Commendation from City of Arlington & Tarrant County Public Health
TMRC Named “Model to Follow” for COVID-19 Response
Updates from Gary Blair, Superintendent, Texas Masonic Retirement Center
As of April 1, 2020
On April 1, we returned to a “new normal” after 14 days in isolation for all residents of Texas Masonic Retirement Center. Our lives will be anything but normal so long as COVID-19 is spreading in our area.
We MUST work this plan together to protect the health and safety of all residents and staff.
TMRC COVID-19 ACTION PLAN – After Isolation
Due to the ever-changing information relating to this virus, this plan is fluid and will be updated when and if conditions warrant. We will continue to monitor CDC, CMS, state and local health department guidelines and implement changes as necessary.
The majority of this plan pertains to the Independent Living section as existing policies and procedures are in place for the Clinic.
While the Action Plan addresses the COVID-19 (corona) virus, it is the goal of TMRC to protect the health and safety of its residents and staff from all hazards.
All residents were placed in isolation on or before 10 pm on March 17, 2020. All residents and active staff were tested for COVID-19 on March 20 and 21, 2020. On March 31, residents had been in isolation for 14 days.
On Wednesday, April 1, residents who exhibited no signs of COVID-19 were released from isolation. Any resident who was confirmed positive remained in isolation until released by the Tarrant County Health Department. Isolated residents were permitted no visitation.
TRAVEL or LEAVING TMRC CAMPUS FOR ANY REASON
Residents are discouraged from leaving the campus for any reason. Any resident who leaves the facility — for any reason, must (1) Notify the Wellness Nurse and (2) Self-isolate for a period of no less than 14 days.
The virus is just getting a firm foothold in the community at large. There is no real need for residents to leave the campus and risk exposure. Or, risk bringing the exposure back to our campus. If an item can’t be delivered, TMRC staff will pick it up for you. For doctor’s appointments, we are asking residents to call and request a phone conference.
All staff members will be screened and have their temperatures taken before reporting for duty. Any staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature >99.0 will not be allowed to report to duty. Any staff member exhibiting symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus will be immediately released from duty until cleared to return.
NO VISITATION IS ALLOWED, either in the independent living areas or the nursing home area, other than visits that are “medically necessary”, until further notice. Exceptions will be considered under extraordinary circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. These visits must be scheduled and approved in advance by the Superintendent.
MONITORING TEMPERATURES OF RESIDENTS
All residents will monitor their temperature twice daily and report the results to the Wellness Nurse (Wn). The WN will keep a log of reported temperatures and assist in obtaining results that are not reported. Any resident with temperature greater than 99.0 will be required to self-isolate until the individual has more than 24 hours with a temperature less than 99.0. Any resident exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate until such time as they have more than 24 hours without symptoms.
ISOLATION FOR POSITIVE COVID-19 RESIDENTS
Any resident who tested or tests positive for COVID-19 is required to remain in isolation until release by the Tarrant County Health Department. Any resident who feels it appropriate to self-isolate, for whatever reason, is asked to do so and to notify the Wellness Nurse of their decision. Any resident with a temperature greater than 99.0 is required to self-isolate until their temperature is less than 99.0 for 24 hours. The Wellness Nurse will keep a list of all active isolations. Residents in isolation will remain in isolation until cleared by the Wellness Nurse. Isolation procedures for nursing home area residents will continue to follow existing policies and procedures.
The Wellness Nurse or a designee will contact each independent living resident in isolation twice daily to ensure their needs are being met.
The Wellness Nurse will ensure proper signage is placed upon the room where a resident is isolated. No person my enter an isolation room other than staff in proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) Staff will at all times wear proper PPE.
All staff will practice REVERSE ISOLATION procedures for all residents other than those in isolation. Masks must be worn by staff members any time they are in the presence, or there is reasonable expectation of being in the presence, of a resident. Staff members must wear masks and gloves anytime they are handling resident items or during meal preparation.
Residents are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than 5 individuals and should at all times practice social distancing and remain at least 6 feet from others. When not necessary in the performance of their duties, staff members are prohibited in gathering in groups of more than 3 individuals and must practice social distancing when possible.
