COVID-19 Update: A Safe & Happy Thanksgiving at Five Star!

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Senior lady with yellow flowers

A Safe & Happy Thanksgiving at Five Star!

All across the country our Five Star Senior Living communities are planning safe and happy Thanksgiving celebrations. Our recipe for Thanksgiving traditionally includes family, food, fun and festivities! Oh yes – we need to remember football. As everyone knows – holiday festivities involve a lot of preparation and this year is no exception. We’d like to tell you a bit about our plans to host safe and happy Thanksgivings all across Five Star Land.

We are focused, as always, on the safety and well-being of our residents, their families, and our team members. Our Community Leadership Holiday Guidelines Tool Kit includes protocols that meet or exceed all CDC guidelines as well as state and local regulations.

  • Resident, Family & Team Member Communication – Our residents, families and team members are asked to sign a voluntary pledge to take the actions to keep our residents safe.
  • Family Visits – We know that families are important and we have detailed procedures for helping to ensure safe visits.
  • Signature Dining – Turkey with all the trimmings, delicious side dishes, a vast array of desserts, and guests at the table. We’ve established best practices so we can be ready for company.
  • Lifestyle 360 Programs – Thanksgiving is about abundance and our communities have an abundance of creative and fun activities planned to celebrate with our residents.
  • Safety Protocols – We have comprehensive safety precautions in place including protective equipment, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and infection control.

As we know – every good plan requires an equally good contingency plan. Every day, we monitor the changes that happen with regard to the pandemic. It varies state by state, city by city, community by community, and day by day. To ensure you understand the up to date status for a specific community, please navigate to their website and call them directly. Meanwhile, please know that our contingency plans include safe and creative ways to celebrate the holiday, regardless of community status.

Much like Piglet in the beloved children’s book, Winnie the Pooh, we at Five Star notice that our hearts hold a rather “large amount of gratitude” despite the challenges of this holiday season. We are grateful for our community team members who are committed to ensuring that our residents are able to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and to keeping each other safe. We are grateful for our corporate teams that have banded together to ensure that we are able to keep up with the latest infection control protocols, and that we have appropriate supplies to weather whatever may come our way, and most important, we are grateful for our residents and their families, who have entrusted us to support them through this journey, and to keep them safe and happy.

bingo
resident petting horse
residents celebrating independence day

Get ready to share family stories again. Come together to laugh face to face!

November 4, 2020

HallwayDining rooms. Swimming pools. Salons. Libraries. Sunshine (outside) visits. Indoor visits. Even carefully planned tours for families in need of answers. Laughter is filling the corridors again – and not just because of hallway happy hours!

resident and daughter talking through windowSure, smiles are safely hidden behind facemasks. And everyone is staying at least 6 feet apart. Eyes above the mask line sparkle with the joy of visiting both family members and friends.

The warm feeling of fellowship, fueled these past few months through window and sunshine visits and the miracle of technology, is now turbocharged by loved ones actually seeing one another face to face. We hope to answer some of your most important questions on reopening here.

Is Five Star Senior Living open to visitors?

Resident and family members having a book visitAs we begin our reopening, pure bliss describes the experience of reuniting with each other. With residents and families in mind, our goal at Five Star is to reopen as much and as safely as possible.

We are diligent in our efforts to keep the virus at bay so we can continue to move forward with our phased reopening.

And as long as we’re not conducting community-wide testing, two guests at a time are invited to book visits with their loved one. We know that our residents will enjoy the love and attention.

How Is Five Star Senior Living protecting and supporting residents?

COVID-Shuffle video thumbnailIt’s been a challenging few months for everyone. We quickly learned at the very beginning of the pandemic to redouble our infection control efforts and stock up on personal protective equipment in order to divert the arrival of COVID-19 in as many Five Star communities as possible.

We’ve creatively nurtured the physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual well-being of our residents with reimagined programs, room service with a smile, Zoom calls, sunshine visits and so much more. Ageility therapists have helped maximize residents’ independence and facilitated healthy lifestyles. One creative therapist, knowing how her client loves to dance, prescribed a daily dose of “The Quarantine Shuffle.” You are sure to smile while watching.

EFR Flyer thumbnailOur attentive caregivers have also been keenly aware of the mental stress on residents. That’s why, since May, residents in our assisted living and independent living neighborhoods have had access to licensed or credentialed counselors by phone or videoconference 24/7. Whether they fear for their family’s safety or their own, or are suffering from feelings of isolation and hopelessness, they’ve had access to Employee & Family Resources (EFR) for up to three, 60-minute, confidential counseling sessions at no cost. We’ve extended this important, complimentary service through April 27, 2021.

 

Celebrating life, liberty and the pursuit of togetherness

It’s truly inspiring to witness our residents and families celebrating the gradual reopening of our communities and watch them embrace the precautions required to achieve a successful reopening. While we know that COVID-19 still lurks outside our doors, Five Star Senior Living is carefully loosening restrictions to give residents and families the liberty to be together again.

