Buckner Retirement Services updated its limited access visitation policy as a safety measure against the rapid advance of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The limited access policy, which went into effect Friday, March 13 at noon, forbids access to all visitors with the exception of compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations.
The new policy applies to BRS’s six communities, including Buckner Villas in Austin, Parkway Place in Houston, Ventana by Buckner in Dallas, Calder Woods in Beaumont, Westminster Place in Longview, and Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo.
The temporary visitation policy continues to follow guidelines provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as the organization updates its recommendations accordingly.
The policy also reflects restricted visitation directives from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who declared a State of Emergency on March 13.
BRS employees began notifying residents and family members regarding the new guidelines on Wednesday, March 11 via in-person conversations, phone calls, printed letters, emails and the community website and Facebook pages.
“We are aware that this limited access poses an inconvenience to our residents and their friends and family, but we are committed to doing everything reasonably possible to protect our residents and the Buckner team members who work at our communities. This decision was not taken lightly, however, we believe it is in the best interests of everyone,” said Charlie Wilson, senior vice president of Buckner Retirement Services.
When visitors meeting the approved criteria come to any BRS community, they have their temperature taken and are asked screening questions about their current health condition and recent travel as a further level of protection for residents and staff.
BRS team members under the direction of the community’s executive director are available to assist residents with any needs normally taken care of by visitors.
Communication with its residents and team members is a priority for BRS. Leadership continues to monitor the situation regarding coronavirus and is working to continually educate residents and staff regarding guidelines issued by the Texas Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control.
Specifically, Buckner Retirement Services is:
- Activating its Emergency Preparedness and Operations teams at each of the six campuses and holding a regular conference call with the teams from the six campuses. This process includes coordinating with local first responders and health care facilities in case emergency response for a resident or staff is necessary.
- Reviewing the Emergency Preparedness Manual and re-educating staff about infectious disease policies and procedures.
- Reviewing the BRS infection control protocol, inventorying supplies, and preparing employees through information and education.
- Launching a communications campaign internally for all stakeholders, including signs and posters in all communities. These safety-themed posters contain specific information about stopping the spread of germs and viruses.
- Directing staff exhibiting signs of sickness to stay home.
- Communicating with residents and family members that Buckner is taking this seriously and that we are taking every reasonable precaution.
“These extraordinary measures are intended to protect all of us,” said Wilson. “We will re-evaluate this limited access policy regularly and notify our residents immediately of any changes.”