Grafton’s Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When will a vaccine be available to Grafton staff and clients?
A: At this time, we believe Grafton will be considered a “long term congregate care facility” by the Virginia Department of Health. We will receive the vaccine after medical personnel actively treating patients with Covid and all medical staff receive it. We do not know exactly what the ETA is for Grafton, but the first wave of distribution started in Winchester on December 15. The vaccine will be given to people in two doses, given at separate times.
Q: How will the vaccine be delivered?
A: According to the Virginia Department of Health web site, long term care facility residents will be given vaccines on-site at their facilities by CVS and Walgreens teams. These retailers are partnering with the Centers for Disease Control to bring vaccines directly to the facilities so residents do not have to travel. Healthcare workers will receive the vaccine at their places of employment. We are being told that Grafton will be handled as a long term congregate care facility.
Q: Is Grafton mandating that all staff get the vaccine?
A: We are not mandating it, nor is the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are highly recommending it.
Q. What steps is Grafton taking to protect the health and safety of its clients and staff?
A. Grafton is working directly with the Virginia Department of Health (DOH) Lord Fairfax Health District as well as the Richmond Health District and Loudoun’s Health Department. The DOH epidemiologist provided us with guidance and is keeping us up to date with the most recent information regarding COVID-19. In addition, we are adopting the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines for nursing homes for our adult and children’s services programs.
A team of medical leadership, which meets daily, is heading up Grafton’s preparation efforts:
- We are screening all referrals to Grafton facilities, both prior to and at the time of admission. Those with symptoms of respiratory illness and fever will not be admitted without clearance from external medical resources. All individuals referred to our residential programs must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test and a quarantine period prior to admission.
- No visits will be allowed, “…except for certain situations, such as when a visitor is essential for the resident’s emotional well- being.” Routine visitation and outside activities involving contact with groups in the community is suspended until we have passed the most acute phase in the pandemic.
- We have suspended therapeutic passes and face-to-face family therapy.
- We are continuing to provide schooling to our youth in their group homes and at the Berryville campus within guidance provided by Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services.
- Food reserves, pharmaceuticals, and other protective equipment have been stocked at all sites.
- All non-essential travel by employees has stopped.
- Our medical staff have scenario-planned potential exposure events in collaboration with external authorities.
- All staff are screened upon entry to programs for temperature and symptoms that might indicate illness.
In addition, we have redoubled our efforts to sanitize surfaces throughout each facility and program, and have communicated widely and repeatedly about the importance of proper coughing/sneezing etiquette as well as hand washing hygiene protocol per Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards. This is the best way to prevent the spread of any respiratory illness.
Q: Has Grafton identified clients who are at risk?
A: The CDC guidelines indicate that those at most risk include the elderly and those with a compromised immune systems, diabetes, or other medical impairments. Grafton has developed a list of higher-risk clients who receive daily monitoring for any symptoms. In the event symptoms are noted, we recommend testing to the parent or guardian of the individual, and follow through as soon as possible.
Q: Am I restricted from visiting my loved one at a Grafton facility?
A: While Grafton has long believed that the connection between our resident, their family and their community is incredibly important, the answer, temporarily, is no. Right now, our first priority is the health of those within our care and our carers. Grafton is adopting the CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services) guidelines for “nursing homes” as we face the current challenge. These guidelines were released in a memo on March 9, entitled “Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in nursing homes (revised).”
As you know many of our adult clients have complicated medical conditions that render them at even greater risk than the general population which is why this step was taken in our adult services on March 12. We extended this to our children’s services as of March 16. On March 24, we extended this policy to be in place until we have passed the most acute phase of the pandemic. In late November, these restrictions needed to, again, be enacted. Given the risk of COVID-19 to our clients, we are taking this action to limit the potential of exposure. This means that no visits will be allowed, “…except for certain situations, such as end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the resident’s emotional well-being.”
Furthermore, if a non-routine visit is requested, the Executive Director in the region where your loved-one resides must approve that visit. Any visitor to a Grafton site – including parents – will NOT be allowed entry if:
- They are showing signs of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.
- In the last 14 days, they have had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or are currently ill with a respiratory illness (as described above).
- They have been involved in international travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained transmission of COVID-19.
- They reside in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
Q: Are clients still able to receive and use a therapeutic pass? Can he/she still return to Grafton after leaving for a period of time?
A: We have suspended therapeutic passes and face-to-face family therapy on site. We will making every effort to facilitate teleconference via whatever means we can to ensure ongoing engagement. The case management team will be in contact to arrange this as soon as possible.
Q: Are Grafton clients still able to participate in offsite activities taking place in the broader community?
A: Outside activities involving contact with groups in the community will be suspended until we have passed the most acute phase in the pandemic.
Q: Will Grafton schools continue to allow students who have enrolled through other school systems that are closed attend classes?
A: We will not be providing day school services to youth whose public school system has closed. This is necessary to limit exposure to our residential clients who also attend those schools. We know this is a challenging time for parents and we will work with you in whatever way we are able to help ensure the health and safety of your child.
Q: Will Grafton continue to serve participants from outside its residential services?
A: As part of our effort to prevent the possible spread of contagion, Grafton closed our Adult Day Support programs (Integrations in Richmond and ADAPT in Winchester) to all participants outside of our residential services effective March 16.
Given program structure in Winchester, we will be operating ADAPT on a modified schedule in which one group will participate in day support activities per day on a rotating basis.
Adult residents who participate in day support programs outside of Grafton will no longer attend those programs temporarily.
Q: Are other colleagues with whom Grafton works (for example, social workers, school officials, and other outside providers) attending meetings at Grafton facilities?
A: We have advised external stakeholders to refrain from visiting our site or participating in-person in our meetings. Instead, we are encouraging their participation through teleconference.
Q: Is Grafton prepared for staffing shortages should employees come into direct contact with the virus or ill?
A: Our medical staff have scenario-planned potential exposure events in collaboration with external authorities to prepare for the impacts of the virus. In the meantime, we are asking our staff to take the all of the measures outlined by the CDC to stay healthy, prevent the virus from spreading and help us maintain continuity of care.
At the same time, we need to make the right decisions about our own health so that we do not jeopardize that of our clients. Prior to coming to work, employees are asked to consider the condition of their own health. Do they have upper respiratory symptoms or a dry cough? Do they also have a fever of 99 degrees or more? If so, our protocol is for that staff member to immediately seek medical attention and call their manager.
Q: What other precautions is Grafton given potential impacts on business it works with, such as vendors or pharmacies?
A: Food reserves, pharmaceuticals and other protective equipment have been stocked at all sites.
Q: Does Grafton have one central, up-to-date location for all of its Coronavirus information?
A: Yes, we have a page on our website at www.Grafton.org/COVID-19 that will be maintained and updated in real time. If you have any questions, this would be the first place to look.
Q: I have a question that is not answered here. Who can I contact?
A: We have several ways you can reach out with a question:
- We encourage you to reach out to your Grafton case manager as your first/primary point of contact.
- You are also welcome to reach out to the executive director of each site: Allyson Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Winchester, Chezia Calloway (email@example.com) in Berryville and Tony Sanders (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Richmond.
- You can also email us at email@example.com.