A New Jersey-based senior living provider has dedicated three rooms in an assisted living community to care for people who have ongoing medical issues after a bout with COVID-19.

The prevalence of these so-called long-haulers has been noted in various studies. Many report experiencing a variety of long-term physical and mental health symptoms no matter their disease severity. Jewish Home Family’s short-stay recovery program accepts new guests from the greater community, and takes a holistic approach to caring for these individuals, according to President and CEO Carol Silver Elliott. 

The program is tailored to people who have recovered at home but find they have ongoing symptoms that interfere with their quality of life, the company announced last week. (Residents arriving directly after COVID-19 hospital stays may be cared for in the provider’s sub-acute unit, Silver Elliot added.)

After completing a thorough medical assessment and getting consent from their physician, guests receive a tailored treatment plan and are admitted to Jewish Home’s “rehab hotel,” one of three furnished hotel-style apartments in the operator’s assisted living community in River Vale, NJ. The rooms originally were used for rehab stays for other non-subacute conditions.

Guests receive full days of programming and therapy, including intensive physical therapy and occupational and speech therapies as required. Respiratory and behavioral health specialists also are available if needed. Exercise, meditation and entertainment programming also is offered, along with “spa-like” meals developed to support sufficient nutrition and a return to wellbeing, the operator said.

Stays last either one or two weeks. Program recipients may then continue to receive ongoing therapy services via telehealth from in-house rehabilitation staff members after they return home, said Silver Elliott, who is chair of the LeadingAge Board of Directors. The in-house rehab staff was trained in telehealth use for many modalities during the pandemic, she told the McKnight’s Clinical Daily.

The new program is designed for individuals from the surrounding community. The company has provided post-COVID services for its long-term residents on an ongoing basis in their own rooms and within the framework of its regular therapeutic, clinical and recreation services, Silver Elliott said. It also has seen post-COVID admissions from the hospital directly to its subacute unit. 

“There are significant numbers of people dealing with long-term complications from COVID and we hope that this is a program that will fill that gap and meet the needs of our community,” Silver Elliott said.