Health and Happiness During COVID-19

Residents’ Health and Happiness are Not Mutually Exclusive

Updated July 2021

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

Note to the section: Guidance around visitation is subject to change based on local COVID prevalence rates, so please call us at (610) 696-5211 to check on our current family visitation protocols.

Family and friends of new residents and rehab guests are permitted to visit immediately, if the resident is fully vaccinated.  Residents who are not two weeks past the final COVID vaccine dose will need a negative COVID test and an eight-day waiting period before visitors are permitted.

Family and friends of fully vaccinated residents may visit their loved ones, after completing a brief questionnaire and temperature screening upon arriving for each visit. Fully vaccinated visitors may visit in the resident’s room or apartment. Unvaccinated visitors visit in a designated private room or outdoors in one of our many garden areas. 

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 a 75% vaccination rate for staff, a full 10% higher than national and state averages for health care workers.   By October 1, 2021, all Barclay Friends staff are required to be fully vaccinated to get us to 100%.   We hope to inspire other senior living organizations in requiring staff vaccination as one way to help all of us end the pandemic.   

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.  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 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 are tested on the day of admission, and we quickly test any resident or staff member experiencing symptoms.

Barclay Friends offers the PCR test for residents or staff experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  We contract with several commercial labs that provide prompt turnaround on test results, usually within 24-48 hours. We also have the capability to administer rapid antigen tests for routine surveillance testing, 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.

Educating Staff

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. 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 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 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. During the pandemic, this philosophy has never been truer.