Columbia Ridge Senior Living has no confirmed cases of COVID-19
Administrators at Washougal senior-care facility say they’re ‘committed to following protocols, staying healthy’
By Doug Flanagan
Post-Record staff writer
Residents of the Columbia Ridge Senior Living assisted-living facility in Washougal have not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff, but administrators there say they are committed to following protocols to stay healthy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our employees and residents and their families have been overwhelmingly positive about what we have implemented to protect them,” said Columbia Ridge Executive Director Emily Taghon. “This community amazes me every day with their positivity during this unprecedented time.”
Columbia Ridge has made several changes since the outbreak of the virus, according to Taghon.
“Our visiting policy has been significantly restricted, our staff check-in policy has been changed, our standard precautions have been increased significantly and our staff training has ramped up,” Taghon said. “Residents of Columbia Ridge Senior Living are very aware of the potential dangers with contracting this virus. They are all watching the news and have brought up their concerns; however, it has been amazing to watch them implement their own safety procedures and comply with the standards that we have implemented in the name of health for themselves and our team. Mostly they are saying they cannot wait for our doors to be open to visitors again.”
Columbia Ridge employees are sanitizing “high-touch” areas such as doorknobs, light switches, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones, arm-rests and common area tables, several times per day; encouraging residents to use technology to remain engaged and connected with their families and friends; delivering meals directly to residents’ apartments; and holding residents’ mail for 24 hours to help reduce the risk of contact contamination.
The center has also implemented a health-based screening process that must be completed by any person seeking entry into the facility. And because outings have been cancelled, staff members are helping residents with their shopping needs.
“We are only allowing essential visitors, including end-of-life caregivers, family members of residents who are at the end of life, health department personnel, vendors, life safety systems maintenance, and our staff members and potential staff members,” Taghon said. “It is important that we keep our team staffed. We are strongly encouraging residents to practice social distancing within our community and are not conducting any group activities.”
Taghon said that Columbia Ridge has a procedure in place to ensure that reports of possible respiratory illnesses are responded to in a timely and appropriate manner.
“Our team is monitoring residents daily,” she said. “We are taking temperatures (and monitoring) oxygen saturation using a pulse oximeter, and we are asking questions directly related to the signs and symptoms of any infections. Any changes or deteriorating conditions will be reported to the resident’s main contact and their personal healthcare team so that we can obtain direction immediately. This is and has been our policy before the concerning spread of this virus began.”
Going forward, the center will be challenged to “ensure that its residents are still connecting with their loved ones,” and “continue to keep them engaged with their daily routines such as exercise, and spiritual connections,” Taghon said. “Other challenges will be determined by increasing cases of COVID-19 in the area and ensuring our team stays healthy.”
A Camas nursing home is among 137 Washington long-term senior care facilities with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.
The Seattle Times reported yesterday on documents its reporters had received from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services showing that 52 nursing homes, 53 assisted-living facilities, 23 adult family homes and nine other long-term-care facilities in the state had reported at least one case of COVID-19 among residents or staff, and that 52 of those facilities have reported 221 coronavirus-related deaths.
The Camas center, located at 740 N.E. Dallas St., is an 83-bed private care facility that includes both short-term rehabilitation for those recovering from an illness or stay in the hospital and long-term care for people who require 24-hour nursing services.
The center’s administrator, Mattson Kistrup, who took over management of the Camas-based Prestige facility in December 2016, had not returned calls from the Post-Record in time for this article’s publication.
Center had federal fine in 2018, two violations with ‘potential for harm’ in 2019
That fine, for $8,125, was linked to a 2018 United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report showing the Camas facility had caused “actual harm” to a few of its residents by not keeping all essential equipment working safely.
The DHHS report focused on “Resident No. 52,” a woman who required “extensive two-person physical assistance with bed mobility, transfers, dressing, toileting, personal hygiene and bathing” and reported wounds from a treatment designed to stimulate the nerves in her legs. DHHS found that treatment provided by Prestige “caused harm to Resident No. 52 and the facility did not communicate or document the injury.”
In 2019, DHHS reported 10 deficiencies at the Camas nursing home, including two the agency said had “a potential for harm.”
One of those deficiencies related to the center’s policies and procedures for flu and pneumonia vaccinations and the other was for a failure to “provide safe and appropriate respiratory care for a resident when needed.”
The latter referred to an incident involving the facility’s failure to properly label oxygen and nebulizer tubing. The DHHS report stated that a nebulizer mask, used to deliver medication to the patient’s lungs, “was observed sitting in a protective bag … on (the resident’s) bedside table” and did not have a date or initial on it. Another part of the report stated that the resident’s oxygen and nebulizer tubing had no label showing when it had been changed.
The facility’s resident care manager told DHHS investigators that the “tubing on oxygen and nebulizers should be changed weekly and labeled with the initial of the nurse and the date.”
The DHHS report stated that the failures placed residents “at risk for infection and a diminished quality of life.”
Prestige says it is ‘closely monitoring the situation’ and ‘updating community members directly’
On its website, the Camas Prestige facility notes that the safety or its residents and families is a top priority during the coronavirus pandemic, and states “We believe it is our responsibility to make sure our community members have the most up-to-date information when it comes to their health and safety. Maintaining transparent communication related COVID-19 is very important to our team, and we aim to do all we can to ensure our residents, patients and family members are receiving updates in a timely and efficient manner.”
The facility states it will “regularly update” its blog and communicate in greater detail via emails to residents, patients and families.
“As we continue to monitor the situation, our focus is on illness prevention,” the center states on its website. “We are closely following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for preventing the spread of this, and similar, communicable diseases, and have policies and procedures in place that will help ensure the health, comfort and well-being of our residents.”
Prestige has taken steps to limit the risk of exposure, the facility states on its website, including restricting visitor access — residents’ family members are not allowed to visit at this time — and “limiting entry to staff, vendors and medical personnel.”
The center has closed its dining and food areas, and staff are delivering meals to residents’ rooms.
The facility states on its website that it is “continuing to attentively monitor for signs of illness,” regularly disinfecting “high-touch areas and surfaces every two to four hours” and checking the temperatures of residents, patients and staff members during each shift.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and following the policies and procedures we already have in place that will help ensure you and your loved one’s health, comfort and well-being,” the center states. “We will continue to update our team and community members directly, follow guidelines from the CDC and work with public health officials and local health experts to implement additional proactive measures as this situation continues to evolve.
We take this situation very seriously and remain committed to maintaining a safe, nurturing place for our caregivers to provide quality care for our residents and their families.”
Editor’s Note: This is an ongoing story and will be updated on the Post-Record’s website and in next week’s print issue. If you are a family member of a resident at the Camas Prestige facility or a facility employee who would like to share your story or concerns about the center’s positive coronavirus case(s), please email Managing Editor Kelly Moyer at firstname.lastname@example.org with Prestige in the subject line, or call 503-901-0480.