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What We are Doing to Fight COVID-19

As COVID-19 information evolves rapidly, we want to ensure our residents, family members and co-workers that our organization is actively monitoring the latest information and enacting new policies and procedures to prevent spread. We continue to update this webpage with the latest information on our preparation and response so please check back often for new information.

As always, feel free to see your Campus Executive Director with any questions. Also, we have set up a toll-free phone number and email addresses to capture any questions:

NOTE: As the Pennsylvania government announces further actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, those directives supersede items shared on this web page. Failure to comply with those directives put you in violation of state law.

Who is leading Ecumenical’s preparation and response for COVID-19?

Our Corona Task Force. We have assembled a task force of company experts, including former hospital Chief Nursing Officers and those certified in infection control measures, to provide guidance on clinical matters such as prevention and treatment, operational policy changes to reduce potential spread on campuses, procurement to manage the supply of protective gear and sanitization products, environmental service updates on appropriate chemicals and strategies to properly clean commonly touched areas and everyday items and executive management to implement temporary operational changes. Our management team meets daily and actively monitors updates and guidance from the state health departments and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Task Force members conduct standing meetings between home office leadership and campus Executive Directors and Directors of Nursing to ensure all teams have the most up-to-date tools, support and company protocols.

What are your plans if you become aware of a suspected case of COVID-19?

As part of our ongoing influenza surveillance, co-workers who deliver care services to residents are trained to recognize and report flulike symptoms, including symptoms of COVID-19, to our clinical team. If a case is reported, co-workers take the following actions:

COVID in a resident:

  • Quarantined to the apartment and put on isolation precautions.
  • Notify the campus nursing team who will assess and monitor the resident’s symptoms and, if necessary, send the resident to a physician or hospital for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Instruct all co-workers to don company-issued personal protective equipment (PPE) when entering the affected resident’s apartment for any reason.
  • Communicate with emergency contacts for residents in the affected building to alert them of an infection on campus. NOTE: If you are the emergency contact for a resident and have not shared your email address, please contact your campus’ Office Manager to update your information.

COVID in a co-worker:

  • Co-worker who tests positive for COVID-19 may not return to work for 14 days after the onset of symptoms and be symptom- and fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications.
  • Any co-worker who is ill is mandated to stay at home until he/she feels better and is symptom- and fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications.

Is my loved one safe living at Ecumenical Retirement Community?

Yes. Our various teams have been working on preparations for COVID-19 on our campuses for weeks. Our efforts to use virus-killing cleaning products, restrict visitors and group activities, move to in-room dining and encourage social distancing by both residents and co-workers are the key to reducing the spread of viruses.

Visitation

Temporary Visitation Policy

Early estimates show a nearly 15% mortality rate for adults over 80 years old who contract COVID-19. While many visitors may not show any symptoms, they may be able to transmit the virus to others. Because the risk is very large for our residents, we made changes to our visiting policies to protect them as well as those who care for them. Please visit our visitation page to stay updated on what campuses are allowing visitors.

Can I take my loved one to scheduled medical appointments?

Medical offices can be hotbeds for the spread of viruses. Therefore, we strongly discourage taking residents to non-essential medical appointments. If the appointment is necessary, please call the campus ahead of time to make arrangements for our team to have your loved one waiting for you to pick him/her up in the lobby. If your loved one uses an outside primary care physician, we encourage you to consider switching to our in-house Medical Director to better address any medical needs on campus without needing to go to a doctor’s office or hospital and use telemedicine, where available.

Can I still refill my loved one’s Mediset?

Yes. Please call the campus to schedule a time to meet your loved one in the lobby to retrieve the empty set. And upon return, please call ahead to schedule to have your loved one meet you in the lobby to return it replenished.

I bring personal products, groceries and other supplies to my loved one. How can I get these items to my loved one?

We strongly discourage bringing items to the campus. Another option is to order online and have items delivered. A co-worker will be available to assist residents interested in placing online orders or may collect lists from residents and make a grocery store run on their behalf.

Can I take my loved one home?

While there is no need to bring your loved one home since we can provide access to 24-hour medical assistance if needed and our regular services, you are welcome to do so for a period of time to enjoy some quality time together while we maintain his/her apartment. If you do, we ask you to continue to observe your loved one for any symptoms to ensure wellness and safety. If you choose to do so, you can coordinate with the campus. Upon your loved one’s return (after 24 hours or more), he/she will need to follow this protocol:

  • Your loved one will need to get a physician’s order to be tested and receive a negative result no more than 5 days prior to returning to campus.
  • Pass our screener of symptoms on the day of his/her return.
  • Quarantine for 14 days in his/her campus apartment, starting on the day he/she returns. The resident may not walk through the building during this time.
  • Test again between day 10 and 14 after returning.

Would Ecumenical Retirement Community admit someone while concurrently limiting visitors to essential visits? 

First and foremost, residents’ and co-workers’ safety and health remain our highest priority. Our business decisions are guided by the Pennsylvania and Maryland Departments of Health regulations and our commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable residents and our team members.

