Local nursing homes implement policies to protect residents during COVID-19 outbreak

Published 1:13 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

It’s no secret by now that the elderly and immunocompromised are the most at-risk population during the spread of coronavirus.

Local nursing homes and home care services are implementing policies to make sure the most at-risk are among the most well-protected in this time.

Restricting all visitor access may not be the most well-received plan of action, but for local assisted living facilities, it’s been the most critical step.

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“The main thing is to ensure that no one from the outside public is bringing in the virus to the community. So we’ve severely limited access to all of our communities, including Oxford,” said Scott Hanes of Blake Management Group. “At this point, these decisions are indefinite and based on the CDC recommendations and a lot of it is dependent on the containment.”

Both The Blake and Elmcroft Senior Living facilities in Oxford have cut off all visitor access at this time, preventing anyone who isn’t emergency personnel or local staff from entering.

When coming into work, staff at both facilities are undergoing a screening process that was implemented at the start of this week. All staff is asked to not travel out of the state and temperatures must be taken every time they enter the facility.

For now, these restrictions are in effect until the end of March, but will likely carry over into future dates.

And these restrictions extend beyond just nursing homes and assisted care facilities. Safe and Sound Home Care, a private in-home caregiving agency, has taken their own measures.

“Working one-on-one in the homes, we’re really able to provide a lot of control of these environments, since we have only a few people coming in and out,” Sharron Morris of Safe and Sound said. “Certainly, it still requires everyone doing their part and being responsible. But for our caregiving staff, it’s taking heightened measures to isolate themselves, not just for themselves, but for their patients.”

For Safe and Sound, it’s a little different. They don’t have to worry about being in large crowds or transmitting an infection in a larger facility. Their main message is about education – making sure their caregivers, their clients and families of their clients, know the most accurate information and take part in the best practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

For now, all of these policies are temporary. No one wants to restrict family access to their loved ones, but in times of crisis, sometimes decisions have to be made in the best interest of those most at-risk.