Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Ensuring resident and associate health is our highest priority.

We’re monitoring the status of COVID-19 daily and are following guidelines from the CDC, WHO and state and local departments of health to take steps to prevent the spread of any virus in all Northbridge communities. As always, we will update you with any changes to life at the community. If you have any questions, please reach out to your executive director by calling the community directly.

Thank you for your attention and support. As always, our commitment is to the safety of all our residents and associates.

For questions or media inquiries: jhastings@northbridgecos.com.

Update as of July 31

Family Visits

All Northbridge communities are located in states that are now open to scheduled outdoor family visits. It has been so wonderful to see the schedules filling up for outdoor visits over the course of the last month. It has warmed our hearts to see the smiles in your eyes and the eyes of our residents as you have reunited. All communities continue to accept visit reservations. Please reach out to your community to arrange a time.

Please note: we understand plans change. If you are unable to make it to the community for your visit, please reach out as soon as you are able so we have the opportunity to offer the time to another family.
As a reminder, we want to continue to ensure safe and enjoyable visits.

Please be mindful of our safety protocols:

  • Please bring your own personal mask, both cloth and medical grade masks are acceptable. Please wear your mask at all times while on community property. Be mindful of proper use of masks – it should completely cover your mouth and nose and fit snugly.
  • When you arrive onsite, please follow the screening instructions of your community. You will be reminded of screening instructions when making an appointment.
  • After screening is complete, we will guide you to the outdoor visit location and we will have a team member escort your family member to meet up with you.
  • Please make every effort to social distance while visiting – 6 feet apart at all times.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted during visits- please plan to hydrate prior to or following your visit. It is essential for visitors and residents to keep their mask on at all times.

Social Programming

We know that one of top reasons families choose a Northbridge community is the array of opportunities for socialization and programs. Over the past few weeks, we have slowly and safely started to schedule small group programs. Residents across Northbridge have enjoyed outdoor entertainment, small group walking clubs, gardening club, putting practice, painting and so much more. While we continue to offer in-apartment program opportunities and virtual communications when requested or necessary we are elated to see our resident’s calendars filling up.

Dining

In accordance with local and state department of health guidelines we have been thoughtfully developing plans to open to service in our dining rooms. We understand that access to varied dining opportunities outside of resident apartments is a vital aspect of life in a Northbridge community. As our dining rooms re-open at safe capacities with a multiple seating schedule, we will also continue to offer apartment room-service if preferred or necessary. In our Avita Memory Care programs we will continue to offer safe and socially distanced dining in neighborhood dining rooms. In the coming week you will receive additional communication directly from your family member’s community with specific dining related plans and protocols.  

Salon and Barber Shop

*applicable to Massachusetts communities only

In accordance with local and state department of health guidelines we have started to welcome back salon & barber services in Northbridge communities located in the state of Massachusetts – much to the happiness of residents. We are closely following the guidance in the states of Maine and New Hampshire and are proactively developing plans in anticipation of opening soon across Northbridge.  

Outings and Trips

We have received several requests from residents and families to leave our campuses for various outings and trips. We know how important these types of trips are, especially through the summer months in New England. We look forward to a future when we can start to adjust our guidance related to off campus outings and trips, but we are not at this stage yet. As you have most likely seen in the media, many reported COVID-19 cases are still being spread from people who are infected but are asymptomatic, do not have symptoms. Several recent outbreaks have occurred as a result of people attending family gatherings and events. This scenario poses not only a risk to the health of the resident leaving the community but also to the health and safety of other residents and associates. We ask you consider the well-being of all our residents and associates when making the choice to leave our campus, even for a day.

Update as of June 5, 2020

We want to take the opportunity to update you on Northbridge’s safety protocols. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with the CDC, the WHO and local and state department of health guidelines, we have implemented certain safety measures to protect the health and well-being of all Northbridge residents and associates. The following is an update to Northbridge’s safety protocols as we prepare to welcome back families for visits at our communities.

