Enhancements have been made to the protocols at Glacial Ridge Homecare and Hospice to help ensure the safety of their clients and staff during COVID-19 times. Prior to their scheduled work shifts, the entire staff is expected to self-check for fever, sore throat, cough, or any other respiratory symptom and report to their manager prior to seeing patients.
“In addition to making sure our staff is healthy and safe to come to work, they are calling their clients prior to their scheduled visits to ask how they are feeling. Clients are asked if they have had a fever, cough, sore throat, or any shortness of breath. They are also asked if they have had any contact with anyone who has recently traveled or been in direct contact with anyone who has known COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive,” Glacial Ridge Homecare and Hospice Manager, Tina Blair stated.
When staff arrives at the client’s home, the first thing they do is proper handwashing in front of the client. This helps give the client a sense of safety and reminds them how to properly wash their own hands. Hand sanitizer is also available to all staff. Glacial Ridge Homecare and Hospice has a good supply of PPE to use when appropriate. Staff only bring a minimal amount of homecare equipment or supplies needed for each client into their home. Everything is sanitized with approved disinfectant products between visits.
Many homecare and hospice clients are at a higher risk for COVID-19 with compromised immune systems due to chronic illness. “We want them to know that we take caring for them very seriously, and beyond all these additional measures, we offer our most compromised patients the first visit of the day to ensure that staff have not come in contact with anyone else prior to their visit,” added Blair. Clients who routinely run errands are given the option to have a staff member go to the store for them to help limit their exposure in the community.
Kirk Stensrud, CEO commented, “Our entire organization is committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 while providing the same level of care during these unknown times. Our homecare and hospice staff are an example of this. They are passionate about keeping their clients and themselves safe and take every precaution possible.
Glacial Ridge Homecare and Hospice works closely with Horizon Public Health and other community partners to assure that services are reaching people in need during these difficult times, such as Meals on Wheels. Staff are also doing their part to social distance themselves from each other. They have fewer interactions in the office; spacing their client visits appropriately, and relying on technology to communicate changes and updates rather than holding an in-person staff meeting. Combining a variety of small but significant measures helps make homecare and hospice services safe for staff, clients, and their caregivers.