Residents’ Health and Happiness are Not Mutually Exclusive
Updated January 2022
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.
Visits from Family and Friends
We know how important social connections are, especially during this time when social gatherings are more limited. At Barclay Friends, family and friends of residents and rehab guests can visit at any time. All visitors complete a brief questionnaire and temperature screening upon arriving for each visit. We do ask that visitors experiencing signs and symptoms of illness refrain from visiting and obtain prompt testing for COVID prior to visiting again.
Visitors are asked to wear masks at all times during the visit, particularly in common areas such as hallways and bathrooms. A fresh surgical mask is provided to each visitor every time a visit occurs. Visitors are encouraged to practice hand hygiene at the beginning and conclusion of their visit.
Leading the Way with Vaccinations
Barclay Friends has offered regularly scheduled vaccine clinics on site since early January 2021, when the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, resulting in a 99% vaccination rate for residents and staff. All Barclay Friends staff are required to be fully vaccinated, unless a medical or religious exemption was approved. Several booster clinics were offered on site and a large percentage of residents and staff took advantage of a third shot. We continue to educate residents and team members about the advantages of vaccination, including a booster dose of the vaccine.
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)
Barclay Friends maintains a significant inventory of 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. Even visitors and residents are required to wear face masks while in public areas in the community. We maintain a three- to five-month supply of PPE on site.
Testing for the Virus
Testing of staff and residents 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 staff and resident testing on a schedule recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services.
Newly admitted residents, if they are unvaccinated, are tested on the day of admission. In addition, we quickly test any resident or staff member experiencing symptoms.
Barclay Friends offers both rapid antigen tests and the PCR test for residents or staff experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. We contract with several commercial labs that provide prompt turnaround on PCR tests, usually within 24-48 hours. Rapid antigen tests are done on site, with results in 15 minutes.
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 pandemic, our housekeeping procedures have been heightened to include frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces using cleaning products that are certified to kill the coronavirus. 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 and Engagement Mean So Much During a Pandemic
During the pandemic, 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, concerts, outdoor gardening in seasonable weather, art and music classes and Resident Council meetings all keep residents engaged and involved with one another.
Protecting and Appreciating our Hard-Working Heroes
Barclay Friends team members 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 each day at the beginning of their workday. 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 their 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 T-shirts for staff on all shifts. We have also offered extra 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. During the pandemic, this philosophy has never been truer.
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