I am writing today to share with you Pickersgill’s response to the CoronaVirus or COVID-19 outbreak in Maryland. Protecting our residents is our primary concern. Currently, we don’t have any COVID-19 cases in the community. I know that you are following the news about the spread of the disease. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Governor Hogan met with representatives of the senior living and long-term care community on Tuesday to discuss the State of Maryland’s preparation and plans to contain (and now mitigate) Marylanders’ exposure to the virus, particularly for the staff, residents, and families of senior services organizations. Governor Hogan presented his recommendations to the public on Tuesday afternoon. You can watch it by clicking on this link: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/10/governor-hogan-announces-ninth-positive-case-of-covid-19-in-maryland-issues-new-guidance-for-long-term-care-facilities/. At that presentation, he stated that effective immediately, senior living communities should restrict access and visitation. This was supported by the Federal Government that issued similar and more detailed guidance. We have decided to follow the Federal Government’s and Governor’s recommendations regarding visitor access.
Consequently, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and welfare of our residents and given the recommendations of the government, we have decided that visitors will not be allowed into the Pickersgill, whether it is independent living, assisted living or the nursing home. This became effective yesterday afternoon. We recognize that this is a very serious step but feel it is necessary at this time. However, visitors will be allowed when it is absolutely necessary, such as end-of-life situations, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. All individuals who enter the building will be screened using CDC guidelines.
Despite these restrictions, we still need to operate the community. This means that certain individuals need to be on-site. This includes our staff, pharmacists, medical consultants, vendors and construction workers. Our staff are receiving training regarding COVID-19 so that they are knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms. The other individuals I listed are being screened regularly using CDC criteria. I realize that this is not a perfect solution but anything we can do to reduce our resident’s exposure to the virus we should do. I recognize that communicating with your family member is very important and we are exploring a variety of ways you could do that in addition to talking with them by telephone since you can’t visit with them.
We are monitoring this developing situation closely and complying with the protocols developed by the Maryland Dept. of Health, the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is a very dynamic environment and I will let you know about any changes to these restrictions as soon as I know them. I am asking for your support while we work through this situation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Barry Eisenberg, FACHE, LNHA
Pickersgill Retirement Community
615 Chestnut Avenue, Towson, MD 21204