Atria's Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)


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July 14, 2020 – JOHN MOORE LETTER

A Letter from Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore

I’m writing to you to bring an update covering the weeks since our last major communication with you on June 9. Since that time, our focus has been to do everything we can to end isolation for our residents while remaining totally committed to safety and well-being.

June was an eventful month. Disease activity has clearly been on the rise in the South and the West while we’ve seen continued progress in other areas, particularly in the Northeast and Canada. We have made progress on allowing our residents to enjoy more of their community. We’ve also stayed vigilant in protecting our residents and staff, re-escalating measures in areas where the disease is growing.

To update you on our progress on both “fronts,” we’ve recorded a series of videos that answer questions that we’ve been hearing from you and know that are on your mind. We’ve taken a departure from our normal, longer-printed pieces because, in this fast-changing environment, we wanted to give you a more real-time update. You can expect more of the full written reports as we continue to move through this situation together.

You’ll see that the questions covered in these videos focus on what has been our agenda since June 9: working with regulators to de-escalate restrictive measures for residents where we can; monitoring and reacting to changing disease activity dynamics; increasing tracing and testing, especially in markets where the disease is growing (as of this writing, more than 50,000 tests have been administered for Atria residents and staff); enlisting families and residents to help us in protecting our communities; and addressing circumstances that would lead us back to full quarantine.

We’re also including examples of educational materials we’re sharing with residents through discussions with individual community Resident Councils. One is meant to help residents and staff evaluate levels of risk associated with certain normal activities. The other helps everyone recognize and understand co-morbidities, a key factor in more severe cases of COVID-19. Another thing we are discussing with Resident Councils this week is the updating of every community’s “House Rules” – House Rules are being amended to require compliance by residents with our infection control procedures such as wearing masks.

We are including an updated timeline of internal and external COVID-19-related events to continue to put current and recent events in the context of the overall history of the pandemic. If you follow the timeline, you will see how we have worked to respond and adapt as best as possible to support the Atria family as the landscape has continued to evolve. Finally, we’ve updated our Safely Returning to Normal protocols, which are allowing us to increase protective measures as conditions evolve in the currently moderate and high exposure markets in the South and West.

I want to conclude by saying we must “Stay Safe, Stay Together.” That’s the name of our new campaign to rally our residents and families to help us protect each other and our communities. I hope you find this information helpful as we thoughtfully and carefully move into the future, together.

John Moore's Signature

John Moore
Chairman and CEO


 

June 9, 2020 – JOHN MOORE LETTER

A Letter from Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore

Dear Atria Extended Family,

On April 28, we began a series of comprehensive updates designed to keep you informed about our business, not only as it relates to COVID-19 but also just as importantly, what the future is starting to look like in a post-COVID-19 world.

The last comprehensive update took us from just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak through the end of April. Today, I am writing to bring you up to speed with our efforts as we begin to relax quarantine later this week in many of our communities.

This communication covers a wide range of topics including testing for COVID-19 (we are approaching 30,000 Atria-administered tests and expect to exceed 40,000 by the end of June) and overall disease dynamics, which helps us talk about a safe process to reopen our communities. It also speaks to how we will begin relaxing quarantines in a way that is consistent with state and local regulatory limitations.

We have been doing a lot of thinking about how we “get better” and I’ll share ideas for new ways to help residents live their best lives, in all circumstances, and give a glimpse into our plans for the future of our business.

This disease isn’t over, but we do believe we see light at the end of the tunnel. We’d like to share that light with you, but we also need your help. Quarantine has lasted too long and we must do something about it, but there will be limits based on both regulatory directives and prudence. We have worked hard to put Atria communities in the best position to get back to as close to normal as possible as quickly as possible, but it’s going to be a progressive process. Each step must be taken as safely as the last. Most crucially, we must continually prove to state and local regulators that we are ready, and advocate for allowing each next step.

We believe people belong together. Isolation cannot be a permanent strategy for any society, especially for our residents.