The following applies to Northbridge Communities located in Maine and Massachusetts:

We recognize that some Northbridge communities are located in states where outdoor scheduled visits are now allowed per state guidance. We are working across all communities to prepare for safe, socially distanced and scheduled outdoor visits starting on June 15, 2020 (by reservation). All Maine and Massachusetts communities are now accepting reservations. We have worked with each Northbridge community to identify comfortable outdoor settings for visits to take place.

As we welcome back families we want to ensure safe and enjoyable visits. Please be mindful of our safety protocols:

  • Please bring your own personal mask, both cloth and medical grade masks are acceptable. Please wear your mask at all times while on community property. Be mindful of proper use of masks – it should completely cover your mouth and nose and fit snuggly.
  • When you arrive onsite, please follow the screening instructions of your community. You will receive these instructions via email and when you make your reservation.
  • After screening is complete, we will guide you to the outdoor visit location and we will have a team member escort your family member to meet up with you.
  • Please make every effort to social distance while visiting – 6 feet apart at all times.

Please reach out to your family member’s community with any additional questions.

Update as of May 29, 2020

We want to take the opportunity to update you on Northbridge’s safety protocols. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with the CDC, the WHO and local and state department of health guidelines, we have implemented certain safety measures to protect the health and well-being of all Northbridge residents and associates. The following FAQs remain in place:

  • What methods of safe communication do you have to help us connect with residents? We have many different video conferencing opportunities to connect you with your family member and we are happy to arrange this for you. Reach out to your community directly to arrange a time – we’re happy to connect you.

  • Are Northbridge Associates still required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Yes, all Northbridge associates continue to wear masks and protective eyewear at all times and gloves when providing direct care or services. Northbridge put these PPE protocols at the beginning of April to safeguard all residents and associates and will continue to keep this protocol in place until further notice.

  • Have you opened to family visits at your communities? We continue to follow all CDC, WHO and state and local department of health guidelines. The CDC does not recommend loosening the “No Visitors” policy at this time because of the continued risk to residents in assisted living communities.

    We also continue to discourage “window visits” with residents for safety reasons as communities have reported residents leaning out of windows and families passing items and/or not practicing social distancing.

  • The State is starting to open, even allowing for limited services in salons and barber shops? When will you allow for these services? Can a Northbridge resident go out for these services? Though some states are beginning to open salon and barber shops with substantial safety protocols in place the salons and barber shops within our communities do not qualify under this guidance, nor do they fall within state guidelines for operating within an essential business such as a senior living community.

    In direct accordance with CDC guidance, any resident who leaves the community at this time (e.g. to visit family, partake in outside services or appointments) has to enter a 14-day quarantine upon their return so as not to spread any potential infection acquired while away to others in the community.

  • Can my family member leave their apartment? Apart from residents who are currently on 14-day quarantine periods, residents do have the ability to schedule safe and socially distanced time to enjoy the outdoors. Our communities will provide these individuals with a mask and ensure the hallways are clear for them to pass during their scheduled time.

    In our Avita neighborhoods residents, as always, have access to their secure community courtyards and our care teams will work to ensure they are also socially distanced while enjoying their time.

  • Are associates at all Northbridge Communities participating in a screening process before entering the community? Yes, Associates are required to:
    1. Not come to work if sick.
    2. Pass the kiosk screening and temperature check prior to starting work each day.
    3. Continue to wear a mask and protective eyewear at all times and gloves when providing direct care or services, until further notice.
    4. Clearly understand that if they develop even mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they must stop working; notify their supervisor; leave the workplace and seek medical attention.

With the weather getting nicer and some first phase businesses re-opening under state guidelines, it can be very tempting to let our guard down against the COVID-19 battle we are a fighting. We cannot. It is our collective duty to protect those we care for: our residents and associates; to keep them safe, well-cared for and happy. To do that, we all need to follow social distancing and infection control protocols both at home and in our communities.

