Franklin Park's Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Concerns

Posted by Franklin Park on Jun 15, 2020 8:00:00 AM | 21 minute read

As news and concerns increase surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Franklin Park Senior Living is striving to keep our residents, employees, family members, and guests up-to-date.

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JUNE 12, 2020 - Community Updates & Highlights

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees: 

The health and well-being of Franklin Park residents and employees remains our top priority. We’re closely monitoring the current COVID-19/Coronavirus situation and, per the CDC and other health agencies, are taking appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff. 

I continue to be in awe of our incredible employees that are caring for residents at the front-line of the COVID-19 crisis. There are stories shared with me daily of the personal sacrifice they have made and the wonderful care they have given to our residents. We owe them a great debt of gratitude!

As Texas moves to Phase III of the plan to reopen the economy, we patiently wait for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (TDADS is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating assisted living and memory care facilities) to announce their plans and phases for relaxing restrictions on assisted living and memory care facilities across the state. During the weekly call with TDADS this week, it was revealed that the plan is being formulated now and will be released in the very near future. We look forward to receiving these new orders and slowly and cautiously relaxing the restrictions at the AL/MC communities.

Governor Abbott’s Phase III allows for the opening of most businesses to some level, including non-licensed senior apartments. Franklin Park has established a Phase I plan to partially reopen and/or reduce restrictions at the independent living communities over the month of June.  Resident, employee, and visitor safety remains our highest priority and all plans are subject to change as the COVID-19 landscape changes.

Some of the highlights of these easing of restrictions in the independent living communities include reopening of the dining rooms, allowing visitors to resident apartments or outside patio areas and resuming group activities.  There are many caveats to these changes and details of the Phase I rollout for the easing of restriction in the independent living communities have been sent out in a separate communication.

A special message to employees and other essential visitors:

As stores, restaurants, and other venues reopen, it is important to take proper precautions that will help becoming infected with COVID-19.  Although you may be unlikely to have serious issues if becoming infected with COVID-19 the residents in our communities are less likely to fend off the virus without negative effects. Please wear masks and wash your hands regularly when in public. Or, better yet, think about whether the trip out is truly necessary or important…is it safe?

The Franklin’s Best Talent contest where staff will be competing for prizes at the community level and one talented winner will take home the $1000 Company Grand Prize is under way! We have uploaded videos of the first-round performances and will broadcast the finale live on June 19th beginning at 10:00 a.m. CDT via the Franklin Park YouTube channel. Click “Subscribe” if you would like to receive reminders of new video uploads!

View First-Round Performances:  Franklin's Best Talent

I truly appreciate your continued assistance and compliance with the temporary measures as it will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus throughout our communities and the country in general. Patience is the word of the season… we will get through this!

Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer

 


MAY 11, 2020 - Community Updates & Moving Forward

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees: 

The health and well-being of Franklin Park residents and employees remains our top priority. We’re closely monitoring the current COVID-19/Coronavirus situation and, per the CDC and other health agencies, are taking appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff.  

First and foremost, I want to thank our incredible employees that are caring for residents at the front-line of the COVID-19 crisis. They have proven to be resilient, resourceful, and uplifting. We cannot thank them enough for all the sacrifices they have made and continue to make during this crisis!

As the rate of infection has seemed to plateau, and Texas begins to reopen for business, we must keep in mind that our residents are among the frailest population that is most affected by COVID-19. We must continue to take measures to protect them the best we can. We understand the hardships that everyone has been forced to endure and that it is especially hard to not be able to visit our loved ones residing in various levels of retirement communities. It is important, even more so today, that we maintain our vigilance and continue to prevent any unnecessary visits to the communities in order to add a layer to protection to the at-risk population that we serve at the Franklin Park communities.

