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How the Village of Skokie is working with long-term care facilities
The Skokie Health Department has a close working relationship with the six long-term care facilities in the Village. By ordinance, health department staff members inspect these facilities every other month to enforce State of Illinois regulations - conducting both nursing and environmental health inspections.
In early March, prior to the first case of COVID-19 in the Village, health department staff met with the administrators and nursing directors of the facilities to review the guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This guidance has been updated regularly since then, and health department staff remains in close contact with all six of Skokie’s long-term care facilities that are strictly following the IDPH guidance to prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19.
Thanks to area hospitals, especially Skokie Hospital and St. Francis in Evanston, there are no barriers to getting COVID-19 tests for long-term care facility residents or staff. For facilities with a case, the health department works closely with the facility, NorthShore University HealthSystem and the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure a coordinated effort regarding testing, care and notification protocols.
In addition, the health department has provided all of the long-term care facilities with personal protective equipment (PPE) received through the Illinois stockpile. All of the facilities have reported that they have adequate PPE supplies. It also is important to note that current IDPH guidance contains requirements for prompt notification procedures by long-term care facilities to residents and residents’ next of kin, guardians or emergency contacts when that resident, another resident or a staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 or when a resident dies from COVID-19.
“Long-term care facilities have an important responsibility to provide a safe environment for the vulnerable residents who are under their care,” said Skokie Health Director Dr. Catherine Counard. “My staff and I are assisting their efforts to the extent possible. We are in daily contact and have visited a number of facilities since the beginning of the COVID-10 pandemic. They are all very concerned and striving to face this tremendous challenge.”