Touchstone Healthcare Community COVID-19 Update

Updated as of August 7, 2020 at 10:37 a.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 have been working around-the-clock to protect our community and the broader community. Key components of the action plan are:

  • Quarantining residents and implementing enhanced infection control measures. This includes establishing a designated area in the building for the resident with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantining the resident in their room. We have designated staff to provide support and care, and continue to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC, CMS, and state and local health officials. The resident will remain in quarantine until well and cleared by medical professionals to return to normal activity. Our thoughts are with our resident.
  • Advising affected staff to take all appropriate measures. For their health and well-being, staff members with a COVID-19 diagnosis have been asked to quarantine at home and contact their medical provider to guide their care. We are following all CDC guidance on the return to work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19. Our thoughts are with our staff members.
  • Assessing and screening of individuals who came in contact with affected staff members. The community is working with state and local health officials to assess and screen those who may have come in close contact with affected staff, and will be following 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 on the additional testing required for other residents and staff.
  • Monitoring and screening 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. These symptoms include a 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.
  • Screening all staff prior to beginning work. Staff are not allowed in the building if they are ill. Upon arriving at the building, a detailed health screening is completed including taking their temperature to check for a fever. 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 counter tops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, door knobs, door handles, crash bars, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and hand rails.
  • Continuing to restrict visitors in our building for everyone’s safety. 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. We encourage loved ones to communicate with residents by phone, letters, video chat, and/or social media. We understand that it is hard to not have visitors, especially family, during these uncertain times. If you have questions, or need assistance with communication methods, contact Touchstone Healthcare Community: (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 local and state 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 deepest gratitude to our dedicated, hard-working staff for their commitment to the care of and service to our residents. Their every day efforts are inspiring— they are true heroes in every sense of the word! We know you appreciate their efforts as much as we do.

Thank you for support and understanding; we are all in this together.

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: