We are embracing the start of a new year with hopeful optimism. We learned so much over the past year during this pandemic and we continue to learn more as this virus evolves and vaccines are introduced. Our main goal remains strong: spark seniors’ lives and keep you informed.

The following resources are meant to offer one place for information and facts so you, along with our teams, can proactively prevent further spread and minimize the effect of COVID-19. While physical distancing is important, remaining socially connected is important to your health. Lifesprk health care professionals are not only remaining proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19, they are making sure seniors’ lives are sparked and they have every opportunity, safely, to connect to their purpose and passion because it matters just as much. If you’re concerned about a loved one, please reach out to our team for guidance and read some of our blogs on finding the positives amid a pandemic.

If you are looking for specific information related to what’s happening on your senior living campus, please reach out to them directly or reach out to the Lifesprk team on campus.

What you can do to help – If you are a client or family member of Lifesprk, we ask that you perform daily symptom checks. If you have a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, please notify your Lifesprk nurse or caregiver before any scheduled visits. By knowing your symptoms, we can take the vital precautionary steps we need to take before we visit to ensure both your and your caregivers’ health and safety during COVID-19.  Thank you!

Your Questions Answered…

We’ve received great questions from clients and families about both vaccines and COVID-19. We’ve compiled the frequently asked questions and shared our answers below. Have a question and don’t see it here? Send it to covid19@lifesprk.com and our team will respond Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more urgent questions we encourage you to reach out to your Lifesprk nurse or other healthcare professional.

Vaccines

  • If I get the Moderna vaccine for my first dose, do I have to get the same vaccine for my second? Yes, both doses must be from the same brand of vaccine. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine, your second dose must be Moderna. If you have questions about this, please reach out to your supervisor or infection control for guidance.
  • Once I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask? Yes, you absolutely need to continue following infection control measures including wearing PPE, washing hands, etc. We will continue to follow these processes until MDH/CDC updates us on new procedures.

  • I already had COVID-19; do I still need to get vaccinated? Yes, CDC is recommending that you still get the vaccination. Like there are multiple strains of the flu covered in one flu vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine covers several strains including the newer one that is spreading quicker than the one you may have experienced.

  • How will I know when I can get a vaccine? For Lifesprk clients, once we know if we are able to provide clients with vaccines, we will communicate that information to them directly via letters, email, direct phone calls from their nurse or caregiver, and other methods. We recommend getting the vaccine at the first possible opportunity wherever it’s available. As soon as we know availability, we will provide that information to clients so they have the choice on when and how they can receive it if they choose to get it from Lifesprk. MDH is providing vaccines to each county and individuals can register with their county to receive the vaccine. They don’t take walk-ins so you must register first. Counties will reach out to priority groups/registered individuals to let them next steps and if there is additional vaccine available and invite people to come to their vaccination clinics.
  • Are there risks with the COVID-19 vaccine? There are always risk with every vaccine, but they are minimal. The most common side effect noted is a sore arm where the vaccine was administered. We encourage you to review the Moderna and Pfizer fact sheets below in the resources and reach out to our team for questions. If you have a history of allergic reactions or other health issues that concern you, we encourage you to talk with your health care provider.
  • Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No, there is no live COVID virus in the vaccine, so you cannot get the virus from the vaccine.
  • How long does the vaccine provide immunity? Through research conducted so far on the available COVID-19 vaccines, we do expect the series of two doses to provide 3-4 months of immunity. We don’t know enough yet beyond that as tests and research continue. It’s possible that we may need to do another round of vaccines in the fall and continue each year similar to how the flu vaccine is conducted. As of now, COVID-19 vaccines do not guarantee life-time immunity.
  • If you have the vaccine, what are you passing along? Why would you be contagious?  Because COVID is still relatively new there is still so much that is unknown and not enough research that defines transmission and how the virus can or can’t be transmitted once you are vaccinated. It’s possible that you may contract COVID-19 in the early days of vaccination as your body builds immunity and therefore transmit the virus. We will learn a significant amount this year as the vaccines get underway.
  • Does this vaccine prevent the new strain of COVID that has been presented just recently? Yes, it does which is good news. As potential new strains emerge, we will continue to update you on whether the current available vaccines cover them, too. We continue to be updated by the CDC and MDH daily as new research and information is available.

