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What to Do When Your Senior Living Community Tests Positive for COVID-19

Senior Living Strategy October 5, 2020

Chances are, someone in your community has already tested positive for COVID-19. If not, someone likely will. The speed and efficacy of your response could be the difference between keeping it contained or fighting its spread. 

What do you do when someone within your community tests positive? What workflows will help you manage the case? How do you standardize your response so it is repeatable and reportable? Here at Sentrics, we’ve developed an integrated contact tracing and case management solution that can help you automate your protocols should someone test positive in your senior living community. 

Today, we’re going to pull back the curtain to show you how it works

Start with Automated Contact Tracing 

When any person within your community tests positive for a contagious virus, the clock begins ticking. Your staff must move with swift confidence

The first step is to determine who has been exposed and to what degree with contact tracing. 

Per the CDC, “Identifying contacts and ensuring they do not interact with others is critical to protect communities from further spread. If communities are unable to effectively isolate patients and ensure contacts can separate themselves from others, rapid community spread of COVID-19 is likely to increase.” 

The CDC outlines the five key pillars to contact tracing: 

  1. Identify those infected instantly
  2. Find out where they went, with whom they interacted, and for how long
  3. Isolate those who are infected
  4. Warn contacts of exposure, and assess their infection status
  5. Provide testing and care to those with symptoms   

Manual Contact Tracing Isn’t Good Enough 

Senior living communities must rely on technology to aid them in their efforts.  

Why? 

Traditionally, contact tracing has relied on manual processes. It’s a time-consuming and expensive process that usually requires removing someone from their normal tasks to complete this work. And it’s an unbudgeted expense. 

The efficacy of conventional contact tracing methods depends on a few critical factors: 

  • Manual contact tracing is heavily reliant on the imperfect memory of those infected
  • It requires a significant number of trained contact tracers to learn the necessary skills and then be integrated into the workforce
  • The rapid spread of transmission tends to outpace manual attempts to contain it 
  • It potentially exposes the tester to the infection

In response to these issues, many communities have turned to automated contact tracing and case management, like Ensure360SM, which includes contact tracing.  These technologies help you respond automatically by providing proven workflows and standardized protocols necessary to prevent the spread.  

How Ensure360 Automates Contact Tracing and Case Management

Ensure360 combines sophisticated eCall, sensors, and a robust integrated rules engine with real time location services, contact tracing and case management. It keeps residents safe, improves caregiver efficiency, and reduces the risk and expense of adverse events. 

The integrated contact tracing component helps you identify residents and team members exposed to an infected person so that you can act quickly to contain them and the contagion. 

How does it work? 

Identifies Exposed People in Minutes

Once someone has tested positive for COVID-19 or any other highly contagious disease, you want to act fast. The contact tracing component leverages Ensure360’s real time location services, to help you identify the who, what, when, where and for how long someone was in contact with the infected person. 

Simply set a few parameters:

  • Select the resident or team member exposed
  • Choose a date range
  • Define the contact level (up to five levels) and time duration

Once this is done, you will instantly see the multiple connection levels an exposed person had, starting with the most at-risk person. From there, you can drill down into the details of each individual exposure. 

After identifying who’s been exposed, preventing the spread of the contagion comes down to case management. While you can use your EMR to help, you’ll still have to define the processes, procedures, and reports needed to manage cases over the long term. 

Many communities lack the time or resources to do this properly. 

That’s why Ensure360 comes pre-integrated with a case management platform.

Integrated Case Management

The Ensure360 case management solution starts with a visualized dashboard report. It gives you an instant status on contagious infections in your community, including: 

  • Exposures
  • Status of those exposed 
  • Case history 

Next, the case management platform alerts the caregiver to follow the disease protocols and provides a step-by-step guide of the protocols your community has defined for that disease. While your guidelines may differ, the technology will help

  • Provide the person’s health and demographic data to the caregiver responsible with enacting the correct procedures
  • Send the protocols to to the caregiver’s mobile device, which they can follow step-by-step 
  • Enable the caregiver to check off and confirm the steps are complete, which helps show compliance later
  • Set an automatic geofence around the resident’s apartment to help keep that person isolated

A Sample 6-Step Protocol 

A standard protocol listing for a COVID-19 resident could include:

  1. Follow CDC guidelines – Take the proper precautions to protect yourself and others including wearing the appropriate PPE and deep handwashing 
  2. Inform and isolate – Inform the resident of the disease status and the quarantine or isolation steps 
  3. Provide written instructions – Share a written plan of action and rules through the quarantine or isolation period 
  4. Gather contact data – Detail any contacts off campus 
  5. Document symptom data – List all of the symptoms 
  6. Disinfect – Disinfect all surfaces and items used during the visit 

Once the caregiver confirms all six steps, the geofence alarm is set automatically because Ensure360 has the resident’s exact location. Then, the resident’s health status will change to “COVID-19 positive.” That person will be added to the total number of positive cases found in the resident data section of the main dashboard. 

Once the caregiver has completed this process for the initial exposed resident, there may be other exposed residents who require the same steps. Because the process is automated, it’s consistent and repeatable. 

It also delivers a standardized set of reports that provide transparency to the community, county, government and family members. 

Your Entire Senior Living Community’s Health Information in One Place

COVID-19, unlike any other recent health condition, is pushing senior living communities to become more sophisticated in managing the care and clinical outcomes of residents. 

When it comes to disease mitigation, automated and integrated contact tracing and case management is the key. 

And it all starts with Ensure360. 

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