May 7, 2020
Update: March 27, 2023
Removal of Universal Masking and Restricted Visitation Policies Introduced during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Welcome to Spring, the season of nature’s renewal and revitalization. After enduring the challenges of Winter, a reprieve is in sight!
As this season of joy and the welcoming of new prospects is upon us, it’s fitting to announce that The Hickman community will no longer require universal masking for staff, volunteers, and visitors as of Monday, March 27, 2023. As COVID-19 continues to transition into an endemic disease, public health authorities in Pennsylvania have referred personal care home communities to CDC guidance moving forward. According to CDC: “When COVID-19 Community Transmission levels are not high, healthcare facilities and personal care homes may choose not to require universal source control.”
Transmission levels for COVID-19 have substantially decreased to “Low” over the past month in our area and throughout the state; therefore, our team has agreed that masking and restricted visitation policies may be lifted. Our Infection Preventionist in partnership with The Hickman leadership team will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed.
Please note the following updates to visitation at The Hickman:
- Hours for visitation: no restrictions.
- Number of visitors per resident: no restrictions.
- Children are permitted (but please monitor for illness).
- Visitors are permitted in common areas.
- More to come on visitor participation in dining and activity programming.
We ask that visitors continue to self-monitor for symptoms of illness before arrival and refrain from visitation if present.
Although we no longer require masking on site, we support an individual’s decision to mask. Masks will continue to be provided at the concierge desks in both the Jeanes & Hickman buildings for your convenience.
Thank you for your patience and support throughout this journey!
Toni Kelly, Executive Director
Update: Friday, January 27, 2023
As we enter year three of managing our lives with COVID-19, we are pleased that most activities at The Hickman have returned to pre-pandemic levels! To protect our residents, all staff continue to mask while onsite. We ask that visitors assist us in reducing the risk to residents by refraining from visitation if symptoms of COVID-19 or any respiratory infection are present. Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fatigue, dizziness, congestion, runny nose, fever, aches, difficulty breathing, nausea, and/or other GI issues.
The community transmission rate for COVID-19 in Chester County continues to fluctuate due to various circulating variants. Our team diligently monitors COVID-19 activity in our area and will adjust visitation as needed. As always, we recommend being “up to date” with COVID-19 vaccination & boosters as well as the Flu shot.
When visiting your loved ones at The Hickman, please follow these guidelines:
- Restricted hours for visitation have been lifted.
- No more than two visitors at a time.
- Children under 12 years of age are not permitted indoors.
- Visitation must occur in the resident’s room or outside areas.
- Visitors are not permitted in common areas.
- Visitors may not attend meals or activity programming.
Thank you for your partnership in keeping our residents and staff safe from illness.
Monica Nearey MS, MT(ASCP)
Update: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Please refrain from visiting The Hickman if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 infection including but not limited to: cough, scratchy throat, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, fever, aches, difficulty breathing, nausea, GI issues. The community transmission rate for COVID in Chester County is beginning to drop but is still in the substantial range. Please be vigilant with masking when in public to reduce the risk of exposure and infection with COVID.
- No more than 2 visitors at a time
- Must remain masked (no cloth masks please) in the resident’s room
- Guests are not permitted in common areas
- No children: must be at least 12 years old
- COVID screened at the door
- Visiting hours 10 AM to 7 PM
- Visitors may not attend activity programming or meals
Update: Wednesday, April 7, 2021
We have been thrilled to see our community bustling again with families, friends and volunteers to share our days. The community positivity rate is rising (9.1) and we must remain diligent with our preventative measures. In the spirit of caution, please remember:
- Only 2 visitors per resident are welcomed at a time between 10am and 7pm
- Screen in at the front desk and proceed directly to your loved one’s rooms keeping your mask on for the entirety of the visit and the door closed
- Refrain from entering any common areas especially the Dining Rooms
As we cautiously emerge from the pandemic with significant “herd immunity” following our successful vaccine clinics, we are looking to the future of The Hickman with enthusiastic optimism!
Update: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
The purpose of this message is to inform you about steps we are taking in light of increasing COVID-19 transmission rates in this region, and the ongoing rise that is being projected. The numbers are trending upward in Chester County and surrounding areas. Government leaders and medical experts are advocating for more strict measures for the general community, to reduce the number of daily cases.
Currently, the COVID-19 positivity rates for these local counties are up as follows:
- Chester County 7.1%
- Delaware County 9.9%
- Philadelphia County 12.5%
The PA Department of Health advises that when such percentages reach 10% in the locale, all congregate care communities, such as The Hickman, should cease visitation and unnecessary outings to protect the vulnerable populations residing in them. Furthermore, they advise that with moderate levels of community spread (5-10%), each facility should weigh the situation within their perimeter. The percentages above have a lag time of approximately five days and have been trending upward with increases of approximately 2% increase each week.
With this in mind, The Hickman’s two COVID-19 Task Forces (Board and Staff) have thoughtfully deliberated about next steps, and considered options with the needs of all out stakeholders in mind. Yesterday, some difficult but necessary decisions were reached, as follows: Given that community spread is currently higher than it was in February/March when it began impacting our routines, and that it is rising, we must again stop visitation and unnecessary/elective excursions for the health and safety of all residents, effective immediately.
