Immediate Notice for all Providence Place Senior Living communities:
A message & update from our President, David Leader…
Residents, Friends and Co-workers of Providence Place Senior Living:
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuing to spread across Pennsylvania and the number of cases is increasing. We anticipate that the number of cases will continue to grow over the next 2-3 weeks. The projected peak in PA is approximately April 17th. Currently, approximately 1600 deaths are projected for our commonwealth which is tragic, but fewer than we feared a few weeks ago. Governor Wolf was quick to order people to stay-at-home, so we anticipate a far lower fatality rate than many other states due to these precautions.
Fortunately, we have not yet had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in any of our Providence Place communities — and those few residents we have tested have been negative so far. We have not yet had a coworker test positive either, but we have a few coworkers quarantined because of symptoms or low grade fever. Our medical director is helping to get those that are in quarantine tested.
Just to review our policies at this stage of the pandemic:
- No visitors at any community (except end of life/emergency situations)
- No group activities
- All meals being served in Apartments (Connections exceptions)
- Residents checked for symptoms and temperature twice daily
- Staff checked at start and end of each shift for temperature or symptoms
- Social Distancing where possible between staff and residents
- Social Distancing between residents (as possible in Connections)
- All new or re-admissions undergo 14-day isolation period
- Minimize outside healthcare professionals (especially if enter multiple buildings)
- Following CDC Guidelines when limited supplies of Personal Protective Equipment
- And trying to stay positive and not let the stress drive our residents (or us) bonkers…
We have moved to individual activities and individualized support for residents. Our staff is working hard to try to keep residents from feeling lonely. You can help by calling frequently and chatting with your loved one. Our phone lines are stretched to capacity by this crisis so, if you should have trouble getting through, please call back at a less busy time.
Supplies are limited, but adequate. We are awaiting some planned shipments of personal protective equipment that are expected soon at all campuses.
Staffing remains satisfactory in all of our buildings. We are so impressed with the dedication of our coworkers that we just have to tell you how proud we are of our team. Staffing may become more of a challenge in the next few weeks as the virus peaks.
We are also very grateful for the families and community members who have offered their support through volunteer opportunities, meal deliveries and outreach to our team members! We greatly appreciate your willingness to help and support everyone.
Please stay home and stay well; we are all in this together.
All the best,
David, Rick, Marianne & Gino
Dear Residents, Family Members and Coworkers of Providence Place:
Thank you for your patience and your assistance with our efforts to reduce the risk to residents from COVID-19. Your understanding has been greatly appreciated.
As you will recall, last week we halted all non-essential visits, resident outings and gatherings of more than ten persons. This has reduced our activity in Community Life, but our team is working hard to keep residents engaged. If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to FaceTime or Skype with your loved one, please call our campus to make arrangements. If that sounds overwhelming, please telephone your loved one daily to keep them (and maybe you too) from going stir crazy…
We have continued to make changes and add precautions to protect residents & staff at all communities:
- On Monday, March 23rd, we stopped all construction. We also dramatically reduced visits by any outside health care personnel who may have also entered other senior living buildings.
- Earlier this week we offered residents the option of receiving their meals in their apartments at no additional cost. Roughly a third of our residents have taken us up on that option. Needless to say, any residents with symptoms of the coronavirus are currently isolated and required to receive all of their meals in their apartments with appropriate precautions by our staff.
- In our Collegeville Community, we have required all residents (except Connections) to receive their meals in their apartments because of the elevated risk in Montgomery County.
- Since we anticipate continued rapid spread of the virus, we are moving toward providing meals to all residents (except Connections) in their apartments as a precaution. We are starting with those that have chosen this option and we plan to implement for all residents by no later than Thursday (3/26) of this week. As you can imagine, the logistics are challenging so we ask you to bear with us as we try to provide good, hot meals in a timely manner.
- Effective no later than Thursday (3/26), we will also be ending small group activities (currently for fewer than 10 people) and move to supporting individualized activities in apartments. We are strongly advising residents to remain in their apartments as much as possible and to only leave for rare mental health or physical health needs. If a resident leaves their apartment they must follow social distancing guidelines and appropriate health procedures.
- Since last week, we have continued daily screenings of all essential health care providers and all staff for any indication of symptoms or fever. We have had a few staff quarantined at home either because of contact with a suspected case or because of the presence of symptoms. So far they have all tested negative.
- We have also continued screening of residents for fevers and other symptoms on a daily basis. At this time, we do not have any residents that have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Personal Protective Equipment is available at all campuses. While inventory is currently adequate, it may be in short supply relatively soon. We are working diligently to ensure we get needed deliveries in a timely way. We plan to follow the Center for Disease Control guidance, if any modifications of our PPE procedures are needed.
Generally, our staffing levels remain satisfactory. We are honored, but not surprised, by our coworkers’ dedication to caring for ”their residents”. Officially, they work for us, but they really care most about the residents they serve. We know that those who are able will continue to provide great service to you and your loved ones.
