Policy Recommendations Regarding SNF Management of COVID-19: Lessons From New York State

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

We’ve all been up-to-our-eyeballs battling the spread of COVID-19 in our senior living facilities as well as our communities at large.  By now, you’re well aware that New York State sustained great losses in both communities overall as well as senior living communities.  A recent study of the early response in NY State caught my eye as it provided very solid lessons-learned that we all could benefit from. 

Policy Recommendations Regarding Skilled Nursing Facility Management of COVID-19: Lessons From New York State was published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA) in May 2020.  The authors of the study are Paula E. Lester MD, CMD, Timothy Holahan DO, CMD, David Siskind MD, CMD and Elaine Healy, MD, CMD (review their affiliations found on pages 2 and 5 of the publication).  This 20-page journal pre-proof is a must read for all of us.   The abstract reflects the goal of providing “policy recommendations for managing COVID-19 in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), a group of certified medical directors from several facilities in New York state with experience managing the disease used email, phone, and video conferencing to develop consensus recommendations. The resulting document provides recommendations on screening, and protection of staff, screening of residents, management of COVID-19 positive and presumed positive cases, communication during an outbreak, management of admissions and readmissions, and providing emotional support for staff…describe expert consensus policies for SNFs to prepare for and manage COVID-19.”

I strongly encourage you to share the recommendations found in this study with your Medical Director, Infection Preventionist and your entire team.  We as a LTC industry can benefit greatly from listening to our peers and leaders that have been and still are on the front lines.  You will appreciate the information passed on via this study to improve and hone your own response to the virus that is not done with us yet.