Since the first nursing home case in Kirkland, Washington, 147 skilled nursing facilities in 27 states have at least one resident with COVID-19, according to data recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While every year seems to bring challenges for the providers to care for their residents, COVID-19 has quickly brought to the forefront an urgency to prepare and care for our senior citizens. Carr, Riggs & Ingram healthcare professionals have provided some resources below for long-term care facilities COVID-19 preparation.

What should a Long-Term Care Facility do to prepare or deal with COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a checklist that can be used as a tool for long-term care facilities COVID-19 preparation to use and focus on the following key areas:

  • Planning and decision making
  • Development of a written plan
  • Facility communication (inside and outside the facility)
  • Supplies and resources
  • Identification and management of ill residents
  • Staff Training
  • How to address occupational health

The following link is a great resource to providers and how they can use it as a guide for implementation in their facility. The CDC has provided a resource for providers as a guide for implementation in their facility.

CMS guidance on staffing needs

The most critical function of a long-term care facility is to provide the necessary care to all the residents that reside in their facility. That care is provided by licensed health care workers who are on the front lines of their facility. COVID-19 has presented an emergency situation in which providers must react quickly and plan their staffing needs according to the needs of the residents. CMS has recently provided guidance to help providers with these staffing needs. They consist of the following points:

  • Monitoring
  • Communication
  • Resident restrictions
  • Education
  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) needs such as facemasks and hand sanitizers

This guidance provides detail on screening staff as they enter the facility for their shift and for them to be mindful of staff that work across multiple facilities or locations. It also guides facilities on educating staff and residents on proper hand hygiene and social distancing. The guidance recommends that dedicated staff remain consistent and effective with their communication within the department, facility, and the family members of the residents of the facility. Communication through emails, phone calls, and website announcements will provide comfort to family members while they are unable to visit with their loved ones.

At Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), we have dedicated staff and resources available to assist with COVID-19 long-term care facilities preparation as they manage their staff and care for the residents in their facility. In addition, CRI continues to update our website daily with critical information centered around COVID-19 resources and guidance on recent legislative action. Contact your local CRI professional for more information.