Frankly, we fear that staffing may become a challenge in the next week or two, as the numbers of cases increase among residents and likely among staff, as well. We have cross-trained managers and other members of our team in care skills so that we can draw from them, should that become necessary. We are also reaching out to nursing schools, colleges and other people who could be quickly screened and trained to provide services to our residents if needed.
If you or someone you know might be willing to help us out for a few weeks (with relatively short notice), please call the receptionist at our campus to share contact information. We are building a list of people to call and a rapid screening/training plan, in the event of a serious shortage of staff. These volunteers will be paid for their time, but should be healthy and reasonably fit, able to lift about forty pounds, and willing to do a variety of assistance tasks.
One of the most important challenges we all face in this period is dealing with the stress of this pandemic.
We encourage our staff and family members to take care of their own emotional health at this stressful time. We find our residents often deal with the stress better than we expected—they are resilient, having overcome many challenges in their lives before this. Their optimism and sense of humor has helped us to stay positive. Our staff will continue to check in frequently with residents and try to meet their emotional as well as their physical needs.
We encourage you to remain calm and positive, despite the stress; we are all in this together. If you have any questions or need to speak with someone at any of our communities – please reach out at any time. We will continue to communicate regularly, while also focusing our energy on the care & safety within our communities.
As of 3/14/20, all Providence Place communities in PA are taking additional measures to prevent COVID-19 for our residents & team members.
All campuses are closed to social visitors of any kind. Only emergency healthcare providers or end-of-life visits will be admitted.
We understand the negative impact of potential social isolation to our residents, and we are encouraging family to connect using FaceTime, Skype, or telephone. We have iPads and IN2L programs at each community and will be happy to assist residents to contact you to stay in touch. In addition, please do not feel guilty for not visiting your loved ones right now. You are helping to keep our residents safe by postponing your visits to a later time. We understand the desire to keep in contact, but will ask this be done in a remote capacity to ensure their safety.
Internal activities and meals are still intact for residents.
Please call your community or email us with any & all questions – we encourage communication in uncertain times and we want to ensure everyone that these measures are being taken to prevent COVID-19 from entering any of our buildings. We have no confirmed cases in any of our communities at this time.
A follow-up message from our Chief Operating Officer, Rick Barley, RN, BSN:
Dear residents, families, and co-workers,
In light of our continued close monitoring of COVID-19 and our strong pro-active focus on resident, family and co-worker safety, I’d like to update you regarding our continued preparations and changes.
Since our last update (3/6/20) regarding visitor screening, we have been logging about 150-200 visitors coming in and out of our buildings per day. We have turned away a handful of visitors with fevers and respiratory symptoms at each community using this procedure, which has been effective to date. Within the last 24 hours, we have seen some changes with regulatory guidance and suggested preparation.
Right now, we are taking a careful, measured approach to consider visitation of residents at our communities. Currently, CMS, CDC, and DOH are recommending that we discourage non-essential visitation of residents.
At Providence Place, we will be asking you to limit visitation to essential visits only. If you feel your visit is absolutely essential, we’d ask that only one person visit per resident per day between the hours of 8am-5pm. We understand the negative impact of potential social isolation to our residents, and we are encouraging family to visit using FaceTime, Skype, or telephone. We have purchased iPads for all of our communities and will be happy to assist residents to contact you to stay in touch. In addition, please do not feel guilty for not visiting your loved ones right now. You are helping to keep our residents safe by postponing your visits to a later time.
Additionally, in the last 24 hours, we have:
- Postponed all external trips for residents – trips to Walmart, stores, and other venues.
- Cancelled large groups entering our campuses to provide activities.
- Decided to not allow pet visitation or therapy animal visitation.
- Continued to train staff with a formal handwashing training, as well as stress the importance of hand hygiene.
- Asked any visitors who do feel they need to make an essential visit to be screened and use alcohol-based sanitizer at the door.
- Begun the process of training all Providence Place co-workers (except Dining co-workers) to be caregivers in an emergency, should our Resident Life Associates become sick and not be able to come to work until symptoms resolve.
- Started the process of tracking respiratory symptoms in the building.
- Continued to focus on increased cleaning at all locations.
If a resident becomes symptomatic of respiratory symptoms, we will be asking the resident to stay in their rooms until symptoms subside. We will deliver meals, make sure they stay hydrated, and care for them in their rooms, using all appropriate personal protective equipment. If a co-worker develops symptoms, we will be asking them to stay home until they symptoms have resolved.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. We are committed to a pro-active, safe approach to trying to prevent the Coronavirus from entering our communities. We will continue to screen all essential visitors. Together we will all get through this!
Immediate Notice for Providence Place at the Collegeville Inn:
In addition to the precautions outlined below at all of our communities state-wide, the Collegeville campus is taking additional measures due to quarantined & affected individuals in the area.
At Providence Place of Collegeville, we will be limiting visitors to essential care & healthcare providers only. Social visits will not be admitted at this time.
