For more information, contact Karen Harriman, chief marketing officer and senior vice president for public relations and communications, at 316-685-1100 or [email protected], or Lisa Diehl, corporate communications director at 316-685-1100 or [email protected].
All PMMA communities are following the guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure resident and staff safety.
Effective March 13, 2020, per CMS guidance, in-person visitation is strictly limited at all PMMA communities. Limited access means all visits to the community must be rescheduled except in case of end-of-life situations. These exceptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis with careful screening of the potential visitor(s).
CMS guidelines have also discontinued group activities and communal meals for infection prevention. Residents are encouraged to practice social distancing, staying 6-feet away from one another. Residents may walk the halls or visit community amenities such as the library or fitness equipment so long as they are able to practice social distancing.
How will the lifting of Kansas and Missouri state-wide stay-at-home orders affect PMMA communities?Senior living communities and nursing homes will still be required to limit visitors under the CMS guidance issued March 13, 2020. So while the general public is subject to the local State, County or City “stay-at-home” orders, PMMA must still follow the “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 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 to shelter in place in respect to the other residents who are at a higher risk due to underlying health issues.Both Kansas and Missouri recognize the importance of limiting visitation to our most vulnerable populations and have stated individuals shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances.
Visitors who meet the end-of-life exception are screened at the entrance to the community. Screening includes answering a questionnaire about recent travel, health status and exposure risk, and temperatures will be taken and logged before being allowed into the community.
Visitors are expected to follow good hand washing practices and coughing/sneezing etiquette. In addition, movement in the community will be limited to the resident’s room, and social distance recommendations are in place strictly limiting physical contact.
Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, masks and gowns, will be available as necessary.
PMMA’s corporate team has a certified infectious disease specialist, and every PMMA community has an infection prevention specialist, who completed specific training in infection prevention through nationally accredited infectious disease programs.
Each team member completes:
Each community’s emergency response plan addresses pandemic situations. These plans are based on CDC and CMS guidelines. PMMA’s dedicated Plant Operations and Housekeeping teams will continue to work diligently to ensure our community is clean, safe and disinfected regularly.
If a resident is tested for COVID-19, they are cared for in isolation. Staff members use established CDC and PMMA isolation and transmission-based protocol precautions, including wearing personal protective equipment as needed, to protect themselves and other residents from exposure. Test results are typically available within 24 hours of testing.
If the resident tests positive for COVID-19, that resident will remain in isolation at the campus, as long as it is in the resident’s best interest. The community care team will continue to follow CDC and PMMA guidelines for transmission-based protocols, including wearing personal protective gear as needed and provide care as per physician orders.
The community will implement even more stringent limited access protocols and may restrict entry to the community further as an infection control and prevention measure.
In consultation with state, county and local authorities , the PMMA Senior Leadership Team determined the best way to protect existing residents is to suspend new admissions to assisted living and health care until CMS removes the limited access guideline for senior living communities.
This decision is based upon a couple of key concerns: (1) minimizing the risk of bringing the virus into the senior living community, (2) the additional staffing that would be needed to admit a new resident to a licensed care area, where all new residents will be in quarantine for a period of 14 days upon admission.
PMMA President and CEO, Bruce Shogren, said new admissions in health care and assisted living will be suspended until the communities are no longer under LIMITED ACCESS visitation policies.
Independent living move-ins may move forward so long as all parties involved can meet the same safety guideline requirements as our community staff members. Move-ins that do not have to occur during this time should be postponed until the LIMITED ACCESS period is over.
Employees received a letter in the quarterly newsletter on March 6. The same letter was provided for all PRN and agency staff who work at the 16 campuses. The first poster warning visitors to reschedule their visit if they were feeling ill or had traveled outside the United States to an affected country and letters to residents, family members and volunteers were also sent to communities March 6 for distribution. Posters have been updated as CMS guidance has changed, and families received notification by phone and in writing of the limited access status for all communities following the March 13 CMS update.
Residents and families will receive updates regularly throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Staff members are instructed not to come to work if they are experiencing symptoms of illness including having a temperature and especially respiratory illnesses.
Employees who have traveled internationally, on a cruise ship, or to a location where there are high levels of community-based transmission of COVID-19 as defined by their state health department, are asked to quarantine for 14 days and be symptom free before returning to work.
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 and other personal protective equipment as required per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
If a staff member answers “Yes” to one of the questions, they are asked probing questions to get more information. For example, if someone says they are short of breath, and the shortness of breath is a normal symptom of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, we would allow them to work.
Any employees exhibiting signs or symptoms outside of or greater than those they experience as part of their normal health condition, the employee is not allowed to work. Employees who are running a temperature are not allowed to work.
Life enrichment staff are leading residents in hallway bingo, exercises, checking on individual residents in their rooms, and encouraging residents to move about their specific areas of the campus while observing social distances of at least six feet. Residents can still access the libraries and other on-site amenities so long as they observe the 6-foot social distance between themselves and other residents.
PMMA is encouraging families to keep in contact with their family members via telephone, email and digital means. For residents who do not have their own telephones or other means of contacting family members, community staff are scheduling weekly calls either via telephone or video calls with Skype or FaceTime. PMMA is expanding the capability to offer these digital options to families as this national crisis continues.
Residents are still receiving mail through the United States Postal Service, and family members and friends are encouraged to write and mail letters and cards of support to residents.
The safety of our residents and staff members is our top priority. Effective March 26, residents may now receive care packages shipped through the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL or other official carrier. All mail and packages will be quarantined for three days due to the amount of time the virus can live on surfaces to prevent any possible exposure to COVID-19 and then be delivered to residents.
