Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the health and safety of all residents, families, and team members our highest priority. We continue to be committed to balancing the health and happiness of residents and team members.
Our clinical team is trained to monitor and manage our senior living communities to ensure we are taking the right steps to support the health and well-being of our residents, including staying up to date with the current guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), as well as local health departments.
Preparedness & Prevention
Prevention of COVID-19 and other viruses, such as norovirus and influenza, is essential for all of us. Our clinical teams take every precaution to help keep loved ones safe while balancing the critical aspects of social connection, family, and visitors.
Our clinical team had a solid foundation of policies and procedures to prevent the spread of viruses before COVID-19. This knowledge came through developing and implementing Christian Living Communities tested and proven Norovirus Prevention Guide. This resource and the practices and procedures learned throughout the COVID pandemic continue to guide our community teams in reducing risks and protecting the well-being and safety of everyone who lives and works in our communities.
Whether you are visiting a loved one or touring your new home, we do ask that you adhere to certain essential health standards. Please postpone your appointment if you do not feel well, we will gladly reschedule. Depending on current virus activity in the cities and counties we serve, you may be asked to wear a mask and/or take part in a health screening. You are welcome to contact any of our communities directly with questions about any current precautions or recommendations.
The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to inform us of the steps we take daily in our communities to protect everyone's health and safety.
In the early phase of the pandemic, it was necessary to restrict visitors and activities to prioritize the health and safety of residents and team members. We now have in place crucial safety procedures, vaccines, and treatments. Virus prevention and mitigation is part of everyday life in our communities, as is socialization and building a community culture where everyone is well-known.
Vaccines and Boosters
In our CLC-Cappella communities, we continue to encourage everyone to become immunized against COVID-19. Team members are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. While we do not require eligible residents to receive the vaccine, the vast majority have chosen to do so.
As COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed and become available, our communities host vaccine events and booster clinics to encourage residents and qualifying team members to conveniently get appropriate boosters with the support of our pharmacy partners. COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent the harshest effects of COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people by creating an immune response without the potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions that can be associated with COVID-19 infection.
Boosters and the updated bivalent vaccines are important to provide broad protection against newer variants and because immunity from prior infection or vaccination wanes over time. Research suggests that getting a booster dose can decrease your risk of infection and severe illness with COVID-19. And older adults and those with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to severe disease.
We also encourage and, in some cases, require an annual flu vaccine for team members and residents.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CLC-Cappella has proactively communicated with team members, residents, family members, and partners about the status of the virus in our region and communities, our preparation and response, vaccine myths and facts, and more. For a history of these communications, please click through the accordions below.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the health and safety of all of our residents, their family and friends, and our team members remains our highest priority. In response to this public health emergency, our clinical team responded quickly and effectively to create coronavirus-specific policies and procedures to help protect our loved ones. In addition, our communities rallied together to host vaccine events and booster clinics to encourage all eligible residents and team members to conveniently get appropriate boosters with the support of our pharmacy partners.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent the harshest effects of COVID-19. The CDC considers a person to be “up to date” on their vaccinations when they have received all COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s). Research suggests that getting a booster dose can decrease your risk of infection and severe illness with COVID-19. And older adults and those with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to severe disease. Boosters are important because immunity from prior infection or vaccination wanes over time. In addition, it’s possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 changes so the immune system doesn’t recognize it as well.
The best way to protect yourself is to get a bivalent booster shot. The bivalent boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5. Scientists expect them to provide broad protection against newer variants as well. Keep in mind with the updated boosters—and most vaccines, for that matter—that they may not fully protect against infection, but will protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
CDC recommends one updated (bivalent) booster dose:
- For everyone aged 5 years and older if it has been at least 2 months since your last dose. This applies even if you had COVID.
- For children aged 6 months–4 years who completed the Moderna primary series and if it has been at least 2 months since their last dose.
On Jan. 25, the CDC reported that vaccinated people who were boosted with the bivalent shot were half as likely as vaccinated people who didn’t get the bivalent booster to become infected with these variants and experience at least one symptom of COVID-19. On the same day, in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), scientists at the University of Texas and Pfizer-BioNTech (which makes one of the FDA-authorized bivalent shots), reported that the bivalent vaccine still provides some protection against BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.
In our CLC – Cappella communities, we continue to encourage everyone to please become immunized against the COVID-19 virus, including the booster dose(s). We know there may be questions about the COVID-19 booster such as why it is necessary and exactly what is in the booster dose. Please find below a list of FAQs surrounding the bivalent booster dose.
|What is the bivalent booster?||The bivalent vaccine is formulated as a 50/50 combination of the original vaccine and a vaccine that targets the Omicron variants. This teaches the body to make two types of barriers against COVID-19, allowing it to work well against newer variants.|
|Why should one get the bivalent booster?||Adults 65+ who receive the bivalent booster reduced their risk of being hospitalized by 73% compared with those who had two or more doses of the original vaccine. Plus, if they get COVID-19, they are 43% less likely to experience symptoms. Getting the bivalent is also a way to prevent getting Long COVID, which has been so debilitating. There are more symptoms of Long COVID in those who had COVID-19 and were unvaccinated versus those who were vaccinated.|
|Is the bivalent booster safe?||The side effects of the bivalent booster are the same as the original 650 million doses administered in the United States and show incredibly safe vaccination.|
|Who is eligible to receive the bivalent booster?||Almost everyone who is 6 months of age or older is eligible to receive the bivalent booster. One must have received the primary vaccine series and wait at least two months since their last dose of either the primary series or original booster before they are eligible to receive the bivalent booster.|
|Why do I need to get a booster shot if I have already had COVID-19?||If you have had COVID-19 within the past three months, you have some protection against the virus and may delay getting the bivalent booster. However, this protection decreases over time, especially against serious illness, hospitalization or death. If it has been three months or more since your last infection, it is recommended that you get a bivalent booster.|
10.17.2022: CLC-Cappella Communities in Colorado Implement New COVID-19 Regulations from CDPHE and Everyone is All Smiles!
