HCL News - Complimentary Agency Policy and Tools for COVID-19
- HealthCare ConsultLink
It is recommended that in response to the recent disaster declaration due to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Home Care and Hospice providers should initiate their Emergency Preparedness Plan. HealthCare ConsultLink has written a new COVID-19 Policy, Policy Addendum for Pandemic, and COVID-19 screening and education tools. These policies and tools offer guidance based on current state and federal recommendations, but are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current developments, as things are rapidly changing. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal, business, or medical advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.
- HCL IC.2a Policy Addendum for Pandemic
- HCL IC.15 Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) Policy
- HCL Patient/Staff Screening and Education Template (See March 27, 2020 post for UPDATED Tool)
- HCL Patient/Staff Screening and Education for COVID-19 (See March 27, 2020 post for UPDATED Tool)
As a follow up to the email that we sent out last week, remember to check the State Health Department, CDC, and OSHA websites daily to stay current on the latest guidelines and updates.Useful websites:
- Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) - Up to date news on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Texas
- Texas Association of Home Care & Hospice (TAHCH)
- Home Care & Hospice Checklist - Provided Courtesy of TAHCH
- Palmetto Government Benefits Administrator (PGBA)
- National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC fact sheets and guidelines useful in educating staff, patients, clients, and the public:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- US Department of Health & Human Services - ASPR TRACIE
- World Health Organization (WHO) - Information about the world-wide incidence of COVID-19
In all states, look up the state health department division responsible for providing updated COVID-19 information. There may also be information on the State Association website.
Following is a list of HealthCare ConsultLink Policies and documents you can use for information, guidance, and tools to prepare for the potential influx of patients/clients:
|Hand Hygiene policy||Reflects CDC guidelines on hand-washing, using alcohol based gels|
|Cleaning and Management of Supplies and Equipment policy||Guidance on cleaning equipment and supplies|
|Infection Control Program policy||Guidance on identifying, tracking and reporting all infections. This policy also includes a plan for an influx of infectious patients/clients with recommendations on assessing agency capabilities, emergency planning and response and strategies.|
|Exposure Control policy||Standard precautions and transmission-based precautions are explained|
|Emergency Preparedness Plan||The All Hazards Community/Agency Based Risk Assessment for Potential Disasters includes a section for documentation of a pandemic or epidemic; write COVID-19 in under “Other” and complete the risk assessment based on risks identified by the local or state health department|
|Review the emergency preparedness plan with staff|
|Complete the Continuity of Operation Business Plan|
|Use the Emergency Preparedness Plan And Procedure Checklist to ensure you cover all the appropriate activities|
|Consider strategies for managing if large numbers of referrals are received or if large numbers of staff are sick or home with sick family members|
|Test your communication plan|
|Provide training for staff, develop educational materials for patients/clients, their families and caregivers-use current information from reliable sources such as CDC, WHO, and State health departments|
|Document any review, teaching, training, or drills that you do|
Please be sure an individual in your organization is responsible for receiving and sharing updates from your state or local health department.
Tell your caregivers and patients/clients that you are carefully monitoring the outbreak and proceeding with all employees’ and patients’/clients’ best interests in mind.
Do not allow caregivers who have treated patients/clients diagnosed with COVID-19 to care for other patients/clients who do not have such a diagnosis. Consider either training a group of caregivers to be designated as responsible for caring for any COVID-19 patients/clients or consider restricting services if anyone in a patient’s/client’s household is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Remind all staff about covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue and washing their hands often (hand-hygiene per your infection control and hand-hygiene policies), as well as cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects (includes laptops carried in and out of the home, stethoscopes and BP cuffs).
Ensure employees have access to the necessary protection, eliminating any possibility for cross-contamination – especially if employees are traveling between a series of patients/clients. This may require changing PPE, including clothing, that may have become soiled by a previous client.
Retrain your caregivers on proper use of PPE.
Educate your caregivers and patients/clients on how COVID-19 spreads, and to notify you if they are feeling sick or showing any symptoms of COVID-19. Encourage sick employees (regardless of whether diagnosed with COVID-19) to stay home.
Implement consistent protocols related to an employee’s reentry to the workplace in terms of obtaining a medical release clearing the employee to return to work and ensuring that the employee does not pose a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.
Do not identify or disclose to other employees the reason that an employee, who is working from home or unable to work preventively, is not at work.
Any documents about, or communications with, employees about their medical conditions should be kept in a secure and confidential location separate from the employee’s personnel file (usually in a medical file).