Long Term Care Facilities COVID-19 FAQ

Edited to add: Contact Deputy Ombudsman for Malheur County and Eastern Oregon, Kat Thomas, at 1-800-522-2602. Learn more at the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

The Oregon Health Care Association has a page for Frequently Asked Questions that has excellent information and may help answer your similar questions about care facilities in Malheur County.

Q: Are there any cases of COVID-19/coronavirus in Oregon’s long term care communities?

A:  Review information from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oregon’s long term care communities.

Oregon’s long term care providers are committed to protecting the health of residents and patients, their families, and staff members and are already taking measures to reduce the risks of transmission.

Q:  What are long term care providers doing to limit the risks to residents in their communities?

Q:  What are long term care providers doing to limit the risks to residents in their communities?

A:  Providers are following their state-approved emergency preparedness and infection prevention plans and protocols to limit risk and exposure to patients and residents in their communities. These protocols are being updated in accordance with the latest national and local guidance and recommendations, including the latest guidance from DHS, and include:

  • Restricting visitation of non-essential visitors.
  • Screening 100% of essential individuals prior to entry into the building consistent with screening criteria.
  • Limiting visitation of essential individuals. If an essential visitor meets any of the screening outlined by DHS, visitors must: limit their movement within the facility to the resident’s room, limit surfaces touched, use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) – gown, gloves and mask, and limit physical contact with residents.
  • Posting visitor notices at all community entrances including information on the community’s visitor policy, CDC visitor hand-outs, and the DHS visitor notice.
  • Helping family members to use phone, Skype, Facetime, and other telecommunications methods in lieu of in-person visits.

Providers train staff for situations like these and are receiving communications with guidance on preventing and responding to a COVID-19 outbreak, including from the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority, local public health authorities and the Department of Human Services, to ensure that they are following up-to-the minute best practices and recommendations.

(MCHD Note) Essential visitors includes:
• Facility staff and prospective staff seeking employment;
• Outside medical personnel;
• Emergency responders including EMS, Fire and Police.
• Vendors, but only when access to facility is required;
• Adult protective services staff engaged in an active adult abuse
investigation;
• Licensing/ Survey staff;
• Long Term Care Ombudsman and Deputies (not volunteers);
• Legal guardians;
• Friends or family members visiting during end-of-life stages;

Q: Should families who are worried move their loved ones out of long term care communities?

A:  No. The CDC does not currently recommend transferring residents to a home or hospital. Moving the elderly or frail individuals from a care community is risky and often has long-lasting impacts.

Q:  Are providers having trouble getting things like masks and gowns?

A: There is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) nationally. Long term care providers are taking action now to significantly conserve the masks and gowns they have. They are being resourceful in order to best protect residents and staff during this crisis. We are concerned about providers exhausting their PPE in the coming weeks.

We encourage community members and other sectors that may have access to PPE to donate their unused PPE to local providers if they can.

We appreciate everything our public health officials, manufacturers, and members of the public are doing right now to help providers solve this PPE shortage.

Providers who run out of PPE should contact their state and local health departments if they are unable to place orders for equipment they need.

Q: What can provider staff and consumers to do limit their exposure and transmission?

A: The CDC recommends the following preventive actions known to prevent the spread of viruses including:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds and/or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol;
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw it away in the trash;
  • Staying home when you are sick (which includes any of the following: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat);
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Cleaning and disinfect surfaces that are often touched; and
  • Taking care of your health overall including stay current on vaccinations, including getting the flu vaccine, eating well and exercising to help your body stay resilient.

2 thoughts on “Long Term Care Facilities COVID-19 FAQ

  1. I would like to respectfully request that you add the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman to this resource page. As the Deputy Ombudsman for Malheur County and Eastern Oregon, I believe it is important for you to provide our communities contact information for the state agency that protects resident rights in long-term care, as well as address questions and concerns. Our toll free number: 1-800-522-2602. Sincerely, Kat Thomas, Deputy Ombudsman for District 9.

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