Barclay Friends’ staff and residents received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on January 6th. The second dose will be given January 27th.
Residents’ Health and Happiness are Not Mutually Exclusive
The health and safety of our residents has always been our highest priority. A second, equally important goal is assuring that our residents are happy and engaged, and able to enjoy life to the fullest. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us at Barclay Friends are committed to meeting both goals by focusing on infection control AND by offering resident programming that is stimulating and joyous.
Following Infection Control Protocols
Barclay Friends is proud of our excellent infection-control-practices track record, as judged by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Chester County Health Department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have sharpened our infection control efforts, paying careful attention to the ever-changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services. Our Medical Director, along with two full-time Nurse Infection Specialists, guide our protocols and practices.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Since the onset of the pandemic, Barclay Friends has made significant efforts to purchase PPE, including masks, gloves, face shields, goggles, and gowns. Staff are always required to wear an appropriate face mask while at Barclay Friends. Administrative staff wear surgical masks throughout the day and direct care workers wear either surgical masks or, under certain circumstances, N-95 respirator masks. Our team continues to source additional PPE to have on hand in case of another spike in our local community. We maintain a three- to five-month supply of PPE on site.
Testing for the Virus
Testing of all staff is an important tool to prevent the introduction of the virus into Barclay Friends. All staff have been tested multiple times, and we continue to offer routine staff testing on a schedule recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services.
Identifying residents with COVID-19 is also important in keeping the virus at bay. Barclay Friends tests all newly admitted residents, and we quickly test any existing resident showing symptoms.
Barclay Friends has engaged several commercial labs that offer accurate test methods and prompt turnaround on test results, usually within 24-48 hours.
Ongoing Updates from the Executive Director
Executive Director Linda Sterthous provides regular updates to family members and residents to communicate changes in policies and protocols. From the beginning of the pandemic, transparency has been a hallmark of our communications with families and residents.
Constant reinforcement with our staff of the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and other infection control protocols is a focus of our efforts to protect residents. Visual cues and signs in various locations, such as restrooms and entrance points, serve as reminders that staff need to take steps to protect themselves and residents. Staff are reminded to utilize the same protocols in their home life that they use at work. Free cloth masks and hand sanitizers are provided to staff for use at home with their families.
Extra Attention to Cleaning and Sanitizing
Barclay Friends has always been known for clean, well-maintained buildings. During the COVID-19 crisis, our housekeeping procedures have been heightened to include frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, using cleaning products that are certified to kill the coronavirus. Our housekeeping staff wipe counters, dining tables, doorknobs, chair rails, and bathroom surfaces multiple times each day. Recreation and dining team members frequently sanitize equipment used in their departments. Canisters of sanitizing wipes are also available in key spots around the building for any staff member to use whenever needed.
Preventing Aerosol Spread
COVID-19 has the potential to spread through tiny, aerosolized particles that become airborne. To address this issue, Barclay Friends has installed air purification equipment in various spots around the campus, in the places where residents or staff gather. These devices employ HEPA filters, UV light and bi-polar ionization to trap and kill the virus.
Friends Mean So Much During a Pandemic
During this time of social distancing, the need for human interaction is even more important. Through creativity and innovation, the Barclay Friends’ team adapted our recreation program to allow social activities in a safe manner. Small group get-togethers, hallway concerts, and recorded Resident Council meetings all keep residents engaged and protected.
Connections with Family and Friends
We know how much the ability to connect with family and friends means to our residents, and we look for every possible way to facilitate those connections. At the present time and at the direction of the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services, in-person visits are not permitted. During this time, our staff work with residents to arrange skype or facetime visits with family members and friends, using one of our tablet computers. Window visits are also possible.
Whenever it is safe to do so, residents enjoy in-person visits with loved ones in a dedicated room that has been set up for this purpose. The room has been outfitted with a plexiglass divider for social distancing and an air purifier to cleanse aerosolized virus particles that may be present. Visitors are screened prior to each visit, and both residents and visitors wear surgical masks for added protection. We hope to be able to resume in-person visitation soon.
Special Safety Provisions for New Residents
During the pandemic, Barclay Friends’ goal is to make the experience for new residents as warm and welcoming as possible, while protecting the safety of other residents and staff. All new residents who come to Barclay Friends will receive a COVID-19 test. Once they arrive, new residents are required to quarantine for several days, as specified below.
New residents in Preston personal care and memory care are required to remain in their apartments for the first 10 days, with meals delivered to the suite. After 10 days, assuming a negative COVID test, new residents are free to join in the array of activities and events that Preston offers. They may take walks in the gardens wearing a mask, and they may join other residents in the dining room for meals, with proper social distancing.
New long-term care residents quarantine for the first 14 days in the Fox Run neighborhood. After the quarantine period, long-term nursing care residents move to a permanent room in one of our long-term nursing care neighborhoods. A full range of activities is available following the quarantine period.
Short-stay rehabilitation and post-acute guests are also housed in Fox Run. During their rehabilitation, these residents may have closed window visits. Facetime or Skype visits can also be arranged through the nurses on that wing. Due to the nature of the Fox Run wing, in-person visits are not possible.
Protecting and Appreciating our Hard-Working Heroes
Barclay Friends staff have truly been heroes during this COVID-19 pandemic. While taking every precaution to protect them, we also try to appreciate their loyalty with special tokens of our thanks.
A paid-time-off program allows staff who have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID to be tested and quarantine at home. Our goal is to be sure that staff do not feel obligated to come to work if they or a family member are ill.
All staff are screened for symptoms twice each day, once at the beginning of their workday and again before they leave at the end of their shift. Any staff member who is experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19 is directed to speak to a member of our nursing infection control team to determine if testing, quarantine, or both are warranted.
Wearing masks is mandatory for all employees. Masks help to prevent asymptomatic carriers of the virus from spreading it to others and protect employees from becoming infected themselves. All staff members receive new masks every day, and any mask can be replaced immediately if soiled or damaged.
COVID-19 has had wide ranging effects on our staff, their families, and communities. We don’t take their hard work for granted. Throughout the pandemic, our board and management have found ways to say thanks to our team members, from occasional free meals and gourmet sweets, to special hero T-shirts for staff on all shifts. We have also offered extra Hero Pay to our team members during times that were especially challenging.
At Barclay Friends, our staff believes in the TEAM philosophy: Together Everyone Achieves More. This philosophy has never been truer.
The Importance of Staying in the Fight Against COVID-19
“The proof is in the pudding.” While that old proverb originated with the idea that we have to taste our food to know if it’s any good, it is currently…