Myrtle Beach Manor resident couple on a cruiseMeanwhile, residents are having fun in lots of ways. A favorite example is how our Myrtle Beach Manor residents “cruised” into a reopening lunch in their dining room with a “Ticket to Paradise” event. After receiving their tickets, residents boarded a virtual cruise ship. There were photo ops on the starboard side, delicious all-they-could-eat food, a Broadway show and socially distanced fellowship with friends. “It was great seeing some of the folks not encountered since March,” says one resident, who shared her joy at just being able to wave and say “hi!” to friends and neighbors again.

resident votingMost recently, residents of Five Star’s Morningside of Cleveland voted right in the community. Lifestyle360 director, Janie Wingo, made arrangements with the county voting commission. One more way these valued citizens stayed safe while exercising their citizenship and freedom. Not even a pandemic could keep them from voting safely!

COVID-19 Thank you cardWhile this unforeseen pandemic has kept you from hugging and kissing your mom, dad, grandparent or possibly even your spouse of many years, your expressions of gratitude for the teams of Five Star caregivers has been so encouraging and very much appreciated. This special note to the Morningside of Orangeburg team is one of dozens from families.

Heroes cake“We want to thank each and every one of you for being so helpful, patient and kind to our mother during this most trying transition in her life. Every one of you [has] special talents to be able to work with the elderly during this pandemic and lock down. Heroes Do Work Here! This cake is just a token of appreciation. We thank God for you all.”

From all of us at Five Star, thank you for your continued confidence and ongoing trust. We are grateful for you! 

 

 


June 12, 2020

Dear Five Star Residents and Families,

As certain businesses begin the process of reopening, I want to take this opportunity to share that we have established an expert-led, cross-functional reopening team. For the last several weeks, this team has been aggressively designing a reopening strategy, which is tailored to each line of business and is consistent with the guidelines of the White House phased reopening plan, the CDC and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as well as applicable federal, state and local regulatory authorities.

It is important to highlight two important points about reopening:

First, Five Star communities will not reopen in the same way as other businesses. Given the vulnerability of the population we serve, we are taking a cautious and measured approach to reopening. Each community must demonstrate readiness before moving through the levels of reopening. We ask you to please be patient with your community as it moves through the reopening process to ensure that the effort is sustainable and efficient while mitigating potential risks.

Second, as your community moves through the reopening process, the resident experience will evolve to reflect our learnings and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, we will continue to practice social distancing and wear facemasks.

We know that in-person visits with loved ones will be one of the most anticipated activities once your community begins the reopening process. You can expect that the executive director of your community will communicate with you and outline all the specifics regarding family visits as well as other activities, such as salon appointments. It will be of the utmost importance that every resident and family member abide by the guidelines established within each community.

Over the next few weeks, your executive director will keep you updated with any information that may influence the reopening process. Each community’s goal is to resume as many activities as soon as safely possible. As always, the health and well-being of our residents and team members are our highest priority.

Meanwhile, everyone at Five Star extends their gratitude for your support and understanding as we thoughtfully approach reopening our communities.

Respectfully,

Katie Potter
President and Chief Executive Officer


May 27, 2020

COVID-19 Testing and Reopening Considerations

As our nation continues navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Five Star Senior Living remains committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our residents, team members and clients. Our COVID-19 task force and dedicated clinical leaders are working closely with public health organizations and regulatory agencies to ensure that our procedures stay fully aligned with the latest best practices and that we remain well equipped to protect our communities.

To further reduce the risk of exposure and prevent the spread of the virus, we have implemented a COVID-19 testing protocol for all healthcare and assisted living residents and team members. This program is designed to quickly diagnose asymptomatic individuals, survey and assess patient recovery and inform future decisions regarding reopening.
 
In light of certain states taking action to reopen local businesses, it is important to reiterate that our communities continue to follow all directives and recommendations provided by the CDC and other federal, state and local authorities. The three-phase White House reopening plan, the CDC and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services support the requirement for senior living communities to maintain current protocols until, at the earliest, phase three.
 
Accordingly, at this time, Five Star communities are maintaining restrictions on non-essential visitors as well as protocols related to pre-entrance screening, symptom monitoring, resident outings and community activities. Similarly, we will continue to diligently enforce enhanced sanitation and infection prevention protocols, including hand washing, social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. We are aggressively evaluating policies and restrictions and will adjust them when appropriate with our first consideration being for the well-being, health and safety of our residents and team members.

 

 


April 24, 2020

Five Star Media Statement

The safety, health and well-being of our residents, clients and team members remains our highest priority, and the Five Star COVID-19 task force continues monitoring developments and further enhancing our policies and procedures in this evolving global health crisis. Consistent with recommendations of and directives by federal, state and local regulatory agencies, all of our communities and clinics have implemented and continually updated infection and disease prevention protocols along with a number of other precautionary measures specifically tailored to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We have strict guidelines in place prohibiting all non-essential visitors from entering Five Star communities. Prior to entering, team members and essential visitors are screened for signs of a fever or other indications of COVID-19. Everyone is required to thoroughly wash or sanitize their hands and wear a facemask before entering a community. We continue to closely monitor all residents and team members for signs and symptoms and immediately follow recommended protocols to contact a physician and family, and isolate or send home someone exhibiting specific COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, we have temporarily closed all dining areas and postponed all non-medical resident outings and other social events. We strongly encourage independent living residents to refrain from leaving the community. Any resident leaving and returning to the community will be screened and may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
 
At Five Star, we continue to closely follow the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as federal, state and local regulatory agencies, and will continue taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and health of residents, clients and team members in our communities and clinics. Our team members are experienced, well prepared and specifically trained for infection prevention and control practices. We will continue to be vigilant and proactive in navigating this challenging situation.