In the coming weeks, dependent on guidance from the CDC, WHO, and state and local departments of health we may be slowly and safely re-opening our communities and we will communicate with you as these decisions progress. We thank you for your cooperation and thoughtfulness during this time. We will get through this together!

Update as of May 7, 2020

We know how difficult it is not seeing your loved one in person during the COVID-19 crisis. Ahead of upcoming holidays, please review the below guidelines. Please know ensuring resident and associate health and safety is our highest priority.
  • As we have available every day, on Mother’s Day we will have team members available to assist residents with FaceTime or other video conferencing applications to see and talk with their families. If you would like to arrange a time, reach out to your community’s Program Director and they will be happy to set up a time.
  • We want to make you aware we will also be accepting deliveries of flowers and any sealed gifts at the front of our communities.
  • We have discouraged "window visits" with residents for safety reasons as communities have reported residents leaning out of windows and families passing items and/or not respecting social distancing.
  • In the coming weeks, dependent on guidance from the state, DPH, and CDC, we may be slowly and safely re-opening our communities and we will communicate with you as these decisions progress. 

Our current community preparedness plan is still successfully in place, please read below updates for previous changes.

Update as of April 6, 2020

Northbridge will be supplying all associates on all shifts with added PPE to utilize while in the community, including masks and gloves. We want you to know that the daily use of PPE is an added precaution and is in addition to continued:
  • Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing
  • Covering coughs
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Avoidance of touching eyes, nose and mouth, even when wearing a mask and gloves
  • Frequent sanitation of hard surfaces

Northbridge is postponing all group programming and use of community common areas for gathering. Further, we are asking that residents make every effort possible to remain in their apartments. We realize these measures present challenges as it relates to keeping residents engaged, but we are also keenly aware of the wonderfully talented and caring associates we have across Northbridge. We are working closely with all communities to share ideas for one-on-one programming opportunities within apartments so we can come together to creatively engage our residents while staying safe and healthy.

We also realize that this safety protocol will present additional challenges in our Avita neighborhoods. All social programming will be modified for Avita with a continued focus on social distancing and frequent hand hygiene throughout the day and during all mealtimes.

Our current community preparedness plan is still successfully in place, please read below updates for previous changes.

Update as of March 31, 2020

  • Effective March 31, 2020: out of an abundance of caution and for the protection of our residents and associates, all Northbridge Communities are proactively advising that all residents limit outside physician and medical visits to only essential visits. Further, we are advising residents to eliminate all other activities/trips outside of the community and postpone all non-essential physician and medical visits. We suggest residents and families reach out to their health care providers for telehealth opportunities. We are happy to help with arranging technology to accomplish telehealth appointments. Please be advised, that should residents require an essential physician or medical visit outside of the community or should they leave the community for any reason they will be required, upon return, to self-quarantine in their apartments and or cottages for a period of 14 days.
  • In accordance with the CDC and local and state departments of health we are adjusting our screening protocols for essential personnel entering Northbridge Communities. Effective immediately, individuals having travelled to either Connecticut, New York or New Jersey within the last 14 days will be denied access to the community.

Our current community preparedness plan is still successfully in place, please read below updates for previous changes.

Update as of March 19, 2020

Communal dining in all Northbridge main dining rooms for independent living and assisted living residents has been suspended. We will be arranging delivery of all meals to the resident's apartment. In our Avita memory care programs, being the unique environments they are, we continue to be focused on social distancing and frequent hand hygiene practices during meal times and at all times.

These modifications are not an indication that residents are required to remain in their apartments. We are continuing to facilitate engaging programming while practicing safe social distancing and in small groups of 6 or less.