We’ve been hearing questions from residents and families about what the future looks like as the disease exits our communities, as well as how we will handle a potential resurgence in the fall. Prospective new residents and their families want to know what life will be like in an Atria community now that COVID-19 has changed some of the traditional assumptions about senior living. We want to share our thoughts on these questions.

We may not be able to predict the future, but we are relentlessly planning for it in the most thoughtful, careful ways we can. I hope you find this update helpful as we share what we know, what we’re doing and what we see ahead.

John Moore's Signature

John Moore
Chairman and CEO


 

MAY 12, 2020 – JOHN MOORE LETTER

A Letter from Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore

Dear Atria Extended Family,

I am writing to you all following up on our April 28 communications.

We appreciate your support and feedback. The comments and feedback we received were helpful and challenged us to continue to find ways to improve.

The major questions centered around a handful of areas – combating isolation, our testing program and continued communication. We’ve taken those major questions you had and provided our answers in the FAQ here. We’ve also updated our COVID-19 Response Timeline and continue to update our COVID-19 website page.

In the meantime, I’d also like to share with you our progress on key developments in the last couple of weeks.

In our April 28 letter, we shared our plans to test all Atria community staff across the U.S. Working with Mayo Clinic Laboratories, more than 13,000 Atria community and regional employees, third-party agency staff, and private duty aides hired by residents have been tested. Another 2,300 tests have been initiated by doctors and local agencies for residents and staff. That means more than 15,000 people – equal to almost half of our total Atria population – have been tested so far. Less than one percent across the country have been positives.

Testing has allowed us to identify more than 100 COVID-19 positive asymptomatic staff who were a potential source of community exposure that was unidentifiable without testing. Being able to identify connections to those staff members will allow us to potentially further minimize exposure. Testing, so far, has been a finite resource. We have been fortunate to have our relationship with Mayo Clinic Laboratories, and we’ll continue to be the best possible stewards of the access we have, or may be able to arrange, in the future. Learn more about Mayo Clinic Laboratories in the video below.

Also, we continue to salute our frontline staff, who have not wavered in their support of our communities and the residents we serve. We have extended our support pay program. We have also enhanced our protocols and Quality Enhancement (QE) process to more easily verify and audit that personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols are being followed. We initiated a “snapshot” virtual QE process to confirm appropriate PPE usage by community staff. The QE team is making 5-10 minute FaceTime calls where they will visually confirm appropriate PPE usage for caregivers, housekeepers and other frontline staff in real time, as well as asking three random screening questions to receptionists. If a community scores 100 percent, all frontline staff will get an Atria Rewards payment in their next paycheck.

We’ll continue to update you on key developments as we cautiously and carefully enter a world in which COVID-19 may be beginning to subside. We know that this is a phase during which we need to continue to be vigilant, potentially even increasing our vigilance. We want everyone to have confidence that we are taking – and will continue to take – the right steps to protect our communities and put the safety and well-being of our residents and staff in front of all else.

John Moore's Signature

John Moore
Chairman and CEO


 

APRIL 28, 2020 – JOHN MOORE LETTER

A Letter from Atria’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore

Dear Atria Extended Family,

I wanted to take a moment and write a letter to you all, when we are still battling the coronavirus but have hopefully passed the peak of the pandemic and its impact on our communities and our world.

This isn’t over, and it has been extremely difficult. The crisis has affected Atria as it has the entire country. It’s very personal to all of us. Our hearts sink every time we learn that a resident or employee contracts the disease. We have lost residents, friends, family members and colleagues.

For the better part of two months, you have heard from us when, or if, COVID-19 has hit your community. Our Executive Directors and support teams have let everyone know, through thousands of community letters, how your community is doing, and all of the activities on tap for the day, from the culinary menu to the “new normal” of virtual engagement activities and connection points our staff has lined up. Through those letters and countless personal phone calls, we have also done our best to make sure that you are the first to know when COVID-19 has impacted you or your loved one’s community in any way.

And in this chaotic time, our goal has been open, direct and personal communication with each of you. Something we are committed to continue and hope to improve upon.

