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Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) Update:

PMMA looks toward reopening of communities (Updated: May 15, 2020)

In a letter to families May 15, 2020, PMMA (Presbyterian Manors of Mid‑America) President and CEO Bruce Shogren announced the organization is awaiting guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for re-opening its 16 communities.

In the meantime, the organization will continue to restrict visitors to the 16 PMMA communities and encourage independent living residents to shelter in place while the organization anticipates the release of new guidance from CMS and formulating a plan for re-opening each of the communities across Kansas and Missouri.

“Like the states, CMS is most likely to recommend a ‘phased re-opening’ approach,” Shogren said. “As we get this new guidance from CMS, we will manage the re-opening of phases in the same cautious and caring manner to ensure our residents’ health and safety remains our first priority.”

The PMMA communities would not be COVID-free at this point in time if we did not commit to staying the course and limiting visitation. PMMA’s communities have followed “Limited Access” guidelines issued by CMS on March 13, 2020. This guidance effectively authorized PMMA to restrict residents’ rights to visitors for reasonable clinical and safety reasons.

Independent living residents are strongly advised to continue to adhere to the no visitor “rule,” and limit the number of medically non-essential appointments, events, gatherings attended off campus. We ask independent living residents shelter in place in respect to the other residents who are at a higher risk due to underlying health issues.

“It took all of us – residents, families and staff members – to work together to keep COVID out of our buildings,” Shogren said. “We will not waver from the ideal of doing the right thing and keeping our residents and staff safe and healthy.”

PMMA has a resident population of approximately 2,400 that are – as of May 15, 2020 – COVID-19 free. In addition, we have had one non-direct care employee and two direct care employees out of almost 2,500 total employees who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and appropriate steps were taken to assure no other employee or resident was affected.

We continue to stay current with the COVID-19 virus situation by receiving and sharing information via almost daily conference calls with regulatory agencies along with correspondence with our national and state senior living associations and with some of our peers serving the senior living population. We continue to look for best practices and optional ways our senior living peers have been addressing the guidelines, restrictions and providing services to our senior living residents.

What does “Limited Access” mean?

Limited access means all visits to the community must be rescheduled except in case of end-of-life situations. Families should communicate with their loved one via telephone, email or other electronic methods. PMMA’s IT department and community staff are working to establish electronic communications options such as Skype or FaceTime. Contact your community for information.

In addition, CMS has recommended temporarily stopping group activities and communal meal service and limiting communities to essential staff only. All residents are encouraged to practice social distance – or remaining 6-feet apart at all times for infection prevention.

Employees are screened at the beginning of each shift at the point of entry to the community building and before employees have any direct contact with residents. These screening measures include taking staff temperatures and asking a set of questions about travel, health status, COVID-19 exposure risks and reviews a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms. Employees who have a fever or report feeling unwell are not allowed to work and are asked to get tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the disease. These measures have been in place since March 13 and continue to be updated as guidance changes. In addition, staff members should continue to wear masks per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

PMMA rules for care packages and Mother’s Day

PMMA residents can receive care packages sent through official carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL and other official package carriers. To ensure resident and staff safety, packages will be quarantined for 3 days before delivery to residents, so please do not send perishable items.

With Mother’s Day coming, many families are wondering if flowers may be sent to their loved one. At this time, deliveries of flowers from local flower shops are not allowed per CDC guidelines. Gifts may be sent through official package carriers.

This may seem somewhat severe, but the study by the National Institutes of Health published in The New England Journal of Medicine found the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces. National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists conducting the study found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The study information was widely shared during the past two weeks. For more information go to:

Your role as a family member or visitor:

If your visit is not absolutely necessary due to end of life, reschedule your visit to the community.

If your visit meets this exception, you should:

  • Expect to answer a questionnaire about your recent travel, health status and exposure risk.
  • Have your temperature taken.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, rubbing palms together, cleaning between fingers and the backs of hands.
  • Utilize hand sanitation stations prior to entering and upon leaving resident rooms.
  • Limit movement within the community to your resident’s room or your contact’s office
  • Limit physical contact with the resident – no hugging, kissing or hand-shaking – and remain 6 feet apart
  • Report to the community any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness within 14 days after visiting the community

Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, masks and gowns, are available as necessary.

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