Unfortunately, we are not accepting hand-delivered care packages for residents or staff.
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: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces
Families can deliver medically necessary items, such as medications, new glasses or hearing aids that are necessary for the resident. The community staff should be contacted to coordinate a time and location for the drop off of these items at the community.
Groceries may be delivered for independent living residents, but should not include perishable items because they will be quarantined for 3 days. Deliveries will be left at the front desk and residents will need to pick them up from that location and take them to their residence. Residents are encouraged to wipe down the items with warm water and soap or a sanitizing cloth and wash their hands once the items have been put away.
Packages from UPS, FedEx, DHL or other package delivery services will be quarantined for 3 days prior to being delivered to the resident.
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: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces.
Per CDC and CMS “Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Nursing Homes” dated as of March 13, 2020, the memorandum stated “cancel communal dining and all group activities.” All residents are being served meals in their rooms as an infection prevention measure. While communal dining is an important contributor to mental health, infection prevention is the top priority at this time.
PMMA’s mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values does not stop, even in the midst of pandemic. We will continue to provide care to seniors, including those who have outlived their financial resources through no fault of their own. You can shine a light during this time by supporting PMMA residents with a tax-deductible gift at www.Giving.PresbyterianManors.org.
PMMA’s 16 communities and two hospices are accepting donations of homemade fabric masks and isolation gowns.
Fabric masks should be made of 100% cotton material and be different patterns on the front and back so the wearer can tell which one they had to their face. The masks may be held on with elastic or fabric ties as elastic may be in short supply. There are many free facemask patterns available online. Here is an example: https://freesewing.org/blog/facemask-frenzy/
Reusable gowns that suit our needs should be made of polyester or polyester-cotton fabrics, or cotton with plastic or waterproof lining that can be safely laundered and re-used. They should be long-sleeved and come below the knee of the person wearing them. They should close in back with ties or snaps. Fabrics that do not repel water can be waterproofed, but that spray must be reapplied after each washing. Patterns for isolation gowns are available online. Choose one that fits your skill level. Here’s an example: https://peekaboopatternshop.com/isolation-gown/.
To arrange for drop-off for masks or isolation gowns, contact your local PMMA community.
COVID-19 is a previously unidentified virus, which means care providers of all types—including senior living communities like ours—are learning about it in real time. Public health officials have identified older people as high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, which places our communities on the front line. Every day, we do our part to aggressively prevent and mitigate the spread as we deliver compassionate care under challenging circumstances.
The services we provide are fundamental to the lives of the people we serve, their families, and the communities we serve. We are driven by our mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values. We care deeply about the role we play to provide much-needed care, services and supports in people’s lives.
Through our aggressive infection control and prevention program, PMMA has so far been able to keep a COVID-19 outbreak at bay in all our communities. Through continued adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, PMMA will continue to work to keep residents and staff members safe and healthy.
Providers serving seniors like PMMA have distinct and urgent needs in this pandemic. The longstanding workforce shortage in aging services is well documented. This healthcare crisis increases our workforce needs. For instance, we need more staff to care for sicker residents, to adhere to regulatory requirements that ban communal meals and mandate enhanced infection control procedures, and to cover open shifts for sick staff or those who can’t report to work. These strains compound an already challenging workforce environment.
Without adequate PPE and testing, we cannot safely orchestrate patient transitions, take care of new or current residents, or protect staff. While we understand these needs are vital in an inpatient setting, there is a major push now to move patients out of hospitals to skilled nursing or to home and community-based settings. The lack of resources for senior services is an additional challenge in a health crisis unlike any we’ve seen before.
PMMA leadership is actively working with local emergency management and health departments, state agencies and our suppliers to obtain the supplies we need. We’ve been fortunate to partner with several local distilleries that have started producing hand sanitizer for health care providers in several locations in Kansas and Missouri. PMMA also is ordering PPE from additional sources to ensure the campuses have adequate PPE
To preserve PPE, communities are using donated fabric masks as a stop-gap measure as long as they are caring for residents who are not COVID-19 positive to preserve PPE for when the community has a resident who tested positive or they suspect a resident may have COVID-19.
Specific instructions have been given for the use and re-use of PPE based on CDC guidelines and recommendations.
Our business is complex. We don’t have a simple operating structure like, for example, a corner store or neighborhood restaurant. We have multiple sources of revenue, from reimbursements and government funding to private pay, and are working under a range of guidelines and regulations. Rising costs of caring for a full load of patients with a changing case-mix, buying extra PPE and other supplies at a premium due to shortages, losing staff and paying overtime—coupled with decreased revenues—are already causing shortfalls for providers in aging services.
The services we provide are fundamental to the lives of the people we serve, their families, and the communities we serve. We are driven by our mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values. We care deeply about the role we play to provide much-needed care, services and supports in people’s lives. Unlike for-profit senior living communities, PMMA is governed by a board of volunteer trustees. As a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living organization, our financial duty is to further our mission rather than to deliver shareholder returns. We were founded more than 70 years ago as a resource to help seniors, and we continue to live out this charge today thanks to this philanthropic program. Each year, PMMA provides millions of dollars in charitable care for residents who have outlived their financial resources, allowing them to continue to live in our communities.
Download PMMA COVID-19 FAQs as PDF.
For more information, contact Karen Harriman, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President for Public Relations and Communications, at 316-685-1100 or [email protected], or Lisa Diehl, Corporate Communications Director at 316-685-1100 or [email protected]