“The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, imagination, and resources of its people.” Ernesto Sirolli
In LeadingAge Georgia member communities all across the state, teams are coming together, drawing on your talent, passion for serving older adults and compassion to ensure the well-being of elders and each other.
Your steadfast commitment to infection control and resident safety is evident in the data released by the Georgia Department of Health. In the early months of the pandemic almost fifty percent of deaths in Georgia were in long-term care settings. The percentage from yesterday was down to thirty three percent. We’ll buckle down and get through the winter months as safely as possible and hopefully the vaccine will be available around the beginning of the year for older adults.
With the holidays just around the corner, members will be balancing bringing cheer into communities while keeping residents safe. One member expressed concerns that some families don’t understand that visitation restrictions are set in place by the state. She also expressed managing family expectations of taking their loved ones home for the holidays. We asked Melanie Simon of DCH for clarification on rules for taking residents out of long-term care settings. She indicated that she will get back with us soon and we’ll share the information with you. In the meantime, please share with us any great communications you have for managing family expectations and the great things you are doing to honor the holiday traditions of your residents. We’ll share them in the updates over the next few weeks.
We have a lot of exciting things going on now. LeadingAge national is doing an incredible job of working with Congress and agencies to ensure needs of members are met. Dorothy Davis, board member and president of Visiting Nurse Health System sent an email to me about a PPE delivery that national arranged and said “I can’t say wow and amazing enough!” If there is an area you want us to work on with national, please send an email to me and I will follow up with their public policy office.
Speaking of PPE, the Thanks Mom & Dad Foundation arranged for us to receive an allotment of disposable surgical masks. If you are interested in picking some up for your residents please email Scott Bassett at sbassett@LeadingAgeGa.org.
Toni Miles, MD, a University of Georgia gerontology professor recognized that staff in long-term care needed help understanding how to grieve the passing of residents and how to be of support to residents and their families around grief issues. She recently invited LeadingAgeGeorgia/the Georgia Institute on Aging to partner on a grant to bring this training to HUD communities. We are excited to say that we were notified that we will receive a grant to provide the training. We hope HUD communities will take advantage of this training which we plan to launch in January. See the article later in the newsletter for more information.
Please mark your calendars for our annual business meeting. Due to the pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually on December 3rd from 9:30 am until 11:30 am and is open to LeadingAge Georgia provider members. We’ll celebrate our accomplishments for the year, honor our Leadership Academy graduates, vote on our board slates and budgets for LeadingAge Georgia and the Georgia Institute on Aging and we’ll present our public policy platform for 2021. I’m excited to say that we’ve had a larger than normal number of individuals nominated for our annual awards. The awards committee will have a hard time selecting winners but it will be great to celebrate our winners at the annual business meeting.
Invitations were extended to the main contact for each organization. If you have not received yours contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a great day together for our annual golf tournament. Huge thanks to Scott Bassett, Weyman Perry, Jerry Dean Weber, Mark Lowell, Kyle Huhtanen and other members of the golf committee who planned and hosted a great event. We had safety measures built in to keep members safe. We held the tournament at the beautiful Lake Lanier Island and everyone who attended loved the new location. Hopefully, you’ll hear about it from members and decide to be part of it next year. Read more about it later in the newsletter and check out the photos from the tournament.
As you can imagine, the pandemic is causing us to change up a number of events that LeadingAge Georgia holds each year. Our board has decided to delay our Profiles of Positive Aging event in order to keep everyone safe. Instead of holding it this November like we normally do, we will hold it in the Spring. We plan to engage the media and bring awareness to the amazing residents who live in our communities and what our members do to ensure our residents thrive.
Our conference will be moved to September of next year to allow time for the pandemic to be under control. We will be back at Hilton Head Island. It will be great for us all to be back together again. More details will follow.
In light of the financial loss we’ll have this year due to not holding Profiles of Positive Aging, we will have an end-of-year giving program to support the work of the Georgia Institute on Aging and LeadingAge Georgia. Please consider a contribution either personally or from your community.
Take a peek at the rest of the newsletter to learn of the newly released DPH rules for staff returning to work after having or being exposed to the coronavirus, to learn about upcoming training programs, more about the golf tournament and about scholarships available soon for Eden training.
I continue to be inspired by the ways you are helping to ensure a sense of community, how communities support each other and how calmly you all are despite a pandemic!
On top of the pandemic, the recent weather associated with hurricane Eta left Briarcliff Oaks without power. Laura Rice, their administrator was incredibly calm and gracious as she and the Briarcliff Oaks team worked to ensure that the needs of residents were met. We celebrate how Laura and her team handled the emergency and how members came together to aid Laura and her team! Scott Bassett helped engage members to lend a hand. The Atlanta Regional Commission provided funding for several meals for the residents. Lenbrook and Canterbury Court and their Morrison’s teams along with Metz Culinary delivered meals on short notice. That is a sense of community!