COVID-19

  • We are looking for support for an older loved one. Where can we turn for guidance? We love this question because we are all in this together when it comes to sparking seniors’ lives. Lifesprk has put together this guidance page with resources and information designed to help seniors age magnificently, pandemic or not.
  • How do we know if there is a positive COVID-19 case? We have set up a COVID-19 specific hotline that we are updating daily to share how Lifesprk is being impacted and what steps we are taking to ensure the health and safety of our clients, families, and employees.
    • Hotline: 952-873-7399
    • Email: covid19@lifesprk.com
  • What happens if there is a positive COVID19 case in a senior campus where Lifesprk provides on-site services?
     In addition to all the proactive steps we’ve already made which include wearing surgical masks and face shields, when we learn of a positive COVID-19 we immediately take action to increase support, resources, and precautions including:
    • Performing full-unit testing at the campus where there’s been positive cases (this can be from resident or employees).
    • Identifying and quarantining anyone who had close contact through contract tracing.
    • Deploying isolation carts and dedicated equipment for this individual’s care.
    • Increasing cleanings.
    • Notifying residents, families, and other providers on campus.
    • Reinforcing training with all staff to ensure thorough knowledge and practice of universal and droplet precautions and proper use of PPE.
    • Initiating droplet precautions for care of the individual with COVID-19.
    • Reinforcing the ‘No Visitor’ policy.
    • Screening all employees at the start of every shift which includes taking and recording temperatures.

It’s also an important reminder that containment of this virus is grounded in the basics our team knows, have been thoroughly trained on, and continue to practice. We work collaboratively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and follow the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Our dedicated professional staff and caregivers are working tirelessly to prevent serious illness and provide compassionate, inspiring support. We are taking all appropriate measures and doing everything possible to protect the health and wellness of all who work and live in our community.

  • What are you doing to keep my loved one safe?
    We continue to test as needed and monitor symptoms early on as they arise to proactively address immediate next steps. Our entire team is practicing standard precautions, frequent cleaning, and daily symptom screening of all staff. As individuals (clients or employees) with suspect symptoms are identified, we are taking the next level of precautions as recommended by the CDC to prevent further transmission. Additionally, for compassionate care in end-of-life situations, one family member is allowed on campus and they must wear proper PPE.  Please visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or Minnesota Department of Health for the most recent updates to visiting guidelines.

Here are a few tips you can do right now to prevent or minimize effects:

  • Even if you have been vaccinated, continue to wear proper PPE
  • Strict handwashing procedures, soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds several times per day
  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (traditional hand washing is recommended)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and always cover your cough or sneeze
  • Throw tissues in the garbage immediately after one use and wash your hands with soap and water
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often
  • Limit close contact with others by practicing safe distancing (6′ apart)
  • Ask family members and friends if they’ve traveled to any high-risk areas or out of the country in the last 14 days or if they have any symptoms of respiratory illness. Avoid visiting if they answer yes to these.
  • Stay home if you are sick

Our team takes infection control seriously and it shows. Here is what our team is doing to protect you:

  • Wearing masks and eye protection at all times.
  • Symptom checking including taking temperatures
  • Following strict droplet and contact precautions and you may see our team utilizing masks when working with clients with cough or fever, eye shields to prevent potential fluids from getting in the eyes, and gowns.
  • Wearing gloves for any type of care.
  • For our community clients, we are verifying with every client if they have family members who have been out of the country or are showing respiratory symptoms and a fever; this is no different than what we already do with the flu.
  • Closely monitoring our nursing and caregiving teams regarding any contact they’ve had, symptoms they might be experiencing and taking the necessary precautions.
  • Verifying any/all contact our employees have had with clients and family members who may have been traveling or are experiencing any symptoms and then putting in place the appropriate steps to minimize spread.

If you need immediate support at home or guidance, please reach out to our team directly for a consultation. 

Resources:

VACCINES

COVID-19

Questions? Please reach out to our Lifesprk Infection Control Team at 952-345-8770:

  • Dr. Nick Schneeman, Lifesprk Chief Medical Officer
  • Cathy Lauring, PHN, APRN
  • Paulette Duncan, MSN, RN