Since I’ve last written to the Atria family as a whole, we’ve been totally focused on making sure our Support Center team continues to “do what it does” – put our thousands of team members in the field in the best position possible to take care of our Atria family every day. Below is a link to a larger letter and timeline that will go into more detail, but I am so appreciative and proud of the energy and passion our support team has thrown at what has, at times, seemed like a problem without solutions.

You’ll read about this in the larger letter, but I am most proud of our heroic – truly heroic – frontline staff. They are the ones who care for our residents – and are so valuable and mission critical. I’m proud that we have not furloughed or laid off anyone, and in fact have paid our frontline staff more through support pay programs. We’ve supported them with “pantry bags” of groceries and made sure that we have provided all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed. We have also provided all staff in the hard hit Northeast with masks and gloves to wear while they commute (and in the NYC markets, enough to take home to share with family).

We know full well that our frontline staff are our, and your, “front line” of defense. So, you will also read in more detail about our plan, already underway, to test all 14,000 community level and regional employees over the next two weeks or so. We have arranged to be provided with test kits, support and lab results by Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

Testing is just part of our plan to move forward. To make sure we can get back in business in a safe and thoughtful way, we will continue to protect our residents with aggressive use of PPE and implement a restricted move-in policy for new residents and residents returning from healthcare settings.

The links below will take you to the longer letter and a timeline that shares more details of, and background for, our plans.

Take your time and go through this update. I want you to better understand the things we’ve done so far, keeping in mind that we are doing everything we can to continue to improve every day.

I appreciate you. Whether you’re an Atria resident, family member or employee, thank you for the support you have given us. We will continue to take on this challenge together.
Our lives have changed, but our mission has not. I can tell you that putting the safety and well-being of our residents and staff in front of all else has been our clear mission. I could not be prouder to be a part of this family, and I have no doubt that this moment will only continue to make us better at helping our residents live their best lives in any – and every – situation.

John Moore's Signature

John Moore
Chairman and CEO


MARCH 31, 2020 – UPDATED SCREENING STATEMENTS

Due to the rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in certain markets, Atria has updated the screening statements that essential visitors must be able to answer “no” to before entering any community.

Essential visitors must delay visits if any of the following statements apply:

  • You have been diagnosed with or exposed to anyone with COVID-19.
  • You have reason to believe that you, someone in your household or someone you have close contact with has been exposed to COVID-19.
  • You or anyone in your household has traveled through any airport and/or on a cruise ship in the last 14 days.
  • You or anyone in your household has traveled to the greater New York metropolitan area in the last 14 days.
  • You currently have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat and/or shortness of breath.

Our definition of greater New York metropolitan area includes the following counties:

  • New York City, NY – All 5 boroughs
  • Westchester County, NY
  • Suffolk County, NY
  • Nassau County, NY
  • Rockland County, NY
  • Bergen County, NJ
  • Hudson County, NJ
  • Union County, NJ
  • Fairfield County, CT

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 media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.

 


 

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 media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.

 


 

MARCH 19, 2020 – COMMUNITIES PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING

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 media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.

 


 

MARCH 14, 2020 – COMMUNITIES CLOSED TO NON-ESSENTIAL VISITORS

The health and well-being of Atria residents and employees is our first priority. We’re closely monitoring the situation and, in accordance with the CDC and other health agencies, are continuously evaluating our policies and taking extra precautions to protect our residents and staff. In addition to the measures outlined in previous updates (see below), we are further restricting access to our communities to essential visitors only.

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

Examples of non-essential visitors include:

  • Family members of residents not in imminent end-of-life situations
  • Entertainers
  • Salon/spa service providers
  • Volunteers

Additionally, we have increased our screening requirements to now include temperature checks for all employees and essential visitors (see the March 12 update below for screening requirements already in place).

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 media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.

 


 

MARCH 12, 2020 – Update to Atria’s Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Ensuring the health and well-being of our residents and employees is always our highest priority.

