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Virginia Nursing Homes Prepare for COVID-19 Threat

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Nursing facilities across Virginia are following their infection prevention and control procedures to respond to COVID-19. (Photo: Innovative Healthcare Management)

There are about 300 licensed nursing homes in Virginia. With the threat of COVID-19, many have tightened up their prevention procedures.

It is flu season and prevention efforts are already in place. 

Keith Hare, president and CEO of the Virginia Health Care Association, said, "While this is a new virus, the procedures to follow to prevent its spread are not new." 

In order to be certified for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, each facility must have a designated infection preventionist, like Taylor Tealakh. She says, "We’re following the CDC Guidelines from the time the virus broke out."

Tealakh works for Innovative Health Care, which has five Virginia locations. "If they do suspect it’s the coronavirus, they immediately place that patient in isolation and we need to call the hospital and get that patient to the appropriate level of care."

The Virginia Health Care Association says they are stocking up supplies, reviewing guidelines, and screening visitors.  

With the continuing spread of COVID-19 cases, Virginia’s more than 280 nursing homes are stepping up their prevention efforts. Hare says, "They have been sending guidelines and the latest information to all of their members since mid-February."

"Just like the flu, we know the frail and elderly are especially susceptible to this virus.  One of the things we have done to help them is to urge them to stay informed, to review their infection prevention and control measures," Hare says.

Among the guidelines: extra care with hand hygiene, sanitizing areas that residents might come in contact with, and screening visitors.

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