TSVH Update on covid-19 (coronavirus)

It is with heavy hearts that we share that twelve of our residents residing at the Murfreesboro Tennessee State Veterans’ Home have passed away due to complications related to COVID-19 and pre-existing health conditions. These American Heroes were beloved members of our TSVH community and we join their families in mourning their passing.

Our Veterans’ Homes are continuing to test residents and staff weekly as well as conduct daily screenings for symptoms. Currently, the Murfreesboro Veterans’ Home has 18 residents and 11 staff members being treated for COVID-19. In total, 18 residents and 24 staff members have since recovered from the virus. All family members of affected residents were immediately notified of the positive test results. Residents who test positive or begin exhibiting symptoms for the virus are immediately moved to the cohort isolation hall for monitoring. Staff members are screened daily before entering the building and are required to quarantine at home if they are exhibiting symptoms or test positive.

All four of our Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes practice well-established infectious disease protocols, which is evident in the three deficiency free infection control surveys that were recently conducted by the Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at our Murfreesboro Home. Our Homes were also one of the first long-term care communities in Tennessee to restrict visitors and non-essential vendors from entering the buildings when the novel coronavirus became a threat in the United States.

“Our proactive approach and strong infection control protocols kept our residents free of the coronavirus for five months,” said TSVH Executive Director Ed Harries. “Now, we are refocusing all efforts on preventing its spread. Thank you to the Unified Command, TEMA, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Veterans Services, and our other state and federal partners for their unwavering support during this unprecedented time.”

The safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff will always remain our top priority. We are taking steps based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Tennessee Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) such as:

  • Enhanced infection control precautions
  • Screening residents, staff and essential visitors for symptoms
  • Postponing communal activities
  • Ceasing all new admissions from entering home
  • Restricting visitation and entry of people into the building

We remind everyone to please follow the guidance from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community as continued spread in the larger community increases the chance the virus will work its way into our building.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and please be assured we are doing everything in our power to prevent this aggressive virus from spreading further. Our COVID-19 task force also continues to meet daily to ensure our team members have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and staffing levels are maintained. We ask that you please respect the privacy of our residents and families, as well as our staff as they perform critical work in helping protect those who are in our care. Out of consideration for the families and confidentiality required by HIPAA, TSVH will not be releasing any names or other personal information.

For the most current information about COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

We sadly share that that four staff members and two residents at the Brigadier General Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans’ Home in Clarksville have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, one staff member at the W.D. Bill Manning State Veterans’ Home in Humboldt and two staff members at the Tennessee Veterans’ Home in Murfreesboro have also tested positive.

The results come after we began mandatory weekly testing of all staff on Monday, July 6th. TSVH leadership and staff took immediate action to ensure the positive staff members were sent home to quarantine and resident family members were informed. Of the seven staff members who tested positive, all are asymptomatic.

Currently all residents and staff are being tested and will continue to be monitored daily for symptoms. Staff will also continue to wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when inside the building and when providing resident care.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and please be assured that we are strictly adhering to all guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, CDC, and CMS. Our highest priority is our residents and staff, and we are doing everything in our power to keep everyone safe and healthy.

We ask that you please respect the privacy of our residents and families, as well as our staff as they perform critical work in helping protect those who are in our care. Out of consideration for the families and confidentiality required by HIPAA, TSVH will not be releasing any names or other personal information.

For the most current information about Coronavirus or COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

On June 10, 2020, Governor Lee, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Unified Command Group released guidance that would permit Tennessee’s long-term care facilities to begin allowing limited visitation starting June 15, 2020. While we are eager to open our Homes to families again, we will continue to restrict visitation until we have a plan in place to safely facilitate face to face visits. The veterans we serve are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and they must be protected at all costs. Please know we are actively working on a limited visitation plan and will communicate this to residents and family members within the coming weeks. For the most current information about Coronavirus or COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

We are happy to announce that we have concluded COVID-19 testing for residents and staff at all Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes and corporate offices. In total, 405 residents and 741 staff members were tested and all results have come back negative for COVID-19.

