COVID-19 in long-term care facilities

Saturday, April 18, 2020

CRISTA is one of the local long-term care
facilities reporting COVID-19 cases
Photo courtesy CRISTA
By Cynthia Sheridan

On March 29 the CRISTA nursing facility on the Shoreline campus on Fremont Ave N arranged for testing of residents and staff members living or working in an isolated wing where multiple residents had recently tested positive.

26 residents and 16 staff who worked on that unit have now tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 

Residents on that unit who did not test positive have been moved to other areas of the nursing facility. Employees who have tested positive have been removed from the workplace and referred to their primary care providers for treatment. (Direct quote from CRISTA website)

Amid rising concerns for our senior adults living in health care facilities, the Washington State Department of Health and Human Services has stepped up its efforts to assist the 400 plus care homes under state jurisdiction.

Recently DSHS implemented a media teleconference to keep the public updated and informed. Leading this charge are Bill Moss, DSHS Aging and Long-term Support; Candace Goehring. DSHS Director, Residential Care Services and Dr Charissa Fotinos Deputy CMO, Health Care Authority.

This week DSHS discussed two key changes for senior health care facilities:
  • lifting facility rate-increase limitations, since expenses have risen dramatically to care for COVID-19 patients and
  • personnel waivers to cover the increased need for caregivers.

Changes coming soon include more testing, universal masking in every facility and creating co-vid specific facilities so that co-vid patients aren’t living with non-co-vid residents.

DSHS is currently conducting a phone survey with all residential health care facilities to establish a census (total number of residents) and also to determine the number with the COVID-19 diagnosis. At this point at least 200 (or half) of all Washington facilities are housing residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Some issues with COVID-19 testing in care homes are: PPE protection, swabs shortage, shortage of the viral transplant media, lab turnaround time, availability of testing for all residents vs. symptomatic residents only.

DSHS is offering guidance and PPE resources, as well as on-site and off-site inspection. Care facilities are required to report COVID-19 cases to DSHS Residential Care Services and also to their local health services department. All COVID-19 lab tests are reported to appropriate state agencies. If a patient becomes ill, the primary care provider and/or emergency services (911) help determine proper placement.

COVID-19 cases are still rising in residential health care facilities, but the rate of increase has lessened, according to DSHS.

Family Help Phone Hotline

Call (888) 856-5691 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily with questions about long-term care and other DSHS facilities. Trained operators will field general questions related to State-licensed facilities affected by COVID-19. Operators can also offer current visitation restrictions and safety guidelines. Inquiries regarding specific client information will be triaged and transferred directly to the appropriate facility.


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the FeedBurner email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP