COVID-19 updates for family members and representatives of residents
Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 and the Veterans Homes Visitor Policy for Residents and their Families
May 26, 2020
May 19, 2020
May 15, 2020
May 14, 2020
May 11, 2020
May 8, 2020
May 7, 2020
May 6, 2020
April 30, 2020
April 29, 2020
April 24, 2020
April 23, 2020
Spokane Veterans Home COVID-19 Positive Residents will Transfer to Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center
April 22, 2020
April 21, 2020
April 18, 2020
Washington State Veterans Homes are working hard to combat COVID-19. After consultation with our partners at the Federal VA, we now have the ability to proactively test all residents in our four State Veterans Homes.
We know that many carriers of COVID-19, of all ages, have no symptoms but are able to spread the virus without knowing it. That is why we believe the proactive step of testing all residents, even if they are not experiencing symptoms, is an important tool to safeguard our Veterans and their Families. By testing all residents, we have the opportunity to gather more information, better monitor, and correctly treat anyone who does test positive. This will also help us determine which of our staff should also be tested.
Testing began at the Washington Veterans Home on April 17 and will begin at the Washington Soldiers Home and Walla Walla Veterans Home the week of April 20 following notification to all residents and families.
Should we receive a positive test result, we have plans in place to respond appropriately. Families of residents who have positives tests will be contacted directly with a plan of action and regular updates. General information on the numbers of residents and staff tested as well as the numbers of negative and positive results will continue to be shared on our website at www.dva.wa.gov/covid.
April 15, 2020 -
April 11, 2020 -
April 10, 2020
Washington Soldiers Home Family or Representative Letter
April 8, 2020
SPOKANE – It is with a heavy heart that we share that one of the two residents who tested positive for COVID-19 passed away today. We are always saddened by the loss of one of our honored Spokane Veterans Home residents and this is no exception. Each Veteran served our nation honorably, and we take very seriously the business of caring for them when they need us the most. Our hearts go out to this Veteran’s family in their time of loss. The resident had been on end of life care for some time and had underlying medical conditions
Staff have been and will continue to closely monitor all residents including 4-hour symptom and temperature checks and will continue to wear masks and gloves when providing resident care. We are working with the Department of Health and Spokane Regional Health District to ensure all infection control procedures are being followed and to determine whether additional testing will be performed in the Home.
The second resident who tested positive for COVID-19 remains in the facility and symptoms have lessened since the COVID-19 test was performed on Monday. At this time, there are no additional COVID-19 tests pending for either residents or staff at the Spokane Veterans Home.
“I want to say how incredibly grateful I am to the staff at the Spokane Veterans Home, who are coming to work each day to serve our veterans and their families,” said Patrick McNabb, administrator of the Spokane Veterans Home. “They are truly a remarkable force and are doing an outstanding job of serving those who served under the most complex circumstances we have encountered.”
WDVA will continue to provide updated information online at: www.dva.wa.gov/covid or through dedicated telephone line with a message that will be recorded at noon each day, 509-344-5073. Media inquiries should be addressed to email@example.com.
April 2, 2020
March 30, 2020 Updated March 31, 2020
Dear Spokane Veterans Home Families and Representatives:
On March 30, 2020, we received confirmation that one of our employees at the Spokane Veterans Home was diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee is now self-quarantined at home.
We realize this news is concerning and we want to reassure residents, staff and family members that we are working closely with the Spokane Regional Health Department. We will stay in contact with the employee to ensure they get the care they need.
Additional environmental cleaning took place in areas of the building that the staff member worked. The employee was tested on March 23 and had no known contact with anyone who had tested positive for COVID-19. When 72 hours had passed without symptoms, and 7 days had passed after the onset of symptoms, the employee returned to work and worked on March 27 and a partial shift on March 30.
The Spokane Veterans Home will be conducting enhanced surveillance including 4 hour symptom and temperature checks for all residents for the next 14 days. As recommended by the Spokane Regional Health Department, staff will also wear masks when providing resident care for 14 days.
