I Got the Vaccine, Now What?

March 22, 2021

As Priority Life Care residents and staff were prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine, many residents, families, and friends are wondering…now what??

Caucasian woman who had COVID-19 Vaccine wonders when she can visit with her family.

Community Requirements to Reopen for Visitation

Each state has its own requirements when it comes to re-opening for in-person visits. Here is an article by AARP that outlines Long-Term Care Housing status by state.

Requirements often take into account: the rate of infection in the local county to be below a certain percentage, the rate of vaccinations within the individual communities, and whether the COVID-19 virus has been present in the last 14-21 days.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to recommend that communities, residents, and families adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection control to provide the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly if either party has not been fully vaccinated. You will see the CMS Core Principles outlined below continued at Priority Life Care communities.

CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention

  • Screening of all who enter the community for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status)
  • Hand hygiene (proper handwashing technique or use of alcohol-based hand rub)
  • Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
  • Social distancing at least six feet between persons
  • Instructional signage throughout the community and proper visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, other applicable community practices
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-frequency touched surfaces in the community
  • Appropriate staff use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Effective co-horting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated to COVID-19 care)
  • Resident and staff testing conducted as required

Visiting Options

Virtual  & Window Visits – For communities who are not allowed in-person visitation, virtual and window visits are always an option and encouraged.

Outdoor Visits – Outdoor visits are the preferred option for in-person visits to limit the transmission of COVID-19 to others due to the increased space and airflow. The space should be accessible and safe for visits, such as in courtyards, patios, parking lots, etc. Outdoor visits should be scheduled with the community. CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention will be applied to all outdoor visits.

Indoor Visits – As allowable, indoor visits will be allowed for all residents, as state requirements are met. It is best to call your community ahead of time to understand the community limitations based on space and time for indoor visits. Movement within the community may be limited to a designated visit area or the resident’s apartment. CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention will be applied to all indoor visits.

Compassionate Care Visits – Compassionate care visits are for residents who require additional care from family or outside caregivers. These residents may be in an end-of-life situation, grieving, or in general distress. Please call your community if you feel your loved one falls into this category.

Moving Forward with Visiting Your Loved One

As we are ecstatic to reunite loved ones with families, we will continue to take every precaution to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infections diseases. It will be important for staff, residents and visitors to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Wash your hands often.

The vaccine was one step in the right direction to stop the spread in our seniors, but we must remain vigilant. We appreciate your ongoing patience and kindness.

Find out the specifics of your loved one’s community by calling ahead. Locate a community.

Additional Resources for You

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