Update: Friday, July 3, 2020
To our Americare Families in Tennessee:
Our communities recently shared their plans to open visitation for residents and their loved ones. Some communities have already started and others are set to start.
As you know, Tennessee is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. This is prompting the state to issue further guidance at the county level to determine if visits can proceed. Data on the link below from the Tennessee Department of Health will be updated daily and will be our guide whether the county in which we operate exceeds thresholds in cases (10 new cases per 100,000 in population) and must suspend outdoor visits. You too can visit the site.
We ask that you contact your community directly prior to your scheduled visit to determine if visits have been temporarily placed on hold. We still welcome window visits (providing windows remain closed).
We too want to reunite our residents and their families. Doing so in a responsible manner will help keep our residents and employees safe. We appreciate your continued support during these challenging times.
Americare Senior Living
UPDATE: Thursday, June 11, 2020
To our families in the State of Tennessee:
On June 10th Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order to allow nursing homes and other long-term care facilities (like our assisted living and Arbors communities) to begin re-opening to visitors. We are pleased to be given the greenlight by the State but we want our families to clearly understand the conditions the Governor placed on the re-openings. Each of our communities will need to meet those conditions individually. We anticipate each community being ready to implement their visitation plans by July 6th. Some of our communities will have a more immediate implementation than others.
I thought it would be helpful for you to understand what Americare has done so far and will do to meet those conditions:
Testing of all staff and offering testing for all residents at least once, and compliance with applicable regulations
- Americare has completed whole house testing in all of TN communities and are awaiting final results in a few markets. Only a few communities remain to be fully tested, those results should be in by the end of June.
No new COVID-19 case in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days;
- Americare is reviewing all of our communities to see when this 28-day timeline will be met and we will make it part of each community’s re-opening plan
Compliant with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines;
- Americare complies at all of our communities in this regard
- Overall stability of the disease burden present in the community where the facility is located.
- Americare will consult the CDC’s data to ensure our communities are located in counties that meet this condition. Certain additional restrictions will apply in higher risk markets and this can change based on new cases in a specific county.
Once we meet these conditions we will then be asked to follow these guidelines:
- Making appointments prior to visiting and limiting the duration of visits;
- Americare is working on establishing a simple system to help our staff provide easy scheduling for our families.
- Limiting the number of visitors per resident and daily visitors per facility;
- Americare is seeking guidance on this requirement so we ensure that we can provide the maximum number of visitors allowed while keeping our residents and staff safe.
Enforcing visitor social distancing and mask requirements;
- Americare will provide you guidance on social distancing and mask requirements as part of our revised visitor policy
- Screening all visitors with symptom and temperature checks immediately upon facility entry or conducting outdoor visitation.
- You will be asked to complete a wellness check with each visit and this too will be included in our revised visitor policy.
Finally, we are given three options for visiting:
- In an outdoor setting, weather permitting;
- Using a visitation booth or protective barrier; and,
- A resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the visit.
We are likely going to offer both an outside and inside option, which will vary based on the risk associated with amount of COVID cases and new cases within county. We realize the inside option places a burden on our families for additional testing and PPE requirement, but we want to be able to offer the inside visit for those who wish to make the effort.
You can expect your community’s revised visitor policy or a timeline (for those communities unable to meet the conditions) by June 19th. Until you receive your community’s revised visitor policy, please continue to abide by our no-visitors policy. Window visits of course are encouraged with a closed window to prevent transmission.
Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. We too want to reunite our residents with their loved ones. Doing so in a responsible way will help ensure everyone’s safety.
Vice President, Gateway Division
Americare Senior Living
Update: Thursday, June 11, 2020
Good morning Southern Oaks Family
As you know we recently tested all of our residents and staff for COVID-19. Whole house testing was encouraged by the State of Tennessee and Americare quickly moved to do so in our community.
We are relieved to report that all residents and employees tested negative COVID-19.
- Going forward we will test any resident or employee who becomes symptomatic or has a known exposure to the virus.
- In accordance with the Governors orders we will share a detailed plan for re-opening our community to visitors by June 15. Per federal guidelines it is very specific for each facility.
- We continue to remain vigilant to keep our community virus-free and at this point continue to restrict visitors from the building.
Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. Please direct your questions to me. If I can’t answer them I will work with someone who can.
May 9, 2020
To our Americare residents, families and friends,
First, let me take this opportunity to say thank you for your support during these difficult times. As a company with nearly 40 years serving seniors, Americare has provided incredible support to our local teams in terms of information, personal protective equipment, and technology resources. Guidance at the federal and state level changes rapidly, and we have done our best to ensure all of our communities are in compliance with the latest updates.
As an industry we have been asking for more testing for our residents and employees and we are now getting the response we’ve been seeking. On May 4, 2020 The Department of Health for the State of Tennessee issued new COVID-19 testing guidance:
“The ability to limit the spread of this virus within these settings depends on the ability to rapidly identify infections by testing individuals in these settings. To accomplish this, we are starting a new initiative to provide testing for all residents and staff members of long-term care facilities across the state. This will allow those at highest risk for severe illness to be safely tested and will allow facilities to rapidly isolate any staff or residents who test positive. The state will provide support for this initiative, including access to TN Department of Health and/or TN National Guard staff to assist with specimen collection, personal protective equipment (PPE) for specimen collection procedures, and laboratory testing at no cost. Testing results from this effort will also allow us to most efficiently distribute resources, prevention and control guidance tailored to your facility.”
I believe open and transparent communication, balanced with protecting individual privacy is essential at this time. The Department of Health would like all testing to be complete by the end of May. Here is what you can expect in the coming weeks:
- Rather than waiting for all symptoms to be consistent with the virus, the department is encouraging providers to test all residents and staff one time to get a point-in-time baseline.
- We will continue to re-test symptomatic residents in consultation with their primary care provider.
- Residents and employees must consent to or decline the testing.
- You will be notified when your loved one is being tested and of the results of the test whether negative or positive.
- Should we have a positive result of either a resident or employee we will, that same day, inform all of our residents, staff and families and provide our plan for limiting additional exposure.
To help keep rumors from spreading we want to ensure that our families and residents have accurate information. I ask that you contact your local administrator should you have a question or concern.
Again thank you for your on-going support. We will get through this together.
Regional Operations Director
Americare Senior Living, Assisted Living Division