As all three major metro areas we serve continue to have elevated evidence of community spread of COVID-19, we are continuing to follow the guidelines that have been previously established. A few changes that have been made are: 

  • Residents may be readmitted after a hospital or skilled nursing stay. New residents may be admitted upon meeting the modified protocols for readmittance.
  • These protocols include but are not limited to having negative test results (where available) before admittance, being symptom-free for 14 days prior to admittance, coming from a COVID-19 free environment, and agreeing to quarantine for 14 consecutive days symptom-free in their own apartment. 
  • Beauty/barber shops in independent living communities will reopen May 18, serving only IL residents with no clients allowed from outside of the community. We hope to open the remaining care level shops in June.  

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (TDADS) is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating assisted living and memory care facilities. TDADS issued an order in March restricting visitors to those with an essential need to visit and clarifying that family members are only allowed to visit in the case where end of life is imminent. This order remains in effect, and I do not believe that it will be lifted in May and possibly not for a couple more months. The residents of these facilities are the individuals at most risk from the deadly effects of COVID-19 and must be protected to the best of our abilities.

A special message to employees and other essential visitors:

 Just because stores and restaurants are reopening, this does not mean that it is safe for you to go to them. Although you may be unlikely to have serious issues if becoming infected with COVID-19, the residents in our communities are less likely to fend off the virus without negative effects. Please wear masks and wash your hands regularly when in public…or better yet, wait another month to see how the level of community spread of COVID-19 is changing – Up or Down? 

All the communities have many ways for you to communicate with your loved one. We are using FaceTime or video chat to have personal conversations; residents always appreciate handwritten letters, and e-mail is growing in use by our residents. You can also set up a time to visit in person using “Porch Talks” where the resident will be inside the community, and you will be outside while the two of you communicate through the window, while maintaining safe social distancing. Please contact the community to set up a visit... time slots are limited.

Be on the lookout for information regarding our upcoming Franklin’s Best Talent contest, where staff will be competing for prizes at the community level, and one talented winner will take home the $1000 Company Grand Prize. We will be sharing videos of the performances and will broadcast the finale live on June 19 via the Franklin Park YouTube channel.

I truly appreciate your assistance and compliance with all the temporary measures as it will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus throughout our communities and the country in general. Patience is the word of the season… we will get through this!

Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer


APRIL 6, 2020 - Community Updates & Ways to Stay Connected

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees:

The health and well-being of Franklin Park residents and employees remains our top priority. We’re closely monitoring the current COVID-19 coronavirus situation and, per the CDC and other health agencies, are taking appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff.

First and foremost, I want to thank the wonderful employees at each of our communities for their continued dedication during these trying times. The battle would be lost without their outstanding efforts!

The COVID-19 situation continues to worsen across the country, and we may be facing this threat for months to come. We understand the hardships that everyone has been forced to endure and that it is especially hard to not be able to visit our loved ones residing in various levels of retirement communities. It is important, even more so today, that we maintain our vigilance and continue to prevent any unnecessary visits to the communities to add a layer to protection to the at-risk population that we serve at the Franklin Park communities.

As all three major metro areas we serve have elevated evidence of community spread of COVID-19, we are taking the following additional steps to those previously noted in prior communications:

  • Residents of all communities are being asked to remain in their apartments as much as possible during the month of April.
  • Residents, staff, and visitors are all asked to wear a face mask when interacting with others.
  • Employees are being asked to commit to working at our community only and not working at a second community to prevent the possibility of bringing the virus from one community to another.
  • We are working with third-party providers, such as home health, hospice, and therapy, to greatly reduce the number of visits into the communities through the month of April.
  • New admissions are being delayed until May 1, with a few exceptions that were already in process for this week. Those admissions will be quarantined to their apartment for 14 consecutive days with no symptoms.
  • Protective protection equipment (PPE) inventories are rising as we have recently been able to secure much-needed masks.
Please take the Texas Stay-at-home order seriously and help to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask when interacting with others outside of your own home.
  • Consolidate shopping trips for necessary supplies; the stores are not remaining open as a reason to "get out of the house."
  • Get out of the house to walk, run or jog; sunshine and exercise are good for your immune system. Just make sure to avoid getting in another’s space when outside.
  • Wash your hands, wash them again, and again, and again!
  • Interact with others using the phone or other devices… isolation is not healthy for anyone.

