For the past several months, vigilant and highly effective COVID-19 mitigation protocols put in place by Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) at its own skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, Memorial Manor, have been offered to unaffiliated nursing homes throughout south Broward county. Now, that proactive strategy is being looked at as a best practice statewide and nationally, as the nation seeks to insulate its vulnerable elderly population from the effects of the coronavirus.
At a national level, MITRE, an organization that focuses on public-private partnerships to find solutions for emerging world issues, selected a commission of 25 experts, including Memorial Healthcare System’s Administrative Director of Facilities, G. Adam Mayle, CHFM, CHC, CHE, to an independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.
Local outreach, which includes the Hollywood Fire Rescue Strike Force, involves widespread testing of nursing home residents and employees by clinical teams from Memorial Regional Hospital and the isolation or hospital transfer of any of those testing positive. There is also ongoing monitoring of all individuals, whether symptomatic or not, and additional safety recommendations that mirror those in place at Memorial Manor, where strict COVID-specific guidelines have been in place since early March. These include:
- Testing of all residents, patients, and staff every 14 days and transfer of anyone testing positive (including the asymptomatic) to a Memorial Healthcare System hospital for care
- Workers testing positive being removed from the workplace for at least 14 days and required to have two negative tests before returning
- Temperature checks for all staff at the beginning and end of each shift
- Staff dedicated exclusively to the long-term care unit or rehabilitation unit only so they don’t intermingle
- Masks required at all times and utilization of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when appropriate
- Rigorous disinfecting of rooms and common areas
- Doctor visits conducted via telehealth
- No outside visitors
“We’re focused on the health and safety of everyone connected to our facility and are collaborating with numerous outside agencies, including the Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services,” said Memorial Manor Administrator Jon Hennemyre. “All provided positive and supportive feedback on our team’s intervention efforts.”
Memorial Regional Hospital’s nursing home task force, led by Dr. Randy Katz, medical director of Emergency Services, and Chief Operating Officer Judy Frum, has also been active at nearly 60 other nursing homes in the hospital’s catchment area. The team educates and helps implement plans similar to those being enforced at Memorial Manor. “This type of outreach is personal to us,” said Frum, who, along with Katz, helped lead the evacuation of a Hollywood Hills nursing home facility after it lost power and its air conditioning failed during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
On a national scale, through his appointment to the MITRE independent commission, Memorial’s Adam Mayle, will provide his expertise to begin a comprehensive assessment of how nursing homes have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will share local best practices along with 24 other experts from diverse backgrounds who are working together to maintain high quality, safe environments at nursing homes across the U.S. For more information about the newly assembled commission, visit https://www.mitre.org/news/press-releases/25-experts-named-to-independent-coronavirus-commission-for-safety-and-quality.
For additional perspective on how long-term care facilities and nursing homes should prepare for and operate during COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.