Touchstone Healthcare Community COVID-19 Update

Updated as of September 27, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. CDT

Dear Residents, Families, Staff, and Friends of Touchstone Healthcare Community,

We sincerely appreciate your ongoing support and empathy as we navigate the Coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has on Touchstone Healthcare Community, our residents and staff, their families, and the broader community.

As you know, we have implemented changes in our regular operations as part of our response plan, including enhanced infection control and strict prevention measures, monitoring residents and staff for symptoms, testing when appropriate, and restricting visitors except in end-of-life situations on a case-by-case basis. We continue to closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as state and local health officials.

We are committed to respectful, open, and transparent communication. Residents, families, and staff are notified of any COVID-19 cases in the care community. Our medical director and other providers as well as local and state health departments are guiding our efforts, as well as our own preparedness plans. We are providing updates to all residents, families, and staff as we learn more, ensuring we respect and follow all health and employment privacy requirements.

You may be aware that the Governor announced that certain establishments in Iowa are allowed to reopen across 77 counties. As a senior care community, we will continue to restrict all non-essential visitors, except for end-of-life care situations on a case-by-case basis to assure safety for all. Additionally, vulnerable individuals— seniors and those living with chronic health conditions— will continue to shelter-in-place at this time according to the federal government’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.

We will continue to work around-the-clock to protect our care community by focusing on our COVID-19 Preparation and Response Action Plan, which includes an Infection Prevention Control Program. The following is a summary of these preventive actions:

  • Quarantining residents and implementing enhanced infection control measures. This includes establishing a designated area in the building for those residents with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantining the resident in his or her room. We will have designated staff to support and care for them and continue to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC, CMS, local, and state health officials. The residents will remain in quarantine until well and cleared by medical professionals to return to normal activity.
  • Advising affected staff to take all appropriate measures. For their health and well-being, should there be a staff member with a COVID-19 diagnosis, the staff member will be asked to quarantine at home, and contact their medical provider to guide their care. We will follow all CDC guidance on the return to work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19.
  • Assessing and screening of individuals who come in contact with anyone affected. We will work with state and local health officials to assess and screen all who may have come in close contact with an affected individual. In that event, we will follow all requirements in implementing next steps which may include self-monitoring as determined by health officials. We understand there may be an increased desire to be tested for COVID-19. We are following all direction from state and local health officials regarding the additional testing required for other residents and staff.
  • Continuing to monitor and screen residents for symptoms. We have increased our screening of residents for fever and respiratory symptoms. Residents: we appreciate your partnership in keeping yourself and others healthy. Please wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Remember to let us know immediately if you feel ill. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. For additional information, please visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website: idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus or the CDC’s website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
  • Continuing to screen staff prior to beginning work. Staff are not allowed in the building if they are ill. Screening includes taking temperature upon arriving at the building as well as completing a detailed health screening. Any staff who exhibit symptoms are instructed to put on a mask, isolate at home, call their medical provider, and notify their supervisor. Additionally, our staff is following CDC guidelines for hand and other related hygiene requirements.
  • Continuing to implement environmental safety precautions. Housekeeping staff continue to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building. This includes countertops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, doorknobs, crash bars, door handles, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and handrails.
  • Continuing to restrict visitors in our building for everyone’s safety. We encourage loved ones to communicate with residents by phone, letters, video chat, and/or social media, and are happy to facilitate this communication. We understand that it is hard to not have visitors, especially family. Visitors who need to enter the building for end-of-life care situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assure safety for all. If you have questions, or need assistance with these communication methods, please contact us: (712) 239-4582. We are here to support you.Visitors who are permitted to enter the building for end-of-life situations are first screened for fever and respiratory symptoms. They are also required to frequently clean their hands, limit their visit to a designated area within the building, and wear a face mask.
  • Restricting congregate dining and cancelling internal and external group activities. We have cancelled congregate dining, all community outings, and group activities. This occurred following social distancing guidance from the CDC, CMS, and state and local health officials. We also continue to help residents to practice social distancing and to frequently clean their hands.
  • Utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) when interacting with residents and others, as directed by CMS guidelines.

We will continue to be in close communications with our medical director, other providers, as well as state and local health officials, and are monitoring new information from the CDC and CMS to ensure we are taking the appropriate next steps.

We want to take this opportunity to share our ongoing gratitude to our dedicated staff, for their commitment to the care of and service to our residents. Their courage is nothing short of inspiring—they are our heroes!

It is moments like these that we remember our true calling and what brought us to senior health care. We care deeply about our residents and staff and consider them to be members of our own extended families.

Thank you for support and understanding; we are all in this together. Please do not hesitate to contact the Touchstone team via phone: (712) 239-4582 with any questions or concerns you may have.

NOTE TO MEDIA PERSONNEL: Send inquiries to media@hdgi1.com.

As information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly changes, we are committed to providing the most recent information. Some of the details in this update may have changed after publication.

For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use the following resources: