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Long-Term Care Families and the Public

#PimaLoveNotes Campaign

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A message for residents’ family members, representatives, and potential visitors: 

Aligned with CDC Preparing for COVID-19 in Nursing Homes (Accessed June 2, 2020)

LTCF’s are committed to keeping residents safe and facilities need your help. The virus causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (abbreviated COVID-19) can cause outbreaks in nursing homes. Many residents are elderly and may have medical conditions putting them at a very high risk of becoming sick, or even severely ill, with COVID-19. Visitors and healthcare personnel (HCP) are the most likely sources of introduction of the virus that causes COVID-19 into a facility. 

To protect vulnerable residents in LTCFs, we are taking the following aggressive actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our residents and staff: 

  1. LTCFs are restricting all visitation. All visitation is being restricted except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations. These visitors will first be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms. Facilities know that your presence is important for your loved one, but per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is a necessary action to protect their health. We are introducing alternative methods of visitation (such as Skype and FaceTime) so that you can continue to communicate with your loved ones. Visitors who are permitted to enter the facility will be required to frequently clean their hands, limit their visit to a designated area within the building, and wear a facemask. As the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, facilities will continue to keep you updated.
  2. LTCFs are monitoring healthcare personnel and residents for symptoms of respiratory illness. Non-essential healthcare personnel and volunteers are now restricted from entering the facility. Healthcare personnel will be actively monitored for fever and symptoms of respiratory infection. Ill healthcare personnel will be asked to stay home. You may see healthcare personnel wearing facemasks, eye protection, gown, and gloves in order to prevent germs from spreading and help keep residents safe. Healthcare personnel will clean their hands frequently. We are assessing residents daily for fevers and symptoms of respiratory infection in order to quickly identify ill residents and implement additional infection prevention activities. When ill residents are identified, they will be monitored closely, asked to stay in their rooms or wear a mask.
  3. LTCFs are limiting activities within the facility. Facilities are cancelling all group activities within the building and all community outings. Staff will be helping residents to practice social distancing, including during meals, and to frequently clean their hands. LTCFs encourage you to review the CDC website for information about COVID-19, including its symptoms, how it spreads, and actions you can take to protect your health: Thank you very much for everything you are doing to keep our residents and facility staff safe and healthy. We continue to monitor the situation in our community; we will keep you informed about any new precautions we think are necessary to keep your loved one safe.

(This message can be shared with residents’ family members and potential visitors using this CDC letter.)
Aligned with CDC Supporting Your Loved Ones in a Long-Term Care Facility (Accessed June 1, 2020)

As part of a commitment to protecting residents, families, and staff from serious illness and complications, LTCFs are continuing to follow guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes restricting all visitation, except for certain compassionate care reasons, such as end-of-life. 

Due to the high risk of spread once COVID-19 enters a facility, LTCFs must continue these protections. To the extent possible, families will be provided with regular updates on facilities’ COVID-19 status via phone and email.

During this challenging time, LTCFs are committed to helping residents stay connected with their families and loved ones. Below are some ideas on how to keep in touch, and ways that facilities are supporting communication between residents and their families: 
  • TECHNOLOGY for more frequent video chats, emails, text messages, and phone calls. Many LTCFs are teaching residents to use video chat applications (such as Skype and FaceTime) and will help read emails or texts on personal devices if needed.
  • CARDS AND LETTERS with messages of support and updates on family members. Facilities can often supply paper, pens, envelopes and postage for residents to easily reply. If needed, many LTCFs will write replies dictated by residents.
  • RECORDED VIDEO MESSAGES to share via email or text message, if live-video chatting is not feasible. Facilities may help record outgoing messages and share incoming messages with residents.
  • “VISITS” through a glass window or a parade of cars. Many LTCFs will make every effort to ensure residents are able to safely participate if scheduled in advance. 
  • VISUALS TO EXPRESS CARE. For example, ribbons around trees or benches, planting  flowers outside, or outdoor posters and banners to show support. Facilities will often work to designate areas to place these visuals and safely take residents outside to show them these symbols of your support.
  • CARE PACKAGES that could include items such as photographs, cards, drawings, snacks, and entertainment (such as books, magazines, and puzzles). Facilities may be able to establish a system for care package drop-offs that is safe and does not require entry into the facility. 
  • DEDICATIONS on the in-house cable channel and intercom system. Many LTCFs can ‘dedicate’ songs or share anecdotes via the intercom prior to broadcasting a movie or playing music. If your loved one has a favorite song, poem, movie or television show, please let their LTCF know.
(This message can be shared with residents’ family members and potential visitors using this CDC flyer.)
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Tucson, AZ 85714

(520) 724-7770

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