We are thrilled to share with you the new COVID regulations for senior living communities in Colorado. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made recommendations earlier this month, and last week the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) adopted the recommendations for the state of Colorado. We are pleased to share the below updated regulations that allow for greater flexibility and freedom for the residents, families, and team members of CLC-Cappella’s Colorado communities.
For those living in our residential (independent) living neighborhoods, we will continue to follow the same guidance for our city and county as the general public is following. Those living in residential living are asked to be a good neighbor, and not leave your apartment home if you are not feeling well, and if you test positive for COVID-19 to please call the Resident Services coordinator or the concierge desk so they can take appropriate virus mitigation steps.
Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing
There are some specific nuances for each level of living, for which each clinical team is receiving specific training. However, in general terms, the following information applies to both regulated neighborhoods of assisted living/memory support and skilled nursing.
Mask Wearing – Most exciting for everyone who lives and works in our communities is we are no longer required to wear masks when COVID community or transmission rates are not high. There are a few exceptions such as using masks if you have respiratory symptoms, have been exposed, if you are almost recovered from COVID, or a community is in outbreak. We are monitoring the rates and will let communities know if the community or city/county becomes high and therefore, we must again wear masks.
There are no isolation requirements for people moving into our communities, but they must wear a mask for 10 days. If the COVID transmission rate is high, new residents may need a series of tests when moving into the skilled nursing neighborhood; this is all to ensure we do not potentially introduce the COVID virus into our communities.
Screening & Testing – We no longer need to screen visitors and staff coming into our communities. Instead, you will notice new signs as you enter advising each person on their responsibilities to prevent infection in our communities. Essentially, we ask everyone to be a good neighbor and simply not come into the community if you are not feeling well or have a known exposure. Please delay your visit if it is non-urgent.
We no longer must test based on vaccine status or conduct surveillance testing unless warranted to combat virus spread. Instead, we must test if someone shows signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
If a team member is exposed and does not have any symptoms, if they work in assisted living, they will need to have one negative test; in skilled nursing, they will need three PCR tests and to wear a mask while working. If they become symptomatic and test positive for COVID-19, they must remain off work for an allotted time as regulated per level of living. Our clinical teams will follow a new return-to-work testing guideline and will educate team members regarding the new requirements.
If a resident is exposed and has no symptoms, no isolation is required, but they must wear a mask for 10 days. If a resident does have symptoms, they will be required to remain in their apartment until they have met the discontinuation of isolation guidance.
If we experience an outbreak, which is defined as two or more confirmed cases resident/team member OR one confirmed and two suspected cases resident/team member, then we must isolate those with symptoms and contact trace those who are in the neighborhood.
Visits – There are no restrictions for visitors, business partners, pet therapy, entertainers, or outings, regardless of virus activity in the communities. However, all will be asked to follow the transmission rate guidelines for mask-wearing and to not come into our communities if they are not feeling well or have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
Activities and Dining – There are no longer restrictions. Families may eat in the resident dining areas and join in activities as invited. Residents may enjoy refreshments during activities. Entertainers and therapy dogs are welcomed. Residents who are not considered up to date with their vaccinations no longer need to be separated from other residents.
Vaccinations – These significant changes are a result of communities becoming highly vaccinated and boosted. We continue to make COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters available to residents and team members. We highly encourage everyone to be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines; they truly help combat the most devastating effect of the virus on our elders.
There are detailed instructions around virus mitigation, testing, and protocols for preventing and combating viruses in our communities. Our clinical teams are training to understand what needs to happen to keep everyone safe. But we are thrilled that regulations for assisted living and skilled nursing are now much more conducive to truly balancing the health and happiness of everyone who lives and works in our communities.
Vaccines Help Against Variants
We are thrilled to share that 91% of residents and 83% of team members across the 22 Christian Living Communities (CLC) – Cappella Living Solutions (Cappella) communities we support have received the two-dose vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
We know that fully vaccinated people are ten times less likely to become hospitalized when infected with the virus according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this fall. Therefore, we continue to encourage everyone to please become immunized against the COVID-19 virus. We are working to ensure more residents and team members are fully vaccinated and those already immunized receive the booster.
In the United States, everyone 18 years and older is approved and encouraged to get the booster shot. It is expected that soon, having received both the two-dose series and the booster is what will be required by regulatory agencies such as CDC and CMS to be considered fully immunized.
The COVID-19 virus has mutated and created what is known as variants, most notably Delta and Omicron. The vaccines are combating the severe side effects of these variants, but, just like the flu, the vaccines are not a guarantee that you will not be infected by the virus, but the vaccine helps you be less sick.
Many of our communities must continue with mask wearing and virus monitoring and mitigation efforts even with our high vaccination rates due to these variants.
"COVID-19 Vaccine Facts vs. Myths" Facebook Live Event
All of the COVID and Vaccine information can be confusing. On December 15th, CLC-Cappella’s President and CEO Jill Vitale-Aussem hosted a Facebook live event with two of our clinical experts, CLC Medical Director Dr. Erick Gomer, MD, and VP of Clinical and Compliance, Pat McBride, RN, BSN, MSN on Wednesday, during which they separated out the facts and fiction about the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccines, and boosters, and shared what we are doing in our communities to balance health and happiness this holiday season.
