As the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, continues to spread across the United States, the teams at Brightview have been working hard to safeguard our residents and associates from the virus. We’ve been looking at everything that we do – visitor screening, dining, activities, health, and wellness – to make sure we are in compliance with the protocol recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state Department of Health. Here is an updated list of what we’ve implemented:
- We have closed the community to all non-essential visitors, including families, and have encouraged residents to stay in the community.
- Everyone who enters the community, including associates, must be screened for signs of the virus. This includes taking temperatures and completing a detailed questionnaire designed to understand whether they are at higher risk of exposure. If visitors or associates don’t pass the criteria, they are turned away.
- We have paused our communal dining program and begun to serve meals in apartment homes for the majority of our residents. Some exceptions apply, based on the type of living and for those who need assistance with meals. Happy Hour, however, continues! Our community has gotten very creative with keeping our beloved Happy Hour tradition alive while still maintaining the proper social distancing.
- We know that our caring, service-oriented associates are what make Brightview so special. We may be biased, but we believe we have the best team in the business! In a time when many companies are laying off their employees, we have increased pay rates for our associates in recognition of the sacrifice and challenges they face when coming to work during these times of school closures, transportation challenges, and other changes that may be affecting their lives and families outside our community.
- We have increased our paid time off benefits to make sure that nobody feels financial pressure to come in to work if they are under the weather. We have also increased access to telemedicine doctors to provide added convenience to associates who want to talk to an expert if they are feeling sick.
- Out of an abundance of caution, we have ramped up our hiring and new associate training beyond our usual staffing needs to ensure our residents receive the care they expect and deserve from Brightview.
Meals and essentials:
- Because so many non-essential businesses have closed around our community, we have added other behind-the-scenes benefits for Brightview associates, such as providing them with meals when they are working at the community. We are also implementing an associate pantry program, whereby associates who are struggling can pick up some essential groceries and toiletries at the community.
- So many wonderful people have contacted us to ask how they can help our residents and teams during these challenging times. We are working on a volunteer program for people who want to provide assistance for our residents, such as shopping and running other offsite errands. Rest assured that all volunteers will drop their goodies outside the front door of our community to keep out any germs! More details about how you can participate in our volunteer program will be communicated shortly.
These are unprecedented times for our community and for people around the world, but with determination, flexibility, and especially the wit and humor for which many of our residents are known, we will get past this challenge together. Thank you again for your many messages of support – they really do make a difference!
Given the rapid escalation of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the East Coast and new guidance that is emerging almost continuously, we have made the difficult decision to suspend all friends and family visits to Brightview Senior Living communities from Friday, March 13 until Tuesday, March 31. On March 31, we will reassess the decision in light of the threat that COVID-19 poses to our residents at that time.
Please know that this decision was not made lightly. We understand and appreciate that visits from friends and family are important to our residents, but the health of our residents is our primary concern during this unprecedented time. We will provide an exception to this visitation restriction only in end of life situations or if the health of the resident is in jeopardy. Healthcare workers, doctors, and health care aides will continue to be permitted to enter the community after passing a screening protocol.
We also ask that residents abide by the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which strongly encourages people over the age of 60 to stay home. If a resident needs to leave the community for an essential reason, such as an urgent doctor's appointment, he or she will be required to pass a screening protocol in order to come back into the community, just like any other person entering the building. If a resident returns to the community from a hospital caring for a patient with a confirmed case of COVID-19, that resident will be required to quarantine in the apartment home for 14 days.
Brightview has developed a COVID-19 Task Force that meets daily regarding the progress of the virus in the towns and hospitals that are close to our communities. We have been in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and have been following their guidelines for care and virus prevention. We are also implementing recommendations issued by the World Health Organization and our state Department of Health. We are also grateful for the advice and guidance we have received from our peer senior living companies in Seattle, who had to put measures in place to safeguard their communities against the virus several weeks before it reached the East Coast.
Every operational aspect at our communities continues to be evaluated in light of virus prevention. In-person SPICE in Motion exercise classes have been replaced by virtual classes hosted by a live instructor who is providing instruction on a monitor from an offsite location. Our housekeeping teams have ramped up our disinfecting efforts on all surfaces, using supplies that are EPA-certified to kill COVID-19. Our vendors have been very helpful in working with us to ramp up our supplies in the event that a full-community quarantine becomes necessary. We have clarified our paid time off policies for all associates; anyone who feels sick is encouraged to stay home from work, and copays are being waived for anyone who needs to be tested for COVID-19. Food items that would normally be at our self-service bars will be served individually wrapped and a la carte. Handshakes are being replaced with elbow bumps or a simple wave!
COVID-19 has overwhelmed countries and healthcare systems around the globe. Because this virus is so sneaky in the way it hides while the carrier unknowingly passes it along to others, we cannot take the risk that well-intended family members might pass it along to any of our residents or to associates upon whom our residents depend. We’ve been closely monitoring the spread of the virus, and feel strongly that now is the right time to take this next step to safeguard the health of our residents. With universities, schools, sports leagues, Broadway shows, churches, museums, and other organizations all canceling their planned events to encourage Americans to keep a sufficient social distance from each other, it is our hope that these collective efforts will be effective in eliminating the virus in our region.
We will continue to provide updates to our residents and family members as they become available. Thank you for supporting our efforts to protect our residents during this worldwide pandemic.
Brightview Senior Living is taking steps to protect our residents and associates from COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. The health and safety of our residents and associates is our primary concern.
To avoid an outbreak of COVID-19, we are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommends we implement the same precautionary measures we deploy each year during flu season. Out of an abundance of caution, we have elevated those elements of our Communicable Disease and Infection Control Management Plan, which includes:
- Effectively cleaning all surfaces of the community where germs could spread, using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggested disinfectants, cleaning methods, and standard precautions.
- Performing daily infection control rounds to identify anyone exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
- Thoroughly educating our teams on the virus and the precautions suggested by the CDC, including thorough and frequent hand washing and staying home from work when sick.
- Any resident who exhibits flu-like symptoms will be quarantined in his or her apartment. We will then contact the primary care physician and the state Department of Health for further instructions.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the flu. People infected with these viruses often have fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends that individuals receive the flu vaccine (it’s not too late) and engage in everyday preventive measures to prevent the spread of germs, including:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If an associate is sick with flu-like illness, we ask them to stay home from work.
- Family members and all visitors who have a cold, fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or anyone who has traveled to a location affected by COVID-19, should refrain from visiting the community.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly, with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, to prevent the spread of germs.
Our Health and Wellness team is monitoring guidelines received from the CDC and the state departments of health. If a full community quarantine is warranted, we are prepared with food and supplies to continue to provide residents with service. If that happens, we will reach out to notify family members.