Communal dining is prohibited until further notice. All meals will be delivered to resident rooms for those residing in independent living. Residents in the nursing home area are required to eat in their rooms. There is no communal dining in the nursing home area until further notice.
All outings and group activities are cancelled until further notice. The Activity Department will provide 1:1 and room activities for nursing home residents.
The Transportation Department will reschedule / cancel all appointments other than those deemed medically necessary.
Residents with their own transportation are strongly discouraged from leaving the campus and even more strongly discouraged from leaving and attending any function or situation in which more than 5 others are gathered. Any resident who leaves the facility — for any reason, must (1) Notify the Wellness Nurse and (2) Self-isolate for a period of no less than 14 days.
BUILDING ENTRY AND KEY CARD ACCESS
Key fob access for the nursing home area is restricted to employees only. Residents do not have access to this door. Residents have been reminded and signage has been placed notifying residents not to open any doors to allow visitors access.
Staff and residents will continue to be educated on symptoms and prevention of COVID-19. Hand washing and social distancing are promoted.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS – To help you better understand our recent response to COVID-19
What were the results of recent COVID 19 testing of TMRC employees and residents?
We shared the good news that 210 employees and residents tested negative for COVID 19 – meaning that, at the time of testing on March 20 and 21, 2020, they did not have the virus. Unfortunately, four of this group of residents and employees tested positive, in addition to the deceased resident already reported. The employees who tested positive had already been in self-isolation at home well before testing. The residents, who both live in the independent living areas, continue in isolation and their condition is also improving. All residents had been in isolation for a week prior to testing. We cannot share any other details as this would violate HIPAA privacy laws. However, we ask for your continued prayers and expressions of concern as we walk through this challenging time with those who are so dear to our hearts.
Were residents and staff at Texas Masonic Retirement tested for COVID 19?
Yes, a team of medical responders from the Arlington Fire Department, Texas Department of State Health Services, and Tarrant County Public Health tested all residents and staff members of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21. We cannot share results of these tests due to HIPAA privacy laws, but we will continue all stringent precautions and provide medical care if needed.
How did Texas Masonic Retirement Center act to protect residents from coronavirus (COVID 19) after the diagnosis of a resident in our duplex cottage independent living area?
How did the deceased resident contract coronavirus (COVID 19)?
We don’t know how the recently deceased resident may have picked up this illness. He lived in a duplex cottage in our independent living section just north of the main campus. These residents do not require nursing home care or close supervision. They are free to come and go as you and I would in our neighborhoods.
What happened with the spouse of the person who passed away?
We continue to be very concerned about this resident because we care about supporting her in this time of grief and because of the potential exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). We are providing special care for her right now. Here’s the information we can share:
What kind of precautions were you taking before this couple got sick?
Remember, the majority of our residents are considered as “independent living” status – just like you and me in our own homes. We normally do not monitor their lives. HOWEVER, we took a very aggressive stand on preventing the virus to the extent possible. Here is a list of ongoing and expanded actions:
What can I do if I was possibly exposed to a person who has coronavirus (COVID 19)?
We encourage you to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations–including the many ways you can work to prevent the disease–even if you don’t think you have been exposed. Here is a link to these guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Texas Masonic Retirement Center has been caring for older Masons and their loved ones for more than a century as a non-profit 501(c)3 facility providing independent living accommodations, meals, activities and more. At present, we offer independent living apartments and duplex cottages for 134 residents, of which 24 residents live in 12 cottage duplexes in a nearby residential setting. We also provide nursing home care for 43 residents.
Officers: Gary Blair, Superintendent
Location: 1501 W. Division St., Arlington, TX
Contact for press inquiries:
Rhenda Gray, Sundance Associates
Agency of Record – Texas Masonic Retirement Center
Office: 817-349-9344 Email: email@example.com
Normal Business Hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Gary Blair, Superintendent / Administrator: 817.275.2893 extension #14
Sharon Montani, Director of Nursing: 817.275.2893 extension #16
Outside of Normal Business Hours
RN Shift Supervisor: 817.275.2893 extension #15