All the communities have a variety of ways for you to communicate with your loved one. We are using FaceTime or video chat to have personal conversations; handwritten letters are always appreciated by the residents, and e-mail is growing in use by our residents. You can also set up a time to visit in-person using “Porch Talks” where the resident will be inside the community and you will be outside. The two of you communicate through the window, while maintaining safe social distancing. Please contact your community to set up a visit as time slots are limited.

I truly appreciate your assistance and compliance with all the temporary measures as it will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus throughout our communities and the country, in general. Patience is the word of the season… we will get through this!

Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer



MARCH 20, 2020 - Community Program Updates

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees:

The health and well-being of Franklin Park residents and employees remain our top priority. We’re closely monitoring the current COVID-19/Coronavirus situation and, per the CDC and other health agencies, are taking appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff. The Texas Department of Health & Human Services has sent an instructional letter to assisted living communities with recommendations for several additional steps that our communities will implement.

Dining Program Updates

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has recommended that all assisted living communities close dining rooms to communal dining and provide room service to residents in their individual apartments. Franklin Park will take this step no later than Monday, March 23rd, and will be closing all dining room venues in both assisted living and independent living communities. Due to the specific needs of memory care residents, the memory care dining rooms will remain open with continued use of social distancing and an enhanced sanitizing.

Temporary changes to the dining program occurring no later than March 23rd:

  • All assisted living and independent living dining venues will be closed no later than Monday, March 23rd.
  • Assisted living residents needing dining assistance will be assessed for need and a plan implemented to meet those needs. This may include small group dining practicing social distancing.
  • All meal delivery charges will be waived during this period. • Menus may be modified to accommodate delivery service.
  • Memory care will spread residents out by utilizing auxiliary common areas for dining purposes, and residents will be assisted with proper handwashing & hygiene.
  • For communities or levels of care that include less than three meals per day in the base rent, a discounted meal plan will be offered for those residents wishing to receive all three meals daily. Please see the front desk for details regarding the program.

Beauty/Barber Shop Update

The beauty/barber shops in all communities will remain closed until further notice.

  • Residents needing assistance with hair washing should contact the Concierge for guidance.

Life Enrichment Program Update

To maximize the effectiveness of social distancing, Franklin Park will cancel all group activities in the assisted living and independent living communities. Memory Care will continue to host events due to the specific needs of memory care residents.

Temporary changes to the life enrichment program occurring immediately:

  • All assisted living and independent living group activities are canceled.
  • Staff will make a concerted effort to spend social time with residents that are not venturing out of their apartment. These activities may include conversations, games, assisting a resident to video chat with family or friends, & creating One Day videos to send out to family or friends.
  • Residents MAY venture out of their apartments if they are not exhibiting signs of illness.
  • Informal resident groups must be limited to 10 or fewer residents.
  • Community transportation to medically necessary appointments must be approved by management for all care levels, including independent living.
  • All residents at all communities should remain in the community other than for medically necessary appointments.
  • Residents needing supplies should contact the concierge for assistance with online ordering if needed. HEB, Walmart, Amazon, and many others deliver direct to the community, so there is no need to venture out shopping.

These changes are hard ones for all, but very necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID19/Coronavirus throughout our communities and the country in general. Patience is the word of the season…we will get through this!

Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer



MARCH 19, 2020 - Safety Measures in Place at Franklin Park

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends & Employees:

The health and well-being of Franklin Park residents and employees remain our top priority. We’re closely monitoring the current situation and, per the CDC, along with national, state & local healthcare authorities, taking appropriate steps to protect our residents and staff. Along with other measures outlined below, we are modifying the dining programs in Assisted Living, Independent Living, and Memory Care Communities.  

In this first stage of dining program modification, the dining rooms will remain open and available for resident use.  Memory Care provides some unique challenges, but we will work to spread the residents out, allowing for social distancing as much as possible.

These changes will take place no later than March 23 and will remain in effect until the threat of COVID-19 has been mitigated. 

