Preventing COVID-19 In Assisted Living Facilities in San Antonio – A Balancing Act
COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be fatal. It is particularly risky for the older age group who has multiple health conditions or illnesses, and a compromised immune system. For that reason, reputable San Antonio assisted living facilities are taking steps to keep their residents and staff safe and healthy. In such facilities, residents are provided with a range of services to aid in their daily living. In the US, almost a million older adults live in approximately 25,000 assisted living facilities, and most of them have impairments in mobility or cognition.
Since the first cases were discovered in the US, the vulnerability of the elderly to the disease has been unfortunately demonstrated by the outbreaks occurring in many nursing homes. Public health response was aimed at saving lives and stopping transmission and it involved limiting guest visitation and movement. Similar practices have been implemented in other forms of residential communities, including San Antonio assisted living facilities.
To minimize the spread of infection, all residents and staff must undergo real-time polymerase chain reaction testing. This practice is a joint effort with local public health authorities and the centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Active surveillance is recommended to enable early detection, in case any of the residents or staff shows symptoms. Even those who are not showing any symptoms must be subjected to testing.
Further measures are being taken by reputable San Antonio assisted living facilities. Communal activities (i.e., shared meals) are being limited, and residents are being isolated in their own quarters. Some facilities continue to maintain a small population of residents, each of which are properly screened for health conditions, including COVID-19. The staff is doing their part in frequent sanitation of common areas and individual rooms, and helps all residents in following health protocols like wearing a mask when necessary, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing.
The CDC is recommending that assisted living facilities implement strict isolation policies to safeguard the health of staff and residents. To prevent the coronavirus from entering San Antonio assisted living facilities, visitation may be restricted, employees may be allowed to stay home if they have any respiratory symptoms, and new residents must be closely monitored for COVID-19 symptoms. Family of residents must also be well-informed on disease prevention measures.