We are in the business of caring for the senior population and right now, ensuring their safety and health is our utmost priority amid a national pandemic that puts elderly and those with underlying health conditions at greater risk. We also share these resources with you to allay fears and anxiety that can easily be triggered and offer one place for resources and facts so you, along with our teams, can proactively prevent further spread and minimize the effect of COVID-19.
COVID-19 (known to us as coronavirus) is a virus that presents a range of illness, while many may be mild to moderate with symptoms similar to colds and flu, some cases may be more severe. Symptoms include high fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.
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 a few great questions from clients and families and felt that others may benefit from our response. Feel free to reach out to us with your questions and answers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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: email@example.com
- What happens if you 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 positive cases (this can be from resident or employees).
- Identifying and quarantining anyone who had close contact.
- Adding 24/7 clinical support and a special incident response team.
- 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 state 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 and follow the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 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.
- Why aren’t staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times?
We are following the CDC guidelines for appropriate PPE use for community and campus settings. That means all of our staff are wearing surgical masks and eye protection at all times when working directly with clients.
- What are you doing to keep my loved one safe?
We continue to maintain a low threshold for testing. 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.
- When can we visit our loved ones again?
We work closely with each individual campus on their up-to-date protocols for allowing families to visit with their loved ones. We also recognize ‘essential caregivers’ as defined by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) who recognizes that many family members provide direct caregiver and advocacy support for their loved ones, much like our own caregivers do, and should be considered ‘essential.’
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:
- 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 – recommendation is to be 3-6 feet away from others
- 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. Overall, we continue to have a low threshold for testing clients and employees. Here is what our team is doing to protect you:
- Wearing masks and eye protection at all times.
- 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.
- 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.
- How to Care for Yourself During COVID-19
- How to Care for Your Loved One During COVID-19
- Mask Guidelines – Alternative (cloth) masks vs surgical
- CDC guidelines recommend ‘call ahead before visiting your doctor.’
- FAQs on COVID-19
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 overview
- CDC Infection Control Transmission Precautions
Questions? Please reach out to our Lifesprk Infection Control Team at 952-345-8770:
- Nick Schneeman, Lifesprk Chief Medical Officer
- Cathy Lauring, PHN, APRN
- Paulette Duncan, RN