Dear Ascension Living Residents and Family Members,
I am pleased to report that as of today, we have celebrated the recovery of 151 residents in our communities across the U.S. The smiles and triumphant cheers shared with each recovery were inspiring. We mourn the loss of life of our residents and an associate who passed away from COVID-19. We were blessed that they shared their lives with us. May their memories be gifts to us.
Throughout these challenging times, I have been continually inspired by the dedication of our teams, the compassion and generosity of our families, and the unbroken spirit of our residents.
Thank you to the 900 plus respondents to the COVID-19 survey. I appreciate your valuable input and time. We are glad to know that 89% of respondents believe they are getting the updates they need. We are using your additional insights to make adjustments and will share what is implemented based on your feedback.
Over the last few weeks, we have conducted 4,300 proactive tests of residents and staff members in our skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities across the U.S. Based on the results received. As of today, only 10% of our residents and 6% of associates in those communities received positive results. Individual community results were shared after our teams received the test results. Going forward, we will be conducting COVID-19 tests on our associates and residents when necessary based on original test results and based on federal and state testing guidelines.
We will be conducting proactive testing of our independent living residents and staff, as well as our PACE participants and associates, when testing kits are available. If your loved one is a PACE participant, or resides in an independent living community that is planning to conduct testing soon, rest assured that their responsible party will be informed when a date has been confirmed. Any resident with positive tests or who are symptomatic will be treated in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and state and local health departments. Any staff member who tests positive will adhere to established infection-control protocols with guidance from the CDC and will remain off work until cleared.
As states begin to move to their next phase of reopening, we will be making additional modifications to help protect the most vulnerable -- our residents. Within our resources page you will find a detailed description of what will be allowed in independent living communities during the Yellow -- moderate-risk phase, starting June 15. This is a fluid document that will be adjusted as required based on guidelines released by the CDC, CMS and state and local health departments.
Please note that our assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities will remain in the Orange - high-risk phase until further notice, when those communities meet the strict requirements outlined by CMS. We are busy working on those reopening plans now and will share them soon. We understand your desire to see your loved ones quickly and are doing all we can to make that happen, while ensuring their continued safety. Factors that will inform our decisions about relaxing restrictions in those communities will include:
COVID case status in surrounding community: State-based criteria to determine the level of community transmission and guide progression from one phase to another. For example, a decline in the number of new cases, hospitalizations, or deaths.
Case status in our community: Absence of any COVID cases (resident or staff).
Adequate staffing: No staffing shortages.
Access to adequate testing: The facility should have a testing plan in place based on contingencies informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Access to adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff: Plans need to be in place to ensure consistent availability of appropriate PPE for staff, when indicated. This includes our ability to ensure universal masking.
Local hospital capacity: Ability for the local hospital to accept transfers from nursing homes.
A community may need to revert to precautions of an earlier phase based on possible resurgence of infections within the surrounding area, the community itself, continued access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and local hospital capacity. We will continue to rely on experts for guidance on the most effective measures to help keep our residents and associates safe, healthy and connected during this historic time.
In order to help answer some of the frequently asked questions, we have put together a Frequently Asked document for you to download from ourresources page.
. If you have any questions, please send them to AscensionLiving@ascension.org. Thank you for your support.
President, Ascension Living