THCA statement on visitation in Tennessee long-term care facilities:
Tennessee’s long-term care facilities have done an incredible job under extremely difficult circumstances over the past year as residents have been unable to see loved ones because of COVID-related visitation restrictions. The Tennessee Department of Health has announced there will no longer be state-specific visitation guidance related to long-term care effective Feb. 28, 2021. However, Tennessee’s skilled nursing facilities are still required to follow visitation guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and state-licensed long-term care facilities – including assisted living, residential homes for the aged, and any nursing home not certified by CMS – have been encouraged by the state to reference the CMS guidance when developing their facility-specific visitation policies. Because the CMS guidelines are similar to the state’s guidelines and CMS is unlikely to change its guidance anytime soon, the state’s removal of state visitation restrictions will likely have little effect because the CMS guidelines remain in place. As case counts decline and vaccines become widely distributed and are proven effective, we hope the federal government will modify its guidance, as well. But even then, precautions must continue to be taken to keep COVID out of long-term care facilities and protect our state’s most vulnerable population.
Shannondale of Knoxville and Maryville Visitation Update:
By mandate of the Tennessee Department of Health and CMS, we regret that visitation has temporarily been suspended at our Knoxville and Maryville campuses. We currently have or have had COVID-19 cases that required us to suspend it. This allows us to limit movement around the buildings and reduce exposure to residents and the healthcare workers caring for them. We know this is a difficult time for our residents and their families and ask that you please bear with us as we strive to do everything we can to keep our residents and staff members safe. Due to the rapidly changing environment, please contact the following phone numbers for more information on visitation:
We strive to provide transparent, accurate information on all aspects of COVID-19, including our prevention efforts that continue to develop with the latest clinical guidelines. In an effort to provide families and residents with open communication and up-to-date data, we are posting our numbers on a weekly basis.
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and out of an abundance of caution, Shannondale is taking every preventative and safety measure. We are following protocols from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), State Department of Health and the American Health Care Association. At Shannondale, we are putting residents first. We are honored and privileged to care for your loved one.
The following steps are being taken:
- We are following CMS’ visitation guidelines (please view the above guidelines and instructions for more information on visitation)
- All resident activities have been adjusted to meet CDC guidelines.
- All employees are being screened for symptoms on a daily basis at beginning of shift.
- We are following the highest cleanliness and sanitation standards and procedures.
- Our teams are continually monitoring residents/staff for symptoms.
- Employees are instructed to stay home if they are experiencing any illness or symptoms and are required to follow best practices to prevent possible exposure such as proper handwashing, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
- Daily training and updates are being provided to staff to ensure everyone is aware of the most current protocols.
How to Help Your Loved Ones:
Shannondale takes our residents’ health and social wellness seriously. We are developing new activities and are ensuring every resident has interaction with our activities staff and other Shannondale staff. Our goal, as always: keep residents happy and engaged. Especially, as we must follow visitation guidelines and access to your loved ones is limited at this time.
Residents enjoy receiving communication from their families and friends. These are a few ways you can keep your loved one feeling connected in between visits:
- Call them – US Cellular donated mobile phones for the residents to use to talk to family members. Our staff can help you connect, just ask one of our employees.
- Send a card – mail directly to the community with their name on the envelope
- Film a video or record a message they can watch. Email to: email@example.com.
- Send (or drop off at the front desk) books to read or activity books like crossword puzzles or word searches. We will ensure they receive your care package.
- This statement will be updated and adjusted as needed to ensure compliance with federal and state protocols.
If you usually pick up incoming mail for your loved one, please contact us to arrange for pick up: Knoxville – (865) 690-3411 or Maryville – (865) 982-4599.
Share a Smile Project:
We understand the limited visitation in place to protect your loved ones is difficult during this time. To prevent our valued residents from feeling lonely, isolated or sad, our team is doing everything in its power to spark smiles on their faces. Through our #ShareASmileProject, we’re finding creative ways that both our team and the community can engage and share smiles with residents. For example, our staff has enjoyed brightening peoples’ day with dress-up themes like Tie-Dye Day or Crazy Hat Day or handing out special treats. Also, through our special project, community members can Share a Smile three different ways: by mailing cards, sharing a fun video or sharing an encouraging post on social media. To learn more about how you can be involved in the #ShareASmileProject during this time, click here.