PROTECTING OUR PATIENTS FROM COVID-19
The health and safety of our patients is always our top priority. This commitment is even more true during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sadly, the coronavirus has ravaged many nursing homes across our country. We are doing everything in our power to protect our patients at Old Cheney and keep them safe. This means changes in our team’s daily actions inside and outside of work, increased cleanings and new operational protocols. However, we cannot fight this pandemic alone. Our patients and their loved ones also play an active role in safeguarding our community from COVID-19.
We understand this is a scary time for many families and their loved ones. We hope the information on this page provides you with the information you need to help alleviate some of your fears. If, after reading about our policies, you still have questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team by calling 531.739.3200.
STEPS WE ARE TAKING TO KEEP YOU SAFE
Screening for COVID-19. Our top priority is keeping the coronavirus from ever entering Old Cheney. So far, we have been successful in these efforts. We know testing for the coronavirus will be critical for Old Cheney moving forward.
Before we welcome anyone into our care, we are screening them for the coronavirus. If a patient is currently suffering from COVID-19, we will not be able to accept them into our facility. However, Nebraska has created special treatment facilities across the state to care for patients with the coronavirus.
Our team members are also acutely aware they could unintentionally bring the virus into Old Cheney, which is why our team is constantly monitoring for symptoms of the virus. If an employee is showing any signs of the coronavirus or has been in contact with someone suspected of having the coronavirus, they are required to stay home until they’ve been tested and cleared by a doctor to return to work.
Monitoring for COVID-19. We are continually looking for any early warning signs the coronavirus may be present in our facilities. Two times per day, our team does formal COVID-19 screenings with each patient. We take their temperature, ask if they’ve noticed any changes in their health and go through a series of questions to determine if they are experiencing any symptoms related to the virus. If there are any changes, our team will catch them quickly with these screenings. This will allow us to immediately get our patients treatment and isolate any patient who may be COVID-19 positive to mitigate potential spread of the virus.
Our team members also perform regular temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks on themselves throughout their shifts and before they enter our facility.
Practicing Social Distancing. One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing, which means keeping at least six-feet of space between you and the people around you. While our nursing staff have to get close to patients to perform their jobs, as a team we are practicing social distancing whenever possible. This means we have set nursing teams working together to limit interactions with multiple team members.
Our patients are also following social distancing guidelines. All meals are being served in patients’ rooms and we have temporarily suspended group activities. While we know this is an important step to keep our patients safe, we understand limiting social interactions is incredibly difficult on people. Our team has been working hard to plan special activities patients can do in their rooms, utilizing technology to connect patients with loved ones, creating art projects patients can see outside of their windows and making sure we take the time to connect with each patient every single day.
Face Masks. Our team members are now required to wear face masks while at work. This helps to prevent the transfer of respiratory droplets and significantly reduces the potential spread of the virus. We are also strongly encouraging our team to wear masks outside of work to help protect our patients. If patients leave their room or have to go to an appointment outside of Old Cheney, we are requiring they wear a face mask to help keep their peers safe.
Enhanced Cleaning. As a healthcare facility, we have always had rigorous cleaning practices. However, we are doubling down on our efforts to protect our patients against the virus. We’ve ensured every cleaning product we use meets EPA guidelines for killing the coronavirus. All of our team members have recently gone through training on how to use our cleaning supplies and been tested to ensure they are using the products to effectively eliminate germs. Finally, we have increased our cleaning frequency and are continuously cleaning Old Cheney throughout the day.
Human connection is a vital component of all of our lives. Sadly, right now, face-to-face interactions can threaten the well-being of our patients. We understand we have to find other innovative ways to keep loved ones close. Our team is committed to ensuring you and your family feel connected even when you must be apart.
Technology is making it easier than ever before to help families stay in touch. While some of our patients know how to FaceTime, we are happy to help families and patients who could use some extra help coordinate video calls. Our nurses will help you arrange a time for a call and be with the patient to help them use the phone or computer, so the call goes smoothly.
We also encourage families to come and visit their loved ones through a window or drop off small gifts or supplies. While we cannot open windows, we’ve found that being close to those you love, even when you are separated through a pane of glass, is incredibly uplifting. It brings big smiles to our faces as well! Patients have also loved when their families drop off cards, a new magazine or small treat.
Our team is also doing all we can to keep you informed and connected. We are trying to send family members more pictures of their loved one, so they can see how they’re doing. Each week, we also call family members to share the latest information with you.
At this time, we do not know when the State of Nebraska will determine it is safe to let visitors back into Old Cheney. We anticipate it will not be until later this summer or early fall.
We know how much you want to be with your loved ones. Please know your sacrifice is making a huge difference in keeping our patients safe and keeping the coronavirus out of our facility.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19?
Our team is doing everything we can to try to keep our patients safe and prevent COVID-19 from entering our facility. Unfortunately, we recognize it is a possibility. If anyone tests positive for the coronavirus in our facility, here are the steps our team will take:
Isolating Patient. If a patient tests positive for the coronavirus, we will immediately isolate this patient to ensure they do not have contact with any other patients in our facility. We would dedicate a nursing team to this patient and that nursing team would not treat other patients to reduce the chances of spreading the virus throughout the facility.
Keep you Informed. As soon as we know someone has tested positive for COVID-19, we will notify all of our patients and their families. We are committed to being transparent and sharing all of the information available. Under federal law, we are required to contact patients and their families within 24 hours of discovering a positive case of COVID-19.
Notify our Health Partners. The State of Nebraska is doing everything in its power to prevent more COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes. If we have a patient test positive for the coronavirus, we will immediately contact our local and state health departments as well as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These partner agencies would provide us extra support as we navigate the situation.
The team at Old Cheney is committed to doing all we can to help protect our patients from COVID-19. If you have questions about the steps we are taking, please contact Sara Bunting at 531.739.3200.