Landscape of Care during Covid 19
The landscape of care will be changing dramatically moving forward. Here are some questions to ask if you are considering moving your loved one into a care facility.
1) What are their protocols for testing residents and staff for coronavirus? The Alzheimer's Association's goals for coronavirus testing in assisted living communities include daily testing of staff; however, they are not even close to that probably due to a lack of availability of tests.
2) Has your facility had Covid-19 cases? What is the infection rate there and how are you communicating with families about it? If there have been cases, ask how quickly the leadership notified families once they were diagnosed and how regularly updates are sent. Also, ask what their plan will be if a coronavirus outbreak occurs.
3) What safety protocols are in place to prevent Covid-19 from spreading? Some of the things you will want to know is how frequently high traffic areas such as elevator buttons are disinfected, and are the residents still having meals in a community dining room, or are the meals being delivered to the residents' room.
4) Are new residents quarantined or tested prior to or upon arrival in the facility?
5) What are they doing to maintain and support staff? The key to a good assisted living facility is the leadership team and the care staff. Many workers are now in fear of contracting the virus and passing it onto their own families, so have they been able to maintain their pre-pandemic staffing levels? Since tours of the facilities have been restricted, have a conversation with the administrator. If he/she doesn't call you back, that could be a red flag!
6) What are they doing to engage their residents? We know that social isolation increases the risk of depression and cognitive decline, and it's been a monumental problem during the pandemic. Many of the activities that are typically offered in assisted living and dementia facilities have been discontinued for the time being. How are they supplementing for the activities, and how are residents' interacting with others?
The other option to a care facility is a 6 bed board and care home, but ask the same questions. Additionally, you can bring caregivers into the home of the person needing care.