We encourage everyone to get the vaccine and, when appropriate, the booster
Right now, it is still recommended that people receive the booster six months after their second dose of the vaccine. Scientists continue to evaluate the best frequency for each vaccine.
Safety is top priority not only for our community but also for all of the scientists and health experts working on the vaccination effort. Like any vaccine, there may be minor side effects such as soreness, achiness, and potentially low-grade fever. A small number of people experience more serious side effects, but the percentages are low and typically related to a history of anaphylactic allergic reactions. Please take the time to learn more.
- CDC Booster Information
- CDC Myths and Facts About Vaccines
- The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine information sheets
The vaccine is free. Insurance may be charged for supplies and administration of the vaccine. If you do not have insurance, you will not be charged.
Great news, but we're not out of the woods yet
News of the vaccines' effectiveness against the new variants of the COVID-19 virus is very exciting, however, the pandemic is not over yet. It is important to continue to follow public safety guidelines including physical distancing, frequent handwashing, limiting large group gatherings, being mindful about travel and mask wearing in areas of high infection rates.
CLC President and CEO Jill Vitale-Aussem was recently interviewed for an AARP article that discusses how senior living communities have approached vaccine mandates for team members, and their impact on community health and staffing. Following the implementation of a vaccine mandate in October 2021, 100% of CLC team members have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received an approved exemption and are following all PPE and testing requirements. Christian Living Communities is proud of its team for taking these critical steps to protect residents and the wider community.
Article updated 11/19/21 to reflect new CDPHE guidelines issued 11/18/21
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently issued increased restrictions and mandates that impact skilled nursing, memory support, and assisted living neighborhoods in Colorado. In some cases, the CDPHE mandates are more restrictive than federal mandates. While these mandates are not what anyone would like to see, they are understandable. Currently, Colorado has the 3rd highest rate of new COVID-19 infections in the nation. One in every 48 Coloradans is believed to currently have COVID-19.
At CLC-Cappella communities in Colorado, we are working to implement the new mandates now, some of which may impact holiday plans. Please know We! Celebrate is one of our most cherished values as an organization. We are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe while also finding creative solutions to holiday celebrations and traditions.
Below is a summary of the new measures going into place that are of most impact to community-life in communities offering skilled nursing, memory support and assisted living.
- Masks must always be worn by all people in the community, even residents when outside of their apartment home or suite. All visitors must always wear a mask during their visit.
- Visitors must physically distance themselves from their loved one unless both the older adult and visitor are fully vaccinated, then they can choose to have physical contact with one another.
- Visitors may not have food or drink while visiting while in a resident’s apartment or suite.
- Unvaccinated residents who leave the community for more than 24-hours will need to quarantine upon return for 14 days, regardless of testing negative. If away for less than 24-hours, unvaccinated residents do not have to quarantine. Vaccinated residents away for more than 24 hours will need to take part in an exposure risk assessment to determine if a quarantine is warranted.
- Any unvaccinated team member who travels will need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning regardless of testing negative. The quarantine will be unpaid time from work. Travel outside the state of Colorado by mass transit such as a plane, train or bus is considered travel. Driving across state lines in a personal car is not.
- We must continue to evaluate residents daily for signs and symptoms of the virus. This includes daily temperature and pulse oximetry checks.
- The health department believes pets can transmit the COVID virus. Therefore, pet therapy visits are not allowed. A pet can visit an individual resident, but must not go to other rooms or apartments, and is limited to a single person at a time.
- Everyone must attempt to maintain six feet of social distancing in dining rooms, group activities, and during visits.
- Food and drink cannot be part of group activities unless outside and if social distancing is in place.
- Residents who are not fully vaccinated cannot take part in group activities if the positivity rates in the community’s city/county is above 10% or the resident vaccinate rate for your community is below 70%.
- Fully vaccinated residents may dine at a table together.
- We must present virus mitigation education to all visitors and vendors as they enter the community, and we must document that education has taken place as well as screenings and mask wearing.
- We must offer all residents within the first few days, regardless of their vaccination status, monoclonal antibody therapy if they test positive for COVID-19. Their personal physician will determine if treatment is appropriate.
- New residents to our communities who are NOT vaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of potentially testing negative. Fully vaccinated older adults who move in do not have to quarantine.
- If a neighborhood has a single positive test result for a resident or a team member, that neighborhood is considered in outbreak status and must test all residents and team members, regardless of vaccination status.
- If an unvaccinated resident has a direct exposure to a positive COVID person, they must quarantine for a full 14 days regardless of testing negative. We will provide care to those residents while wearing full PPE.
- Team members are to wear goggles or safety glasses while providing care to all residents, regardless of the resident’s vaccination status.
We are focusing on what we can do to make community life enjoyable and to maintain vital connections with loved ones.
- We can still take resident excursions and outings with residents wearing masks, socially distancing and good ventilation if weather allows.
- Fully vaccinated visitors and volunteers can continue to participate and support group activities if they show proof of vaccination, have been educated and practice infection control, wear a mask, maintain social distance and the community is outbreak free.
- We will do everything we can to maintain visitations through special visitation programs so friends and families can enjoy visits with their loved one in their suite/apartment.
- We are adapting and adopting a can-do attitude with offering residents as many choices as possible, engaging in service projects, and when needed – reinstating hallway activities and competitions, community-wide themed days, and mobile programs such as happy hour, games, and contests.
We continue to focus on maintaining or increasing communities’ vaccination rates because we know that fully vaccinated people are 10 times less likely to have major symptoms from the virus. We also know that 81% of the people in Colorado’s hospitals right now are unvaccinated.
We are truly in this together. Our team is more ready than ever to battle the virus that is now engulfing our state. We will need everyone’s support, adherence to all mitigation efforts, and for all of us to do our best to maintain a good attitude and a little humor.
