Memo To: All Families of Community Senior Life Locations | Memo From: Dr. Daniel Scarbrough, Corporate Medical Director | Re: Response to COVID -19
As a Board-Certified Physician, Corporate Medical Director, and a Board Member of Community Senior Life (CSL), Inc. and SAGE Management, I felt it important to communicate directly to the families and sponsors of our CSL and SAGE residents across all of our communities throughout Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
We own and/or manage independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities which provide care and services to more than eight hundred (800) residents, including your loved one(s). Understandably, you, your family, and loved ones are all experiencing very difficult times, made ever more frightening by the unknowns and uncertainties about COVID-19, and for which we have few answers of consensus even from the recognized experts.
However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Johns Hopkins, State Public Health Departments, and our Federal Government are issuing daily advisories, guidelines, and, in some cases, official mandates which we have implemented where applicable and where required. Some of those guidelines are sensible and important to follow i.e., screening residents and employees daily on symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath, whether they have traveled to certain countries or “hotspot” cities, and whether they have knowingly been exposed to anyone who has experienced symptoms or tested positive for the coronavirus.
Other advisories are much more intrusive and frightening, especially to the elderly. Practicing “social distancing” and limiting exposures to groups larger than ten (10) persons require that our communities abandon communal outings, activities, and meals. Even more stringent rules for healthcare facilities mandate that we suspend all visitor and vendors contacts that are deemed by Public Health and licensing authorities to be “non-essential.” Most distressing and hurtful is that this suspension also extends to family visits. This can be very upsetting and confusing especially to the elderly and just as hurtful to the family. None of these measures are undertaken or enforced lightly. They run counter to the very essence of why we do what we do. They are, however, in keeping with the first rule of healthcare, “First, do no harm.”
This coronavirus outbreak is a global problem and will not end in a week or so. We are asking all family, friends, and loved ones that they try to understand the social distancing and visit limitations with compassion and patience. Be mindful as well of the need to protect our caregivers so they not only will be able to continue providing care for your loved ones but also that they not infect others in the larger community.
We are attempting to find the appropriate measures between liberty that your loved ones deserve and following all the rules and regulations that are issued. This will not be an easy task but together, and with prayer, we will all get through this very difficult time. I am available to any of you who have questions or concerns about your loved one’s care.