Elder Care of West Michigan & COVID-19
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to the protection of patients and residents of healthcare facilities from the spread of infectious disease and so are we. This information is summarized from cms.gov communications regarding the containment and management of COVID-19. Please refer to the CMS website for more complete and evolving information. Excellent general answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19. Up to the minute information can be found at the CDC government website.
COVID-19 is as early reports suggest person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. The contribution of small respirable particles, sometimes called aerosols or droplet nuclei, to close proximity transmission is currently uncertain. However, airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma advises that “All health care providers (HCP) must immediately review their procedures to ensure compliance with CMS’ infection control requirements, as well as the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” At ECWM, we will:
- Monitor for and evaluate all new fevers and respiratory illnesses among patients. Place any patient with unexplained fever or respiratory symptoms on appropriate Transmission-Based Precautions and evaluate.
- Strictly follow basic infection control practices between patient (hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment).
- Whenever possible, we will attempt to have any testing done in the room
- We will assist in communication of any known cases effecting our patients.
CONCERN FOR THE EXPOSURE TO COVID-19 INCLUDES:
-Fever or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough and sore throat.
-International travel within the last 14 days to restricted countries.
-Contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19.
SEEKING CARE AND TAKING CARE:
- Before an appointment with your provider, please report by phone any concerns of new respiratory illness with cough, sore throat and fever.
- If you need to present to an urgent care or Emergency facility, please call ahead to be prepared for the access protocol which may include waiting in car instead of waiting room.
- As much as possible, keep hand sanitizer with you and use wipes for surfaces if available. Keep a mask or tissue with you at all times to contain respiratory droplets or secretions.
- The elderly population and those living in long term and healthcare facilities are at the highest risk for infection and severe illness and death from COVID-19. Please consider this during social, recreational, healthcare and visits.
- Please always observe hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette. This includes:
- Use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacles without touching when able
- Properly perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub or 20 seconds of soap and water scrubbing with a clean paper towel or air dry.
- Consider limiting group healthcare and recreational activities in general and avoid altogether if you are ill.
- Wear a mask when outside of the room if you are ill.
OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR VISITORS:
- All visitors should perform frequent hand hygiene and follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions (see above) while in the facility, especially common areas.
- Visitors with symptoms of acute respiratory illness should not enter the facility and consider other forms of visit such as phone or videoconference options (such as Facetime).
- Please pay attention and adhere to posted signs and posters with directions about each individual facility current exposure risk plan for containment and need for use of protective equipment (mask, gloves, etc.)
PLEAE BE AWARE THAT FACILITIES MAY:
- Actively assess visitors for fever and respiratory symptoms upon entry to the facility. If fever or respiratory symptoms are present, visitor should not be allowed entry into the facility.
- Determine the threshold at which screening of persons entering the facility will be initiated and at what point screening will escalate from passive (e.g., signs at the entrance) to active (e.g., direct questioning) to restricting all visitors to the facility.
- If restriction of all visitors is implemented, facilities can consider exceptions based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s emotional well-being and care.
- Limit points of entry to the facility.