After the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effects from variants and virus spikes, increased concerns from seniors and their families have risen about safety, leading to a decline in new resident occupancy in senior living communities across the country. Seniors are among the most vulnerable populations, and even a mild infection can have detrimental effects. Up to 3 million serious infections occur in long-term care environments each year, contributing to 380,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sodexo North America realized that many of these deaths could be preventable, which led the company to develop an infection prevention program, Reassure. The program implements enhanced cleaning protocols that fight the spread of infection. At the heart of senior living is the desire to help people live life to its fullest. Sodexo’s Reassure program gives seniors this opportunity while knowing their community prioritizes their safety and wellbeing.
Reassure’s approach uses scientifically proven tools to protect residents, staff and their families. The program, which meets the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s regulatory guidelines, was created to be customizable to the unique needs of each senior living facility it is implemented in. Beyond an infection control protocol, Reassure includes risk assessment and effectiveness monitoring and resident experience.
Infection control is at the forefront of the program and is based on methods that meet standards of regulatory compliance from the CDC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Reassure implements hospital-grade disinfectants and advanced HVAC and UV-C surface technologies, among others.
In addition to enhanced cleaning protocols, Sodexo provides training to staff on hand hygiene and proper use of personal protective equipment. Sodexo identified these areas as common deficiencies in long-term care that can lead to infection, and proper training helps staff work together to combat this.
Sodexo also performs detailed risk assessments of each senior living facility it works in. This highly effective assessment analyzes each space and process to ensure Sodexo can create customized solutions to mitigate, or even eliminate, risks. This step provides an added layer of protection against the spread of infection for residents.
Resident experience is a vital component of the Reassure program. Earning the trust and confidence of residents and their loved ones is the cornerstone of any strong community. Sodexo helps communities demonstrate their commitment to safety and building trust by creating helpful signage that shares information and reminders of safety protocols and updates in place.
All these components have helped the Reassure program be highly successful in communities where it has been implemented. Bureau Veritas recently designated two communities that have implemented Reassure by Sodexo with a SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence Assurance label. This label identifies a facility that has met stringent requirements to minimize the onsite risk of virus spread and is adhering to best-in-class hygiene and safety protocols. With this designation, the residents and staff of Miami Jewish Health in Florida and Clark-Lindsey Village in Urbana, Illinois, can have peace of mind knowing their environment is safe and meets the highest standards of hygiene excellence.
Sodexo works closely with communities to identify opportunities to improve the lives of their residents. Assuring seniors can live in a safe, clean environment is essential. Sodexo ensures seniors can feel confident and live their lives to the fullest without the threat of catching a virus or infection. A deadly infection can be spread so easily, but with detailed and stringent cleaning regiments and protocols in place, prevention is achievable.
Shadrack Alize is general manager for Sodexo Seniors.