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Responding to a worsening pandemic, Argentum assembled a working group of clinical experts to address key COVID-related challenges to help guide its assisted living members.

The group has compiled an infection prevention and control document that provides information to prevent the spread of infectious disease in communities, identifies precautions to mitigate the spread of disease, and provides planning for future pandemics.

Working under the direction of Argentum’s COVID Advisory Council, an infection prevention and control work group of clinical experts across the industry created the comprehensive guidance to help assisted living communities assess their own readiness for handling infectious diseases and identify areas that need attention. 

“Argentum’s guidance offers a flexible framework that can be tailored to fit community needs within regulatory requirements, which vary by state,” John Schulte, Argentum’s vice president of quality improvement, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “This guidance is designed to assist community leaders to evaluate and improve practices through program surveillance, investigation and data collection.”

Schulte said the document’s main recommendation is to put infection prevention and control programs in place. The document includes guidelines on resident and employee health practices, cohorting of residents, contact tracing, data collection, telehealth and resident compassion. There also are sample forms and reporting templates.

“These efforts improve the quality of life for residents,” he said, adding that Argentum will update the document as it receives feedback and new guidance from federal and state agencies. Argentum also plans to follow up with additional programming and educational opportunities for members in the future.

Schulte said the COVID Advisory Council was pulled together informally from among companies engaged with Argentum in previous activities, as well as others who expressed an interest in collaborating to address various COVID-related challenges.

“When I think back to how we got started with this group, the invites went out via email over the weekend and we held our first meeting the following Monday,” Schulte said. “This type of timing is unheard of, especially when working with top executives. This speaks to the essential need for the group and their ongoing commitment to the industry.

Participating advisory council members include representatives from ALG Senior, Atria Senior Living, Belmont Village Senior Living, Brookdale Senior Living, Commodore Capital, Enlivant, Five Star Senior Living, Legend Senior Living, Life Care Services, New Perspective, Sunrise Senior Living, The Arbor Co., Welltower and Willis Towers Watson.

Participants on the working group that formulated the infection control guidance document included Benchmark, Brandywine Living, Brookdale, LeadingAge Minnesota, Polaris Group, Sunrise, The Arbor Group and Willis Towers Watson.

The Argentum Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control document is free to Argentum members and available for purchase by nonmembers here.