Hello St Camillus Resident Families,
We wanted to provide you with an update on what is happening in the skilled nursing center. It has become a CMS regulation this week, that weekly updates to residents and families will occur in the event that there is an outbreak of COVID-19. We have none in our facility, but we thought it would be a good practice to send a weekly update anyway. In the event that we would end up with a positive case of COVID-19, we would notify you via email, with the exception of the resident’s family who actually was infected. That family would, of course, receive a phone call.
As of about two weeks ago, we have moved all long term care residents off of the North wing. This wing is now our “isolation wing”. Any newly admitting resident, or any resident returning to the hospital is admitted to a private room on this wing and monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. All staff working on this wing are wearing their full PPE, which consists of gowns, gloves, masks and face shields. The shower room at the end of this wing has been converted to a “decontamination room”. Stainless Steel shelving has been moved into the room, and a temporary “clothesline”. All re-useable personal protective equipment is placed in this room at the end of each shift (along with stethoscopes, name badges, re-usable equipment) and disinfected.
We have designated the staff to specific units, to remain consistently on each unit as much as possible, helping eliminate one potential source of spread of illness. As residents approach their 14th day and have not demonstrated any potential symptoms of COVID-19, they are moved off the North wing. Any resident from another wing who becomes ill is immediately placed in contact and droplet isolation and a COVID-19 test is ordered. Recently, the WI Public Health Department updated it’s protocols for who can be tested for COVID-19. We are now able to have nursing home residents tested and results are usually ready in less than 24 hours. As the lab testing capability increases, it is our plan to have all residents tested before admitting to St Camillus.
All staff are screened upon reporting for work at the start of their shift, with their temperature taken and a health questionnaire answered every day. Staff who are sent home are checked on remotely by our HR department to determine when it is safe for them to return to work. We are following the CDC’s guidance, but again, using an abundance of caution in allowing staff to return to work if they have been exposed to COVID-19, or had symptoms themselves. Any “non-essential” staff are working from home and all staff who are on campus at St Camillus are expected to wear a facemask at work. Any resident who leaves campus for an essential appointment or to be transferred to the hospital also wears a mask, if they can tolerate that. At the present time, we have an adequate supply of PPE on hand and continue to seek out new sources and order more. We are preparing for the worst while we do all that we can to ensure the worst does not happen.
We will continue to monitor and immediately adapt any new recommendations that are dispensed from the CDC, WI public health and CMS, in regards to keeping your loved ones safe from COVID-19. Please reach out by call or email if you have any questions.
Shannon M Angell, RN NHA WCC, Chief Operating Officer
Penny Sims, Director of Nursing
Lauren McGaver, Director of Social Services