How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Long Term Care Facilities

Please note that skilled nursing providers should consult the guidance put forth by CMS and the CDC, and assisted living communities can consult AHCA/NCAL's guidance​. Providers should also check their local and state health departments for potentially stricter guidance, but these are general, national prevention and containment tips: 

    • Centers should review their infection prevention and control policies and procedures for droplet precautions among residents and staff. Assemble your Emergency Preparedness and Operations teams and prepare strategically for a potential spread of the virus. SNFs: Use the CMS Focused COVID-19 Infection Control Survey Tool​ to self-assess your IPCP plans. 
    • Prepare Staff
      • ​Acknowledge the current situation and share only verified facts. See our sample letter to employees.
      • It’s important that any staff who are sick stay home. CDC has detailed guidance on this​.
      • Remind staff of hand hygiene and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) 
      • Inform housekeeping staff and other impacted staff about the importance of proper cleaning. See our sample handout in English or Spanish​.
    • ​Restrict all non-essential individuals from visiting your facility for the time being. 
      • Explain this to residents’ family members and friends
        • Use our template letter​ to inform them ahead of time 
        • Use our sample notice in English or Spanish to post at your main entrance or share with visitors who come to the building
      • Set up/help facilitate alternative forms of communication for residents: video, phone, or other methods
    • ​​Screen individuals who need to enter the building—including staff—for possible exposure to COVID-19. Use our checklist for screening individuals 
      • ​Any individual who checks YES to any questions on the screening tool should not be permitted to enter the facility.
      • Any individuals that are permitted to enter should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entrance and throughout their stay.
      • Use our template log for personnel (Excel or PDF)​ to track employees & temps coming into the facility  
    • ​Restrict group activities within and outside the building.
      • ​Cancel trips into the community-at-large 
      • Restrict group activities and communal dining​ within the facility. 
      • Cancel activities with outside volunteers (e.g., school bands/choirs, pet therapists).
    • ​Take stock of your personal protective equipment. If you are running low on supplies or worry about running low, take these steps in this order:
      1. ​Work to preserve your supply by adjusting your practices to conduct multiple activities per visit to an infected patient’s room (see CDC guidance​) 
      2. Contact your local healthcare coalition 
      3. Contact ​your state​ health department
      4. Contact your local health department
      5. Contact your local hospital(s) and other health care providers in your area about possibly sharing equipment
    • Communicate, communicate, communicate
      • ​Create a communication plan for all stakeholders. The World Health Organization has a great Communications Package that you can download and use. 
      • Make sure you have current emergency contact information for family members and loved ones.
      • Keep residents and family members informed about the efforts you’re taking and any new developments.
      • Prepare for media inquiries. 

    If a staff member shows symptoms: Have them put on a mask and go home immediately. 
    If a resident shows symptoms: Implement droplet precaution procedure, move them to an isolated room, and contact the local health department. 

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