Our Spokane Veterans Home staff will pay close attention to whether they have any symptoms, including the presence of a temperature. As part of our ongoing screening process, all staff are screened upon arrival at work each day. This process includes a series of questions around whether symptoms are present and a temperature check. In addition, staff will take their temperature at least twice a day and are also asked to report any symptoms that occur after coming to work. Our screening process will now ask whether an employee has been tested for COVID-19 and gather additional information based on the answers.
We notified residents, staff and family representatives via email, phone call and a post to the website. We have informed employees of their possible exposure in the workplace but we will maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We know that this news is difficult to hear and want to reassure residents, families and staff that we are doing everything within our power to keep them safe and healthy.
WDVA has developed a website to provide information to families and resident representatives. https://www.dva.wa.gov/covid We are posting letters here in an effort to provide information as quickly and accurately as possible.
March 24, 2020
March 18, 2020
One additional Spokane Veterans Home resident has been hospitalized and is being tested, and one Spokane Veterans Home staff member is being tested.
Two additional residents at the Washington Veterans Home, Port Orchard are being tested.
One staff member at the Washington Soldiers Home is being tested.
March 16, 2020
Two Spokane Veterans Home residents have been hospitalized and are being tested for COVID-19. Results will be shared as soon as they are received.
Correction regarding staff being tested at the Walla Walla Veterans Home: Only 1 staff person has been tested, the other individual who initially indicated they were tested was not tested for COVID-19. The results of the staff person who was tested are still pending as of today.
March 14, 2020
Dear Veterans Home Family or Representative,
We are sending this letter in our continuing effort to keep each of you informed of any updates to COVID-19 testing taking place, and new visitor restrictions announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
As of today, we have no cases of COVID-19 in any of our Veterans Homes.
Three of our four Veterans Homes have had either a resident or staff person be tested for COVID-19.
On March 13, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new guidance to nursing homes regarding restricting visitors to protect nursing home safety in the face of the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The rules are effective immediately.
These changes to visitation at our Veterans Homes include:
Please know that we are aware of the difficulties this presents to residents and families at our State Veterans Homes. We appreciate your understanding and patience. Regulation changes are happening frequently and we understand that the lack of notice is challenging for you and your loved one. We invite families to use video or teleconferencing options to stay in touch. Please contact us if you would like assistance with setting up a phone or video call.
For more information on these changes, please visit:
We will continue to provide regular updates here and on our website at: www.dva.wa.gov/covid. If you have questions, please contact us.
March 13, 2020
Dear Walla Walla Veterans Homes Family or Representative,
We are sending out this post in our continuing effort to keep each of you informed of any updates to COVID-19 testing taking place, and our on-going preparedness with regard to COVID-19. Our staff are currently working on sending out letters and making phone calls to families.
On March 12, a Walla Walla Veterans Home (WWVH) staff member was advised by their physician to seek COVID-19 testing at the Walla Walla County Health Department.
The test was performed yesterday, March 12, 2020 and the staff member is self-quarantining at home. The results of this test should be available within 72 hours and we will share the results with you as soon as we receive them.
As precautions to protect our Residents and staff, we are taking the following measures:
• A thorough cleaning of Hudson/Kirkman and Stevens/Whitman will be performed.
• Only essential staff will enter the Hudson/Kirkman and Stevens/Whitman Neighborhoods.
• Hudson/Kirkman and Stevens/Whitman Residents will be placed on alert charting and monitored for fever, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing. If a Resident develops symptoms, special droplet precautions will be used.
• Hudson/Kirkman and Stevens/Whitman Residents will be encouraged to remain in their rooms with the doors closed as much as possible
• All WWVH group activities and public dining are cancelled and Residents will eat meals in their rooms.
We are aware of the difficulties this will present to Residents at the Walla Walla Veterans Home and their families and ask for your patience and understanding as we go forward to meet the challenges ahead.