Testing was conducted in response to Governor Lee’s announcement on April 29, 2020 that the Unified-Command Group would be taking steps to ensure all Tennessee long-term care facilities are tested for COVID-19 before the end of May. The purpose of the testing was to identify infected staff and residents who were not visibly ill so they could be isolated to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

While we know everyone is eager for our Homes to open back up to visitors again, we must continue to restrict visitation until we can be sure our vulnerable population is no longer at risk. We take our role of protecting our Veterans very seriously, since many have multiple pre-existing health conditions that make them extremely susceptible to infection. We will also continue to maintain social distancing and follow extensive infection control protocols within our Homes, as well as screen all staff and essential vendors for symptoms.

We would like to thank everyone for their continued patience and support as our team works tirelessly to keep our American Heroes safe. Should you have any questions, please contact the Home where your loved one resides.

Murfreesboro: 615-895-8850

Humboldt: 731-784-8405

Knoxville: 865-862-8100

Clarksville: 931-245-4700

For the most current information about Coronavirus or COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

With Governor Lee’s Stay at Home order lifting on May 1, 2020 and many businesses beginning to open again, we wanted to share some details pertaining to the operations of Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes. On March 13, 2020 we announced our preparedness plan to prevent COVID-19 from entering our Homes and protect our veterans and their families from the novel Coronavirus. One of the precautionary measures we put in place was to restrict visitation at all State Veterans’ Homes except for end of life visits. This decision was made to help minimize the risk of exposure to our residents, families, and staff members. We believe our aggressive approach is the reason we have been fortunate enough to keep the virus out of all Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes thus far.

While we know many of you are eager to see your loved ones in person again, we have made the difficult decision to continue to restrict visitation until we can be sure our vulnerable population is no longer at risk. We will also continue to maintain social distancing and follow extensive infection control protocols within our Homes, as well as screen all staff and essential visitors for symptoms.

Families are encouraged to continue communicating with their loved ones via telephone, email, text, or social media, and our staff will be available to coordinate family video calls should you need assistance. Additionally, starting on Monday, May 4, 2020, we will begin reinstating visits “through the glass” at our front doors. For additional details and to schedule a visit, please contact the Activities Department at the Home where your loved one resides.

Ensuring the safety of our veterans and their families will always be our highest priority and we sincerely appreciate your understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time together. While we cannot say for certain when we will open our Homes to visitors again, please know we are meeting daily to assess the situation and remain committed to promptly communicating any changes. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 615-225-1816.

For the most current information about Coronavirus or COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

We know many of you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may impact us here at Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our first priority. At this time, we don’t have any cases in our State Veterans’ Homes or offices.

In accordance with the directive from the President and Federal health officials, Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes will restrict access to all visitors, volunteers, and non-essential vendors at all TSVH facilities. These precautionary measures aim to minimize the risk of exposure to residents, families, and staff. TSVH residents are predominantly older, and many have multiple complex health conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to infection.

Effective immediately, all four Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes will take the following actions:

  • Visitation is suspended until further notice. An exception may be made for end of life situations.
  • Facility access is restricted to all volunteers and non-essential vendors
  • Staff travel between facilities is frozen for all non-essential travel
  • Outside facility trips are cancelled until further notice
  • Access to the facilities will be denied any to individuals who screen positively for symptoms
  • TSVH will not admit any resident with known exposure to the COVID-19 virus for at least 14 days post-exposure
  • Staff will not be permitted to work if they have had a known exposure to COVID-19
  • Increased environmental cleaning, including handrails and door handles
  • Staff refresher training on hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, and infection control
  • Ensuring staff are utilizing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when appropriate

We plan to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our residents and prevent the virus from entering our facilities. Members of the TSVH leadership and clinical teams are meeting daily to monitor the situation and any changes will be communicated promptly. We are following our internal response plan, guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, the CDC, CMS, and the VA in order to stay consistent with our partner agencies.

Family and friends are encouraged to communicate with their loved ones via telephone, email, text, video chat or social media and our staff is happy to provide assistance.

We would like to thank our staff at each facility for their hard work to ensure we continue providing the highest quality of care to our residents. We also appreciate the patience of family members and encourage them to communicate with TSVH staff to address any concerns promptly.

For the most current information about Coronavirus or COVID-19, please refer to cdc.gov or tn.gov/health.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to our executive office at 615-898-1181.

© 2019. Tennessee State Veterans’ Homes Board.
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