The COVID-19 pandemic has beset us with a unique set of challenges. Both old folks homes and nursing homes in Malaysia have had to re-consider their care policies for residents, staff, and visiting family members. We at Genesis Life Care Centre Klang were not spared on this front. This brief article serves to illustrate all the measures we have implemented within our old folks home in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 within our facility.
The majority of residents living in Genesis Life Care Centre Klang are over the age of 80. Most have multiple long-term health conditions, and the majority of them are affected by some form of physical disability and/or cognitive impairment. These factors all play a part in contributing towards their increased vulnerability towards COVID-19. But the professional team in Genesis has gone to great lengths in trying to prevent its spread and improve outcomes for residents during the pandemic.
Since the Ministry of Health, Malaysia first highlighted the significantly higher risk of mortality due to COVID-19 in old folks homes back in March 2020, our care teams have learned much more about how to manage both the illness and spread of infection in care facilities.
This article serves to provide a brief overview of all the measures that we at Genesis Life Care Centre Klang have undertaken in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staff and resident testing
Admissions to care homes
Diagnosing COVID-19 in care homes
Management and treatment of COVID-19 in care homes
Advance Care Planning
1. Infection control
We have enforced the mandatory use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to promote effective infection control within our facility. We also encourage frequent consultation with the district health department to ensure that PPE protocol adherence is maintained and potential deviation from these stipulated protocols are identified and addressed promptly.
Our doctors and registered nurses perform periodic training sessions for all carers and auxiliary staff on usage of PPE in order to ensure they have up-to-date technical knowledge of proper usage of PPE.
All staff are required to wear appropriate PPE prior to physical contact with all residents. Staff who are unable to wear PPE are not encouraged to be involved in direct care of residents.
Where staff are required to conduct aerosolizing procedures, such as tracheostomy suctioning, they are to work with our registered nurses to ensure that they have appropriate equipment and are trained to use it.
All visitors to our facility, including family members and visiting health professionals, must follow the same PPE guidance as care home staff. This is to protect both residents and those who are visiting. We have a receptionist stationed at the entrance to the facility that is tasked with ensuring that all visitors don and doff PPE correctly.
2. Staff and resident testing
COVID-19 is often asymptomatic and, as such, regular testing of our personnel is essential.
We implement testing for all personnel that return to us after a history of travel out of state, or exhibiting symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
All residents coming into Genesis for the first time is required to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 RTK/PCR testing. Regardless of the outcome of this testing, the resident are then placed into a 14-day mandatory isolation as part of our strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 into the facility.
3. Admissions to care homes
We at Genesis strive to limit the number of admissions into our facility during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. Under un-avoidable circumstances however, we do still accept admissions during this period albeit with additional precautions in place.
All admissions into Genesis, regardless of COVID status, are quarantined for 14 days after admission.
Any new admissions tested positive for COVID-19 are immediately reported to the Ministry of Health via e-notification. In addition to that, all personnel that have been in contact with a positive case and subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test before being quarantined for 14 days.
4. Family visiting
Social isolation is harmful to care home residents and can result in low mood and cognitive or functional decline. It is for this reason that we at Genesis believe that reopening our facility to visitors as the pandemic continues, with appropriate safeguards, should be regarded as a public health priority.
All visitors to Genesis are not allowed up to the residential floors. Instead, visitation is performed at the lounge area in the ground floor lobby area. Visitors are required to inform of their visits beforehand and visitation is limited to 1 visitor/resident/hour.
Visiting hours are strictly limited to between 9am and 6pm. This is to ensure that all our residents are given sufficient time for rest and other daily activities.
Visitors are encouraged to undergo frequent testing and are strongly advised against visiting the facility if they develop any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
5. Diagnosing COVID-19 in old folks homes
Old folks home residents do not always present with typical symptoms. In view of this, our staff and clinical teams are trained to be on constant alert for both typical and atypical COVID symptoms among our residents.
Among the more atypical symptoms that our teams are trained to look out for are:
New onset confusion and/or drowsiness (delirium)
Loss of appetite and/or reduced oral intake
Diarrhea or abdominal pain
Residents with suspected COVID-19 are tested immediately, and isolated from other residents pending their test result. The resident doctor in Genesis is notified as soon as possible.
6. In-facility UV sterilization
Genesis has made substantial investments in investing into ceiling-mounted UV lights throughout the facility. These UV lights need to be turned on for a period of 15 minutes daily during which time is capable to destroying up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses (including the coronavirus)
The measures as stated above showcase the measures that we at Genesis have undertaken to protect our residents against the effects of COVID-19. At Genesis, we believe that the fight against this pandemic begins at home. For details on the services we offer or any other related enquiries, please call +6012 321 0457 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit us at www.genesiscare.com.my.