Update as of March 16, 2020

  • Effective March 16, 2020: out of an abundance of caution and for the protection of our residents and associates, all Northbridge Communities have made the proactive decision to no longer admit new residents to our communities. This decision is in effect until further notice as we closely follow developments from the CDC, the WHO and state and local departments of health. 
  • No visitors are permitted in any Northbridge Community, except for emergency situations. Emergency exceptions must be expressly approved by the community executive director. Anyone entering the community under these circumstances must pass all screening protocols and will be denied access if they do not pass the screening.
  • Health care providers, including home health, therapy services, private duty, nursing services, physicians, physical therapy, and hospice staff will be granted access to the community once they have completed and passed our entry screening protocols.
  • For residents returning to the community following a hospital or rehab stay, we request they present a note from their physician stating they are free from communicable disease. Upon returning and as a precaution, residents will be screened and asked to sanitize their hands.
  • We are taking the added step of actively screening and monitoring the health of all associates prior to the start of each shift. Each associate must pass all screening protocols and will be denied access if they do not pass screening.
  • We are actively practicing social distancing in our communities which is defined as maintaining distances, approximately 6 feet, from others when possible.

Our current community preparedness plan is still successfully in place, please read below updates for previous changes.

Update as of March 12, 2020

All Northbridge communities have made the proactive decision to no longer be open to visits or tours except for emergency situations.

  • We are no longer conducting group gatherings and events within the community as well as transportation to activities and large group events outside the community, with the exception of transportation to medical appointments.
  • For residents returning to the community following a hospital or rehab stay we request they present a note from their physician stating they are infection-free and do not pose a risk to others.
  • For new residents requesting admission to the community, we request they present a note from their physician stating they are infection-free and do not pose a risk to others.
  • We are taking the added step of actively screening and monitoring the health of all associates prior to the start of each shift.
  • We’ve established one point of entry in each community to ensure screening protocols are met.
  • All Northbridge Communities will have enhanced opportunities available, and facilitated by associates if needed, for our residents to stay in close contact with the family through FaceTime and other similar Video Communication technologies.

Our current community preparedness plan is still successfully in place, please read below updates for previous changes.

Update as of March 5, 2020

As we are sure you are aware, it is hard to turn on the news and not see a story about COVID-19, the viral disease also known as the “Novel Coronavirus.” Even though the
Novel Coronavirus is now top of mind, we want you to be aware that we have a robust preparedness plan that is appropriate for all viruses like this, including things like the influenza and Norovirus. Just like any virus or infection, we follow guidelines from the CDC and state and local departments of health. Here are some steps we take to prevent the spread of any virus in all Northbridge communities:

  • We focus on keeping our common areas as clean and sanitized as possible to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Our Culinary teams follow ServSafe guidelines and NSF-approved dishwasher techniques.
  • All associates are trained in techniques to prevent the spread of germs specific to their individual roles in serving residents in our communities. Additionally, we
    ask associates who are sick to stay at home until they are no longer contagious.
  • We ask that residents who are sick please stay in their apartments or go to the hospital for further medical evaluations.
  • Our resident care teams are very tuned into the health and wellness of every resident. At the earliest signs of people experiencing a similar illness and symptoms, we take steps to enact extra infection control procedures, including limiting non-essential activities in the community and notifying families and visitors.
In addition to these everyday steps, we have made precautionary operational adjustments in response to the current Flu and COVID-19 situation:
  • We have increased the frequency of the sanitation of common areas.
  • We are adding more touch-less hand sanitizer stations in our communities.
  • The touchscreen Accushield visitor management system now prompts visitors:
    • We need you to be cautious when coming to visit. We are trying to limit exposing our residents to illness, including Flu and Coronavirus. Are you or someone in your immediate family experiencing cough, sore throat or fever? Yes/No. A Yes response will require approval from community staff.
    • We have ordered extra personal protective equipment supplies, such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, to have on hand.

You can help us in preventing the spread of viruses. We ask that you avoid visiting the community if you feel sick or have other symptoms of an illness. Additionally, we request visitors who have traveled outside of the United States within the past 30 days to not have direct contact with residents.

Subscribe here for ongoing updates:

Helpful Resources:

Centers for Disease Control
Massachusetts COVID-19 Updates
Maine COVID-19 Updates
New Hampshire COVID-19 Updates