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Signature HealthCARE is developing a reopening plan as news is being received over the past several weeks from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other state authorities about relaxing some of the firm visitation restrictions that have been in place for the last several months at all long-term care and skilled nursing facilities nationwide.  

Signature said in a press release today it has received multiple phone calls and other inquiries from families, friends, and others about these announcements, “as we care for their loved ones in 111 of our facilities located across 10 different states.  We would like to let the public know about our plans in moving forward toward reopening our doors again.”   

The company said it has been working diligently and “with a sense of great urgency and excitement every day, on plans and protocols that will permit us to reopen our healthcare facilities for limited outdoor visitation, and in certain circumstances even indoor visitation, as soon as possible. 

“We sincerely understand the importance of in-person family and friend visitation and the power of social engagement for our residents’ mental health and well-being. In working towards this exciting goal, however, we cannot lose sight of our number one priority which is safety for everyone and compliance with all CMS and state government regulations.”   

Signature said outdoor and some indoor visitation can be accomplished only if certain regulatory requirements are first met. “CMS, the states, and the local departments of health set these requirements, and Signature HealthCARE must observe them in their entirety.”

The requirements include making sure adequate and proper infection control measures are in place, the surrounding community is healthy, taking into consideration the number of COVID-19 cases therein, and that all residents have a person-centered care plan for visitation and adequate privacy for the same.  

“As a result of Signature HealthCARE’s priority of putting the health and safety of its residents and staff first, Signature HealthCARE continues to see more COVID-19 recoveries each and every day,” the company said.  “Thankfully, we have reached an 89 percent recovery rate, indicating our fight for health and safety is producing positive outcomes. And this is why we must remain as vigilant as ever now in protecting our residents, families, and staff as we move forward toward reopening for visitation, and especially when the flu season is nearly upon us. Safety for all is paramount and making sure all government recommendations and requirements are met and become operational first, is a top priority before facility doors can reopen.”

According to data Tuesday from the North Carolina Department of Health and Health Services, at Signature in Roanoke Rapids there have been 13 cases of COVID-19 amongst staff and no deaths.

There have been 31 cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths amongst residents, according to the data which tracks outbreaks and clusters in nursing homes.

The PDF report is attached and can be downloaded through this link.

Signature said it is currently reviewing the most recent CMS guidelines and is working with its state governments to prepare its facilities and staff for reopening.   

Upon reopening visitors and vendors can expect to follow new policies and protocols. They will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Precautionary infection control measures  

Visitor screening procedures  

Visitor mask and other protective equipment requirements  

Advanced scheduling of visits  

Limited visitation times so that all residents can be accommodated  

For indoor visitors, proof of COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of a scheduled resident visit 

For other visitors, consent to be tested for COVID-19 at facility, circumstances depending 

“We all look forward to the day when residents, families, and staff can celebrate and hug and embrace in person,” said Joseph E. Steier III, Signature HealthCARE’s founder, CEO and president.  “We know that kind of social engagement and physical connection is vital to personal health and we’re excited to open our doors once again. But we must reach this goal safely, and with a plan in place that cannot be rushed or compromised, for the safety of all involved.”    

Said the company: “We are all in this pandemic fight together, and our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy as we all get through this unprecedented time of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work as quickly as possible to once again welcome you back into our healthcare centers and into the company of your loved one.”