For Our Families: Changes Impacting JAA Safety Precautions

Friday, March 27, 7 PM

A letter from JAA’s President & CEO

Dear JAA family member,

As you are aware, things are moving rapidly at the Jewish Association on Aging in our fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  It has been two weeks since JAA began restricting visitation to our communities.  We thank you for understanding our need to do so and for all your kind words of support as we work hard every day and do our very best to protect your loved ones. 

As an update on the state of what’s happening “inside,” we truly believe that residents are doing amazingly well in their safe “bubble,” enjoying the undivided attention of caring nurses and aides.  Our activities staff has been keeping our residents engaged and happy, and we still are gratified by the sounds of laughter and friendship that resonate through the halls. 

We are preparing to have Passover and Easter services streaming in to each room so that these Holidays can still be celebrated.  Indeed, this year will be like no other, but the essence of these religious and spiritual celebrations will surely be more poignant than ever.

We continue to report that we have no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in any of our JAA communities. We are doing everything we can to maintain that status, keeping the health and safety of your loved one as our top priority.

Keeping residents safe includes making changes in our processes of which we want you to be aware. None of these changes is a result of any issues with our residents’ health.  These changes are being made specifically to tighten our controls and adhere to guidance we receive regularly from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

As of March 27:

  • All direct care staff, nurses, care providers, and healthcare specialists are wearing face masks whenever they are with a resident. This is to maintain a virus-free environment and to ward off any opportunity for spread.
  • As you know, at Charles Morris  we are keeping the residents from congregating during meals and are serving them on trays in their rooms. On our memory care units, we have identified multiple locations for meals so that social distancing can be maintained while assuring resident safety measures while eating. We have converted from serving meals on regular dishes to using the same packaging we have for our Mollie’s Meals food delivery service. This includes paper serving products and plastic utensils, all easily disposable after each meal, ensuring even more safety for residents. Serving using paper products has been the norm at Weinberg Terrace since restrictions began.
  • You may hear that our laundry service, Clean Care, has announced it is closing its hospitality plant. Clean Care and JAA both assure you that the laundering of our residents’ personal items will continue despite this closure. Clothes will be delivered as they always have, hygienically clean and fresh, the only difference being with pressing. Clothes may be a bit wrinkled but we accept that as the nature of things right now.  Pressing will return to its previous levels as soon as the threat of the virus has ended.
  • We continue to screen everyone who enters our buildings. This has been and remains a priority.  We have become even more aggressive in our approach this past week. We have upgraded our screening processes, posting both security and a staff person at the doors during peak entry times to confirm  everyone coming in:
    • has his or her temperature taken and recorded
    • answers questions about symptoms and travel history
    • nurses and care staff is provided a new package of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the beginning of each shift

We assure you our staff continues to treat your loved one with utmost respect and dignity.  We do feel like our staff loves our residents as though they are their own families. In your absence, we try to provide that level of care and support. We are so proud of our staff and so grateful to each of you for entrusting your loved one to us.  We do not take that awesome responsibly lightly. 

Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have. 

We are here for you.

With gratitude,

Deborah Winn-Horvitz

President & CEO