Communities and services owned by Christian Living Communities (CLC) have highly vaccinated teams serving older adults and their families. In early August, CLC made receiving the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement of employment for five of our owned communities and our Rhythms Home Care Services and the CLC Support Office. The deadline to be fully compliant with the requirement was Friday, October 1st.
As of Monday, October 4th, the group has reached a 99% compliance rate with the vaccine requirement, meaning 99% of our team members are either vaccinated or have an approved exemption!
This means our dedicated team members have stepped up to protect our communities and services by becoming vaccinated, which is our best defense against the COVID-19 virus.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities and Accommodations Act (ADAAA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) team members were able to apply for an exemption under the law for either medical or religious reasons.
When considering these exemption requests, the human resources team used a thorough, non-biased, and confidential process encompassing national best practices. As a result, some were approved, and a few are still in the review process.
Team members who received an exemption from the vaccine requirement must continue regular extra testing, be screened daily for signs and symptoms, maintain six feet of social distance when possible, and continue to always wear a mask.
In all, less than 10 team members either left their position or are being terminated due to the vaccine requirement.
New associates joining the organization, will need to have at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine at the beginning of their employment with plans to get their second dose, unless they received the Johnson & Johnson one dose vaccine.
“We are very proud of our team,” said CLC President and CEO Jill Vitale-Aussem. “We Care! About Each Other is one of our most deeply held values as an organization. The response by the team to this vaccine requirement speaks volumes; our organization cares deeply about serving older adults, protecting each other, and doing our part to bring an end to this pandemic.”
You will notice a column above called “No Record” these are just a few team members whose status we are trying to verify at this time.
Our community in Grand Junction had a staggered start to their vaccine requirement and is following the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) mandate to be fully vaccinated by the end of October.
CLC continues to follow federal, state, and local virus mitigation efforts, including having team members in our regulated neighborhoods wear a fresh mask upon entry to our communities each day for their shift.
Thank you to our residents, families, and friends for the words of encouragement and support. Together we will get through this.
Christian Living Communities strongly supports senior living providers across the country and recently shared our experience in requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all team members within our owned operations. Panelists included our Vice President of Strategy and Communication, Pam Sullivan. The group honestly shared the difficulty in making the decision, the importance of patience and open dialogue, and that protecting everyone who lives and works in communities is the bottom line.
As contagious COVID variants continue to be a part of our lives across the United States, you might wonder what’s the “new normal” in retirement living?
Much like those of us who live in the broader community, retirement living residents ask, “Will I feel safe traveling? Will I want to dine out or socialize with friends? What about holiday visits from family?”
However, residents at CLC/Cappella communities owned by Christian Living Communities (CLC) have an added sense of security, knowing the safety measures in place and the organization’s value of resident purpose and freedom. Residents continue to enjoy fitness classes, enriching programs, outings to local attractions, museums, and shopping, all with the culinary experiences that have become a cornerstone of connection during this challenging season.
Team members & visitors are asked to wear a mask at all times and follow stringent cleaning processes. Ongoing contact tracing protocols are in place. All who enter the Community are screened. We follow State and Federal guidelines for testing and outbreak response. Residential living residents and staff are encouraged to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for travel, group gatherings, and isolating if exposed. In more supportive levels of living, residents wear masks according to level of care guidance for the locality and state.
Residents can ride their bikes around campus, walk the halls to pick up a take-out meal, or dine with friends or family with the confidence that they are living in a largely vaccinated neighborhood. While this doesn’t guarantee immunity to COVID-19, studies show the higher resident and team member vaccination rates, the lower the resident COVID-19 infection rate. And for communities where team members were 100% vaccinated, resident COVID-19 deaths were nearly eliminated.
Thus, CLC/Cappella has committed to fully-vaccinated teams serving residents. While a small number of team members may qualify for religious or medical exemptions to the vaccine, across Cappella/CLC, 92% of residents and more than 72% of team members were already completely vaccinated by this posting.
In addition, our experienced teams are coordinating vaccine booster clinics.
We continue to rely on our 50 + years of senior care expertise and partnership with local and national health experts to support and empowering lifestyle and peace of mind for residents and their families.
The good news that we’ve anxiously been awaiting has finally come from federal regulators!
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance yesterday that will finally allow our communities to safely expand visitation options as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance states that communities offering skilled nursing should allow responsible indoor visitations at all times for all residents regardless of vaccinations status. While CMS does not regulate assisted living, we’ve seen state health departments use the same guidance for assisted living neighborhoods and we anticipate the same with this announcement. You can find the CMS and CDC conditions here.
Before we can begin following this guidance, we must receive further direction from each of the six states that we operate in, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Throughout the pandemic, we must follow state guidance first and then federal guidance because of the regulatory environment.
We know residents and families are anxious, we are too! We are already preparing for more visitations and as soon as we get the green light from each state, we will share with our residents and families how and when visits will be accommodated.
We are excited to announce our Steamboat Springs, CO managed community Casey's Pond have had their first vaccine clinic. Residents received the first round today, Dec 28th with an additional clinic planned for tomorrow with help from the Lyon's Corner Drug Pharmacy. On Wednesday Dec 23rd, 40 team members were vaccinated in a partnership with the Yampa Valley Medical Center and Routt County Health Department.
CLC and our management company Cappella Living Solutions Communities are grateful to be part of the first tier of vaccinations in order to better protect the vulnerable older adult population we serve.
Casey’s Pond Certified Nursing Assistant Liz Taper was one of 40 team members to be vaccinated Wednesday, December 23rd
The COVID-19 vaccine is the light at the end of this dark season. We look forward to a bright future where we can return to normal community life where aging is honored and celebrated. We encourage you to be vaccinated as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine is available to you.
