updated March 2021
Guide to this FAQ
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Have your residents and staff been vaccinated?
We are excited that our residents and staff were among the first in the nation to get vaccinated, providing an immense sense of relief for current residents’ families, as well as families looking for a more supportive communal living environment for their loved one.
Are there still restrictions in place?
We continue to follow MA, CT and NH state-issued guidelines and remain focused on the health and well-being of our residents as our number one priority:
- Family visitation guidelines differ between the states. Please refer to our individual community “Visitor Guide” webpages to schedule your visit, or call for details.
- Residents may leave and re-enter our communities as they wish.
- We have safely opened up our dining rooms, community spaces and hair salons, while continuing to promote face masks, hand washing and physical distancing.
- We are providing in-house podiatrist services with safety guidelines and protocols in place.
- We will keep the plexiglass at Reception Desks in place and continue to use our new digital sign-in process for visitors to avoid the use of paper and pens.
- We will continue to facilitate physician Telehealth appointments for residents, as requested.
Is the dining room open?
Yes. We are focused on offering a positive and social dining experience for our residents. Some dining room changes continue to be in place, such as furniture layout to adhere to ongoing physical distancing guidelines and multiple seatings.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have served hot nutritious meals featuring favorite recipes from our Brain Healthy Cooking menu including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and seafood. The foods we serve have potent antioxidants and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity and reduce inflammation. It is heart healthy, great for seniors managing diabetes, and proven to boost overall cognitive health.
Experts say during times of stress, eating well is one of the things that helps us stay healthy and boosts our immune system. Kudos to our dining team for serving excellent meals with excellent service under these trying times!
What about physical activity?
Our residents have access to all types of movement from walking to gardening, to exercise classes and dancing.
Is the in-house salon open?
Yes. Please contact the community directly for hours and to schedule an appointment for your loved one.
Are you allowing new residents to move in?
Yes! We can accommodate seniors who have a need for a more supportive living arrangement. Assisted Living offers a particularly safe option now as we are among the first in the nation to be vaccinated. Visit our Move-In Guidelines webpage for detailed information.
Throughout the pandemic we have worked with families and our Professional Referral Partners to ensure a smooth transition into one of our communities while safeguarding everyone’s health. We continue to follow our stringent safety measures. Learn about our move-in process, and protocols that protect the health and safety of of our entire community.
Are residents engaged and active now that some restrictions have been lifted?
YES! As state-mandated restrictions have lifted, we have offered more and more social and fitness programming opportunities.
Resident “Quality of Life”, our #1 priority, goes beyond physical safety and health – it speaks to the importance of social interaction, personal dignity and just plain feeling engaged in life. Obviously, the physical distancing of the last year impacted all of our lives. Throughout it all our team members made every effort to keep residents engaged through exercise, entertainment, outdoor walks, and personal interaction.
We always care for our residents as social beings, and we continue to do our very best to boost involvement, independence and spirits. Family support and participation over the last year was key to creating most of our best moments as our “good news page” highlights!
How is your staff?
Our team continues to work diligently, providing the very best care and services for our residents that we can.
We faced many challenges and difficult circumstances spanning a year. We are so proud of our staff who live our Right Values every single day, every hour. They showed determination, compassion and courage every day to fight this pandemic knowing they might be putting themselves and their own families at risk.
So many families sent along words of support and love over this very long year. The understanding, patience and support of our residents and families means more than we can adequately express. Thank you!
Are you still sanitizing the kitchens and dining rooms?
Our kitchens are cleaned, disinfected and sanitized constantly – all the time, not just during the pandemic. Food prep is done with the utmost care following universal precautions, and all of our chefs and cooks are Serv Safe certified. We put into place some precautions during the pandemic that we intend to continue, such as using a special wash for fresh fruits and vegetables.
What is your cleaning regimen?
Our universal infection control practices have always included proper hand washing and infection control training for all employees – not just during the pandemic. As always, we:
- Frequently disinfect high-touch areas like doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucets and handrails with CDC approved antibacterial/germicidal cleaning materials
- Frequently clean high-traffic common areas such as dining rooms and activity spaces
- Provide thorough housekeeping services in every apartment
- Thoroughly deep-clean apartments prior to a new resident moving in
- Thoroughly deep-clean and sanitize apartments of current residents moving back home to the community following a hospitalization
What about fresh air and air flow in your buildings?
We have several systems in place to ensure sufficient, clean air flow:
- Each SLR community has an ERE makeup air system, which takes fresh air from outside and circulates it with the air inside the building to ensure proper air circulation
- Filters are changed regularly on all HVAC systems at all SLR communities to maintain air quality
- All vacuums have HEPA filters in them to ensure efficiency standard of air filters
Handling Coronavirus Cases
How do you handle suspected or positive cases?