In the second phase of modification, the dining rooms in Assisted Living and Independent Living will be closed and meals delivered to the residents’ individual apartments. Due to the specific needs of memory care residents, the memory care dining rooms will remain open with continued use of social distancing and an enhanced sanitizing. 

The trigger for the second dining phase to occur will be when federal, state, or local health care authorities recommend this course of action for assisted/independent living communities.   

Temporary changes to the dining program occurring no later than March 23:

  • The meal delivery charge will be waived for residents in Assisted Living and Independent Living that prefer to dine in their own apartment.
  • Residents are being reminded about the need to wash hands, the concept of social distancing, and the need to stay in their apartment if feeling anything less than 100% healthy. 
  • Staff has been trained to continuously monitor residents for indications of illness. 
  • Only residents will be allowed to eat in the dining room
  • The menu may be modified to accommodate delivery service 
  • Memory care will spread residents out by utilizing auxiliary common areas for dining purposes.
  • For communities or levels of care that include less than three meals per day in the base rent, a discounted meal plan will be offered for those residents wishing to receive all three meals daily. Please see the front desk for details regarding the program.

Access to our communities is restricted to only those essential visitors.

Essential visitors include:

  • Any family member of a resident who is in end-of-life situations. Access in these cases will also be restricted to resident apartments only.
  • Any family member of a resident who is providing an essential service for the resident, or functioning in a similar role as a private duty aide.
  • Any vendor who provides an essential service (providing pharmacy, food, supplies, maintenance, movers and healthcare providers who provide hospice and physical therapy).
  • Individual private duty aides/companions.

Non-essential visitors include:

  • Any family member of residents who does not have an essential need for visiting
  • Entertainers
  • Volunteers 

Screening requirements will be expanded to include temperature checks for essential visitors as of Friday, 03/20/2020. Those visitors exhibiting a forehead scan temperature of more than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter the community regardless of their essential function.

All essential visitors must be able to answer “no” to the community screening statements:

  • You have been diagnosed with or exposed to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19/coronavirus.
  • You have reason to believe that you, or someone in your household or someone who you have been in close contact with, has been exposed to COVID-19/coronavirus.
  • You or anyone in your household has traveled abroad in the last 14 days.
  • You have experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the previous 14 days (to include a fever of 100.4 F without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Advil or Tylenol, cough, sore throat, respiratory illness, difficulty breathing).
  • Is your visit today considered non-essential to the residents or operations of the community?

Please reach out to your Executive Director with questions or concerns regarding essential and non-essential visits.

As we continue to monitor new developments and evaluate our safety measures daily, please be assured that we will continue to take all necessary precautions with the health and safety of our residents and employees in mind.

We will provide regular updates to Franklin Park residents and family members via email, social media, or by phone; however, if you have an urgent question, please reach out to the community’s Executive Director at any time.  

As the situation continues to evolve, we are taking more significant preventative measures. In addition to our increased cleaning protocols and canceling/postponing community events, we are limiting entrance into our communities.

We appreciate your cooperation with these new protocols and will continue to update you regularly.

The following protocols also are in effect:

  • Reduced community transportation services. Transportation will be provided for essential medical appointments only. All other excursions or trips, including scenic drives, have been canceled until further notice.
  • We strongly recommend that residents postpone non-essential appointments or other trips outside of the community.
  • Employees are undergoing screening requirements upon arriving for each shift.
  • Inventories of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns have been increased where possible. This will remain an ongoing effort for the unforeseen future.
  • Essential visitors must enter the building through the main entrance and present themselves for screening at the front desk.
  • All essential visitors must have a name tag showing they have been screened and allowed entry.
  • Vendors delivering packages or supplies at the front entrance must leave items for community personnel to deliver to destinations within the building.
  • Front desk personnel will direct all essential visitors to wash their hands or utilize available hand sanitizer whenever they enter or exit the community.
  • All resident self-service dining functions are suspended, including hospitality stations, salad bars, and buffets.
  • All resident activities will be capped to 10 residents or less with no outside entertainers coming into the community.
  • Staff will make a concerted effort to spend social time with residents that are not venturing out of their apartment. These activities may include conversations, games, assisting a resident to video chat with family or friends & creating One Day videos to send out to family or friends.
  • All community events where external visitors were invited have postponed or canceled.
  • We strongly recommend that residents postpone all upcoming travel, including cruises and all flights. Residents returning to the community following travel will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon return.
  • We strongly recommend that residents do not leave the community under any non -essential circumstance, including visits to private family homes, restaurants, or public gathering spaces (grocery stores, theaters, religious services, casinos, etc.).
  • Residents who are returning from the hospital will be required to submit negative test results for COVID-19 or a note from their physician stating they are infection-free. If a resident is not able to supply a letter or negative test result and doesn’t pose a risk to other residents; otherwise they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine or until their physician can clear them.