Vaccine Update: Multiple CLC Communities have COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Scheduled
We are thrilled to announce that multiple CLC communities have clinics scheduled to administer the vaccine to residents and team members. We anticipate more will be scheduled in the coming weeks. For specific information, visit the community websites. In the meantime we must continue to wash hands, wear masks and maintain social distancing until COVID is under control.
This Frequently Asked Questions document is intended to give information to residents, families, team members, and the general community regarding the status of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine in our communities. Information is changing daily. There are times the federal directive and state directives are different. Christian Living Communities (CLC) – Cappella Living Solutions is committed to provide accurate information as timely as possible. This document will be updated and available as changes warrant. For vaccine specific information we request the CDC documents be shared.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has prioritized older adults and people working in Long-Term Care to be part of the first-tier to receive the vaccine. Will my loved one's Community be included?
- All CLC-Cappella communities are registered with the Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Initiative to be part of the vaccine's first-tier distribution. At the moment, we believe this will include team members and residents of skilled nursing and assisted living communities. We are waiting to hear if residential (independent) living residents/team members will also be included in the first-tier distribution.
- Where does the vaccine approval currently stand?
- Now that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved, the federal government has begun distribution to the states for inoculations. Each state will then set a state-specific timeline and process for vaccine distribution and administration. We anticipate all of the states we support will follow the CDC tier guidelines for prioritizing who will receive the vaccine first, but that has not been firmly confirmed.
- Once the states get the vaccine, how will it be distributed to Long-Term Care?
- These are some of the details still being worked out. At this point, because all of our communities are registered in the federal pharmacy partnership, we will receive the vaccine through either CVS or Walgreens pharmacy or both. Pharmacy teams have already begun setting dates for vaccine clinics in our communities to administer the vaccines to residents, and our clinical teams. We are awaiting more details regarding team member vaccination.
- How will the vaccine be rolled out in our Community?
- We will begin by educating residents, families, and team members. The CDC has provided some information sheets that will be distributed and posted on websites to answer questions specifically around vaccine development, safety, and why getting the vaccine is beneficial. We will work with our assigned pharmacy, who will store, distribute, administered the vaccine. We anticipate the pharmacy will set up clinic dates and times for resident vaccinations. The pharmacies will also document and report our vaccine administration progress.
- Once residents and team members are vaccinated, will restrictions be lifted?
- Not immediately, but that is the goal. It will take time for the two-step vaccine process to be fully implemented therefore, we will still need to wear masks, socially distance, and follow clinical protocols until the Community and the surrounding cities and towns reach a majority of people being vaccinated. It takes up to two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine for each person to benefit from its protection.
- What if my loved one or a team member refuses to be vaccinated?
- The CLC-Cappella team is working to determine what options if any, will be offered to those refusing the vaccination. We will share more information when it's available.
- For vaccine-specific questions, please refer to the CDC handouts.
For the latest information see Separating Fact from Fiction
All 23 CLC-Cappella Communities Prepared to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Priority distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to seniors and healthcare workers who are at the most risk of contracting the virus is welcome news. CLC-Cappella is ready to receive the vaccine to protect residents and associates in all 23 of our communities as soon as it is available. We remain in constant communication with state health departments, the CDC, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as details of the distribution process continue to develop.
We want to share with you what we know now about the vaccine, how it will be distributed, what we are doing to keep associates, residents, and families informed about the process, and our continued commitment to testing, virus mitigation, and the overall quality of life for residents.
COVID-19 is a serious, life-threatening virus that has impacted the entire world. Protecting the most vulnerable Americans has been the top priority and vaccines have been developed at unprecedented speeds. The U.S. vaccine safety system has procedures in place to ensure the vaccine is as safe as possible. Clinical trials must show a vaccine is safe and effective before it can be approved for use. Nearly all of the nation’s long term care providers have signed on to participate in the government’s delivery program.
The FDA will meet in mid-December to discuss both the Pfizer and Moderna 2-dose vaccines which have reported to be 95% effective. Once approval is given, the federal government will distribute the vaccine to the states for inoculations. Each state has its own specific timeline and process for distribution and administration. We anticipate all of the states we support will follow the CDC tier guidelines for distribution but that has not been confirmed.
Having early access to the vaccine to protect residents and associates is the first step in being able to lift restrictions. Combined with current safety measures such as face masks, physical distancing, and testing the vaccine will significantly reduce the spread of the disease and chances of exposure to the virus.
Pharmacy Partnership for Distribution
All CLC-Cappella communities are registered with the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. We will work with our assigned pharmacy, Walgreens, CVS, or both, who will store, distribute, administered the vaccine which is free of charge to residents and team members. The pharmacy will also:
• Order vaccines and associated supplies (e.g., syringes, needles, personal protective equipment).
• Ensure cold chain management for the vaccine.
• Report all required vaccination data to the local, state, and federal jurisdictions within 72 hours of administering each dose.
• Adhere to all applicable Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) COVID-19 testing requirements.
We anticipate the pharmacy will set up clinic dates and times for resident vaccinations and the pharmacy teams, working closely with our clinical teams, and will come to our communities to administer the vaccines to residents. Three visits over approximately two months will likely be needed to administer both doses and vaccinate new residents.
Some of the details of how and when and who will get the vaccine first are still being worked out. At the moment, we believe team members will be included and that the first tier to receive the vaccine will be residents of skilled nursing and assisted living communities. We are waiting to hear if residential (independent) living residents and team members will also be included in the first-tier distribution.
