The Importance of Transparency in Assisted Living in Kansas City During the Pandemic
- September 2, 2020
In this unprecedented time with a worldwide crisis, the need for careful and accurate communication and transparency has never been so critical.
With a no-visitation policy in place at many assisted livings in Kansas City, it makes communication even more critical.
Families are normally visiting not only with their parents, but with staff. There are many ways to gather information.
Families become comfortable knowing their loved ones are safe and secure. They also have a better understanding of their health status and if it is stable or declining.
Families need to know and understand what is happening with their loved ones while living in a Senior Community.
Under normal circumstances, good communication is essential, but with the pandemic in place, it is necessary to be more diligent in day-to-day messaging either in groups or individuals.
This takes a great deal of time and organization on the part of the staff and administration. Individual calls take time, and accuracy of information is critical. When a resident has an issue that needs attention from the family, it needs to be communicated by phone.
It is not hard to imagine the extra time and information that it takes to do that on a daily basis. Beyond the regular duties of staff, there is charting and sharing information with individual families. In regular times those communications often happen when families visit in a more natural flow of information.
Keeping in mind the strict HIPAA laws, this information has to be carefully and communicated only with people that are directly involved with the care of that individual.
Individual communication would happen in the following scenarios:
- Health status change of any resident or need of care
- Information concerning a resident that had potential symptoms of COVID
- Individual testing requirements or retesting
- Any issues of required isolation for a resident
There will be announcements that all residents and families need to know at the same time.
The Piper has instituted a blast email system that communicates information when needed. It is important that family members or designated persons get this information and read it thoroughly. Possible group communications would be:
- Rules and changes of rules about visitation
- Ideas for communicating in nontraditional ways like Skype and FaceTime
- Testing procedures
- Alerts if there are active cases of COVID-19
In addition, there is an active Facebook page where The Piper staff shares pictures about events and activities that involve residents. That allows family and friends to see their loved ones in a group setting.
All of these are efforts to keep families and residents connected.
Everyone involved is looking for clarity and transparency.
There have been some very disturbing reports of Senior Communities that were not transparent. Families found out loved ones were ill days after they became sick. There are many possible reasons for that, but it is not acceptable to hide information.
When news reporters are asking for information that is legally private, it cannot be shared. But family members have the right to know about their own loved ones.
The Piper has made it a priority to communicate accurately and clearly.
Secrecy to protect the reputation of a community is not good business for many reasons. Honesty and clarity provide trust and security for all involved.
It is the policy of The Piper to be transparent about vital information. There will be no intentional concealment of information. There are people who are entitled to that information and, likewise, people who are not entitled to that information.
Outsiders, other Senior Communities, news media are not allowed access to personal information of residents.
It would be improper for a resident, family, or staff to talk about the status of another resident.
Communications and transparency can always be improved. The Piper is working continually to do the best job possible in these difficult times.
It truly takes everyone working together for the best outcomes. The commitment of the community is to provide safety, security, and as much happiness possible for all of our residents. It takes patience and transparency on the part of everyone. Together we’ll get through this!