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For several months, COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly, and recently, it has been deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Commonly known as the coronavirus, this illness is accompanied by a high fever, coughing and shortness of breath. While some may tolerate the virus well, medical experts have found that it can be very serious for those who are elderly or those who have a compromised immune system.

This is alarming news for those in long-term care facilities, who may be particularly susceptible to the virus and who may be most at risk for adverse complications. Our law firm supports coronavirus prevention in long-term care facilities. In an effort to raise awareness, we have compiled a list of guidelines for long-term care facilities to consider:

Preventing coronavirus: basic tips for everyone

Fortunately, the steps that can be taken to help prevent the spread of coronavirus are relatively simple. The best thing that anyone can do is wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. In addition, people should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and they should maintain a safe distance from others in public. Anyone who is coughing or sneezing should do so in a tissue or into their elbow. After coughing or sneezing, hands should be washed immediately. Finally, commonly used surfaces should be disinfected as frequently as possible.

Long-term care facilities and coronavirus: what you need to know

The Center for Disease Control has provided long-term care facilities with specific guidance as to how these organizations can deal with the outbreak of coronavirus. Long-term care facilities should have a plan that can easily be put into place to both monitor and prevent coronavirus infection.

Protecting the residents of long-term care facilities

Long-term care facilities managers should consider implementing extra measures to protect residents, who are at a higher risk of suffering from serious complications from the illness. These measures can include:

  • Notifying residents of all extra measures that are being taken to stop the spread of infection, such as additional sanitizing or deep cleaning.
  • Requiring staff members to stay home when they are sick. This can be encouraged by creating a flexible sick leave policy that allows staff members to stay home without suffering economic distress.

Creating visitor policies amid the coronavirus outbreak

Visitor policies may need to be reevaluated and modified as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Visitors should not be admitted to a long-term care facility to see a loved one if they are sick or have recently been sick. Visitors can be encouraged to use digital communication tools to stay in touch with those who are currently residing in a long-term care facility.