Residents of long-term care facilities are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19 because of advanced age and chronic medical conditions and co-morbidities. Not only are they at higher risk but have an increased risk of critical illness. Also, there are opportunities that include group settings in long-term care facilities that increases risk such as communal dining and activities.

The CDC has issued interim guidance for long-term care facilities. Click here to view this guidance.This guidance provides a COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Care Settings. The checklist aids facilities to evaluate and expand their readiness for COVID-19, develop an all-inclusive COVID-19 response plan and review of important considerations pertaining to COVID-19.

If COVID-19 is suspected, based on evaluation of the resident or prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, follow these guidelines:

    • Residents with known or suspected COVID-19 do not need to be placed into an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) but should ideally be placed in a private room with their own bathroom and the door closed.
    • Room sharing might be necessary if there are multiple residents with known or suspected COVID-19 in the facility. As roommates of symptomatic residents might already be exposed, it is generally not recommended to separate them in this scenario. State public health authorities can assist with decisions about resident placement in these situations.
    • Facilities should notify the health department immediately and follow the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with COVID-19 or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings, which includes detailed information regarding recommended PPE.
    • Check your state department of health website regularly for specific instructions for reporting suspected cases, testing, and case management protocols

Blog by Kristen Walden, MSN, RN RAC-CT, Clinical Consultant, Proactive Medical Review

Click here to learn more about Kristen and the rest of the Proactive team.