Navigating COVID-19 Effectively
Updated August 2, 2021
This is a living guide outlining how Miami Jewish Health, a non-profit health system and leader in caring for aging adults, continues to deliver on its 80-year legacy in the Miami community during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide serves to provide context to help understand information on Florida’s elder care facilities shared by other sources, such as the State of Florida or media outlets.
At Miami Jewish Health, we are dedicated to the health and safety of all those we care for and our employees. At every point in the COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment has served as the foundation from which we have managed the care we provide while following all CDC and Department of Health guidelines.
We are currently accepting COVID-positive patients from the community into our dedicated COVID units. Find out more about our safety precautions and COVID units here: https://bit.ly/3e2iYSb
We are grateful to have been able to offer vaccines to all of our residents and employees in late December. Over the past month, we have seen a shift in the fight against COVID-19, as the Delta variant has caused a spike in cases and hospitalizations in our County and State. As of August 2nd, we have mandated that all Miami Jewish Health employees, volunteers, vendor partners, and contractors be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 15th.
Taking Early Action
Miami Jewish Health activated emergency response planning early in 2020. Recognizing the unique vulnerabilities, we proactively made decisions and took action based on the best clinical decisions and standards of care. Logistical, tactical, and operational measures were coordinated to be supportive of both residents and staff. As a result, we have been able to clearly identify appropriate levels of care for all those impacted and move swiftly. Some of the measures include:
- Coordinating with local and state officials, local first responders, and state regulatory agencies to implement best practices and secure personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits.
- Establishing entrance protocols to screen and control all employees and prohibit visitors from entering the campus.
- Ceasing community dining and other communal activities, while simultaneously creating methods of imaginative and engaging recreation, including religious services.
- Utilizing our on-site hospital for residents who have tested positive to provide specialized medical care while keeping them safely within our campus environment.
- Transforming five areas into negative pressure units that are acute care-equivalent to address severe respiratory issues and avoid stress on other parts of the healthcare system.
- Prioritizing resident and employee testing to assess exposure and identify risk areas.
Miami Jewish Health has had residents pass away over the past few weeks, and while it’s unconfirmed whether other chronic health issues besides COVID-19 were a contributing factor, we mourn their loss. Our residents entrusted to our care are like our own family, and all of us are saddened by how this virus is impacting our country’s most vulnerable population.
Our Ethics Committee decided early on to engage in active testing of residents and employees, including those who may be asymptomatic. Based on our active testing, we know the measures we have implemented are working.
As of May 11th, we have completed testing all of our residents, and our most recent results have all been negative. More than half of our residents and almost all of our employees who initially tested positive have already returned to “home” and work. These are encouraging trends.
Throughout the process, we have been proactively communicating with resident families regularly and sharing relevant updates. In addition to coordinating with all state and local agencies, we have set up family and employee hotlines to support inquiries and provide real-time information.
A Word From President and CEO Jeffrey Freimark
“Now more than ever, this is the time to stay the course and continue to do what we know to be right. We will continue to proactively communicate with our extended community. We will continue to provide the highest level of care to those we serve. And we will continue to take the most responsible and informed path forward as aligned with our values until we are confident this pandemic is behind us.”
About Miami Jewish Health
Miami Jewish Health is a non-profit organization with an 80-year legacy of providing care for aging adults and some of our community’s most frail populations. Our nursing home, the largest in the state, and assisted living facility, are home to over 400 residents. Florida PACE Centers cares for over 900 participants in the community. More than 1,200 employees and key partners are committed to providing the highest quality care to the 12,000 people we serve annually.