COVID-19 Update | September 23, 2020
September 23, 2020
Dear Residents and Family Members:
As many of you are aware, Governor Abbott recently made changes to retirement center visitation. While we here at The Village at Incarnate Word are excited about the changes it must be stressed that, contrary to what has been in the media, general visitation has not been approved by the Governor nor Texas Health and Human Services. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released updated visitation guidance the same day the Governor made his announcement.
Starting this Thursday, under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely enter a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time and only once a week. A resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member or friend. The Village at Incarnate Word will be required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must always be used during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.
In addition to the State’s requirements, and regardless of how visits are conducted, CMS requires that all facilities and visitors adhere to the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention:
- Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. temperature checks, questions or observations about signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms)
- Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
- Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
- Social distancing at least six feet between persons (unless you are a designated essential caregiver)
- Instructional signage throughout the facility and proper visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, other applicable facility practices (e.g. use of face masks, specified entries, exits, and routes to designated areas)
- Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces in the facility often, and designated visitation areas after each visit
- Appropriate staff use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Effective cohorting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated to COVID-19 care)
- Resident and staff testing conducted as required by federal regulation
CMS prefers that visits continue outdoors as outdoor visits pose a lower risk of transmission due to increase space and airflow, so The Village will continue with outdoor visits whenever practical.
As you can see, visitation is a very fluid process. We are currently working on a plan for indoor visits. I expect that process to take through next week so thank you in advance for your patience.
If you are considering applying to be designated as an essential family caregiver, please reach out to the manager of the care area in which your loved one lives. In Angelique House that would be Eva Quintana at extension 553, Liz Bland in Extended Care at extension 147, Ruth Esparza in Alphonse House at extension 501, and Fernando Sorolla-Delgado for Independent Living at extension 943.
Lastly, our current outdoor visits have been going well. We have had our share of hiccups in the process so thank you to everyone for your patience. As part of the current visitation process, when a visit is scheduled a confirmation email is sent. Family members, please be sure to review the confirmation email as it outlines what is allowed and what is prohibited during the visit.
Almost weekly this pandemic seems to throw us a curveball, so The Village continues to adjust as speedily and as safely as possible. Again, thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time.
Kindest regards to all,
President & Chief Executive Officer