As a regulated health care provider in a well-defined continuum of care,* we are socially and morally obligated to support people in need of the type of care that Ecumenical Community is capable of providing. Residents in a hospital or rehab center are screened daily and discharged only if free of infection. Those returning home to Ecumenical Community (including from an off-campus family stay) are screened for flu or COVID-19 symptoms, reviewed clinically by our nursing staff to verify they are appropriate and put on isolation protocols for 14 days. New admissions from hospitals and rehabs and those admitted from home will be in isolation for 14 days per our protocols. All are screened clinically by our nursing staff with guidance from the CDC and our corporate clinical team. We have great trust in our campus and corporate clinical staff.

*Per the Department of Health: Personal Care Homes and Assisted Living residences are encouraged to accept new admissions but are not required to do so. However, they must continue to receive current residents from hospitals or nursing facilities if they are ready to be discharged and can be served in the home, including stable patients who have had the COVID-19 virus.

Precautions to reduce virus person-to-person

Among residents

What modifications are you making to common areas to reduce virus spread?

  • Closed all campus salad bars.
  • Suspended Happy Hour socials.
  • Discontinued any breakfast buffets (serving prepackaged items and wrapped fruit instead).
  • Suspended large group activities.
  • Suspended resident hospital visitation by campus chaplains.
  • Discourage handshaking, hugs and resident use of public bathrooms.

 Among co-workers

What are you doing to reduce spread of infection by co-workers?

  • To provide another layer of protection for our residents and co-workers, we are requiring all co-workers to have their temperatures taken while completing a screening form. If a person has a temperature above 100 degrees, he/she will be asked to leave campus and directed not to return until he/she is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of pain-relieving medications.
  • All co-workers will be wearing company-issued masks through the course of the workday.
  • Our staff is wearing eye protection which includes goggles or face shields. And those conducting direct care (Medication Associates, Personal Care Associates and Nurses) and delivering food are wearing face shields.
  • Mandated any co-workers who are ill to stay home.
  • Strongly encourage co-workers to practice increased safe hand-washing techniques. Residents are encouraged to ask a co-worker to wash his/her hands before providing services.
  • Require co-workers to use full personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for a sick resident.
  • Actively monitoring and observing residents, and each other, for symptoms.
  • Monitoring and managing our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, hygiene supplies, hand sanitizer—both at campuses and our company warehouse.
  • Discourage physical contact including handshaking and hugs. Suggest maintaining a social distance of six feet from another individual.
  • Discourage resident use of public bathrooms.

Among essential visitors

What are you doing to reduce spread of infection by visitors?

  • Every essential visitor is screened at the entrance and documented in a screener form.
  • Ask essential visitors to limit entry if:
    • Have traveled internationally. (Should refrain from entering our buildings until 14 days after their return.)
    • Had contact with someone who traveled internationally.
    • Have symptoms of respiratory illness and should return only when they are feeling better. These symptoms include fever, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, runny nose and other flu-like symptoms.
  • Encourage everyone to apply hand sanitizer when entering any of our locations. Sanitizers are available in campus lobbies. Use the provided sanitizers instead of personal hand sanitizing products as the provided products are confirmed to meet the criteria to kill germs associated with flu and COVID-19.
  • Informed all healthcare contractors (home health, private-duty home care and hospice) of our requirements that those individuals must 1) wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and change between resident care, 2) consider wearing eye protection at all times and 3) avoid providing care to both COVID-positive and negative residents—this includes within our own campus or between our campus and other long-term care communities’ positive cases.
  • Limited the number of building entrances as to better monitor visitors to encourage hand sanitizing.
  • Sent letters about our revised visitation policies to all residents, families, volunteers, entertainers, visiting groups (schools, churches, scouts) and contractors conducting interior work.
  • Posted signs and notices on main entrance doors and websites alerting visitors about our revised visitation policy and hand-sanitizing request.

Disinfection practices

 What are you doing to reduce or kill germs on campus?

  • Reviewed our cleaning products, sanitizers and antibacterial products and confirmed their effectiveness against COVID-19.
  • Increased cleaning frequency for commonly touched surfaces and public spaces.
  • Encouraged co-workers to monitor hand sanitizer and soap dispensers and report any refill needs to management.
  • Clean community equipment with sanitizing products after every resident use.
  • Clean community vehicles with sanitizing products after every resident transport.

What are you doing to keep staff up to date on COVID-19 protocols and response procedures?

  • Conduct regular COVID-19 Task Force meetings to review updates and discuss practice changes when warranted.
  • Reviewed and updated pandemic policy and practices with all management to share with line staff.
  • Continue ongoing training on virus response and infection control for co-workers.
  • Trained Home Office resource emergency team to deploy to any campus in the event of confirmed COVID-19.
  • Continue to review staffing needs and support.
  • Created contingency staffing plans in the event of a widespread outbreak affecting co-worker attendance.

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