Pat McBride, RN, BSN, MSN - CLC and Cappella VP of Clinical and Compliance
Keeping Team Members, Residents and Families Informed
We know many residents, team members and families have questions about the vaccine benefits and side effects, what options, if any, will be offered to residents or team members who decline the vaccine, etc. We will share more information as soon as it is available. We will continue to share resources from the CDC that answer questions specifically around vaccine development, safety, and why getting the vaccine is beneficial. Read more about the safety of the vaccine here and answers to questions about the vaccine administration in our communities here. Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine from the CDC here.
In addition, we anticipate we will hold Family Town Hall Webinars as more information becomes available and throughout the process, giving team members, residents, and families an opportunity to ask questions and feel comfortable with the process. We are also providing hand-out materials to communities as they become available.
We are excited to add the vaccine to our arsenal of tools that will help eradicate the virus from our communities, and eventually, assist in a return to normalcy. We also understand that many are experiencing “COVID combat fatigue,” growing weary from restrictions and isolation. While the vaccine will help control the virus, it will not completely eradicate it for quite some time, so we must continue to take precautions to stay healthy and protect ourselves and each other from this virus. We will continue with our robust infection control and testing program, and we ask for your continued diligence and patience as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus.
Watch the recent Christian Living Communities and Cappella Living Solutions virtual event in which Pat McBride, VP of Clinical and Compliance, and Moriah Bernhardt, Senior Director of Rhythms Programs, discussed how CLC-Cappella is moving through the crisis to a modified approach that balances quality of life with safety.
In the current, ever-changing COVID-19 landscape, conversations around testing are constantly evolving. Medical professionals and researchers are learning more every day and are adjusting protocol accordingly. With that said, there are still questions and gray areas. What are the different types of tests, how often should we test and should entire communities be tested?
According to Pat McBride, Vice President of Clinical and Compliance for Christian Living Communities and Cappella Living Solutions, there are currently two types of testing. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test identifies, ideally, if a person has COVID-19 on the day the person is tested. By swabbing the upper respiratory tract, this test identifies those who need to be isolated or quarantined, and will help health providers protect non-infected individuals and healthcare workers. McBride notes that while the PCR test is well established, it has been found to be 30% unreliable, delivering a false negative or false positive. The test produces a “snapshot” of a person’s virus status at that time depending on exposure to and the stage of the disease.
Dr. Larry Plunkett, MD, Christian Living Communities Medical Director is currently not supporting mass testing, such as testing whole communities, but does support in specific situations “targeted” or point-prevalence testing of neighborhoods or portions of a community in part to identify asymptomatic individuals who may be shedding active COVID-19 virus. Dr. Plunkett points out that the availability and speed of testing must be taken into consideration before deciding to do targeted and mass testing and the supply of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE must be in place prior to starting a testing phase.
Antibody tests determine if an individual has developed antibodies to COVID-19. This test uses a blood sample to see if an immune response has developed, indicating exposure to the virus. In McBride’s findings, this test is limited as we don’t know what level of antibody presence indicates immunity. Additionally, there are multiple virus sub-types and it’s not known whether the presence of an antibody would indicate long or short-term immunity.
Dr. Gregory Gahm, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, believes that antibody testing is not helpful now because we don’t know how to interpret the readings. Currently, it’s difficult to determine if someone is actually immune and for how long, as the virus is evolving. Dr. Gahm now also supports targeted testing with all of the considerations pointed out by Dr. Plunkett, and believes all residents and team members must be tested at the same time in order to get an accurate “snapshot” in time.
Many experts agree that, until there is a reliable antibody test, active disease testing should be the gauge for stopping the spread of the virus in senior living communities. In the future, however, antibody testing may be an important tool in response to this disease. At Christian Living Communities and Cappella Living Solutions, we have conducted point-prevalence as well as symptomatic PCR testing to gain insight, but the best weapon in the battle against COVID-19 continues to be strong virus identification, isolation and eradication protocols, hand washing, wearing PPE, and meticulous sanitization.
We are thankful for our dedicated and caring professionals who continue to serve on our COVID-19 front lines. There is progress being made and we are celebrating recoveries and other successes. Read more information on Christian Livings Communities Virus Prevention Protocols.
Thank You to CLC-Cappella Team Members, Partners, and Friends for your support during this unprecedented time.
Traditionally, May is a month of celebrations and graduations. In the senior living industry, May is the month we recognize nurses and those living and working in skilled nursing home communities. This year we are finding creative ways to celebrate during a global pandemic. The challenges senior living communities face while caring for the most vulnerable are unprecedented and it has been a team effort.
We are grateful for the nurses and health care professionals in our communities who are keeping everyone safe and healthy. This is a perilous time for team members, yet their passion for serving seniors is unwavering. Our entire Clinical team, CNAs, Life Enrichment teams, Duet Dining staff, Business Office teams, Marketing and Sales teams, Administrative Support staff, Life Enrichment team members, Maintenance team, Chaplains, Social Workers, Health Information Directors and Clinical Liaisons, those working in Environmental Services and Transportation, continue to create a caring atmosphere for residents and commitment to the team. It is inspiring.
In addition, our partners, friends, family members, and the community at large have sent messages of support and much needed supplies. Volunteers have drawn chalk-art messages, painted beautiful artwork on windows, and supplied snacks, sent cards, flowers, and prayers. We are grateful for your generosity and kindness.
Thank You to All Who Have Donated Vital PPE
We want to take this opportunity to thank all who have donated much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to our communities so far. These individuals and organizations have come to our aid out of the goodness of their hearts – truly, they are lifesavers.
