PMMA limits access to communities per CMS guidance
Keeping our residents and staff healthy is a top priority for PMMA (Presbyterian Manors of Mid‑America). Federal authorities announced March 13 have increased restrictions on in-person visits at senior health care communities aimed at protecting seniors from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
PMMA previously adopted guidance released March 9 encouraging communities to discourage visitation or limit access based on the presence of COVID-19 in the county or adjacent counties. This new guidance places all PMMA communities on limited access.
What does that mean?
Limited access means all visits to the community must be rescheduled except in case of end-of-life situations. Families should communicate with their loved one via telephone, email or other electronic methods. PMMA’s IT department and community staff are working to establish electronic communications options such as Skype or FaceTime. Contact your community for information.
In addition, CMS has recommended temporarily stopping group activities and communal meal service and limiting communities to essential staff only. All residents are encouraged to practice social distance – or remaining 6-feet apart at all times for infection prevention.
Staff members are instructed not to come to work if they are experiencing symptoms of illness, especially respiratory illnesses.
Staff members also are undergoing screening before being allowed to work in the community. The screening includes the questionnaire about recent travel, health status and exposure risks and required temperature checks.
Your role as a family member or visitor:
If your visit is not absolutely necessary due to end of life, reschedule your visit to the community.
If your visit meets this exception, you should:
- Expect to answer a questionnaire about your recent travel, health status and exposure risk.
- Have your temperature taken.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, rubbing palms together, cleaning between fingers and the backs of hands.
- Utilize hand sanitation stations prior to entering and upon leaving resident rooms.
- Limit movement within the community to your resident’s room or your contact’s office
- Limit physical contact with the resident – no hugging, kissing or hand-shaking – and remain 6 feet apart
- Report to the community any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness within 14 days after visiting the community
Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, masks and gowns, are available as necessary.
PMMA is dedicated to infection control:
PMMA’s senior vice president of health and wellness, Jeanne Gerstenkorn, is a certified infection prevention specialist. Under her leadership, infection prevention has been a top priority for the PMMA system. Each PMMA campus has an infection preventionist, who received specific training in infection prevention through nationally accredited infectious disease programs.
Each team member completes:
- An Infection Control course during onboarding orientation and then annually;
- An annual workplace emergency course (a pandemic is considered an emergency situation);
- A Blood Borne Pathogen course, which includes many of the same concepts as infection control (proper hand hygiene, use of gloves, etc.).
In addition, each PMMA community has scheduled or is scheduling education sessions with residents and families across all levels of living on hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette as a reminder of the best ways to avoid infection.
PMMA has been actively working within the guidelines provided by the CDC and our local and state health departments to protect our residents and staff. We will closely monitor developments and follow the directions of our County and State Health Departments and other related agencies.
PMMA’s dedicated Plant Operations and Housekeeping teams will continue to work diligently to ensure our community is clean, safe and disinfected regularly.
We will continue our infection control practices:
We remain proactively focused on the prevention of all viruses, including COVID-19, by following the below recommendations:
- Practicing strict Standard Precautions with attention to appropriate hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette.
- Making hand sanitizer dispensers readily available throughout the community.
- Increasing focus on cleaning and sanitizing protocol, especially in the commons areas and high touch surfaces.
- Encouraging staff members who are ill to stay home until they are well.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your unwashed hands.
Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, masks and gowns, is available as necessary.
As a standard of practice, any resident with a respiratory illness who can tolerate it is advised to wear a face mask to avoid passing the germs to others. This applies to anyone with the common cold or flu.