Update COVID-19 Management in PALTC

At CALTCM, we are very concerned for the welfare of our very vulnerable post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) residents, families, and staff.  Because the world in our lifetime has not experienced such a rapidly moving and serious pandemic, CALTCM presented a Webinar on the COVID-19 coronavirus last Monday which was well attended (over 900 registrants) and is currently available to the public at no charge (for a limited time only) with additional resources on the CALTCM COVID-19 webpage.  Since that time, more important tools and information have become available.  The CDC now has posters and handouts on COVID-19 available on their web page in multiple languages that could be used for staff and visitor education.

AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care’s Washington state chapter presented a helpful podcast on their experience with the devastating SNF outbreak in Kirkland and was quite informative.  Dr. John Lynch, an infectious disease expert and the Medical Director of University of Washington (UW) Medicine’s COVID-19 Response Team, gave very helpful advice.  He noted there is now good evidence that alcohol-based cleansers are very effective for this virus and should be used with confidence.   He also noted that at this time, the main source of N95 masks (China) is no longer filling orders.  This means N95 masks should be reserved for use in the acute hospital ICU or other settings with high risk for triggering respiratory droplets (Aerosol breathing treatments , BiPAP, and Suctioning).  At UW they are recommending that care providers in other areas of the hospital use surgical masks, eye protectors, gowns, and gloves.  He predicted this will become CDC policy in the near future. He also raised concerns that our culture in the America penalizes employees for taking sick leave, which is counter-productive for protecting our patients.  I concur that facilities should assure employees that they will continue to be paid when they are unable to work due to acute respiratory illnesses. We also know that social isolation can be devastating for our patients.  He recommended that facilities create processes to support face time and or zoom video conferencing on a regular basis with their loved ones, who at this time should not be visiting them in person.  

At CALTCM, we are also exploring ways of making telehealth more available in the PALTC setting.  Look for more information on this option in the near future. 

In addition, we are partnering with infectious disease experts to provide updates on this important subject in a webinar series entitled: COVID-19: CALTCM Weekly Rounds.  Please join us for these free webinars:  Monday March 16, 23, 30 and April 6 at 4:00pm PDST - registration is required, click here to register now.

Stay tuned!

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