Overview of protocols initiated
Bickford has implemented a phased-in approach to reopening. The vast majority of our Branches are in phase 1. Details are found below.
Self-Screening everyone who enters the Branch
Visitor and BFM access restricted based upon health symptoms
Testing and quarantine of BFM’s
Masks use is optional
Updated education on infection control practice and handwashing completed in each Branch
Enhanced disinfection cleaning protocols
Resident Health Checks, as needed
Monitoring of CDC, County, State and Federal Agencies for required changes to COVID protocols
Open Branch Activities
Visitation in Common Areas is allowed
In-Apartment and Outside visits highly encouraged
Use of hand sanitizer before and after visits
Exercising daily strongly encouraged
Beverage and snacks available throughout the day
For more information, click on the links below. If you still have questions and concerns, reach out to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with your local Branch director.
What is the current visitation policy?Bickford has implemented a phased-in approach to visitation. This policy is based on CDC, County, State and Federal protocols. Most branches are open to visitation with active mild COVID infections, as these residents are isolated. Check with local Branch leadership prior to your planned visit.
Planning a visit to your local Branch?You will be expected to self- screen upon your arrival at the Branch. Visits are preferred in the resident’s apartment and outside areas. Common area visitation is allowed between the resident and family Co-mingling of visitors with other Residents is strongly discouraged.
How can I stay connected to my loved one?Please plan to visit your loved one, as many restrictions on visitation have been lifted. If you are unable to visit, we encourage regular communication with your loved one utilizing technology (i.e. phone, FaceTime, Skype) and are happy to assist any way we can. The local Branch’s website (www.bickfordseniorliving.com) and Facebook page will be regularly updated with Branch happenings. Be sure to ‘Like’ our local Facebook page.
Can my loved one leave their apartment?Yes. We have educated all our residents to wear a mask, practice social distancing (6 feet), use appropriate hand washing, and have an awareness of touching surfaces. We will continue to encourage as much activity, and social interaction as we can while maintaining a safe environment.
Is Bickford conducting tours?Yes. In most Branches in-person tours are available. These tours will follow all Bickford infection control guidelines for resident and guest safety. Virtual tours can be conducted in all locations.
Is Bickford accepting new move ins?Yes. New residents will go through the same procedures and self-screening that our current residents do to enter the Branch.
What if COVID-19 is reported in a Branch?If there is a case of COVID-19 in one of our Branches, we will notify family and residents first, typically within 24 hours. Residents with COVID are isolated in their apartment until recovered from their infection per CDC, County, State and Federal guidelines
What is Bickford doing to help prevent BFMs (employees) from bringing in the virus?All BFMs and essential health care professionals are being screened each day at the front door prior to entry. Additionally, all BFMs are wearing masks during their entire shift. We also educate our BFMs on CDC guidelines and infection control practices to avoid exposure to COVID-19. We closely monitor for community infection rates and continuously re-educate our BFM’s on safe practices in their community. Any BFM with symptons will be tested and sent home, if positIve for COVID.
How is Bickford monitoring residents for signs of COVID-19?Residents and BFM's are educated to report signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Each resident is monitored for signs, symptoms and temperature.
Can medical health care professionals visit residents in the Branch?Yes, they will be screened prior to entry to Bickford Branches. All professionals must meet our stringent infection control requirements including wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and following Bickfords strict screening protocol and conduct within the branch.
Does Bickford have the supplies to support my loved one’s needs during this time?Yes. Bickford has longstanding relationships with a multitude of vendors to continue to meet the needs of our residents. We have procedures in place to ensure the continued supply and delivery of all essential items including food, medical equipment, incontinence products, etc.
Is Bickford using a chemical disinfectant that will kill COVID-19?Yes. Bickford uses a chemical disinfectant in the Branches that kills all viruses and bacteria. This chemical is 100% effective against COVID-19.
Are Chaplains visiting Branches?Chaplains complete a self-screen at entry to the branch. Chaplains are also available to connect with residents and families virtually or outside the Branch. Please reach out to Branch leadership if you have questions on how to establish this connection.
What does active cases of COVID-19 mean?
An active case is a current resident that has tested positive for COVID-19. This resident may or may not be residing in the branch based on their need for hospitalization.
How often is this number updated?
Residents and families are always notified personally first. Once these notifications have been completed this number is updated. Typically, within 24 hours.
Why do Bickford’s COVID-19 transparency numbers differ from what state agencies or other sources are reporting?
Bickford has opted to post, on our website, all confirmed positive resident cases of COVID-19. Some states have chosen to include other information beyond positive cases. They are including residents with symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19 such as a cough or any temperature recorded above 99°. These symptoms may also be associated with common cold, bronchitis, asthma, and seasonal allergies. We understand this creates even more confusion in these uncertain times and that is why Bickford has chosen to lead with transparency and will continue to do so. We will only report positive cases.
Are the Dining Rooms open?
Yes, In rare cases the health department may require in–room dining for a short period of time, while resident testing result are being processed.
Seniors Congratulating Seniors
When you have lived for 99 years, some would say you know a thing or two. That is why some senior citizens at Bickford Senior Living of Bexley are participating in an effort to offer high school seniors some advice as well as let current high school seniors know their accomplishment of graduating is not going unnoticed.
Student pen pals help senior citizens cope with coronavirus isolation
Some high school students in the American heartland are turning to the old-fashioned art of letter writing to reach local senior citizens who are not allowed to venture out or have visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We Have to Get Ahead of This’: Amid Bad Press, Senior Living Providers Must Be Transparent
When a local news publication ran a story highlighting Covid-19 infections and deaths at a Bickford community in Aurora, Illinois, the company didn’t shy away from talking to the press. Instead, Bickford Executive Vice President Alan Fairbanks used the opportunity to provide clarity on the state’s reported numbers and share more about what Bickford is doing to keep residents safe.
