Dear Valued Clients, Families and Professional Partners:
I am writing today to share our updated infectious illness protocol at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While we are very excited about the arrival of the first vaccines being delivered to frontline healthcare workers, we are also mindful that the number of new cases continues to grow daily, and the death count keeps pace. We are exploring all avenues to have all of our staff vaccinated as soon as possible, but until then we have taken the following steps to make sure our clients, our staff and their families all remain as safe as possible.
First, all of our staff who have contact with clients log in daily to an app that tracks their symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19 and directs them to seek medical care as appropriate. Second, we have invested in a substantial supply of N95 masks, as well as face shields and protective covering for their clothing. Staff are encouraged to make use of the personal protective equipment (PPE) not only when they are going to be in contact with our clients, but also whenever it would give them maximum benefit during their personal life, such as attending their own medical appointments. We monitor updates from Montgomery County and the CDC on a daily basis and adjust our activities accordingly.
Due to the current surge of cases in Maryland, we are carefully evaluating our reasons for in-person visits with clients and prioritizing urgent health reasons for visits. For many of our clients, the benefit of taking care of urgent medical issues that cannot be dealt with via telehealth, such as dental work or evaluating vision, is greater than the risk of being in a medical office. We are also carefully evaluating all medical providers for their infection control protocols and working with them to keep our clients as safe as possible when in-person treatment is necessary.
We are also staying as up-to-date as possible on how vaccines will be distributed to residents and staff in the long term care facilities (skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care and group homes) where our clients reside. If you have a family member in one of these settings and have not yet received an alert about providing consent for the coronavirus vaccine, please ask the staff if they have the forms available for you to complete.
Please note that the communities will not have a large window of time in which to obtain consent for the vaccine and if you do not complete the paperwork in a timely fashion, your family member may not be able to receive the vaccine.
Please also note that the consent forms ask for various identifying information including address, date of birth and EITHER social security number OR driver’s license ID number. If at all possible, we recommend using the license ID number, to minimize the potential for identity theft if the data regarding the vaccine were to become compromised in any way.
We have consulted the geriatricians we work with most closely and they all concur that it is preferable for our older clients to receive the vaccine unless they are currently on hospice care or have any allergies or other conditions that might make receiving the vaccine unsafe for them. We encourage you to have a frank discussion with your family member’s primary care provider if you have any concerns about the safety or efficacy of the vaccine for them.
As more is known about the vaccine, we will provide further updates. Until much of our population is vaccinated, we will continue to carefully monitor our activities for the safety of our clients and staff.
We wish everyone a healthy and safe 2021!!!
Susy Elder Murphy, Owner