 
 

 


April 24, 2020

Our Response

As our nation continues to fight COVID-19, Five Star’s mission to honor and enrich our residents’ lives is more important than ever. Our teams are working tirelessly to deliver exceptional care, and we remain as committed as ever to providing a warm, inviting environment for our residents. At Five Star, our top priority is protecting the health and well-being of our residents, as well as their families and our team members.

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Five Star quickly reacted by establishing a cross-functional, interdepartmental task force to closely monitor developments and communicate with community leaders, public authorities and other health care professionals in real time. The task force continues to diligently track the evolving pandemic, providing new information and key insights that enable Five Star to regularly enhance our protocols to safeguard our communities.

In addition to following all recommendations provided by the CDC as well as federal, state and local health authorities, Five Star has implemented robust infection prevention and control protocols. Our team members have received extensive training to take care of our residents, and they are well equipped to keep our communities safe.

Our actions show our commitment.

By being proactive and leveraging the expertise of our nation’s public health authorities, we are continuously adapting our procedures and best practices.

For our valued residents and their families, we are...

  • Complying with, and in many cases exceeding, recommendations provided by the CDC and federal, state and local regulatory authorities.
  • Restricting visitation:
    • All non-essential visitors are restricted from entering our communities.
    • Essential visitors and team members are limited to one entrance, are screened for signs of fever or other indications of COVID-19-related symptom. 
    • Everyone entering is required to thoroughly wash or sanitize their hands and wear a facemask before entering.
  • Enforcing strict new-resident admission and resident re-admission policies.
    • All prospective residents, and residents, who have been discharged from the hospital into our care or are otherwise returning to our communities, are closely screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
    • These individuals are placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon admission or return to the community, even if they do not exhibit symptoms of the virus.
    • All caregivers are equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including respiratory facemasks, eye protection, gloves and medical gowns, when tending to residents’ needs.
    • All team members are required to follow social-distancing procedures—maintaining at least six feet of distance while interacting with residents and one another.
  • Reorienting our dining and snacking protocols:
    • Our dining areas have been temporarily closed, and all residents receive meals via room service.
    • All catering activities, including lobby beverage and hospitality stations and self-service buffets, have been suspended.
    • We are focused on maintaining safe distances between residents while continuing our hydration and nutrition programs.
  • Eliminating social events:
    • All non-medical resident outings and other social events have been postponed or canceled until further notice.
    • All routine social visits and outside group activities have been canceled.
    • In addition to implementing new internal group activities that allow for engagement while maintaining social distancing, we are encouraging distance learning and programming options for our residents.
  • Regularly providing updates to the members of our community.
    • Residents, their families and our team members have the right to know what’s going on in their community. To that end, our communities are committed to regular updates regarding new COVID-19 cases and deaths at the community level.
    • Listed relatives whose loved ones have tested positive for COVID-19 are immediately and personally notified.

In our community operations, we are...

  • Providing all communities and clinics with COVID-19 toolkits, including detailed webinars with our chief medical officer and other Five Star health care experts and leaders, and supporting information-sharing across communities with dedicated message boards and robust interactive communication.
  • Offering all residents and families one-on-one assistance with FaceTime, Zoom or Skype videoconferencing, texting and email to keep them connected.EFR-Flyer-thumbnail
  • Supplementing in-room activities and programming to keep residents engaged and from feeling isolated while visits are suspended.
  • Making licensed or credentialed counselors available by phone or videoconference to all assisted living and independent living residents who may be especially affected by COVID-19. Whether they fear for their family’s safety or their own, or are suffering from feelings of isolation and hopelessness, Five Star has arranged with Employee & Family Resources (EFR) to offer up to three, 60-minute, confidential counseling sessions at no cost through Sept. 27. 
  • Providing team members with meals during shifts, employee assistance programs and free COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage.
  • Leveraging our centralized strategic sourcing function and network of suppliers to ensure continuity of supplies and products to our communities.
  • Halting all non-critical renovations and construction in communities.
  • Focusing on infection prevention and control practices, including:
    • All team members wear respiratory facemasks at all times, and caregivers with prolonged contact with residents wear appropriate PPE.
    • Maintaining a high level of cleanliness throughout communities and clinics, including regularly implementing our sanitizing protocols by using the Protexis gun throughout the entire community.
    • Contracting specialized, infection-control firms to sanitize all common areas, including walls, doors knobs, hand rails, apartments affected by COVID-19, and the kitchen.
    • Posting signage throughout our communities, reminding everyone to wash hands or use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing.
    • Closely monitoring the health of residents and team members.
    • Implementing emergency response plans.

 


 

 

April 9, 2020

A Message from Five Star CEO Katie Potter

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