There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has touched the lives of everyone in the Gracedale Community in some way.

Our staff has worked determinedly to provide for the wellbeing of those who choose to call Gracedale home, and Gracedale's residents have inspired us all with their patience and courage.  Infection control measures have made it difficult at times to strike a balance between a resident's physical health and their overall wellbeing. Mirroring the greater community at large, social distancing has limited communal dining to room service only, events to individual or virtual activities and social calls to video chats and window visits.

Following very specific guidelines from the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), Gracedale intends to take careful, measured steps toward increasing social interactions for residents. Changes in community spread infections on both state and local levels as well as within Gracedale will impact the degree of social interaction allowed at any given time during the pandemic emergency. 

Below are the steps to reopening as issued by the PA DOH.  Each step must be preceded by 14 days without a community acquired case of COVID-19 in residents or staff.  If we do unfortunately experience a positive case, Gracedale will need to revert back to the prerequisite stage of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Reopening Guidance.  As Gracedale advances through, or potentially reverts back through these steps, updates will be posted to Gracedale's website and sent out via our mass communication alert system. Please remember this situation is fluid and can change quickly.

 

 Step 1Step 2Step 3
DiningResidents may eat in the same room with social distancing.Residents may eat in the same room with social distancing.Residents may eat in the same room with social distancing.
ActivitiesLimited activities may be conducted with 5 or less residents.  Social distancing, hand hygiene, and universal masking is required.Limited activities may be conducted with 10 or less residents.  Social distancing, hand hygiene, and universal masking is required.Activities may be conducted with residents.  Social distancing, hand hygiene, and universal masking is required.
Non-Essential PersonnelNon-essential personnel are restricted from entering facility.Non-essential personnel are allowed as determined necessary by facility administration.  Screening, social distancing, hand hygiene and universal masking are required.Non-essential personnel are allowed access to facility.  Screening, social distancing, hand hygiene and universal masking are required.
VolunteersVolunteers are restricted from entering facility.Volunteers are allowed, with facility administration approval, only for the purpose of assisting with visitation protocols. Screening, social distancing, hand hygiene and universal masking are required.Volunteers are allowed access to facility. Screening, social distancing, hand hygiene and universal masking are required.
VisitorsVisitors are restricted from entering facility.Outdoor visitations are permitted. Please refer to below information for additional details regarding visitations.Indoor visitations are permitted in an area defined by administration that is not usually occupied by residents. Please refer to below information for additional details regarding visitations.
Resident OutingsOutings are restricted.Outings are restricted.Outings are limited to the number of people where social distancing between residents can be maintained.  Appropriate hand hygiene and universal masking is required.

 

In order to meet the prerequisites defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health

  • Gracedale complied with the June 8, 2020 baseline testing order issued by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.  Universal baseline testing of residents and staff was completed with the assistance of Department of Health contractors and the Pennsylvania National Guard from June 26th- July 2nd.   Pennsylvania Bureau of Laboratories assisted with processing samples.
  • Gracedale maintains a stock of testing materials and has initiated a contract with Health Network Laboratories (HNL) that allows for testing of symptomatic residents within 24 hours. HNL will also provide universal testing for asymptomatic residents, staff, non-essential staff and volunteers in the event of an outbreak.
     
    • Residents who decline testing, or are unable to be tested, will be quarantined in an area where they are unlikely to cause infection should they be infected. 
    • Staff who decline testing or are unable to be tested may work only in areas where they are unlikely to cause infection should they be infected.

  • Gracedale has developed policies, which are available on Gracedale's intranet home page, that outline the steps in monitoring for and identifying suspected infections; isolation and cohorting of staff and residents; PPE use under standard, contingent and crisis capacity; cleaning and disinfecting; reporting. Policies are updated routinely as guidance from CDC, CMS and DOH changes.
     
  • Gracedale has a process for screening everyone who enters into the building that includes a questionnaire regarding exposure and signs as symptoms. Temperature checks are completed for everyone entering the building
     
  • Gracedale monitors its supply and rate of use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including, but not limited to, face shields, surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, etc.  We leverage GPO partnerships to assist in acquiring PPE as possible and explore all avenues available to maintain an adequate supply. Our policies outline steps to be taken in the event of supply chain failure.
     
  • Gracedale consistently ensures that the state minimum staffing levels are met on a daily basis. We have taken advantage of federal waivers regarding temporary and Certified Nurse Aide staff to increase our workforce. We employ agency staff when necessary. We also continue to follow our process for constant recruitment and hiring. Resident areas have been consolidated to allow reassignment of staff.
     
  • Gracedale's Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) and dietary department will collaborate to determine a best practice to expand communal dining that is in line with guidance provided by DOH and CMS.
     
  • Our therapeutic recreation department will continue to find creative ways to engage residents in individual and group activities that are in line with recommendations as presented above. Universal masking of all residents and staff participating will be maintained as well as strict adherence to group size and social distancing.
     
  •  Therapeutic recreation will also facilitate visitation by the safest means possible, carefully following the proposed guidance with a mixture of virtual visits and in person visits as allowed. All visits will continue to be scheduled through this department.
     
    • Visitations will take place outdoors during Step 2 of reopening (in the event of inclement weather visitation can still take place using video conferencing or window visits).  Outdoor visitation appointments will be capped per day to ensure the safety of our residents.
    • Visitation may take place indoors during Step 3 in an area unoccupied by residents.  This space will be defined by administration.  The route to the indoor visitation area my not pass through resident occupied areas.  Visitation may not take place in resident rooms.  Indoor visitation appointments will be capped per day to ensure the safety of our residents.
    • No in person visits are permitted prior to step 2 of the reopening process except on a compassionate care basis by permission of the administrator or designee. These visits may be arranged by requesting the need through the therapeutic recreation department who will pass the request on or by contacting the administrative secretary (610-829-3402).
    • Visiting hours
      • Monday through Friday
        • 9am to 11am
        • 2pm to 6pm
    • Visitors must:
      • Upon entering the facility report to the front lobby receptionist to sign in and be screened (temperature taken and questionnaire completed).  Should a visitor fail screening, the visitor will be denied further access and will be unable to participate in scheduled visit.
      • Wear surgical mask at all times (exception is children 2 years of age or younger)
      • Use facility supplied alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer before and after visit
      • Restrict movement to only designated visitation area
      • Upon completion of visit report to the front lobby receptionist to sign out
    • 2 visitors per visitation
    • Visitations limited to 30 minutes
    • Residents will wear surgical mask during visitation
    • Visitations must per scheduled with the Therapeutic Recreation department (610-829-3671)
    • All visitation areas will be disinfected using products that have EPA approval for COVID-19 after the conclusion of each visit by the Therapeutic Recreation staff member. 

Should Northampton County regress to a "Red" status ordered by the Governor of Pennsylvania or a disaster declaration be declared by local officials, all precautions and restrictions will revert to prerequisite stage of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Reopening Guidance.