- NexCore Group
RTO Auto Supply
The Sharpest Ride
Inworks CU Denver
Days for Girls
Bellco Credit Union
United Launch Alliance
River Ranch Capital
Eaton Senior Communities Inc.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Goggles for Docs
Thank you to our home office staff who is tracking, sorting, hunting down, and following up on leads for this scarce and vital resource. There is a national shortage of PPE and we continue to seek sources for PPE to protect team members and residents. If you can help, please contact us at email@example.com.
Hear more about this critical need from Nathalie Knopp, RN, BSN, who is heading up this effort!
Dear CLC - Cappella Family,
Together, we WILL get through this. This is a phrase our leadership team uses daily. It is essential to say often as now, more than ever, we as a community of caring people must come together, and each do our part to combat the spread of Coronavirus. We must care for one another in significant ways during this difficult and uncertain time.
My personal commitment - to cherished residents and clients, to team members working tirelessly in all 24 communities, and to the supportive families -- is simply this: We will do everything in our power to protect EVERYONE who lives and works in EVERY community.
While this is not the ideal time for the CLC Board of Directors to embark on a search for a new CEO as Terry Rogers has left for a new position in Florida, please know the organization is stable, secure, and capable. I am confident in the team. I have faith in the organization.
I have been a part of the CLC-Cappella family for 16 years, 13 of those as the Chief Operating Officer. I have served as the President of Cappella. Our team is highly-trained, long-tenured and dedicated. We are CALLED to the work we do. I am humbled and inspired at how everyone has come together and put others ahead of themselves.
As I undertake the role of Interim CEO, I have named Pam Sullivan as the Interim Senior Vice President of Strategy and Communication. Pam has also been with the organization for 16 years. In this role, she will serve as the lead project manager for large organizational initiatives. She has been managing the COVID-19 response since early March. Additionally, three of our Vice Presidents will report to her for daily operational support during this interim CEO time frame.
We are all on high alert, and the developing situation is under constant scrutiny. We continue to respond to all developments with professionalism and compassion, keeping the safety of residents and team members as our highest priority. TOGETHER, WE WILL get through this.
Camille M. Burke | Interim Chief Executive Officer
View the story and hear from leaders at Christian Living Communities and Cappella Living Solutions in regard to how we are responding to the challenges the Senior Living and Healthcare industries face as a result of the global spread of COVID-19.
They say challenging times bring out the best in people. Anyone who has tried to buy toilet paper recently may disagree with that statement. In a broader sense, however, we see evidence this is true. Neighbors are reaching out on Nextdoor social media offering to purchase groceries and run errands for older neighbors; teachers are providing non-perishable food to low-income students while schools are closed, and most importantly, the majority of Americans are following guidelines for social distancing. Nevertheless, social isolation can bring problems of its own. If you have a family member living in nursing care, assisted living or memory support community you may be especially feeling that isolation. Fortunately, readily available technology can aid in alleviating some of the loneliness and anxiety about your loved one while helping to build community at the same time.
There are multiple free or very low-cost ways to connect with loved ones through technology. The most obvious and lowest-tech one is the phone. A daily phone call can not only make your family member feel important, but it is a good way to check up on their mental wellbeing. One Meals on Wheels chapter has discontinued the person-to-person connections when delivering the daily meals. However, they recognize that sometimes they are the only person the client talks to in a day and have since implemented Care Calls. Volunteers take time to call each client just to check up on them and chat about their day. They plan to continue this practice until the Covid19 danger has passed.
Older adults who live in a community can benefit from team members helping them connect via technology with family. If a resident is not comfortable using platforms like Skype or FaceTime to video chat with loved ones, Life Enrichment Coordinators can help them make the video calls. Additionally, utilizes the OneDay phone application. This is a video sharing app that enables team members to record short videos of residents’ life stories or daily activities and send them directly to the family. They can also share the video to social media when appropriate.
Social media is an excellent way to stay connected. Instagram and Facebook are great visual means for sending messages to isolated family members but consider some of the other options too. In 2018, Facebook launched Watch Parties. A Watch Party is a way to connect and watch an event, program or video with other people and chat via the app. Recently, churches have used Watch Parties or YouTube live to connect worshippers with compromised immune systems with their fellow congregants. There are also Facebook Groups that focus on common interests, hobbies, and discussion topics. With a little setup and help, older adults can participate and feel they are a part of a much larger community.
Finally, help our older adults find purpose in this time of social distancing. Hopefully, this restricted access to assisted living and memory support communities will be short and our family members and loved ones can be back to their normal engaging routines. In the meantime, there are benefits to short periods without distractions. Here are things we can all do to help. Write cards and send them to your local senior living community. Have children draw pictures and send letters to residents; they may even get a response letter. Christian Living Communities are encouraging residents to start seedlings by providing them pots and seeds to grow in their apartments and many other similar creative outlets. It is said that great creativity is a bi-product of such times.
We continue to work closely with state and local officials to balance resident safety, team member safety, and access for families and healthcare partners during heightened COVID-19 concerns. While no cases have been identified in any of our Christian Living Communities, we are now implementing new CMS and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment directives to restrict access to our skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory support neighborhoods. This means that no visitors will be allowed within the assisted living, memory support or skilled neighborhoods at this time unless they are part of the required care team for an individual resident. Compassion visits may be accommodated for loved ones of a resident who is actively in an end of life situation. Such visitors will be screened and their temperatures are taken before entering the community.
Additionally, CMS guidelines require us to no longer host dining services in our dining rooms; residents will receive their meals in their apartments or suites. Life enrichment group activities are also cancelled at this time.
Residential and independent living neighborhoods continue to screen all Guests for symptoms and we are encouraging social distancing. As we have no COVID-19 cases in the community, we continue to welcome new residents into all levels of living.
