It’s hard to believe fall is here — and that our country has been navigating a global pandemic for over half the year. As we head into the holiday season, Harmony Senior Services is committed to providing a safe, warm and inviting environment for loved ones and our residents to gather together. This year, ensuring an atmosphere that feels as normal as possible will require us to stay vigilant, and stay ahead of the curve through the precautions we take. As we have since the onset of this crisis, the Harmony COVID-19 Task Force is already implementing forward-thinking measures that will help us responsibly make this happen in the weeks and months ahead.
Updates from our COVID Task Force
Our Task Force team, which has retained a dedicated medical professional to provide further expertise and guidance, continues to meet daily in order to review the status of our communities and identify and discuss available technology and prevention practices for our residents, associates, and family members. In addition to carefully monitoring all local, state, and federal rules and regulations to make sure we are following the most current recommended protocols, we also audit our PPE stockpile daily to ensure all communities have an adequate future supply on hand for distributing as needed to our residents and associates at all times. Additionally, we continue to monitor PPE supply chains in an effort to remain ahead of shortages.
Thanks to the diligence of this team thus far, we’ve been able to responsibly re-introduce visitation over the past few months in accordance with local, state and federal requirements, and our desire is to continue doing this as safely as possible. To this end, we’ve recently invested in even more precautionary measures that, when adopted and followed throughout this season, will continue to help us prevent the spread of the virus. These actions exhibit our commitment to providing a safe working environment for our associates, to keeping families connected to their loved ones, and to ensuring our residents have the best experience in our communities.
New Sanitation Measures
On the sanitation and air quality front, our enhanced cleaning protocols have always included using approved sanitation solutions to ensure surface areas are cleaned and disinfected routinely and after group use. To aid in keeping our air exceptionally clean, we have installed needle point bipolarized air purifiers in every community, which works to minimize or reduce COVID-carrying organic particles. As another step in disinfecting our common and high traffic areas, we have also adopted new Rapid Foggers, which are CDC rated. And for identified pilot communities in particular, other new measures include implementing Enviral Tech Surface Testing technology to detect possible organic materials before signs or symptoms develop among staff or residents, and ordering Electrostatic sprayer technology to attach cleaning solution to hard-to-reach surface areas, creating a clean and even coat of sanitized surfaces.
Expanded Testing Capabilities
Harmony’s testing process is also more thorough than ever: When a COVID-19 case is suspected or identified in a community, we conduct regular testing of associates and residents, and implement extensive contact tracing efforts to track and curtail any further points of exposure. Associates, guests, and residents that go out and return to a community are screened thoroughly – including verifying they have not been exposed and that they are not exhibiting symptoms. In addition, we complete a temporal thermometer check on every person that comes into the community.
Expanding on these measures are new Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen test kits, which have been in place at pilot communities to provide rapid test results for our residents and associates. In addition, we have continued our dedicated lab service for community residents and associates to enable faster results.
Living and Visiting at Harmony
Our policies for community living and visitation procedures have continued to evolve, too. From a testing standpoint, all new move-ins are strongly recommended to be tested for COVID prior to move in, and our new associates are tested for COVID prior to their first day of work. We know how important it is to stay connected; for this reason, visitation is encouraged for all of our residents and family members in all of our communities, while maintaining compliance with local, state and federal restrictions. As safety remains our top priority, we do require all visitors complete our screening, practice social distancing, wear face masks, and visit in the areas designated by the community.
For residents, our dining rooms are open and designed for social distancing with industry leading modifications to ensure a pleasant and safe dining experience. Programming is scheduled and done with the resident’s safety and enjoyment in mind — we have programming that is adapted for small groups with social distancing. Following the positive approach we have embraced all along, our programming is focused on what CAN be done rather than what cannot be done during this time.
At Harmony, we take safety very seriously and have made tremendous efforts and investments to keep our communities safe, but we also know we have a responsibility to provide our residents and associates the best experience possible here — especially at this special time of year. We are confident in this balance and invite you to experience it for yourself. We will continue to provide you with updates from our Task Force in the weeks and months ahead. Stay safe and be well.
Terry Howard, CEO