09 Mar Measures healthcare professionals can take to prevent spread of Corona virus.
As expected, coronavirus has continued to spread.
The NY Times offers a map of the US and coronavirus cases (based on CDC information).
We are navigating this together on a global scale and learning from affected areas. Something positive that has happened is that test kits have been delivered to most states. We already knew that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would be in short supply because the demand is high. It will take time for manufacturers to make and deliver PPE, such as respirators. Let’s continue to empower HCA’s to ask for the right PPE for the job and to let us know if they don’t have access to it.
Protecting yourself, your family and patients:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- avoid touching eyes, noes, and mouth;
- wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Healthcare Staff PPE
As staffing professionals, we are friendly people. At the moment, the CDC and WHO suggest not shaking hands. Everyone will understand, Won’t they?
Here are some precautions you might take as a healthcare professional:
- Remind workers of your call-out procedure.
- Have extra hand sanitizer available on desks.
- Handwashing remains the best defense we have against transmission of infection.
- Workers that make client visits should carry hand sanitizer with them.
- Clean high-touch surface areas, like doorknobs, desks, touch-enabled computer screens, keyboards, phones, light switches and cell phones often. Sanitizer wipes are best, especially for electronics.
- Anyone with flu-like symptoms and fever should no go to work until they feel better.
- Older people may not experience fever even if they have flu or coronavirus infection.
- Share infection control information with employees and the public.
Patient Transfers and Medical Appointments
Facilities are asking that all of us work together to advise each other if a patient has COVID-19 or is suspected of having it.
Most facilities have a transfer form. This form is used to convey important information about patient conditions to help protect the patient and staff that will handle the transport and intake of the patient. Transport and intake staff need to be advised so they can wear appropriate PPE and take other necessary precautions.
If our staff drive patients to medical appointments and if the patient has flu-like illness or is known to have (or is suspected of having) coronavirus, call ahead so the medical staff can explain special instructions for entering the facility.
Self-quarantine measures are to be used by those that have traveled to the following locations;
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
The CDC and local departments of health are asking that people self-quarantine instead of getting tested if they do not have signs and symptoms of coronavirus because there are a limited number of test kits. Test kits are best utilized for those that have signs and symptoms of the infection. Emergency departments and urgent care clinics have been flooded with people wanting to be tested even if they don’t have symptoms. This can also be a source of exposure to staff, visitors and other patients and can cause excessive use of test kits.
Business Impact and Contingent Planning
It is expected that businesses will be impacted due to call-outs either because workers are ill or because they are taking care of family members that are sick. In some states, schools are closing and parents are taking time off to care for children. In combination, this can result in an increase in demand for staff from agencies as facilities are trying to cover surge demands that are happening in hospitals (emergency departments and medical-surgical units), long term care facilities, urgent care centers, and doctor’s offices.
The need for health care and home care staff is expected to increase during this outbreak.
ATC West Healthcare will open for business as usual as we have a business continuity plan and have thought of contingencies so there is no interruption of services. ATC west healthcare will be able to staff, address concerns and take care of business as usual.
Resources and Shareable Media
Updated Local Health Departments Contacts
Video: Know the symptoms of Flu
Video-How to protect myself from COVID-19 Infection
Video-COVID-19 How to stop the spread of germs