We are doing everything we can to ensure residents are well cared for, but also that they continue to have joy and purpose during these restrictions. These measures are an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing and isolation are the only proven way to stop the spread of the virus. We will work with families to help them connect with their loved one via technologies as Face-time, Skype and video conferencing. As always, resident’s health and wellbeing are our primary concerns.
Learn how the Clinical team and Christian Living Communities wrote the book on virus prevention protocol in this interview with Nelson Garcia from KUSA Denver.
Aired on KUSA 9News on 3/9/2020
We are now implementing new federal directives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in senior living communities. The Centers for Medicare/Medicare Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that if a skilled nursing community, assisted living community, or memory support community is in a county or operates in a county that is adjacent to a county that has had a positive case of COVID-19, we MUST limit visitors.
What does this mean for Christian Living Communities? We are liming visits to our communities that fall within those guidelines specifically for residents in skilled nursing, assisted living or memory support neighborhoods. Those residents will be allowed visitors for essential needs only, such as support care and family visit in end-of-life situations. Visits must be brief. All visitors will complete our screening protocol, which includes a few questions about their current health, and they will need to wash their hands to enter.
We know this can be discouraging for family members. However, we know this is the only proven way to stop the spread of the virus. In the meantime, we are happy to forward a note or card to a resident and will help them connect with loved ones via technology like Skype or FaceTime.
Our team is committed to doing all that we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works in the community.
As a senior living and care provider, every day we take very seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents and team members, while also balancing resident’s individual freedoms. Therefore, when a new outbreak like the COVID-19 Coronavirus occurs, we build upon the already strong virus prevention protocols of our communities. We are aware that anyone over the age of 60 has a higher risk of complications from the virus. This has prompted us to be even more vigilant in keeping communities safe.
Our approach during this heightened virus season is to remain calm, share the facts, take precautionary measures and continue to enjoy community life as best as possible. A leadership workgroup meets daily to assess the situation, give guidance and provide training so that we are as prepared as possible to identify, treat and eliminate Coronavirus should the need arise. In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we are limiting, for the near future, visits from large community groups such as school choirs and service organizations. Additionally, we are assessing the risk of all planned excursions with residents in a large group setting, 40 or more people. The CDC highly recommends postponing or not participating in large group gatherings of 40 or more at this time.
Of course, residents have the individual choice to attend a large group gathering. However, as an organization, we will not transport residents to these types of events in the short-term.
We continue to ask any visitors to our communities to be mindful of the risk of exposure to the virus. We ask them not to enter the building when experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Additionally, those who have traveled or been exposed to someone who has traveled to any of the increased precaution countries of China, India, Italy, Iran or South Korea, is asked not to visit the community until being symptom-free for two weeks after travel.
Visitors may be asked a few screening questions when they do visit as an added precaution. We want to welcome families and visitors while doing what we can to ensure a healthy environment and minimize the risk for everyone. We appreciate the patience and shared concern of our guests.
We will continue to monitor the progression of this virus and follow all CDC recommendations. We will conduct on-going training for teams working in the communities, follow our multi-disciplinary prevention protocols and build out our response should we have a confirmed Coronavirus case. It is very important to us that residents feel safe, stay calm and have the opportunity to continue to enjoy their lives.
These extra steps, coupled with the extensive infection control cleanings, vigilant assessment for potential exposure and infection, and access to professional support in keeping well, or recovering from illness; are the added benefits of living in a senior living community for the older adults we serve. Learn more about Christian Living Communities' Coronavirus Preparedness.
News about the spread of coronavirus is everywhere. The situation is fluid and new information about the disease and its spread is changing daily. We understand the potential risk this disease presents and are taking proactive steps to protect residents and team members. While we don’t want to overreact to emotionally charged news stories, we know this situation is a cause for concern for many of residents and their family members, so we want to share with you what we know about the disease and initiatives we are taking to address concerns in our communities.
The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, China. This disease, labeled coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has sickened thousands worldwide and has led to more than 2,000 deaths. (More information about the coronavirus can be found on the World Health Organization and/or Centers for Disease Control websites.)
Although the number of confirmed cases in the US is low, Christian Living Communities, Capella Living Solutions, and Rhythms Home Care are proactively working to prepare and protect residents, clients, and team members for this evolving situation. CLC-Capella conducts extensive yearly training for all team members in managing infections and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Our protocols are multi-disciplinary and prescriptive to prevention, containment and how to stop the spread of the disease should it occur.
We have created coronavirus specific policies and procedures modeled after our very successful flu and norovirus protocols, including:
- Reinforcing good infection control practices such as proper handwashing techniques, not touching face and proper coughing and sneezing protocol. We are stressing the importance of team members staying home if they are sick.
- Educating all associates about the signs of coronavirus (fever, respiratory symptoms) to assure early detection and treatment.
- Current CDC recommendations for treating coronavirus are the same as norovirus, including isolation, cleaning protocol, and communication. We are reviewing the norovirus protocol found in the Noro notebook. The Noro Notebook is currently in all communities and is a step-by-step instruction and competency on what to do at the first signs of viral symptoms. Watch the video
- Assuring that each community has an ample supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, and gloves.
- Screening anyone (residents, families, associates, and vendors) who have traveled to China, or other CDC designated countries, or have been around anyone with the virus within the last 30 days. If so, we follow strict CDC guidelines.
In addition, we are preparing for nonessential team members to be able to work remotely, “self-quarantine” at home, in case that becomes a CDC recommendation.
The health and safety of residents, their loved ones, and team members are our top priority. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will update all applicable personnel, residents and families as CDC recommendations change and as more is understood about the virus, including treatment and prevention guidelines.
If a family member would like more information, please contact your community’s Executive Director.