Increased cleaning protocols include:

  • Frequently sanitizing high-touch areas like doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucets and handrails
  • Increased cleaning of high-traffic common areas such as dining rooms and activity spaces
  • Increased cleaning of all resident transport vehicles and providing hand sanitizer in the vehicle for use during transport to & from destination
  • Reinforcing handwashing and infection control training for all Franklin Park employees
  • Providing personal protective equipment as necessary for the situation

Franklin Park utilizes R-Water’s state of the art technology to sanitize all the spaces in the community and the vehicles. R-Water is a highly effective healthcare grade sanitizer that is very safe for both our employees and residents. 

 

Below are a couple of links to information about R-Water if you want to know more:

R-Water Technology: One-Step Disinfectant Press Release: Austin Charges Ahead  of Coronavirus with R-Water

 


MARCH 13, 2020 - Precautionary Measures

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees,

We are all concerned about the Coronavirus virus and I want you to know that Franklin Park is following the CDC recommendations and will be in contact with our local governmental health agencies should an outbreak occur.

Franklin Park will continue to observe our normal Flu season protocols until the potential crisis is resolved.  Employees showing signs of acute respiratory illness will not be allowed to work and will be sent home until they are fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs such as Ibuprofen.  Visitors will be limited to those with essential reasons for visiting and those showing signs of acute respiratory illness will not be allowed to enter the community in order to prevent the spread of a virus.

Many other measures have been or will be implemented within the next few days, here is a partial listing of them:

  • Resident outings are limited to scenic drives in the area with no stops.
  • No outside entertainment will be brought into the communities.
  • Visitors are limited to those with essential reasons for visiting only.
  • Sanitizing protocols have been enhanced for the community and vehicles.
  • Residents are being asked curtail trips outside the community if possible.
  • All self-service food venues have been replaced with servers to serve the food.

Franklin Park utilizes R-Water’s state of the art technology to sanitize the all the spaces in the community and the vehicles.  R-Water is a highly effective health-care grade sanitizer that is very safe for both our employees and residents.

Below are a couple of links to information about R-Water if you want to know more:

R-Water Technology: One-Step Disinfectant Press Release: Austin Charges Ahead  of Coronavirus with R-Water

We will continue to keep you informed regarding any news that may arise regarding the virus and our communities.


Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer



MARCH 2, 2020 - Be Proactive 

Dear Franklin Park Residents, Friends, & Employees,

We are all concerned about the Coronavirus virus and I want you to know that Franklin Park is following the CDC recommendations and will be in contact with our local governmental health agencies should an outbreak occur.

Franklin Park will continue to observe our normal Flu season protocols until the potential crisis is resolved. Employees showing signs of acute respiratory illness will not be allowed to work and will be sent home until they are fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs such as Ibuprofen. Visitors showing signs of acute respiratory illness will not be allowed to enter the community in order to prevent the spread of a virus.

Please contact your physician if you also have acute respiratory illness with a fever. If you have these symptoms, to prevent spreading a virus it is best if you stay in your home until fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs such as Ibuprofen.

In addition to all the normal things you do to stay healthy, the preventive measures are the same as for the flu or other viruses, according to CDC:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
We will continue to keep you informed regarding any news that may arise regarding the virus and our communities.


Thank you,

Kevin Wilbur
Chief Operating Officer

 

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