November 23, 2020
Dear CareOne Families,
As we begin the holiday season and reflect on what has been a particularly challenging year for us all, we at CareOne find ourselves fortunate for your continued trust in our care of your loved one.
Traditionally, the holidays are a time to spend with family and celebrate with loved ones. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 epidemic growing worse across the country, things have changed, and I would like to offer my recommendations for celebrating the holidays with your loved ones during this very difficult time.
Following the guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), we strongly discourage families from taking residents out of the facility for the holidays.
Family gatherings, regardless of size, have been identified by the CDC as a primary driver for spread of the virus. The simple act of bringing a family member home for the holidays exposes not only them to others who may unknowingly be carrying the virus,but also may potentially lead to the infection of others upon their return to the facility.
Below are risk-stratified options to celebrate with your loved one. We understand how difficult this decision may be, so we would like to offer some guidance and suggestions for safer holiday planning.
Low Risk Celebration: Celebrate virtually with your loved one via FaceTime, Google Duo or Skype. Our centers have ample devices and staff available to assist with virtual visits. Please call in advance to schedule your virtual visit.
Medium Risk Celebration: Schedule an indoor or outdoor visit at the center with your loved one where permissible. All safety guidelines including masking, social distancing, hand washing must be observed. Visits are limited to two people and only available to those over twelve years of age. Unfortunately, we must restrict pets from visiting. The risk level at any center with respect to in-person visitation depends on the number of visitors and the potential exposure to COVID-19 that any visitors may have had. To protect the health of your love ones, we will be performing rapid antigen testing and a comprehensive risk assessment screen on all visitors prior to permitting indoor visitation.
Medium –High Risk Celebration: Bringing your loved one home to celebrate with just your immediate household, following all safety guidelines including constant mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and frequent cleaning of all surfaces. You and all members of your immediate household should be limiting your exposure to others outside of your home prior to your gathering (social events, restaurants, grocery shopping, church, etc.). Your loved one will need to quarantine in an isolation room on our distinct quarantine unit for 14 days upon their return to the facility. Isolation rooms are limited and must be reserved in advance. Even with a reservation, we cannot guarantee room availability based on changes that may take place within the center. If an isolation room is not available, you will need to care for your loved one at your home until a room becomes available.
Very High Risk: Bringing your loved one home to celebrate with multiple households, even of the same immediate or extended family. Your loved one will need to quarantine in an isolation room on our distinct quarantine unit for 14 days upon their return to the facility. Isolation rooms are limited and must be reserved in advance. Even with a reservation, we cannot guarantee room availability based on changes that may take place within the center. If an isolation room is not available, you will need to care for your loved one at your home until a room becomes available. It is our hope that you review the options listed above carefully when considering your holiday planning. We wish we all could celebrate the holidays in the traditions we have all come to cherish with our families however, ensuring our residents stay safe at this time has to remain our top priority.
Should you choose to take your loved one out of the facility to celebrate the holidays, a consent must be signed by family and resident to certify acknowledgment of dangers of exposure to COVID-19 for both the resident and other members of the congregate setting, compliance to infection prevention practices as per the CDC and DOH, and obligation to notify the facility if anyone present at the holiday gathering tests positive or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of the residents’ out of facility visit.
In addition, families must call the center in advance to inform of the intent to take the resident out of the facility. We will add your loved one’s name to our waiting list for a room in our quarantine unit. Again, rooms are not guaranteed as our center room availability changes daily. Should your loved one be placed on a waiting list for a room, we will keep you updated daily on room availability, but do require families to have a plan to quarantine the resident until return to the facility in advance to ensure the discharge is safe.
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Amina Ahmed, MD
Chief Medical Officer