COVID-19 updates regarding Caring House
COVID-19 is present in Los Angeles County. We’ve worked very hard to keep it out of Caring House.
To protect our very vulnerable residents and also our visitors and staff, our steps (many first-time actions here) have included the following.
May 9, 2020: We’re back!. We’re welcoming residents again. Keeping our residents, visitors and staff safe is of the utmost importance. Among the approaches in place,
- All visitors will be screened at the door and if admitted will wear masks and gowns while in the house.
- Family and friend visitors are limited. For example, only one may be in the house at a time. More details on family visitors rules.
- We’ll continue to limit hospice visits to those that are essential.
- All deliveries will be left at the front door and receive special handling by our staff.
- We’ve obtained adequate supplies of PPE and our Caregivers are trained in using it.
April 6, 2020: We will return. We plan to be back, welcoming residents and helping bring them peace, comfort, support and dignity as they near the ends of their lives.
When? Keeping our residents, visitors and staff safe is of the utmost importance. Our staff has done diligent, careful, professional work following the evolving recommendations from the CDC and the Department of Social Services. Our Caregivers can’t do social distancing with residents. They both need to be protected. PPE (personal protective equipment such as eye protection, masks, gowns, gloves and booties) is key to that protection. We now have no meaningful PPE inventory. We will not reopen until it is safe to do so and having an adequate supply of PPE is a key part of that.
We’re exploring how best to use the house for essential community-serving activities while we have no residents. Any approach will be taken with top-level attention to the safety of our Caregivers and others in the house.
March 31, 2020: Our house is now empty. This involved two move-outs, both accomplished in an orderly, planned manner, with our encouragement and support. One of our residents returned to his home — the dramatic improvement in his condition made this possible. The other resident moved to a facility in Orange County nearer his own home — where his family is able to visit him through a private entrance. It was heart-breaking to see the pain that not being able to visit him caused his family. We’re honored to have helped both families provide peace, comfort, support and dignity for these men.
We have told our Caregivers not to come to work, and encouraged them to be safe at home. For the time being, we are continuing to pay them as if they were working their normal shifts.
March 26, 2020: For the well-being of our residents and staff, we suspended permitting visitors to Caring House starting last night at 6 pm. We gave families notice earlier in the day. Only necessary hospice staff and our staff may visit at this time. All visitors continue to have their temperature taken and be screened at the door. We’re working with families and loved ones to help maintain communication with our residents by telephone and FaceTime.
March 23, 2020: Caring House sure is different without our volunteers in the house. They bring caring, energy and a boost that we’re calling “Vitamin V” — today is day 8 without Vitamin V. Even though they’re not in the house, volunteers have been helping by finding supplies and groceries and checking in by phone to thank and support our caregivers.
March 20, 2020: We suspended new admissions today. And continued working with hospice agencies to have them visit only if absolutely necessary for the care of the resident.
March 18, 2020: Each resident may have only one or two personal visitors within any 24 hour period. The resident or their responsible person will designate in advance who those visitors will be. Visitors should remain in the resident’s bedroom during their visit, subject to use of the powder room. We also broadened our entry screening.
- Family members are taking responsibility for informing their wider circles to put off visits to Caring House at this time.
March 16, 2020: We sent an urgent email BOLO appeal to our Insiders’ Email Group asking supporters to be on the lookout for five key items we’ve struggled desperately to find. Supporters were urged to buy the items and drop them off with their name and receipt and we’d reimburse them.
- Several shopping supporters have been helping us deal with this by purchasing items and dropping them off at our front door. Three items continue high on the BOLO list: Lysol or Clorox Disinfectant Spray; large hand sanitizer refill; and white, pick-a-size paper towel rolls.
March 16, 2020: We started restricting access so that we’re only permitting immediate family members, hospice providers, staff and executive officers into the house. Volunteers will not be admitted to Caring House until further notice. All visitors must have their temperature taken at the door and it must be normal.
- Volunteers created Caring House and make it strong. Excluding volunteers from Caring House is heartbreaking — but necessary at this time for the health and safety of all.
March 14, 2020: We started reaching out to colleagues operating homes like Caring House in other parts of the U.S. Many such homes gather together to share information and support through the Omega Home Network. We know that the Network will be a great help as we do our best to continue our mission and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.