Atria's Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
MARCH 22, 2020 – QUARANTINE MANAGEMENT
As the spread of the coronavirus continues, we are taking quarantine measures to keep our residents and employees safe. Effective immediately, communities are implementing the following additional precautions.
We are limiting residents to their apartments until further notice. We will also be taking residents’ temperatures twice a day and continue to take the temperatures of essential visitors when they enter the building. Employees will receive symptom screenings three times a day, including a temperature check. We will continue to provide in-room meal services.
See the March 19 update for examples of essential visitors, in-apartment dining and program information, and protocols that remain in place.
The health and well-being of our residents and staff is and always will be our highest priority. We are regularly updating Atria residents and family members via email, on social media and over the phone, but if you have an urgent question, as always, please reach out to the community’s Executive Director at any time. For media inquiries, please email email@example.com.
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and, in accordance with the CDC and other health agencies, are continuously evaluating our policies and taking extra precautions.
Because the health and well-being of residents and employees is our first priority, we are implementing addiitonal measures at all communities:
- Residents are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and remain in their apartments
- Residents will continue to receive nutritious meals via in-apartment dining service
- To keep residents active and involved, Engage Life® program opportunities will be provided in their apartments; we are also arranging “love seat window visits” with family members as well as virtual face-to-face visits via smartphone, computer and tablet
- Essential visitors* will be required to wear masks throughout their visit and employees will wear masks when within six feet of residents; employees and essential visitors will continue to have their temperatures checked upon arrival at the community
The following protocols remain in effect:
- Essential visitors must enter the building through the main entrance
- Vendors delivering packages or supplies at the front entrance must leave items for community staff to deliver to destinations within the building
- When residents return to the community following a hospital stay, we will request negative test results for COVID-19 or a note from their physician stating they are infection-free and don’t pose a risk to other residents; otherwise they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine or until they can be cleared by their physician
- Front desk staff are more assertive in asking all essential visitors to wash their hands or utilize available hand sanitizer whenever they enter or exit the community
- Transportation services are for scheduled medical appointments only; we are eliminating all excursions to public gathering spaces including grocery stores, religious services, shopping malls, theaters and casinos until further notice
- All resident self-service dining functions, including hospitality stations, salad bars and buffets, are closed
- All community events in which external visitors were expected have been cancelled or postponed
- We strongly recommend that residents postpone all upcoming travel, including cruises and/or all flights; residents returning to the community following travel will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon return
- We are limiting corporate and regional personnel community visits to only those that are essential
- Frequently disinfecting high-touch areas like doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucets and handrails
- Increased cleaning of high-traffic common areas such as dining rooms and activity spaces
- Reinforcing handwashing and infection control training for all employees
- Providing additional protective equipment and cleaning supplies for personal use
*Examples of essential visitors include:
- Family members of residents who are in imminent end-of-life situations; access in these cases will also be restricted to resident apartments only
- Vendors who provide essential services (pharmacy, food, supplies, maintenance, movers and healthcare providers including hospice and physical therapy)
- Individual private duty aides/companions
- Salon/spa service providers, up to twice a week (only at unlicensed independent living communities)
In addition, essential visitors must be able to answer “no” to the community screening statements:
- You have been diagnosed with, exposed to anyone diagnosed with, COVID-19
- You have reason to believe that you, or someone in your household or someone who you are in close contact with, has been exposed to COVID-19
- You currently have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat and/or shortness of breath
- You or anyone in your household has travelled abroad in the last 14 days
Essential visitors to Florida communities must also be able to answer “no” to this statement:
- You have traveled via air in the last 14 days
We continue to monitor new developments and evaluate our precautions daily. We’re committed to protecting our residents and staff during this time, and we will continue to take all necessary precautions with their health and safety in mind.
