Questions to Ask and Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for Long-Term Senior Care Options During the Pandemic
By Becky Bongiovanni | President of CarePatrol
In normal circumstances, finding the right senior living facility is a challenge that many families face. But with the COVID-19 pandemic this decision is made even more excruciating. Typically the people responsible for arranging the living situation for a loved one are overwhelmed or lack the resources to make the best decision. And now with the pandemic, this is enhanced with a deepening fear and worry about safety.
Our mission at CarePatrol for over 25-years has always been to make sure that people looking for care are armed with all the information in order to make an informed decision. Protecting older adults is our highest priority as seniors are the heartbeat of our business.
During this time of uncertainty, our locations are continuing to work closely with our network of over 36,000 senior living communities across the nation and we are supporting families making difficult care decisions. We are arming clients with the right questions to ask care facilities from COVID-19 policies and protocols in place, staffing levels, and testing regime to what types of healthy living activities are being maintained.
We all know that staying home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do. But when that is no longer an option, here are some things you should consider when searching for a long-term senior living community:
1. Many senior living communities have adopted their own COVID-19 policies and protocols, so make sure you ask what those are and how it impacts you.
- This could mean no visitation in person for the first 14-days of move in. You may be asked to view the community virtually or with a “peek-a-boo” tour.
2. Socialization is important to a healthy lifestyle.
- How has the community altered programs like exercise, entertainment, social activities like bingo and everyday activities like eating meals?
3. Look for transparency.
- While there are HIPAA protocols to protect privacy, the community may still provide you with the number of active and previous cases of COVID-19 in the building.
- Is there a quarantine period? Some communities do require a 14-day time period that limits visitation; however, this time is used to ensure the safety of residents.
- What is their policy with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Do they feel they have an adequate supply to protect them from infection?
- Is the staff trained on appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment?
- Do they have enough of these supplies to “decontaminate” as needed?
- Are they screening staff members for signs of illness, and providing them with education to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 from other health care facilities and the community?
- What is the facility doing to prevent infections?
- What other preventative measures do they have in place?
- What is their plan for testing residents and staff?
- What level of medical care can they provide if needed?
- What will happen to older adults who get the infection after moving out and then need medical care?
- What will happen to ones who get the infection after moving out but then recover? Will the facility let them re-enter?
- Do they accept COVID-19 positive residents?
- Do they accept COVID-19 recovered residents?
- Do they require testing prior to move in?
- How will they communicate to the residents and families if someone in the community has COVID-19?
- How will they communicate updates and changes to the residents and families?
We will remain steadfast to our mission of providing safer senior living for your family and the healthcare providers we work with. While we may not be able to meet with you in person, we are able to assist by audio and visual chats and provide virtual tours. CarePatrol is completely free and a no-cost service to the family.
Choose a safer senior housing option with CarePatrol.
Find your local CarePatrol senior advisor today HERE.