Since the first reports of the COVID-19 virus were diagnosed in the United States in January 2020, Brookdale has been working to ensure that we are prepared. Brookdale’s top priorities are the health and safety of our residents, patients and associates.
Below is the latest information we have to share about COVID-19.
Brookdale’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients and associates.
Brookdale continues to take precautionary measures to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. We follow the guidance of local and state health authorities, state licensing agencies, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are acting with an abundance of caution. Our community leadership is regularly reinforcing with associates our policies and procedures for contagious illnesses, including routine sanitization of communities, resident monitoring of temperature and oxygen levels, and symptom screenings of associates. Our corporate team also continues to support to the local teams.
Brookdale is taking precautionary measures, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has released guidelines for employers and businesses to contain the spread of the virus. Brookdale’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients, and associates.
Right now, our main focus is prevention. We are acting with an abundance of caution, reinforcing our policies and procedures for contagious illnesses such as influenza with staff. These include reminders about flu vaccines, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when sick, and taking flu antivirals as prescribed.
We have a corporate emergency response team in place to provide support to the local teams, especially in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19. If a confirmed case were to occur, we would continue to act in full compliance with the CDC, local and state health authorities.
We would follow the guidelines of the CDC recommendations for confirmed cases in healthcare settings; those guidelines include steps to minimize chances for exposure, adhering to personal protection protocols and managing visitor access.
We are grateful that the government has prioritized senior living in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Seniors represent one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations and this vaccine program has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for residents, a population who are at high risk if they contract COVID-19. As part of phase one distribution, vaccinations are already underway at some Brookdale Senior Living communities across the country.
Brookdale is participating in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. We are partnering with CVS Health to administer the vaccine. As the vaccine becomes available, CVS Health will be scheduling vaccination clinics with more of our communities. We have a longstanding relationship with CVS Health, to perform other onsite vaccination clinics; it was an extension of that relationship that we continued to work with them on this vaccine rollout.
At Brookdale, we have over 40 years of clinical experience and this year we’ve worked to create a culture of acceptance for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is accomplished through effective education for residents, families and our associates. Our staff, especially nurses, have been eager to get the vaccine themselves to lead by example for our residents and other associates. We’re also respecting individual choice. We understand not everyone is willing to take the vaccine at first and we’ll work with those residents and their families to do what they feel is right for them.
Brookdale is taking a strong stance on the importance of continuing strict COVID-19 safety protocols well after the vaccine has been administered. Vaccination is a significant step forward in the fight against COVID-19, but even after the vaccine is administered, we will continue diligence with safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing in accordance with the direction of the CDC and local health officials.
We also direct you to these videos on our newsroom: Rolling up your sleeves – For the Vaccine and Vaccines – Getting Ready for additional information regarding Brookdale and the COVID-19 vaccine.
The health and safety of our residents, patients, and associates is our top priority, below are all the things we are doing in response to COVID-19.
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What is Brookdale doing to help protect residents, associates, patients and visitors from contracting COVID-19?
Out of an abundance of caution, we are implementing a number of measures, including but not limited to:
We are following our processes and procedures to isolate residents or patients if they are showing symptoms. Associates who are showing symptoms are directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
We are implementing a national COVID-19 testing initiative at Brookdale with the goal of testing all residents, patients and associates who consent, regardless of whether they were symptomatic. This is a result of our community and regional teams’ work to get the kits needed to test for COVID-19 on-site, removing the need for anyone to leave our communities, thereby exposing themselves to unnecessary risk. Our goal with wide spread testing is to help provide a better opportunity to contain the virus and prevent further spread. We believe that an important way to protect our community is to have a clear understanding of who has COVID-19, so that we can create a plan to isolate those individuals and the associates and community members they have come into contact with.
We are implementing a comprehensive testing program in all Brookdale communities. Our goal with wide-spread testing is to help provide a better opportunity to contain the virus and prevent further spread. As in any infectious disease scenario, the data is specific to location and the testing results will vary by community. In keeping with our commitment to share timely, relevant information about COVID-19 with our communities, when testing is completed we share the results with the residents, family members and associates of that community.
When there is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in a Brookdale community, residents/designated emergency contacts will be notified by the community Executive Director.
To reduce the risk of exposure in our communities, we are currently restricting visitors, except for end of life situations or pursuant to the guidance of public health officials. We are also conducting health screenings of anyone coming into the community. Specific visitor protocol may vary based on state and local directives.
In addition, we have suspended Brookdale-sponsored/planned group outings and are strongly encouraging residents to refrain from making trips from community unless medically necessary.
In the cases of a confirmed diagnosis, we continue to act in full compliance with the CDC, local and state health authorities, as well as the best interest of the person. We follow CDC guidance for confirmed cases in healthcare settings; that guidance includes steps to minimize chances for exposure, adhering to personal protection protocols and managing visitor access?
Brookdale is taking a very conservative approach as we move forward. At our Command Center, staffed by our top Operations and Clinical leaders, we’re leading a phased re-opening for Brookdale – which may vary by location and will be based on the health and safety directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local and state public health officials and our own clinical experts.
The White House recently issued a national plan for reopening the country in three phases. Senior living is in the third phase of that plan. Given that states are just starting phase one of that plan, this is not the time to relax the standards and protocols that have helped to keep our communities safe. For now, we will continue to maintain our strict health and safety protocols and only during phase three and with the guidance of public health officials will we begin to gradually and safely start re-opening our dining rooms, fitness centers, beauty salons and allowing visitors into our communities. We will keep our residents and their families updated on when it is safe to begin that re-opening process.
As far as re-opening our Brookdale communities to visitors, we are taking a very conservative approach. Senior living is in Phase Three of the White House national plan for reopening the country. So, for now, we will continue restricting visitors and non-essential health care personnel in this community, except for end-of-life situations or pursuant to the guidance of public health officials. As certain states gradually re-open, we will be implementing a phased re-opening at Brookdale and only with the guidance of public health officials will we begin to gradually and safely start allowing visitors into our communities. We are providing timely updates to our communities about Brookdale’s response to COVID-19. These updates will include potential timelines for re-opening certain communities when we have more definitive information to share.
Our measured and phased approach to re-opening for Brookdale will vary by location and will be based on the health and safety directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local and state public health officials and our own clinical experts. Since senior living is in the third phase of the White House Plan for Re-Opening America, we will be among the last to begin gradually lifting the strict health, safety and social-distancing protocols currently in place. Only with the clearance of public health officials will we begin to gradually and safely start re-opening our dining rooms, fitness centers and beauty salons and that may be weeks, or even months away.
First, we want to commend our associates who are helping to keep our residents safe, especially during this pandemic.
Yes, in most cases, residents are allowed to leave their rooms. We are educating our residents on social distancing and health practices set forth by the CDC and local government officials.
In accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, we will direct our residents with respiratory infections or suspected COVID-19 to self-isolate in their rooms for the protection of others in the community.
We have activated an Emergency Command Center for regular communication with corporate leadership, field team leaders and suppliers.
Brookdale is able to answer questions through a variety of communication channels, including:
There are a few ways to stay informed as to what is going on:
If there is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis at a community, residents/designated emergency contacts will be notified by the community executive director.