We are regularly updating Atria residents and family members via email, on social media and over the phone, but if you have an urgent question, as always, please reach out to the community’s Executive Director at any time. For media inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCH 12, 2020 – BE SAFE OUT THERE
Dear Atria extended family,
I know everyone is talking about what’s happening with the coronavirus and that many people are reaching out to you. I’m writing not to add my voice to what can seem like competing noise, but rather to very directly let all of you know we’re committed to doing everything possible to make sure the situation results in the best possible outcome for everyone. For those of you who are in communities or have family members in communities, you will shortly hear that we raised our preventative measures to what we call “Level 3,” which means we have taken the next step and are only allowing essential visitors into Atria communities for the indefinite future.
We continue to make extensive preparations, realizing this situation has an unpredictable path. Some high-level components of our preparations to-date include having two days of personal protective equipment on-site at each Atria community and a central store of equipment to be dispatched immediately upon learning of the need. To give you an idea of the magnitude of our preparations, we have 118,000 protective gowns, 2,500 N95 masks and 600 sets of protective goggles ready to distribute. And we plan to dispatch rapid response teams to manage interactions with public health authorities, the press and, especially, families if (and likely when) we are faced with the need to react to an outbreak.
As a starting point for how Atria is approaching the current environment, we decided – in addition to the normal protocol and preparation communication – to clarify our mission and culture in the context of this complicated situation. The message below was shared last week internally at Atria, and I thought I’d share it with all of you as well.
You will hear from me periodically through the balance of this situation. We will also keep you updated on our website and social media, and with direct contact from our Executive Directors. If you need anything at all, your Executive Director is able to help and has access to the leadership of our company at all times.
We are committed to not just the best possible outcome over the next few weeks or months, but also continuing to put our residents in a position to live their best lives… in any situation.
One final thought: Everyone, please wash your hands!
JOHN MOORE’S INTERNAL MEMO TO ATRIA EMPLOYEES ON 3/4/2020
OUR MISSION IS TO TAKE STEPS THAT, TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE, MINIMIZE THE POTENTIAL THAT OUR RESIDENTS ARE EXPOSED TO THE CORONAVIRUS
I know we’ve thrown a lot out there about preparation and reaction to the risk of the coronavirus – I thought I would use this platform to try to clearly state our goals.
As you all know, this is a complicated and evolving situation. We are hoping for the best, but we need to prepare for all outcomes. Sometimes, when we focus on all the details necessary to be prepared, we forget to take the time to make sure we clarify our purpose.
Our recent new directives and procedures include a lot of detail. I can tell you that some very smart people have been putting a lot of time and energy thinking through all of those details. I can also tell you that it hasn’t been as easy as we’d hope to make our answers as simple and clear as we’d like. And this is a developing situation with more information… and more questions… coming at us, and you, every day.
We’ve had to make judgment calls balancing priorities for our business against this backdrop, and I know many of you have questions about specific steps we’ve taken. While I want you to ask all your questions, I also just wanted to take a step back and clearly state our “mission”.
Driving every new directive we issue and every checklist we send are three clear purposes:
- Minimize any potential exposure to Atria residents
- Be as prepared as possible to provide the best care and support for our residents in any circumstance
- Put each of you in the best position to both do your job and minimize risk to your own health and wellbeing
I will make you this promise – no matter how complicated and/or confusing that things may seem, everything will make sense when viewed through this lens.
This of course is not the last of it. And I can’t overemphasize enough that we will have to continue to react to changing circumstances and new information.
Finally, take care of yourself. Don’t take risks when you know better. For those of you who work in communities every day, everyone knows that it does your community no good if you come to work sick. If you don’t feel well, take care of yourself. Be smart and put yourself in a position to be in the community with our residents and customers when you’re needed. Also, speak up. “See something, say something” – if you become aware of any relevant information as it relates to a resident, a family member, or a close contact, let us know. Communication is crucial.
We are not just asking those of you whose job it is to visit communities to be very thoughtful about travel to minimize risk to our residents, we also want all of you to minimize risk for yourselves. Let’s work together and be smart about when travel is necessary, and have a conversation when you’re in doubt. Let’s also use this as an opportunity to use the technology that’s in place for us to work “together” remotely (Our CHRO Eric Leef promised me he would finally learn to use Microsoft Teams…and you should too).
Thanks for everything you do and for helping us continue to be the company that builds a smart business around providing the highest quality care possible for our residents…in all circumstances.