Rutherford County, TN—Community Care of Rutherford County is making an effort to further explain the facility’s interim COVID-19 policy for visitation.
“CCRC and Rutherford County receives multiple calls concerning visitation,” said Marybeth Byers, Director of Nursing at CCRC. “We understand that it is hard on family members and our residents not to be around family, especially when the holidays roll around,” said Byers, “but we believe that erring on the side of caution to protect our residents is the best thing we can do for them.”
Byers goes on to say that their policy is in accordance with the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) directives, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, and state government, “whichever is currently more stringent,” she added.
CMS directives for indoor in-person visitation specify that if the county’s positivity rate is higher than 10 percent, visitation will only occur for compassionate care situations according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies.
“As Rutherford County’s positivity rate is above the 10 percent threshold, we are unable to have visitation unless it involves end of life circumstances,” Byers clarified.
CCRC has made provisions and policies for outdoor visits, though Byers says those will be limited due to the colder weather coming in and in consideration of the county’s current positivity rates. However, CCRC encourages family members and friends of residents to participate in an upcoming “rolling” Christmas Parade December 5 from 2:00-3:00 pm. Participants are asked to decorate their vehicle and persons to share the Christmas spirit with CCRC residents. All participants are required to stay in their vehicles at all times. For more information about the parade, please contact Amy Boggess firstname.lastname@example.org or Nathan Reed at email@example.com.
Additional COVID-19 Infection Control Measures
Virtual or through-window visitations are still available to residents and their families. Byers mentioned that CCRC was recently awarded two separate grants that will assist with visitations during the pandemic. CCRC was awarded funds through the state’s Nursing Home Civil Monetary Penalty Reinvestment Program that will be used to purchase tents for outdoor visitation and clear dividers (similar to Plexiglass) to create a physical barrier to reduce risk of transmission during in-person visits. The facility ordered two visiting booths and two screens which can be used for residents that are bedridden and unable to make it out of the room. “With the addition of these items, we will be fully prepared for visitation when the rate improves,” she said.
With funds issued through COVID-19 Communications Technology grant, CCRC will be able to purchase a total of six new ipads to assist with activities including virtual visits, telehealth consults, and tracking COVID-19 testing to communicate with employees.
Other COVID-19 infection prevention measures CCRC implemented early on and still practices today include but are not limited to:
- Screening all persons entering the facility for signs and symptoms of the virus.
- Hand hygiene.
- Face coverings worn at all times.
- Social distancing of at least six feet between persons.
- Instructional signage throughout the facility on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, and other applicable facility practices.
- Cleaning and disinfection of highly touched surfaces.
- Staff’s appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Utilizing separate areas for COVID-19 infected residents.
- Resident and staff testing per CMS guidance.
- Physical barriers to ensure privacy and reduce risk of transmission during in-person visits.
- Visitors unable to adhere to principles of infection prevention will not be permitted or will be asked to leave.
- Resident-to-resident visitation (communal activities and dining) may occur only while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention.
- Non-affected residents are restricted from visiting residents suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19.
“We truly have heartfelt sympathy for our families and their inability to communicate with their loved ones in person the way they once could,” said Byers. “It is our hope that this community continues to rally together to take these health precautions and protective measures seriously so that normal activities may be resumed at some point in the future.”
Mayor Bill Ketron, who chairs the CCRC Board stated, “CCRC made a commitment to family members and residents long before the pandemic reared its ugly head. Theirs is a relationship built on trust and the responsibility to care for the residents as if they were their own family. CCRC’s Board and staff will continue to do what is needful and necessary to reduce the risk of our residents getting to spreading COVID-19.”
For more information about Community Care of Rutherford County, please visit https://ccrconline.org/about-ccrc or like CCRC on Facebook.