The colder weather makes the safer, outdoor visits uncomfortable for our residents and we are not confident that indoor visitation can be done with 100% safety.
We understand that this news is unwelcome. We appreciate that this will likely be an unpopular measure – perhaps especially with the holiday season quickly approaching. We want to reaffirm our intention to make each day within our walls as cheerful and robust as possible. With the addition of our new LifeLoop software, families are able to receive ‘real time’ photos and views into community life programming in progress around campus. Additionally, we have acquired additional iPad devices to enable more frequent video calls with loved ones. Through the next couple of weeks, we invite you to share creative ways that we can join together distantly or virtually.
Some ideas we are exploring:
- Send us your “home movies” or digital Slide Shows and we will have a viewing party.
- Purchase your loved one their own device for having video calls, unscheduled, whenever you choose.
- Make plans for a “drive by sunshine” with signs and horns.
- Let us know of your creative ideas or initiatives seen at other Personal Care homes (by emailing email@example.com).
Our staff joins you in the feelings of disappointment this news brings. We all look forward to the time we can all come together again: unmasked, enjoying a scrumptious meal, and laughing about the trials and tribulations of the pandemic. Until then, we here will continue to be vigilant each day and do everything we can to keep the promise we made to you on move-in day! Residents continue to enjoy:
- Activity programming within in their cohort on each floor, socially distant and masked
- Enjoy three meals a day in the community dining rooms, while safely divided by plexiglass
- Virtual visits, which can be scheduled with the concierge
- Onsite physical therapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, dermatology, audiology, ophthalmology, neuropsychology, hospice care and primary care visits as needed
- Virtual appointments coordinated by Nurse Managers
Further Protection of Residents and Staff Include:
- Community oversight by an onsite Infection Preventionist
- Staff screened prior to each shift
- Residents screened twice daily for symptoms
- Staff provided a fresh surgical style face mask each shift
- Resident Services staff now wear face shields for direct caregiving
- Baseline testing for possibility of asymptomatic person
- Ongoing education surrounding latest updates and guidance
We aim to provide a safe, comprehensive, program where resident health and quality of life are at the heart of every decision. Thank you for your understanding and patience. We hope that you are able to maintain your own health and peace of mind, at a time when those achievements are not easy.
Update: Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Steps we will take during a Phased Reopening (when conditions allow)
In Accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS)
Interim Guidance for Personal Care Homes During COVID-19
Update: Monday, June 22, 2020
You may have heard that Governor Wolf has announced that 12 Pennsylvania counties, including Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery will officially move into the “Green” phase of pandemic reopening this Friday, June 26.
While Chester County, where The Hickman is situated, and nearby counties where a number of our staff live, are entering the Green phase, I want to stress that The Hickman campus cannot reduce our safety practices while the public does so. In fact, reported positive cases and deaths are increasing in our county over the past week so we will continue to hold the line by increasing our measures to keep our residents here at The Hickman COVID-19 free. As you can see in the graphic below, the PA Department of Health guidelines state that restrictions remain in place for congregate care settings which means that we will not be lowering our current protocols. As relaxed restrictions on businesses, restaurants and personal care services may lead to increased transmissions, we urge our staff and broader community to be even more vigilant in their use of CDC safety measures.
To maintain community health we are continuing with the following:
- May not leave assigned rooms or floors unless being escorted by staff for a specific reason to another location.
- Will continue to have meals delivered to their rooms.
- May participate in small group activities while practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask.
- May walk the common hallway while practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask.
- May participate in the weekly scheduled remote family visits with the aid of staff.
- May relax on balconies (that do not face common sidewalks) when weather permits, physically distant from others.
We are in the process of having all staff at The Hickman complete PCR (nasal swab) testing for COVID-19 at designated sites throughout Chester & Delaware Counties.
When new information becomes available, we will email families and post here on the website. Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.
In light of the most recent health advisories, visits to our campus beyond the medically necessary are prohibited, effective 3/12/2020. Our resident population of seniors is among the most susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19, so the most prudent course currently is to allow only Physicians, Hospice Nurses, and Therapists on campus.
For now, the only exceptions to the above are end-of-life visits.
If you are dropping off needed supplies for your loved one, please label all containers and leave them in the bin in the vestibule for distribution. Prescriptions should be handed to staff person at the door.
Thank you for your cooperation and support, and, please take care of yourselves. Please continue to monitor our website and social channels for updates on our precautionary measures and responses.
Chester County Health Department / Health Operations Center
Phone: (610) 344-6225
Fax: (610) 344-5405
CDC Coronavirus updates
This is a difficult time for all people, but the challenges in places like senior homes and healthcare settings are distinctive. If you have capacity to give financially, please do so using the donate button here (or contact Director of Advancement Charles “Ebbie” Alfree firstname.lastname@example.org). Lastly, we invite you to hold our residents and direct care staff on your hearts. Thank you from everyone here.