We understand the negative impact of potential social isolation to our residents, and we are encouraging family to visit using FaceTime, Skype, or telephone. We have iPads at the community and will be happy to assist residents to contact you to stay in touch. In addition, please do not feel guilty for not visiting your loved ones right now. You are helping to keep our residents safe by postponing your visits to a later time. We understand the desire to keep in contact, but will ask this be done in a remote capacity to ensure their safety.
Please call or email us with any and all questions – we encourage communication in uncertain times and we want to ensure everyone that these measures are being taken to prevent COVID-19 from entering the building.
Collegeville campus: 610-222-5007
A follow-up message from our Chief Operating Officer, Rick Barley, RN, BSN:
Dear Residents, Families, and Co-workers,
I’d like to update you regarding our COVID-19 or Coronavirus preparation and prevention strategies at Providence Place Senior Living (all communities). We have implemented several procedures as recommended by the CDC & Department of Health since Monday (3/2/20).
Effective today (3/6/20), we have started monitoring ALL VISITORS for respiratory symptoms and fever, before allowing them to enter the building. We have placed signs on the main entrance asking ALL visitors to come to the Reception Desk to fill out a form that will acknowledge any respiratory symptoms or fever. Additionally, we are requiring all visitors to have their temperature checked by the Receptionist using a temporal thermometer. Any visitors with a fever of 100.4 or greater will not be able to visit until symptoms completely resolve.
If a Visitor answers any of the screening questions with a YES, then we will ask the Visitor not to enter our building at this time (unless they have been recently tested for COVID-19 and have negative results). In addition, we have placed signs on all common external entrance points to only use the main entrance to the building. All entrances that are normally open during the day are now going to be locked, except for the main entrance to the building.
Our campuses generally have Receptionist coverage from 8am-8pm (Monday-Friday) and 8am-5pm (Saturday & Sunday). After the Receptionist leaves, we are going to lock the main doors and ask that visitors use the doorbell. Once alerted of the doorbell via phone, one of our co-workers will answer the doorbell, complete the screening with the visitor and let them in if appropriate.
In addition to these measures, we have confirmed that our cleaning chemicals and wipes are the proper ones to kill the Coronavirus, and we have greatly upped our cleaning efforts of doors, doorknobs, countertops, handrails, public bathrooms and public spaces, and other common spaces that are frequently used by residents and visitors.
We are in the process of implementing a handwashing refresher training for all co-workers that instructs them to wash all surfaces of their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 1 minute, both before and after wearing gloves to assist with resident care. In addition, we have greatly increased our purchase of hand sanitizer to be available for all residents, visitors, and co-workers at multiple locations throughout the building. We also have very large quantities in stock of all necessary appropriate personal protective equipment that we will use to take care of our residents: disposable gowns, masks, and gloves, all that will be disposed in the sick resident’s room per protocol.
If a resident becomes ill with respiratory symptoms and fever, we will ask the resident to remain in his/her room until symptoms resolve. We are currently awaiting guidance regarding test kits and testing procedures for residents who display symptoms. We will be treating symptoms, bringing meals to the room utilizing disposable paper products, ensuring our residents are well-hydrated and cared for, and we will communicate frequently with families. We will also ask families to not visit at that time and may take further precautions to limit overall visitation. At that time, we would be following direct guidance us by phone or in person.
This is not meant to alarm you or spread fear, as we have no confirmed cases in our communities. It is meant to let you know that we are paying close attention to CDC & Department of Health recommendations, we are conscientious and urgent in our preparation and we will do everything we can to protect our residents, co-workers, and families.
Thank you very much for your understanding of our efforts to keep everyone safe & healthy.
A message from our Chief Operating Officer, Rick Barley, RN, BSN:
March 2, 2020
Dear Providence Place Residents, Families and Co-workers,
I want to update you on the status of our preparations for 2019 Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19. We are following the directives of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the PA Department of Health to ensure our residents, families, and co-workers receive the necessary information and preparedness regarding Coronavirus prevention and spread.
The Coronavirus is spread from person-to-person through droplets suspended in the air, very similar to how influenza spreads. The Department of Health has instructed us to follow our infection control policy and procedure for droplet precautions among residents and staff, much like we do for the Influenza Virus. The CDC is currently recommending Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, when providing care for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
The CDC does not currently recommend the general public to use facemasks. Instead, they recommend following everyday preventive actions , such as washing your hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, covering your cough, and staying home when you are sick. Signs and symptoms of Coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Please do not visit your loved ones in person, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. We will advise you if we have any residents that test positive for COVID-19. There are none at present.
Due to decreases in exports from select countries, including China, India, and Taiwan, and increases in demand, manufacturers of select types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are reporting some challenges meeting order demands. Plans are already underway to surge manufacturing globally. At Providence Place, we have normal stocks of PPE, but have ordered supplemental stock of supplies of personal protective equipment to meet the likely increase in need.
We will continue to proactively work to protect our communities and closely monitor the national and local situation. Should important update information become available, we will keep everyone informed via email and in campuses.
Please feel free to reach out to your Executive Director or myself, if you have additional questions.
Chief Operating Officer, RN, BSN, MBA
Providence Place Senior Living