In early March Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, our parent organization, assembled its COVID-19 Response Team in order to plan, communicate and implement stringent infection control protocols across all of its senior living programs, housing communities and social service programs. We had adapted our policies and practices to the CDC and the Department of Health requirements and continue to perform revisions as necessary. Daily team communication is essential. We continually draw on each other’s strengths to make important, life-saving decisions for our residents, employees, and the community-at-large.
Our Response Team is led by our Vice President of Clinical Services, and includes Directors from every department within our organization, as well as representatives from our partner organizations. Collectively, we are managing every aspect of resident and patient care. The health of our patients and residents, their families, and our employees continues to be our highest priority.
Critical, virus-containing measures we have taken at The Villa at Florham Park, include:
- Visitation is limited to shortened periods of time and takes place outdoors.
- Social distancing is being strictly enforced. This applies to everyone–maintaining a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
Screening for Symptoms:
- All essential personnel are screened upon entering the building and are provided a mask and the directive to wear it at all times, in all places. This includes all of our staff, as well as the staff of Nutrition Management, SpiriCare and Journey Hospice, as well as all contracted agency and privately paid aides for residents. All are reminded often to self-monitor for symptoms while work and at home. Staff screening upon entry of building include temperature and evaluation of these criteria:
- Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
- In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
- Been on a Cruise ship, attended gatherings with large numbers of people or been in a confined space with large groups of people.
- Traveled domestically or internationally within the past 14 days to areas with sustained community transmission. For updated information on affected countries visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Enhancing Infection Control Protocols:
- All essential personnel are wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) at all times while on shifts and are receiving numerous in-service education on infection control, proper handwashing and contact precautions. When staff directly care for residents, they also wear face shields.
- More frequent disinfecting and extensive cleaning and sanitizing are being conducted throughout the building, especially on high touch areas.
Increased Monitoring of Residents:
- We continue to be more vigilant than our usual monitoring practices. We are assessing all residents’ vital signs (Pulse Ox, BP and temperature) during each shift, three times every day.
- Asymptomatic Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing residents are tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, as are frontline staff in those areas.
- We know many people do not show symptoms at all, or do not show symptoms for a length of time. We consider each staff member and resident a possible carrier of COVID-19; testing does not change our precautionary actions. For instance, all staff members are required to wear face masks anywhere in our community, including administrative offices and maintenance areas.
The Villa at Florham Park continues to make every possible effort to keep our residents, patients and employees safe and healthy. We will continue to remain vigilant to implement additional precautions and protocols as recommended by the CDC and the NJ Department of Health as additional findings are shared with us.
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