Senior Care facilities limiting visitations for COVID-19

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 11:15 AM AKDT
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Now that there is officially a

facilities that take care of the elderly are rolling out plans to keep their residents safe.

The CDC has warned that senior citizens with pre-existing respiratory issues are the most at-risk people to the virus.

Assisted living homes have their own guidelines and protocols for addressing disease threats like this one. At Aspen Creek in Midtown, staff said they are trying to stay ahead of coronavirus as much as possible.

Administrator Executive Director, Beth Rhoden said they feel confident with their plan.

She said the staff has placed hand-sanitizer in convenient locations throughout the community in addition to those at the front of all the hallways. They’ve also been working to inform the residents of the importance of washing their hands thoroughly.

Rhoden said they implemented new quarantine training earlier this week as well.

She said residents were asked to stay in their rooms while staff dawned on protective clothing to deliver their meals quickly with as little contact as possible.

“We did a pretty good job. We delivered breakfast to 52 residents in just under 45 minutes,” she said.

According to the Clinical Director at Aspen Creek, Adrienne Bradley, their facilities are set up to prevent the spread of viruses well. She noted the large, open common areas they have and their well-ventilated areas.

Bradley said most of the residents have private rooms, but there are a few people who have roommates. They are connected through common hallways.

They’re trying to keep the residents busy in the house, but Bradley said they are trying to keep them in smaller groups these days.

Still, it’s about who comes in and what they may bring with them that puts senior citizens at risk according to Bradley.

Field trips have been canceled and starting Friday, only ‘medically essential’ visitation is allowed. That includes visits such as doctors and physical therapy according to Rhoden.

“We had families call in asking if the residents can go to church,” Bradley said, “So I’m saying, ‘not right now,’ just to stay ahead of it.”

The staff realizes family visits are important to the people who live at Aspen Creek though. They’ve been coming up with ways to work around the limited visitations.

“If family members can chat with them by video or by phone, we would prefer that,” Rhoden said, “we’ve allowed our staff to carry around cell phone in order to be able to video chat. So we’re taking precautions. We’re breaking some of our own personal staff rules to be able to accommodate.”

Bradley said there is also a media center at the assisted living center for residents to make video chat calls as well.

They do not know at this time how long these measures will last.

Other places who see a lot of senior citizens are making some changes as well.

At the Anchorage Senior Activities Center, Director Rebecca Parker said they haven’t canceled any of their events yet. However, organizations that have contracted the space have canceled their bookings.

For the time being, Parker said they are switching to all disposable dish and silverware while concerns remain.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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