Our residents and staff are like family, and we want to do everything we can to keep our family safe and healthy. At a time when there’s widespread anxiety around safety and uncertainty, Holiday Retirement is proud that our routine cleaning practices and our infectious disease cleaning protocols continue to meet and exceed all state, local, and regulatory sanitation and hygiene guidelines.
“Even when COVID-19 is theoretically gone, we have processes and protocols built that will continue to keep our residents safe,” said Mathew Smith, senior director of dining services. “We’re not going to stop, because we want to be ultra safe.”
Here are some details on routine cleaning within our senior living communities, as well as specialized cleaning measures in the case of a COVID-19 exposure.
Routine Cleaning Practices
Holiday Retirement housekeeping staff have always cleaned our communities with a caring touch. Their work is more than just a job to them. Many have close friendships with our residents. They genuinely care about our residents’ safety and comfort.
Apartments and Cottages
Holiday Retirement housekeepers clean residents’ apartments or cottages regularly.
Routine apartment cleaning includes:
Cleaning bathrooms and kitchens
Wiping counters and other surfaces
Providing clean linens weekly
Our common area cleaning services follow strict guidelines informed by the CDC and reviewed by certified industrial hygienists. Staff use top-tier, EPA-registered disinfectants proven to kill Coronavirus, Norovirus, H1N1, Listeria, MRSA, and Staph.
In addition to everyday tasks like vacuuming and dusting, housekeeping staff disinfect these high-touch surfaces at least three times daily:
Doorknobs and handles
Restroom surfaces, handles, and faucets
Washer and dryer handles and lids
Tables, counters, and chairs
Railings and light switches
Televisions, remotes, pens, computers, and office equipment
Snack bar doors, counters, handles, dispensers, and popcorn machines
Seats and railings in community vehicles
Housekeeping staff also clean with an eye toward frequent use. “If residents are going up and down the elevator all day, we’re on top of that, constantly going in and cleaning buttons,” said Smith.
Recovery Phase Cleaning Protocols
Older adults throughout the world have felt the largest impact of COVID-19. Age and underlying medical conditions put people over age 65 at higher risk for COVID-19 effects.
With 261 senior living communities that are home to over 30,000 older adults, though immensely smaller than the national average, some of our Holiday family did contract COVID-19. In these cases, we sprung to action to ensure minimal exposure and mitigate risk for residents and staff, as well as rallied around our ill resident in whatever ways we could from a safe distance.
Holiday Retirement has been around for 50 years. We’ve always had infectious [FIX SPACING]disease protocols in place that follow CDC guidelines for contagious illnesses, like the flu. We’ve enhanced those protocols in light of the pandemic. Our infectious disease plans map out specific measures for every area of operations, including cleaning. “The process of deep cleaning and sanitizing during a recovery phase from a COVID-19 case is pretty extraordinary to witness,” said Timothy Rogers, special projects manager.
In addition to our everyday safety measures (like physical distancing and use of personal protective equipment), our already stringent cleaning protocols go into overdrive if a resident, caregiver, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. “We clean anywhere there could have been a COVID-19 exposure,” said Rogers. “Rooms, common areas, dining rooms, etc. are cleaned -- and we begin a monitoring process from there.”
The specialized deep-cleaning procedures following a COVID-19 case include:
Deep Cleaning Common Areas
Cleaning of common areas occurs after the end of a 14-day quarantine and include:
- Machine cleaning all floor surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants
- Disinfecting all furniture and fixtures
- Applying virus-destroying agents on all horizontal surfaces
- Performing a hot water and sanitizer extraction of furniture
- Conducting a cleaning extraction of all common area carpets
Deep Cleaning Apartments
If a resident or their caregiver tests positive for COVID-19, we disinfect all apartment hard surfaces and high touch areas, including:
- Doorknobs and door jambs
- Cabinet handles
- Windowsills, handles, and locks
- Grab bars and railings
- Remote controls
- Counters and tabletops
- Thermostats and light switches
- Remote controls
Hard floor surfaces are also disinfected and a cleaning extraction of carpets is performed.
We’re so proud of our staff and residents who have risen to the occasion and brought out the best in one another during times of physical distancing and other safety measures. “The residents are grateful that we’re taking those steps,” said Rogers. “They’re so happy that we’re taking this initiative to keep their spaces safe. It’s one of those things where we’re stuck in the process, but you see on the other side coming out how happy they are that we took care of them.”
We’ve also been thankful for neighbors who’ve rallied around us. Elementary schools have donated cleaning supplies, locals have donated hundreds of hand-made masks for residents, and the Georgia National Guard has even helped with recovery cleaning efforts, which was exciting for our residents. “The residents were thrilled to see the National Guard’s presence,” said Rogers. “It was such a positive feeling, and they were excited that they were there to help them out.”
Our “new normal” includes a new dining room setup. We have a combination of delivery and dining room services. Our newly arranged dining rooms meet all social distancing protocols and have limited seating.
Food preparation and serving always follow strict sanitary guidelines that include measures like:
- Frequently changing gloves
- Washing hands in between glove changes
- Disinfecting all kitchen and dining area surfaces
- Frequently cleaning work stations with food-safe sanitizer
- Sanitizing workstations and cooking lines after each meal
If an independent living community is self quarantining, our dining services follow enhanced cleaning protocols. These include:
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Delivering all meals and snacks to residents’ rooms in disposable containers
- Using face masks, gloves, and physical distancing while delivering meals
- Spraying and sanitizing apartment doors, handles, and chairs after each meal delivery
- Washing and sanitizing all kitchen surfaces and tools more frequently
- Checking dish machine temperature and chemicals at least three times a day
Cleaning Protocols for Move-Ins
As people move into our retirement communities, we have extensive safety protocols in place and we’re confident of our processes. As part of the guidelines for move-ins, staff disinfect the full path used by the moving team, including elevators, doors, carts, and any other touchpoints.
Questions About Cleaning Safety at Our Communities?
Our associates are happy to answer all of your questions about cleaning and other safety protocols at our award-winning retirement communities. Contact us today and learn why our residents feel safe and cared for here.
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