Dear resident / family member:
It is our mission at Nightingale Healthcare to always keep the lines of communication open with our residents, their loved ones, and our surrounding communities. We hope this letter will help alleviate some of the anxiety or fear you must be feeling as a result of the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our State and globally; particularly, within the nursing home settings.
As of this letter, we have zero reported cases of COVID-19 at any of the Nightingale Healthcare facilities, and we are taking every precaution necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of our residents and staff which is our number one priority.
Company-wide, at all of our Washington State and Oregon facilities, we are continuously monitoring developments closely and are following guidance and recommendations from our government and public health officials, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid), Washington State Health Department, and local health departments.
As a precautionary and preventive step, we have been working hard on prevention policies and procedures for over three (3) weeks.
- We have been educating staff and residents on COVID-19.
- Buildings have been auditing their PPE (personal protective equipment) and environmental cleaning supplies to ensure they are prepared.
- Environmental cleaning teams have stepped up their processes and are cleaning more frequently.
- Staff is doing an amazing job of recognizing potential early symptoms of respiratory infections and fever, and the appropriate precautions are immediately being put into place.
- Staff is being monitored for appropriate infection control guidelines and they are doing an impeccable job.
- To prevent the spread of infection, visitors have been discouraged and all ancillary staff, consultants, volunteers have been halted.
- We began screening all employees and visitors last week for signs and symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and fever, as well as history of travel and contact with either symptomatic or positive for COVID-19 individuals.
- Visitors are now limited to one adult visitor, per resident per day (exceptions are being made for those residents on hospice/end of life).
- All our buildings are working on alternative measures of communication for our residents and their loved ones, including Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.
- Visitors can only visit in resident rooms.
- All non-essential services and large group gatherings are canceled until further notice.
- All volunteers are canceled, including religious groups, pet therapy visits, inter-generational activities, etc.
- We are having all residents maintain at least 6 feet between themselves for safety.
On March 9, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced new regulations for skilled nursing and assisted living facilities which we have implemented at all our facilities. They include the following rules:
- Visitors must be adults and the visit must take place in the resident’s room. This does not apply to end-of-life situations.
- All visitors must follow COVID-19 screening and follow reasonable precautionary measures. Precautionary measures include, but are not limited to, wearing personal protective equipment, social distancing, visiting in designated locations, being screened for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection, temperature will be taken, recent travel or contact with a person positive with COVID-19.
- All visitors must sign into a visitor’s log. Owners and operators must retain that log for 30 days.
- Employees are screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift.
- People who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and who test positive for COVID-19 must be isolated away from other people.
- If there is a positive case of COVID-19, no visitation will be allowed on the entire wing where that resident resides.
- Owners, operators, staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.
We will continue to follow all recommendations from CDC, CMS, state and local health departments daily. This being said, recommendations are changing at a rapid rate, we will do our best to keep you informed. All Nightingale buildings have been part of emergency preparedness and disaster preparedness groups for several years and are actively working with their respective communities to help all facets involved, including EMS, area hospitals, Police and Fire Departments.
In addition, each building has a Certified Infection Preventionist overseeing their team internally. We are in constant contact with one another and will make it through this together.
If you have any questions, concerns, or requests, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention.
Thank you for your trust and understanding during this challenging time. Stay healthy and wash your hands. Please continue to follow the individual facility website or Nightingale’s website for frequent updates.