Md. adult day care revamps policies to prevent coronavirus

Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have prompted a Bowie, Maryland, adult day care facility to take extra precautions to prevent spread of the virus and protect their clients’ health.

The first step is trying to find hand sanitizer, “which was difficult but I found it,” Randye Williams, owner and director of Golden Age Adult Day Care of Bowie, told WTOP.

Williams visited her regular stores, starting with big-box retailers, but didn’t have any luck initially. Eventually, Williams found what she needed at smaller drugstores, but determined homemade sanitizers would be an option, if need be.

Williams also stocked up on enough toilet paper for a month.

“No problem ordering gloves from our supplier, no change in price,” she said. They also found masks, which they use when they do deep cleaning.

Williams said she’s also set new policies based the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Maryland Association of Adult Day Services (MAADS).

Before the coronavirus scare, they’d ask visitors with flu symptoms to stay in the lobby and told their clients with coughs to visit a doctor.

But now, “we’re being a little bit more diligent in actually asking them to seek the medical care. If they have any symptoms, we’re not letting them come in at all,” Williams said.

As part of their emergency plan to stave off coronavirus, they will continue to follow their usual precautions of sanitizing their kitchen, tabletops and doorknobs to keep infections from spreading among their clients.

“We’re having everybody come in and sanitize their hands before they even get started for the day. All of our staff is heightened and more aware of our sanitation procedures so they’re doing some extra cleaning that they weren’t in the past, as well,” Williams said.

They’re also implementing additional procedures, such as extra bathroom cleanings.

“Our newest policy is that we will greet everybody in the lobby and no visitors are going to be allowed into the center except for our professionals, such as our physical therapists [and] occupational therapists,” Williams said.

All visitors allowed into the facility will be screened by a nurse or staff member before entrance.

Before her interview began, Williams ran down a list of travel-related questions as well as questions whether or not this reporter displayed any symptoms of illness.

Williams and her staff are also using this as an educational opportunity for their clients, some who grapple with Alzheimers and dementia, or have developmental disabilities.

“I believe in education for any level, and prevention,” she said. “So we talk about hot topics with our participants. We think that they have the right to understand what’s going on.

“So as part of our overall day, we might say, ‘Hey make sure you really sanitize your hands, and when you’re in the bathroom, I want you to wash really carefully today, to make sure you’re not really spreading any germs.’ And we want to make sure we’re not sharing any food. So we just do it as part of our daily routine,” she said.

Their aim is education — not alarm.

“We certainly don’t want to make somebody with dementia nervous or scared,” Williams said. “It causes a lot of anxiety so we’re trying to use this as a prevention platform, an education platform for everybody to prevent illness.”

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