or VDH websites.

https://www.cdc.gov

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov

Date: 03/13/2020 COVID-19 Update #2

Subject: COVID-19 Update #2, change to visitation guidelines

This letter is written in follow up to previous post on 3/10/20.

 To Our Residents, Friends and Family Members:

To begin, please be aware that we plan to provide regular email updates to residents, friends and family.  In the coming days, staff members will be reaching out to all friends/families by phone to verify current contact information, including email addresses. Alternatively, you may call or email a resident’s social worker to provide updated contact information.

As noted above, email will be the primary way that we communicate important building-wide information.  Any resident-specific information (i.e. new illness, etc.) will continue to be communicated by phone.  Specific questions from friends and family should be directed to Colleen Lobb, Director of Nursing at 804-359-4093, ext. 251 or [email protected].

As you all know, the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. is rapidly changing.  This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA) have issued new guidelines regarding specific actions that all nursing homes should take to try to prevent COVID-19 infections in residents and staff.  At this time, there is no community-based transmission of COVID-19 in the Richmond area.  The actions outlined below are precautionary.  Implementing these measures now allows us time to work out logistical issues and answer any questions that arise.

Some may ask why these measures are necessary.  Unfortunately, older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions are more likely to have severe illness if they are infected with COVID-19. Therefore, CMS and AHCA have recommended taking aggressive and decisive actions to decrease the likelihood of COVID-19 causing widespread infections within nursing homes.

The recommended actions fall into 5 broad categories.

  1. Restrict who can enter the facility and limit the movement of those individuals who do enter.
  2. Cancel activities/outings that would increase risk of resident exposure.
  3. Actively screen all individuals that enter the facility, including all staff and visitors.
  4. Stress the importance of hand-washing, especially upon entry to the facility.
  5. Set up processes for communication.

The outline below shows the specific steps that are being taken within each of the 5 categories.

Action 1: Restrict who can enter the facility and limit the movement of those individuals who do enter.

  • Family/Friend Visitation:
    • All family/friend visits are strongly discouraged. We request that family and friends do not visit the center.
    • For those that must visit, visitation is limited to immediate family and close friends.
    • Family/friend visitors must stay in the resident’s room and limit movement within the facility.
    • Visitors will not be allowed in the resident dining rooms or at group activities.
  • Volunteers and outside groups: No visitation.
  • Contractors, vendors and outside healthcare providers: Limited visitation for urgent/necessary issues. For those that need to enter, movement within the facility will be restricted.

Action 2: Cancel activities/outings that would increase risk of resident exposure.

  • Community outings/trips are cancelled until further notice.
  • We strongly discourage families from taking residents out in the community as this would increase their risk of exposure. We ask that families/friend do not take residents out of the building except to walk to the park, etc.
  • The Sock Hop Ball next week is cancelled.

Action 3: Actively screen all individuals that enter the facility, including all staff and visitors.

  • All visitors must enter through the front door and answer a series of screening questions before they can enter. The screening questions correlate with the criteria outlined in the letter sent 3/10/20. Any individual with respiratory illness will not be permitted to enter.
  • All staff members will complete the same screening process at the start of each shift.

Action 4: Stress the importance of hand-washing, especially upon entry to the facility.

  • All visitors will be asked to wash their hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entering the building.

Action 5: Set up processes for communication.

  • As noted above, staff members will be reaching out to all friends/families by phone to verify current contact information, including email addresses. Email will be the primary way that we communicate important building-wide information. We plan to continue with regular email updates.
  • Please contact a resident’s social worker if you need assistance connecting with your loved one. Our social work and occupational therapy departments will work to devise a communication plan that might include phone calls, emails, video chats, etc.

In conclusion, we request that family and friends do not visit the facility. We are posting signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of this policy, and we will begin actively screening all individuals who need to come into the building.

We will notify you of any updates to our COVID-19 preparation and response plans.  In the meantime, specific questions from friends and family should be directed to Colleen Lobb, Director of Nursing at 804-359-4093, ext. 251 or [email protected].

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring the health and safety of The Virginia Home community.

For additional information, please visit the CDC or VDH websites.

https://www.cdc.gov

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov

Date: 03/10/2020 COVID-19 Update #1

To Our Residents, Friends and Family Members:

We know many of you are concerned about the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact us here at The Virginia Home. We want you to know that The Virginia Home is committed to maintaining the health and safety of our residents and staff and we are prepared to respond to the challenges that COVID-19 may bring.

At this time, we don’t have any cases of COVID-19 in our facility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help in battling COVID-19.

As a precaution to best protect our residents and staff, we ask that individuals do not visit The Virginia Home if:

• You are experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath). Please return for a visit once you are symptom-free.

• If you have recently traveled to any of the countries with a Level 2 or 3 CDC travel advisory. For an updated list of countries, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

• If you have recently traveled to an area within the U.S. that is experiencing community-based spread of COVID-19. As of 3/10/20, this would include parts of Washington (state), Oregon, California and New York. For an updated list of regions within the U.S., please see:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html#2019coronavirus-summary

• If you have recently had contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.

Please keep in mind that the CDC currently recommends that individuals who have had a possible exposure to COVID-19 stay at home for 14 days and practice social distancing (avoid close contact with other people). We will keep you informed if the CDC recommendations for our area change.

If you are unable to visit in person, due to any of the above precautions, please let us know. We understand the importance of connecting with your friends and family at The Virginia Home and want to make sure you can stay in touch with your loved ones. We can help you connect though Skype, Facebook, text, email or phone.

We understand that the public health response to the spread of COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we are ready to adapt and seek assistance as needed. The leadership team at The Virginia Home is closely following updates from the CDC, VDH and our local health department. We are also a participating member of the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition (CVHC), our regional emergency preparedness alliance.

We will notify you of any updates to our COVID-19 preparation and response plans. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Colleen Lobb, Director of Nursing at 804-359-4093, if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring the health and safety of The Virginia Home community.

For additional information, please visit the CDC or VDH websites.

https://www.cdc.gov

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov