As of this posting, two people in Pinellas County and one in Pasco have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). All are travel-related cases. Officials are working closely with healthcare providers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes to be sure measures are in place to protect the most vulnerable elderly population. EasyLiving has been working diligently on measures to protect the safety and health of our clients, staff, and family members. We will share more here about the steps we are taking. Additionally, we will share some resources to help you and your family.
EasyLiving’s Coronavirus Measures
- Training for our team regarding the novel coronavirus and team meeting to discuss and implement procedures.
- Coronavirus screening for all patients upon admission.
- Coronavirus screening questionnaire for all clients, staff, and family members who visit clients (implemented starting on February 27th). Prompt detection and effective triage and isolation of potentially infectious patients are essential to prevent unnecessary exposures among patients, healthcare personnel, and visitors.
- Education and resources provided on safety measures, infection control, proper use of personal protective equipment, hygiene/handwashing and administrative procedures. Updates to clients, families, staff and related professionals about new cases, updated measures, etc.
Client Planning for Coronavirus
Along with the steps above, we are working with clients on coronavirus plans. For clients residing in facilities (independent living, ALFs, nursing homes), this includes evaluating what measures the facility is taking, finding out how they will handle potential cases, looking at how they plan to provide services, and helping prepare the client for possible quarantines or other measures. In this, we look at setting up technology for communication and telehealth as well as ensuring the person has necessary supplies and comfort items. Additionally, this means reviewing client care plans, ensuring their advanced care directives are updated and available, and advocating for clients when we see concerns.
For clients residing at home, we look at the care and assistance that the client MUST have to be safe in the home. We discuss their plan for self-isolation, how they will get what they need, and how they will manage in different scenarios. We also work to set up technology for communciations and telehealth to keep them connected. We have a list of telehealth resources to connect them with anything from counseling to virtual doctor’s visits. Additionally, we look at supplies to be sure they have necessary items in the event of quarantining. We also confirm their preferred hospital/facility choice should that be needed and ensure all their documents and key contacts are updated and available. During this process, we also confirm that their care plan is updated and detailed with the information any healthcare provider would need to do the best job for the client (medications, diagnoses, etc.).
This is an ever-changing situation and we are doing our best to mitigate risks and communicate. As the situation changes, procedures and what can be done may change. We encourage you to contact us if you should have any questions (727-447-5845 or 813-333-5020).
Employee Action Plan
Here is some of the information we share with our employees, along with the various educational resources:
Only you know if you feel sick or if your immune system is compromised. It is your responsibility to self-isolate, social distance (avoid contact with others), and take care of yourself.
What do you do if you are visiting clients?
- Wash your hands at the beginning of the visit and directly after. Remember, sing Happy Birthday twice – that’s about 20 seconds of handwashing.
- Hang and/or tape the EasyLiving Coronavirus Handwashing Handout asking for everyone to hand wash prior to entering – let’s help protect our clients and others.
- Do not touch your face.
- Do not touch any surfaces or the client. Explain: no hugs, no handshakes, no shoulder squeeze as we are all trying to maintain safe distances.
- If you cough and/or sneeze use a tissue or at least into your elbow. Wash your hands again.
- Educate the client and others in the home.
- Sanitize all surfaces before/after you touch, doorknobs, keyboards, phones, frequently touched objects.
- Social distancing: stay at least 6 feet from other people, at facilities, at the grocery, when you go out to dinner, etc.
- No hugs, no handshaking, no small touches – keep your distance and explain/educate the reason.
- Practice healthy habits (eat well, get rest, exercise, take medications as prescribed). Take care of yourself.
Coronavirus Information and Resources
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some of these viruses cause illness in people while others generally infect animals. Sometimes animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is what is suspected to have happened and causes this novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
How does it spread?
The virus is generally spread from person to person through respiratory secretions.
What is the incubation period for coronaviruses?
Generally a 14-day time frame is recommended. This is the longest incubation period seen for similar viruses. If someone remains symptom free for 14 days after exposure or potential exposure the risk of having the virus is greatly decreased.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Mild to moderate respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold or flu with fever over 100.3.
How can I protect myself and my family/patients?
• Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Cover your cough, sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. (Clorox wipes or other anti-viral, antibacterial wipes in the workplace.)
• Clean and wipe down all surfaces in the work area before and after every patient encounter and at the end of each day
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (especially before and after patient care, removal of gloves or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Do I need to wear a facemask?
If you are caring for a patient or family member suspected of or believed to have the virus the use of the mask by both the patient and the caregiver is recommended. The use of the mask by healthcare providers is crucial to prevent possible infection and spread of the virus. Masks are not currently recommended for people who are not sick.
What is the treatment for the virus?
There is no specific treatment for the COVID-19 virus. Supportive care to reduce symptoms and prevent further complications is recommended.
You can read more and find additional resources about coronavirus here.