How Brookdale Is Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Since the first reports of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) were diagnosed in the United States in January, we have been working to help ensure that we are prepared. Brookdale’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients and associates.
We understand there is concern, so we want you to know that we have taken and continue to take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of exposure.
A Message from Brookdale - April 2
Our priority is the health and safety of our residents and staff.
Your experience with Brookdale might be slightly different for a time. Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this unprecedented crisis together as a community and a nation. Our commitment to helping you remains unchanged.
Please know that we are still here to serve you, and we are ready to be your guide in exploring senior care options. If you'd like to learn more about a Brookdale community or if you have any questions we can answer, please give us a call.
In addition to following our existing communicable disease outbreak protocols, we’ve implemented additional precautionary measures:
- Providing communities with the tools needed to monitor residents’ health to help detect possible health issues before symptoms manifest.
- Utilizing the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking system to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Updated and enhanced the cleaning protocols at our communities to address COVID-19.
- Video calling tools like FaceTime and Skype for residents and families are encouraged to combat social isolation and loneliness.
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The following symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- A general feeling of being unwell (body aches, chills)
- Diarrhea or nausea
- Respiratory problems
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new disease, and we’re still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the US.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads:
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have implemented a number of measures, including but not limited to:
- Activated a corporate emergency response team to provide support to our local teams.
- Engaged with leading medical centers for recommendations and guidance to complement the internal expertise of our clinical team.
- Re-educated our teams on the appropriateness of infection prevention measures which are a part of how we operate on a daily basis.
- Suspended planned or sponsored group outings (with the exception of healthcare-related visits).
- Restricted visitors and non-essential health personnel from our communities, except in end of life situations or pursuant to the guidance of public health officials.
- Conducting health screenings on anyone coming into the Community.
- Additionally, we are doing the following:
- Limiting travel of our associates to avoid possible spread of the viral illness from city-to-city.
- Ensuring that any of our associates who are sick stay home.
- Providing regular updates to our teams to answer any and all questions.
- Taking this very seriously and acting out of an abundance of caution.
- Reviewing reputable health websites for updates on a daily basis to be able to share the latest news and information.
In addition to following Brookdale’s existing communicable disease outbreak protocols, we have implemented additional precautionary measures, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local health officials and the Brookdale clinical team.
- Precautionary measures include the following:
- Associate training and screening at all communities
- To help create barriers in spreading of disease, we’ve updated and recommunicated our contagious disease policies and protocols as they relate to current knowledge regarding COVID-19. This includes best practices and instructions for hand washing, using hand sanitizer and disinfecting hard surfaces frequently.
- Our Emergency Response Command Center has been activated with leaders across every function.
- Levels of Action: used to manage ANY infectious outbreak within a community, including COVID-19
- Alert Categories: devised to manage the status of COVID-19 risk to Brookdale communities
- Because COVID-19 is difficult to detect early, our communities are being provided with additional tools to assist in monitoring residents’ health.
We are closely following CDC and local government official testing guidelines.
We are following CDC and local government official guidelines. The process is handled on a case-by-case basis whether testing will happen in a community, a designated clinic testing location or hospital.
We are following our processes and procedures to isolate residents or patients if they are showing symptoms. Associates who are showing symptoms are directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
If there is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in a Brookdale community, residents/designated emergency contacts will be notified by the community Executive Director.
To reduce the risk of exposure in our communities, we are currently restricting visitors, except for end of life situations or pursuant to the guidance of public health officials. We are also conducting health screenings on anyone coming into the community. Specific visitor protocol may vary based on state and local directives.
In addition, we have suspended Brookdale-sponsored/planned group outings and are strongly encouraging residents to refrain from making trips from community unless medically necessary.
If a confirmed case were to occur, we would continue to act in full compliance with the CDC, local and state health authorities. We would follow the CDC guidance for confirmed cases in healthcare settings; that guidance includes steps to minimize chances for exposure, adhering to personal protection protocols and managing visitor access.
In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Brookdale communities have restricted access to visitors. Unless otherwise mandated by public health officials or pursuant to the direction of corporate clinical leadership, the following currently applies to visits in our communities:
- Healthcare providers and private-duty providers are continuing to provide services essential to the health or safety of a resident.
- Such individuals are subject to screening and their access prohibited if they fail to meet screening criteria.
- Other visitors are prohibited at this time except for resident visitors in end-of-life situations.
- We have implemented a plan for virtual visits and encourage FaceTime and Skype calls in order to help combat social isolation and loneliness.
First, we want to commend our associates who are on the community frontline of helping to keep our residents safe during this pandemic
- Personal safety measures:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for a least 20 second
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
- Community safety measures:
- Social distancing
- Updated and enhanced cleaning protocols
- Restricting visitor access to end of life situations
- Performing health screenings on associates, permitted visitors and essential third party providers
- Rolling out a “virtual visit” plan, and encouraging video calling tools like FaceTime and Skype in order to help combat social isolation and loneliness
Yes, in most cases, residents are allowed to leave their rooms. We are educating our residents on social distancing and health practices set forth by the CDC and local government officials.
In accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, we will ask our residents with respiratory infections or suspected COVID-19 to self-isolate in their rooms for the protection of others at the community.
Here are the current policies for outings and transportation.
- Outings other than to medical appointments are suspended. If the medical appointment is elective, we encourage it to be postponed.
- Residents are discouraged from going on outings with families and friends and are made aware of CDC recommendations related to social distancing.
- Transportation will continue for all medically necessary healthcare appointments to outside providers.
- Transportation-specific precautionary measures are in place which include:
- Infection control protocols for vehicle cleaning
- Driver training to help ensure understanding of infection control basics
We have activated an Emergency Command Center to help ensure regular communication with corporate leadership, field team leaders and suppliers.
We have a comprehensive number of tools and support in our newsroom.
We’re utilizing the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking system to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks.
Brookdale is able to answer questions through a variety of communication channels, including:
- Directly with our Executive Directors at each Brookdale Community.
- Brookdale.com, where there is comprehensive information and tools.
- Through social media, where each Brookdale community has a local Facebook page and provides important information specific to that community.
- Through our national connection center, where we respond to thousands of inquiries every day, seven days a week.
There are a few ways to stay informed as to what it going on:
- First, contact the Executive Director of your local community.
- Check the local community social media pages.
- Visit brookdale.com and the Brookdale newsroom for general information and updates.
If there is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis at the community, residents/designated emergency contacts will be notified by the community executive director.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Brookdale communities are offering virtual tours. You can contact your local community to request a tour.
Yes, Brookdale is accepting move-ins, unless the specific community has been otherwise instructed by public health officials or pursuant to the direction of corporate clinical leadership.