Digging Deeper: Families critical of nursing home, health depts. for handling of COVID-19 info
In the last week, long-term care facilities have been required to inform family members of COVID-19 cases immediately, but they aren't required to make that information public. And according to Andy Eby, co-owner of Bickford Senior Living, that's not good enough.
Iowa Withholding Names of Nursing Homes with COVID-19 Cases
As of April 21, nursing home residents accounted for 51% of Iowa's 84 deaths from COVID-19. But Iowa health officials refused to identify all facilities with a confirmed case. Bickford Senior Living decided to take a different approach.
One Iowa Senior Living Facility Owner’s Answer to Coronavirus: Transparency
Bickford Senior Living is doing something that Iowa's health department won’t: Publish notice of every single COVID-19 case at its locations.
To Battle Isolation, Elders and Children Connect as Pen Pals
To battle isolation and boredom, Bickford of Sioux City connected residents with high schoolers as pen pals.
Cheers to Grandma
What is a group of seniors to do in their quarantined living space when they run out of happy hour wine? Norma Bock at Bickford of Burlington had just the answer - reach out to the public on social media!
BFM (employee) FAQ
How can I protect myself and my family?Follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines, state and local mandates, wash your hands for 20 seconds, avoid contact with those that are known to have, or suspected of having COVID-19. As a best practice, Bickford strongly encourages you to receive the COVID-19 vaccination series and all available COVID booster vaccines.
Why are we self-screening everyone that enters Bickford?This is the best way we can protect our BFMs and Residents. Our goal is to limit our resident’s and BFM's exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
What happens if I fail the screening or exhibit symptoms during my shift?Bickford will test you for COVID-19. If positive, you will quarantine at home. If your symptoms have resolved you may be able to return early.
When should I stay home and not report to work?If you have symptoms of COVID-19, a diagnosis of COVID-19 or are living with someone who has or is currently waiting on test results for COVID-19.
Why are we performing Resident Health Checks?To monitor Residents and identify potential COVID-19 symptoms. This allows us to take appropriate measures to protect our BFMs and other residents.
How will our residents’ contract COVID-19?Residents are most likely to become infected from a source outside of Bickford. It is likely that those going about their daily lives will be in contact with the virus and inadvertently bring it to the Branch. Be mindful of your role and your potential to carry the virus.
My fellow BFM is coughing and sneezing, and I am not comfortable sharing the same workspace. What are my options?BFMs should report these types of concerns to Branch leadership. Everyone is self-screened prior to entry. Symptoms will be noted and those that do not pass the screening will be sent home.
What should I do if I am at home and experience flu like symptoms?You should notify your Director and you are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention by calling your healthcare provider.
Infected with COVID-19 and the death statistics in those over 65 years old are astounding. The vaccine has been a game changer in knocking out COVID-19 in our Branches. We strongly encourage you and your family members take the vaccine and any booster vaccinations. We have prepared the following FAQ to help answer the many questions you may have.
Why was it important for our Residents at Bickford take the vaccine?
Our Residents are vulnerable and are more susceptible to infection and negative health outcomes. The vaccine will protect them, our BFM’s, other Residents, their families, and friends from infection.
What if a Resident (or their POA) refuses the vaccine?
The resident or POA has the right to refuse. However, Bickford strongly recommends Residents take the vaccine to protect themselves, BFM’s, other Residents, and those they love. Bickford will continue to self-screen for symptoms, administer tests, and quarantine as needed.
How is the COVID-19 vaccine different from the annual flu vaccine?
This vaccine is made from genetic RNA material, that is produced synthetically, there is no virus in the vaccine. Traditional flu vaccines are made from virus that has been rendered harmless. The flu vaccine is traditionally 40-50% effective whereas the COVID-19 is more than 94% effective. We have seen lower protection against variants, especially Omicron, but continue to see Residents are recovering well.
Are these new vaccines safe?
Yes, RNA vaccines have been used for about a decade. Many manufactures have been working on other types of coronavirus vaccines so were able to mobilize a vaccine for COVID-19. The FDA has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccination.
What are the side effects?
Only 2-3% of those vaccinated, experienced side effects, such as mild headache, body and joint aches and tiredness. The side effects are similar or slightly more pronounced with the second dose. Most side effects start anywhere from 12-24 hours after the dose and usually last for no more than a day or so. Seniors generally have less side effects because their immune response and defense mechanisms are weaker. There are other very rare side effects.
Will we need to report any side effects from the vaccine?
Yes, we are required to report side effects.
I have had COVID so is there any reason to take the vaccine?Yes, because it will still protect you from severe infection and poor health outcomes including death.
Is it too late to take my vaccine or booster shot?
No, CDC data show the vaccine protects you against having severe infections and poor health outcomes including death.
Are seniors more at risk if they do not get the vaccine?
Yes, death from COVID is the highest in those over the age of 65.
What happens if I don’t take the covid vaccine series (two doses)?
If you become infected you are at risk of having severe infections and poor health outcomes and even death.
Will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine or give someone COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not a live coronavirus.
Can I change my mind if I want the vaccine?
Yes, vaccine is widely available at most retail pharmacies.
How was the vaccine produced so quickly?
A worldwide Pandemic allowed for many countries to release emergency funds as well as donated funds from other industries to accelerate the speed of development of the vaccine. We also saw an unprecedented collaboration of top scientists from around the world, (i.e., CDC, World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health) working closely with each other and the pharmaceutical industry.