Visit our Covid protocols webpage for a complete description of how we handle suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 for residents and associates.
Who do you report to?
We report all suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 to our local Boards of Health, as well as appropriate Public Health state agencies, including:
- MA – Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Department of Public Health
- NH – NH Department of Health and Human Services
- CT – CT Department of Public Health
These agencies are responsible for tracking and reporting data to the general public, as well as conducting contact tracing.
We also provide updates via text and email to our residents and their extended families with news about testing, changes in protocols, and what we are doing to lift the spirits of residents and staff.
Do you contact families if a resident is ill?
Yes. Our community nurses are in regular contact with the families of residents who are ill for any reason, including whether they are symptomatic or who have tested positive for coronavirus. The vast majority of our residents have been vaccinated, so we don’t anticipate ongoing issues with Covid-19, but if your loved one becomes ill, we will call you immediately.
Can we get information on residents who had Covid-19?
Yes and no. During this last year of unprecedented crisis we have released information publicly on positive cases in our communities. However, we are prohibited from providing “Personal Health Information” about individual residents who fell ill due to coronavirus or any other reason, including their medical status or even their apartment number. HIPAA is a federal law that very specifically protects residents’ rights to privacy when it comes to their personal information. This law remained in effect even during this pandemic.
Can we get information on staff members who had or get Covid?
We continue to have every staff member, every day, pass a health screening (including a temperature check) at the beginning of their shift. If they exhibit any symptoms they are sent home with instructions to see their doctor and request testing, and follow the CDC mandated self-quarantine. Visit our Covid protocols webpage for how we handle suspected and confirmed cases.
We are bound by HIPAA not to release personal identifying information about associates, including health information, so we do not publicly disclose when a staff member is ill for any reason.
Staff members in some of our communities did contract coronavirus during the course of this pandemic, some with symptoms and others asymptomatic.
What about testing?
We will continue with our rigorous testing program until it is safe to cease it:
- Community-wide testing is now triggered after a reported positive case in a resident OR staff member. An initial round of testing is followed up every 10-14 days thereafter until there are no positive cases.
- Our CT community is currently following a weekly testing program that exceeds state mandates.
We urge individual testing:
- We continue to be diligent in looking for any symptoms, even after vaccination. If we observe symptoms in residents, we will notify families and physicians immediately and urge individual testing. It is now widely known that many seniors do not exhibit typical Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Instead, seniors are experiencing a range of symptoms, such as lack of appetite, feeling weak and fatigued, increased sleeping, confusion, vertigo, poor balance, increase in falls and dehydration.
- If a staff member fails the daily Covid screen or has any symptoms we urge immediate testing. We provide information to associates on available local resources for testing, including drive through testing programs.
- Under current state policy in MA, NH and CT, only a government agency or physician may prescribe a test. We do not have the authority to obtain testing for an individual resident or staff member.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Do you have enough masks and gloves?
Yes, for now we have enough supplies. Like every other Assisted Living community, Nursing Home and Hospital in the country we are still working hard to source PPE (personal protective equipment, which includes gloves, masks, gowns, goggles, face shields, and booties). Senior Living Residences’ (SLR) Home Office staff is keeping track of inventory at all SLR communities. SLR has been successful at obtaining back-up supplies which they provide to communities if/when needed. Also, local public health agencies, including Boards of Health and Emergency Preparedness Departments have been very helpful providing resources to some of our SLR communities.
If you can donate any PPE, we would gladly accept it. So many have donated cloth masks to our communities (thank you!)
Are there any food shortages?
No. We want to reassure families that our food supply is in excellent shape. Although you may see empty shelves in your local grocery store, the commercial food supply chain which caters to businesses like ours ordering in bulk, has been less impacted by this crisis. We are lucky to be part of a nationwide group purchasing organization through our management company, Senior Living Residences, that provides us with plentiful options. Even with large meat processing plants hampered due to outbreaks of coronavirus, we are able to source all types of meat. Additionally, through our partnership with Baldor, a New England company that represents dozens of local farms, we will continue to have access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that change with the season. Farmers have been deemed essential workers.
Are there any issues with medications?
No, residents’s medications continue to be prescribed, filled and dropped off at our communities by local pharmacies, or dropped off in filled weekly pill-packs by families. Many of our residents are on a medication management program and our Resident Care Department continues to provide daily reminders to take their medications at the right time, in the right doses. Some residents handle their medications independently, and we are checking in with them to ensure that they are receiving their medication refills on time.
Please call your community directly for answers to these questions
- Can I bring dinner to my Mom?
- Does the community have enough cloth masks / are we still accepting donations?
- What is the best time to drop off supplies / packages for my loved one?
- Who is the contact person to arrange a Zoom / Facetime meeting?