The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak presents an uneasy challenge, especially for those of us who are close to the people most vulnerable. Questions are countless, yet important. Here are a few that are asked the most. We’ve provided answers based on what we currently know, and subject to change as new information is available:
What is PioneerCare doing to keep our loved ones safe?
For many weeks, PioneerCare staff have been watching this situation unfold. We’ve been consulting with Federal and State health authorities for guidance. Much has been learned from similar care settings that have experienced an outbreak, like the one in Washington state. In March 2020, we implemented a policy on restricting visitors, group activities, and congregate dining. We began screening residents, staff, and anyone who entered the building for symptoms and potential prior exposure to the virus. We sent non-essential staff home to work. Over the months, we’ve made changes to adapt and focus on our number one priority: keeping our residents and staff safe. We continue to monitor for the latest recommendations from health officials.
What is the current visiting policy?
Our current visitor policy information is found here. Please know that we continuously monitor any changes that may affect this policy and its protocols. The coronavirus is still spreading throughout Minnesota. We may need to restrict visitation again if we experience positive cases of COVID-19 in our setting, identify a broader risk of exposure both in our setting and/or the broader community, or encounter other factors that affect the safety of visitation.
How about visiting with our loved one outdoors?
PioneerCare has evaluated its policy and continues to seek guidance from regulatory agencies on this issue. Each setting – PioneerCare Center, Pioneer Cottages, and Pioneer Pointe – have different protocols.
Visits through closed windows and in some cases, open windows, are allowed and encouraged. We have posted room numbers on exterior windows so the correct rooms can be identified. In lieu of in-person visits, PioneerCare offers alternative means of communication through the use of technology. Please contact us by one of the links below to learn more about how that can be done.
These are stressful days and we too are looking forward to the day when this global pandemic is behind us. In the meantime, we are making a good faith effort to balance needs with safety. We ask you to use an abundance of caution until the threat of this virus is past.
What if a resident has suspected or known COVID-19?
If a resident has known or suspected COVID-19, PioneerCare will follow protocol as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). PioneerCare staff will contact the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) immediately. Immediate infection prevention and control measures will be put into place. Symptoms may vary in severity. If symptoms are mild and do not require transfer to the hospital, the resident will be isolated to a room within our Covid Care Unit. The resident will be served by staff who are specifically dedicated to their care. They will practice isolation/droplet/contact precautions including wearing of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). As long as the resident remains at PioneerCare, staff will assess and evaluate the resident’s condition for a minimum of 14 days for potential change or additional signs and symptoms.
How are visitors being screened?
PioneerCare is following the procedure recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Is PioneerCare still admitting patients or residents?
Yes. It’s important to continue to adhere to our mission, especially during this time. We will admit any individuals we would normally admit. We screen everyone entering the care center, including newly admitted patients or residents. Following guidelines from CMS, we’re dedicating rooms exclusively for those coming or returning from the hospital. This can serve as a step-down place where they remain for 14 days with no symptoms. During the pandemic, PioneerCare may at times put a short-term temporary hold on new admissions.
If I can’t visit my loved one, how can we keep in contact?
We’re deeply aware of the potential effects of social isolation and we’re working on creative solutions. Sensitive to varied abilities and personal preferences, what works for one person may not be the best solution for all. Currently, we recommend calling your loved one regularly, using our Email A Resident option, or contacting us for Virtual Visit options via Skype, FaceTime, or other online tools.
I heard residents can’t dine together now. Is that true?
Following CMS and CDC guidelines, we’ve implemented a dining policy that minimizes risk of infection. Some residents are choosing to dine in their rooms. Others are dining in shifts in household dining areas to allow for physical space between residents.
Our children have drawn and colored pictures to give to residents. May we bring them to PioneerCare?
Absolutely. Everyone wins with this activity. Our children have time and are looking for ways to make a difference. Older adults love connecting with children and knowing they’re thinking of them, even if it is indirectly. Such items may be left at our drop-off table just inside PioneerCare Center’s front entrance. You could also take a photo or scan the artwork and include it as an attachment with our Email A Resident option. We appreciate your creativity.
How about flowers? May we send flowers to a resident or tenant?
Yes, flowers always brighten a person’s day. If you’d like to send them to a specific resident, please indicate that as you normally would do. They should be delivered to the drop-off table inside the vestibule at PioneerCare Center’s front entrance. Call ahead to bring flowers or other items to any of our living and care settings, so we know you’re coming.
If I want to donate something else to help residents, what is needed?
Decks of playing cards, especially large print ones, and puzzles are ideal. You may also make a cash donation to PioneerCare Foundation and if you want it to go toward the fight against boredom and isolation, indicate “Resident Activity & Programming Fund” with your gift. We use that fund to purchase such items as they are needed.
I’m interested in applying for a job. Are you still hiring?
Yes, we are still hiring and are working creatively get new people on board. Please check our Careers page and select the Current Openings link for details. Please follow our normal application process and we’ll contact you if there’s an appropriate position that fits you. You may also contact our Human Resources office by email for more information.
How long will this last?
No one knows for sure how long it will take for things return to normal. The most important thing is to slow the virus’s spread to protect healthcare workers and the most vulnerable by observing these facts presented by the Centers for Disease Control.
Do you have a question we haven’t addressed? We’d like to hear from you so we can share as much information as possible with others.Send a New Question COVID-19 Updates Keep Informed