Residential Care Homes and COVID-19
May 20, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertain times which can make day-to-day life stressful and challenging. Many of us feel unsure about what the future holds and so it’s important to focus on what we can do each day to help remain safe and healthy. The assisted living industry has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by taking steps to protect your loved ones and our team members, including escalating infection control protocols, limiting visitors, and reinforcing social distancing practices. The Texas Organization of Residential Care Homes (TORCH) represents the 60% of Assisted Living facilities in Texas that are licensed as “Small” – that is less than 16 beds. According to our research, only one “Small” facility here in Texas has experienced a COVID outbreak! Small facilities are committed to being candid and transparent about everyday operations and infection protocols. TORCH regularly consults with experts inside the industry and in the greater health community at large and shares that with the small facilities. We issue frequent updates to inform residents, families, team members, and the public about the steps that are being taken to guard against the novel coronavirus in our communities. In partnership with the Health & Human Services Commission, as researchers learn and share more about COVID-19, we quickly create new policies and practices that turn this knowledge into action. It’s a proactive approach that has created an environment of trust. Residential Care Homes around Texas are taking unprecedented steps to protect residents and team members. Here are a few of the many ways that our member communities have been guarding against COVID-19.
- Carefully following the latest COVID-19 guidance from health and government agencies
- Restricting entry and limiting visitors to only those fulfilling essential services
- Requiring daily monitoring of residents, team members, and essential visitors for temperature and symptoms
- Cleaning and disinfecting communities—including common areas, resident rooms and frequently touched items and surfaces—on a regular basis
- Delivering meals to residents’ rooms instead of eating in communal settings
- Shifting activities from group settings to one-on-one activities inside resident rooms.
- Requiring team members to wear masks while in communities and carefully following appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) wear guidelines and protocol
- Helping residents and families connect and engage through virtual platforms like FaceTime and Skype
- Encouraging residents to use telehealth programs to visit their physicians online instead of in person, where appropriate