Antoinette Sturm shared that St. Anne’s Terrace is using the Viral Scanner system to help protect residents. The system scans for viruses which includes COVID-19. Testing is suggested for anyone whose scan indicates the presence of a virus. By using the system, the St. Anne’s team can have allow residents to have visitors with more confidence the person is not bringing a virus into the building. Antoinette said it also allows residents to leave the building. Residents are scanned when they return to the building. Staff are also scanned daily when they come in the building. Antoinette shared that family members are generally understanding when told they can’t come in due to their scan but they’ve seen some resistance from a few friends who’ve visited. If you want to learn more about the scanning system reach out to Antoinette.
With the expectation that we’ll see an increase in Covid-19 cases during winter months, we need every effective treatment possible. Fortunately, CMS announced that starting November 10, Medicare beneficiaries can receive coverage of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 with no cost-sharing during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). CMS’ coverage of monoclonal antibody infusions applies to bamlanivimab, which received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA on November 9. The treatments are to be used in a variety of settings including a doctor’s office, nursing home, infusion centers, as long as safety precautions can be met. This treatment can potentially help our residents so let’s make sure there is good awareness of this new intervention.
This year will be remembered as a time when the worst pandemic in a century brought isolation, illness, and death to too many older adults and the people who care for them across settings in communities around the country. LeadingAge believes this year has also brought tremendous lessons for aging services providers. That’s why they developed the Pandemic Playbook, an interactive collection of insight, wisdom, and best practices for serving older adults during a catastrophic health crisis like the one we’re facing now.
LeadingAge National gathered member’s collective intelligence for the future.The Pandemic Playbook will help ensure that aging services providers -- in our membership and beyond -- can prepare for and mitigate the impact of a pandemic by applying learning from this year. Click here to visit the Playbook.
LeadingAge National has done amazing work this year! Their accomplishments working with Congress, CMS and HUD on behalf of members has been incredible. They have truly listened to members, strived to be responsive and they’ve gone to bat tirelessly for us. Additionally, they’ve rolled out great programs for sharing best practices and they’ve introduced some great programs. Take a minute and read the snapshot of LeadingAge accomplishments.
Toni Miles, PhD, a gerontology professor at the University of Georgia is well-known and respected for her pioneering work in grief and bereavement care for staff in nursing homes. Dr. Miles spent a significant amount of time interviewing staff in nursing homes along with families to learn about their abilities to deal with the impending death or death of a resident. Direct care workers told Dr. Miles that they cared deeply for many of the residents and didn’t have any training on dealing with the grief or training for how to communicate with families who are grieving.
Dr. Miles developed “Best Practices in Bereavement Care” for staff and has been teaching it in nursing homes through a CMS funded grant. Dr. Adrienne Mims, formerly with Alliant Health Solutions and a long-time friend of LeadingAge Georgia is a champion of the bereavement training initiative and told Dr. Miles that the training needs to be made available for supporting staff and older adults in other settings. Dr. Mims now serves as a board member for the RRF Foundation for Aging and worked to secure funding to bring this training to LeadingAge Georgia HUD members.
The bereavement care training will be offered over a year period. There will be training for staff and there will be booklets available for residents. Due to the pandemic, the training will be virtual for at least the first part of 2021. We are grateful to Dr.Miles, Dr. Mims and the RRF Foundation for making this important training available to our members! Be on the lookout for more information about the training.
Last Friday DPH released new guidelines for healthcare personnel who return to work after COVID-19 illness or exposure. The guidelines are for healthcare workers with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19; individuals who have suspected COVID-19 based on symptoms and has been exposed to a person with Covid but not showing symptoms or lives in an area with local or widespread transmission; and those who have been exposed to Covid 19 without appropriate PPE.
Symptomatic persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can return to work after at least 10 days have passed since the first symptoms appeared and at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath have passed.
Asymptomatic persons who are health care personnel with confirmed COVID-19 can return to work after at least 10 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and the person remains asymptomatic. If symptoms later develop follow the guidance for symptomatic persons.
Asymptomatic healthcare professionals who were exposed to a person with COVID-19 without appropriate PPE can return to work after having completed all requirements in the DPH guidance for persons exposed to COVID-19 found here.
Click here to read the full DPH guidelines.
On Monday, October 12, LeadingAge Georgia held the 25th annual Harry Haisten golf tournament, benefitting the Georgia Institute on Aging and the Center for Positive Aging. This year’s event was moved to a new venue, Legacy Golf Course, at beautiful Lake Lanier Islands. A total of 66 players participated in this year’s event and we netted almost $14,000.
Congratulations to Presbyterian Homes of Georgia for taking home the trophy this year. In addition, a special thank you to our tournament sponsors which included Brasfield & Gorrie (dozen golf balls for each player), zumBrunnen (golf divot tools), McVeigh & Mangum (drink tickets),and National Church Residences (longest drive and closest to the pin).
Although no one took home the hole in one prizes of $500 or$20,000, we hope each of you will consider joining us in 2021 and take your shot at one of these cash prizes.
Save the date: Monday, May 3, 2021, Legacy Golf Course at Lake Lanier Islands. We look forward to seeing you next year.
Click here to view photos from the tournament.