COVID-19 Management & Precautions at Hancock Hall
We implemented numerous precautions at Hancock Hall early on to minimize the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak at our facility. Our residents’ and employees’ health and safety are of the utmost importance to us.
Thankfully, our two facilities- Hancock Hall and Filosa- have experienced the lowest rate of COVID infections among all skilled nursing facilities in hard-hit Fairfield County.
Our Administrator, Jen Malone-Seixas, has been monitoring public health advisories (federal and state) and working closely with our COVID-19 Response team which includes 2 certified Infection Preventionists and all department directors.
The following interventions are in place to protect residents, our healthcare workers and visitors from respiratory infections, including COVID-19:
What did we do to ready ourselves for this public health crisis?
- We significantly increased our supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in anticipation of the gravity of this situation.
- We educated and re-educated staff on the nature of this virus, proper infection control procedures, and self-care.
- We instituted an extended, “no worries” policy of paid sick time.
What was our immediate response when COVID-19 hit our area?
- We locked down our facility to visitors and all non-essential workers upon learning of the 1st identified case at local hospitals, days before the Governor’s Executive Order of March 13, 2020.
- We made a simple but significant decision to refuse admission from the community (home and hospital) unless under the most stringent of guidelines.
How are we monitoring our residents and staff?
- All residents are monitored for fever and hypoxemia daily
- All residents are routinely monitored for a change in condition including, but not limited to cough, shortness of breath, fever, and hypoxia.
- All staff members are screened upon entry to the facility (with questions re: the presence of symptoms of COVID-19, travel, exposure risk, or notification of exposure) and have a daily temperature check.
- SARS-CoV-2 testing has been conducted as needed in-house for identified residents and staff.
- All staff members that have been exposed to the virus or are out sick for any reason receive a daily “check-in” call by a member of our team and are required to take their temperature and document any symptoms.
How are we minimizing exposure risk to COVID-19?
- Minimized access points in the facility- single entrance.
- Cleaning schedules of hard surfaces increased
- Alcohol sanitizers are available in all patient care and common areas
- Disinfectants are readily available for all staff
- Staff dining area provided to accommodate social distancing
- Non-clinical staff members are excluded from clinical areas
- Social distancing practiced whenever possible
- ALL staff and visitors wear approved face coverings when in the facility
- Surgical masks are to be worn by healthcare providers when providing direct care
- Any staff member identified with symptoms of COVID-19 is immediately removed from the facility for further evaluation
- Staff members are highly discouraged from work in other facilities or industries that have the potential to expose the employee to COVID-19
- Domestic and international travel is discouraged
Resident/ Patient-based Interventions:
- Alternative entertainment and recreational activities provided in lieu of traditional, congregate activities.
- All admissions from acute care hospitals require negative COVID test prior to discharge, must be afebrile and free of COVID-related symptoms. All new patients at SNF placed on presumptive droplet precautions for a 14-day period.
- Appointments outside of the facility have been limited to those that are essential.
- Residents are provided masks when out of their rooms.
How are we managing visitors?
- The facility is closed to all visitors except for those permitted per State and CDC guidelines. Further guidance from Federal, State and local authorities will be used to amend the visitation policy over time.
- Deliveries are made to an outdoor location (e.g. loading dock)
- All approved/mandated visitors are screened on entry to the facility with a temperature check and a questionnaire re: presence of symptoms of COVID-19, travel, exposure, or notification of exposure
- Service providers are limited to those that are to perform critical and essential services