We understand how important it is for family members to communicate with your loved ones, and we encourage you to connect with them through Skype, calls, texts or emails. Our staff can also assist in setting this up if needed.
As the Coronavirus outbreak continues in our state, our goal is to continue to provide the most relevant and accurate information to our veterans and their families.
When the results are received, we will share that information on this page. You can also check our website at www.dva.wa.gov/covid for additional information.
March 10, 2020
Dear Veterans Homes Family or Representative,
We are sending this letter in our continuing effort to keep each of you informed of our on-going preparedness with regard to COVID-19 and Governor Inslee’s Proclamation and new rules for all nursing homes.
FOR THE WA VETERANS HOME, PORT ORCHARD:
The Washington Veterans Home does not have any residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Two residents were tested on Monday, March 9 for COVID-19 using the criteria established by the CDC and Washington Department of Health. The residents are remaining in their rooms and staff are using appropriate precautions while caring for them. We will follow-up with you when results are returned to us within several days.
FOR ALL OTHER HOMES:
At this time, we have no suspected cases of COVID-19 virus in our Home. All of our facilities continue to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of any illnesses, including influenza.
We are actively educating staff, residents and families on symptom awareness for COVID-19 and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic.
If a resident exhibits any type of respiratory symptoms, the resident will be kept in their room and monitored for any increase in cough, fever, or other symptoms. Culturing samples will be initiated and sent to the laboratory for results if either Influenza or COVID-19 infections are suspected.
We will follow all Washington Department of Health and local health department recommendations or orders of isolation or quarantine.
We are also implementing Governor Inslee’s Proclamation for nursing care facilities.
The following rules will be in effect immediately through midnight on April 9, 2020:
If you are unable to visit and would like to discuss opportunities to virtually visit with your loved one, please contact the Activities Director to determine whether we can set up a video call.
Please know that maintaining the health, wellness and safety of your loved one is our number one priority. We have emergency preparedness and infection prevention and control plans in place, which address how we prepare for and manage infectious disease outbreaks. We are incorporating new information on COVID-19 into those procedures as it becomes available. Our staff are trained in infection control practices and follow established protocols based on that training.
With this also being flu season, staff already have a heightened awareness of the risks posed to our residents/tenants by respiratory illnesses and the vital importance of effective infection control practices. If you or anyone in your family has not yet received an influenza vaccination, we encourage you to do so.
We continue to closely monitor the latest information from the Washington Department of Health (WA DOH) https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID-19, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/COVID-19/2019-ncov/index.html, and we are working with public health and emergency preparedness officials to strengthen our preparation.
You are a key partner in keeping yourself and others healthy—wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
I appreciate your cooperation as we go forward to meet the challenges ahead. I am also particularly grateful for the experience and commitment being displayed by all of the Washington Veteran’s Home team members in this effort. Please take a moment to thank and acknowledge them on your visits.
Communication is key, and we will continue to update you on important news or emerging issues. Please visit Washington Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.dva.wa.gov/covid for regular updates and contact the Administrator with any questions or concerns you may have.
Resident positive COVID-19 tests:
Total number of residents tested:
Staff with a positive COVID-19 test:
Total number of staff tested:
Updated at 8:35 am 5/19/20
March 3, 2020
Dear Veterans Homes Family or Representative,
We are writing to keep you informed on the status of our Veterans Home in regard to the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Our goal is to ensure your loved one is well cared for and safe, and we hope this information will be helpful to you at home as well.
At this time, we have no suspected cases of this new virus in our Home. All of our facilities are taking proactive steps to prevent the spread of any airborne illnesses, including influenza. These include:
We are also monitoring the emotional well-being of our residents which may be impacted by the situational distress caused by Coronavirus or other illnesses in the Homes.
At the agency level, we are increasing communication among central office and all four State Veterans Homes. Each of our Veterans Homes has enough supplies, including personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns. We are continuing to work with our suppliers to ensure we are able to purchase more supplies as they become available. The collaboration between our four Homes will help us to ensure we each have the resources, equipment, and staffing needed.