In this time of rapid change and global crisis, it can be hard to know how to best support your loved one if he or she is in an inpatient rehab facility. At Rehab Select, we take our responsibility to our patients and their families incredibly seriously. During this global pandemic, that means that we are abiding by strict regulations to ensure patient safety and well-being.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the medical facts known about the coronavirus, the current federal and state regulations that apply to inpatient rehab facilities, and the guidelines that we are following to ensure patient safety and well-being at all times. We will focus on how you can support our efforts to keep your loved ones healthy while they remain in our care, and why social distancing is an absolute must.
COVID-19: The Medical Facts
The novel coronavirus causing the current pandemic is known as COVID-19. There are currently over 122,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and more than 2,000 people have died as of March 30, 2020. So far, the state of Alabama has over 500 cases.
The CDC reports that symptoms of the disease include fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. In some cases, symptoms are very mild, and people may not even be aware that they have the virus. Symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to an infected person. COVID-19 is currently thought to be spreading person-to-person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be passed between people who are within 6 feet of one another. Currently, people are thought to be most contagious when they are showing symptoms, although they may also be contagious before they show any symptoms. It is also possible that a person could catch the virus by touching an infected surface, but the CDC does not currently believe this is the main form of transmission.
COVID19: Understanding the Risks to Patients in Inpatient Rehab Facilities
COVID19 is contagious and anyone can catch it. However, older adults (over 65 years old) are currently considered to be at greater risk of developing severe symptoms. Other high-risk groups include:
- People with underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease;
- People who have a compromised immune system, including those undergoing cancer treatment;
- People with a serious heart condition;
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
Particular caution must therefore be taken to protect people in these high-risk groups from exposure to COVID19. Patients in Rehab Select facilities should be considered to be within high-risk groups.
Current Federal and State Mandates in Alabama
The Governor of Alabama has issued a state mandate which strictly prohibits all visitors and non-essential health care personnel from visiting any hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility or inpatient rehabilitation facility until at least April 5th. This serious step has been taken to protect the health of vulnerable people in healthcare facilities. The only exceptions taken into account are maternity and end of life.
As a result, at Rehab Select we are currently unable to allow our patients’ families and loved ones to visit them. We have also stopped all visits from non-essential healthcare personnel to reduce the risk to our patients. We are aware that this can be very difficult, both for our patients and their families. However, our priority must be the health and safety of the patients in our care. There have been many examples of how quickly coronavirus can spread in a healthcare facility, and some devastating cases around the world of the damage the virus can cause to elderly or vulnerable populations.
What We Are Doing to Make Sure Our Patients Stay Safe and Well
As well as prohibiting all visitors from our inpatient rehab facilities, we are also following the guidelines prescribed by the CDC to ensure patient safety. These include canceling all group activities and communal dining, following the highest possible level of hygiene, and ensuring all employees comply with strict infection prevention guidelines.
In addition, we are trying to maintain a structured and enjoyable routine for all our patients, and make sure that all patients receive helpful, consistent information on the current situation from our staff members.
How You Can Help Your Loved Ones
We recognize that being unable to visit your family member or loved one during this time can be devastating. While you may feel very frustrated by this situation, we ask you to remember that visitors are the most likely sources of COVID-19 into a healthcare facility, according to the CDC.
In the meantime, we encourage you to check in with your loved ones regularly, whether via FaceTime or Skype, or by phone. We also welcome you to contact us to check up on their well-being and will be happy to provide you with updates. If you have any concerns about our hygiene measures or infection mitigation procedures, we will be very happy to answer your questions.
We would also urge you to bear in mind that your loved one is in the best place they can be right now. We are supervising their health 24 hours a day, and they have constant access to a team of highly experienced healthcare professionals to help them recover their physical well-being and tend to their emotional and psychological needs.
You can help us to take care of your loved ones by staying in contact with them. If they are easily confused or anxious, you can help to reassure them by keeping all communication positive, compassionate and straightforward. If you would like any help on how to talk about coronavirus with your family member, we would be happy to guide you.
See How Rehab Select Facilities Are Adapting to Visitation Restrictions
To find out more about the Rehab Select facilities and the team who are caring for your loved ones during this very difficult time, please visit our website. To get in touch with us at any time, you can contact us here. To call a specific Rehab Select facility, you can find the list of numbers here.