As the situation continues to escalate nationwide, we are taking greater preventative measures. In addition to those already in place, which include increased cleaning protocols and the cancellation or postponement of all community events, we are further limiting those we allow into our communities.

Until further notice, only employees, residents and essential visitors who meet our stepped-up screening statements will be allowed inside our communities. Essential visitors include:

  • Immediate family members, limited to one adult at a time, of current or potential residents
  • Vendors that provide operationally critical services (pharmacy, mail, food, supplies, construction, maintenance, healthcare providers including hospice and physical therapy)
  • Individual private duty aides/companions

Examples of non-essential visitors at this time include entertainers, salon/spa service providers and routine social visitors.

All essential visitors must be able to answer “no” to the community screening statements:

  • You have been diagnosed with, or 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 or anyone in your household has traveled abroad in the last 14 days
  • You currently have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Executive Director with questions or concerns.

We appreciate your cooperation with these new protocols and will continue to update you regularly.

The following protocols remain in place:

  • We are reducing transportation services to 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.
  • We strongly recommend that family members not take residents out of the building under any circumstance, including visits to private family homes or public gathering spaces (grocery stores, theaters, religious services, casinos, etc.).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We are closing all resident self-service dining functions, including hospitality stations, salad bars and buffets.
  • We are postponing or canceling all community events in which external visitors are expected.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We are limiting corporate and regional personnel community visits to only those who are essential.

Increased cleaning protocols include:

  • 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 hand-washing and infection control training for all Atria employees
  • Providing additional personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies

We are regularly updating Atria residents and family members via email, but if you have an urgent question, as always, please reach out to your Executive Director.

For media inquiries, please email media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.

 


 

MARCH 11, 2020 – Update to Atria’s Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Ensuring the health and well-being of our residents and employees is always our highest priority.

Atria is following all recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and monitoring the CDC for news and developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). For the general public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low, according to the CDC. Because our resident population is more vulnerable than the general public, however, we are intensifying our preventative measures with their well-being in mind.

In light of the continued spread of COVID-19, Atria has stepped up our protocols. Until further notice, we’re following these guidelines:

  • We are limiting resident transportation services to scheduled appointments and scenic drives only. We are eliminating all excursions to public gathering spaces, including grocery stores, religious services, shopping malls, theaters and casinos.
  • We strongly recommend family members refrain from taking residents out of the community to visit public gathering spaces, including grocery stores, religious services, shopping malls, theaters, casinos, etc. Visits to private family homes are acceptable.
  • We are asking visitors to please enter a community through the main entrance.
  • Atria’s front desk staff will be more assertive in asking all visitors to wash their hands and/or utilize available hand sanitizer whenever they enter or exit the community. We appreciate your understanding and compliance with these requests.
  • We are closing all resident self-service dining venues.
  • We are postponing or canceling all community events in which we expect three or more visitors to enter the building. This weekend’s Atria StoryWise events will be converted into resident-only activities, and we are canceling our remaining March social events that invite groups of people to enter communities from outside.
  • We strongly recommend that residents cancel or postpone all upcoming travel, including cruises and/or all flights.
  • Residents returning to the community following a hospital stay must present negative test results for COVID-19, or a note from their physician stating they are infection-free and do not pose a risk to others.
  • We are limiting corporate, regional and field-based personnel community visits to only those that are essential.
  • We continue to ask additional screening questions to new residents to ensure they have not been exposed to COVID-19 or visited affected areas.
  • Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who have reason to believe that they, someone in their household or someone they have close contact with has been exposed to COVID-19 are prohibited from entering communities.
  • Anyone who has traveled abroad in the last 14 days, or anyone sharing a household with a person who has traveled abroad in the last 14 days are prohibited from entering communities.

Additional cleaning protocols include:

  • 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 hand-washing and infection control training for all Atria employees
  • Providing additional personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies

We are regularly updating Atria residents and family members via email, but if you have an urgent question, as always, please reach out to your Executive Director.

For media inquiries, please email media_inquiries@atriaseniorliving.com.