As the Founder of The Moments, my #1 priority during this ongoing pandemic has been to safeguard our residents and staff from a COVID-19 outbreak by implementing the highest standards of health and safety protocols. We’ve been successful in this effort!
There are several factors critical in our success: the progressive critical thinking of our leadership team, our courage to be proactive and test early (and often), our established gold standards of cleaning and residents’ hygiene, the design of our building, and our steadfast commitment to implement the highest standard of safety measures to protect our residents and staff.
Our vigilance remains critically important for the foreseeable future. Following are some insights into our efforts to prepare for and respond to any positive COVID-19 cases at The Moments.
A leadership team laser focused on protecting the health of our vulnerable residents and staff. Prior to receiving formal direction from the Minnesota Department of Health or the CDC, our internal task force developed new protocols to offer the highest level of protection. Today, our protocols align or exceed requirements outlined by the MDH and the CDC.
We were Proactive. We administered COVID testing early.
We closed our campus on March 13 – a difficult decision, especially for our residents and their families, but the safest decision for all. We also secured ample PPE (masks, goggles, gowns, gloves and full-face shields) and implemented mandatory use by late March.
Then, in April, with the input and consent of all residents’ families, we proactively launched our community-wide testing program with current and new residents, staff and extended staff. We procured and administered tests and led this initiative at a time when the CDC and MDH had not issued any guidelines around testing.
We wanted to know if COVID was lurking in our building.
We wanted to test before symptoms arose.
We knew that testing would be difficult for someone living with dementia.
We knew any positive results would be posted on the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) websites without context.
Safety is Our Top Priority, so we assumed these risks because the alternative was much too devastating.
The Moments has decided that in order to continue serving our residents and staff safety we will have at a minimum bi-weekly testing of the entire community. Our goal is to limit exposure to COVID-19.
Additionally, we continue with the daily protocol of health screening, temperature checks and contact risk evaluation of staff prior to each shift. Each resident is having daily temperature checks.
Cleaning and Sanitization are Our Gold Standard
Thorough cleaning has always been a top priority and we’ve increased those efforts to include:
cleaning and sanitizing of community areas and other touchpoints has been increased to every shift (i.e., railings, door handles)
ongoing daily cleaning and sanitizing of resident rooms, a standard already in place
mandatory mask wearing
handwashing and hand sanitizing are conducted regularly throughout shifts
Meals have transitioned from community gatherings to small group, socially distanced meals that are served in shifts and spread to locations throughout the community. Tables and chairs are sanitized after each seating.
Even our building is prepared. Our HVAC system was uniquely designed to deliver six complete air changes per hour, which means clean air, safer air, throughout the building. Our resident rooms have individual fresh air and filtration above the windows, both designed to increase safety and sanitation levels.
Staying Connected: Virtual and In-Person Visits
Since March 13 when we closed our campus, families have embraced alternative ways to stay connected with their loved ones, including FaceTime and Zoom, or window “peep” visits allowing families’ to see each other with the safeguard of a door or window as a barrier.
With the arrival of summer, we’ve opened our gardens for soul-filling, in-person visits. Loved ones find space in the garden with newly built larger patios for social distancing or around the newly installed “Clear Moments” area where aesthetically designed plexiglass creates a safe barrier while still enjoying the sights, sounds and fragrant smells of summer. While masks and hand sanitization are required, these are uplifting visits for all!
Implementing State-of-the-art Technology
In our steadfast commitment to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our residents and staff, we continue to take innovative steps to provide the highest-level of care. In fact, we’re in the final stages of securing state-of-the art technology that will offer added health protections. An announcement will be made in the coming weeks.
We receive questions about our protocols as well as inquiries from prospective families about important considerations when thinking about moving a loved one to a memory care, assisted living or other seniors living community. Please visit Covid-19 FAQ to see The Moments answers to these questions and for more information.