There’s no doubt that this will be a holiday season like no other since nothing for the past eight months has been normal. Schools have been disrupted and work has been turned upside-down. Keep in mind that the sacrifices we make now will help contain the spread of the virus. Vaccines are in the works, and every day, we learn more about how to treat COVID-19 and save lives. Life will go on, so why not take this opportunity to keep our circle tight and find gratitude for the comfort and quiet of home, surrounded by only those with whom we feel closest and safest?
Who’s On Your Guest List?
- Invite only members of your immediate household
- If you must include others, invite only people you trust
- Remember that the more people gathered, the higher the risk
- Ask your guests to consider getting tested in advance
- Vulnerable older guests with underlying health conditions
- Anyone who refuses to wear a mask
- Lowest risk is a virtual Thanksgiving
- Low risk is at home with your immediate household
- Moderate risk is outdoors with a few extra guests from outside your immediate household
- High risk is inside your home with guests from outside your immediate household
- The highest risk is potluck, in which everyone brings a dish
- Safer is a meal cooked and served by one person.
- You should set a table larger large enough to accommodate physical distance when masks are removed for eating
- Multiple tables are better
- Air travel is the riskiest
- Public transportation is moderate to high risk
- Traveling in your own car is safest
- Consider screening your guests at the door for symptoms
- If anyone feels ill, even if it seems related to seasonal allergies, asthma, etc., please ask that person to stay home
Now more than ever, flu vaccination will be important to not only reduce the risk for disease, but also avoid hospitalizations and potential exposures. The agency will be partnering again with pharmacies on rebate programs and flu clinics.
If you haven't done so already, complete the online in-service module on flu prevention by clicking here and get paid for 30 minutes. You will learn simple steps to take to protect yourself and clients from getting or spreading the flu.
If you haven't done so already, submit your flu vaccination/declination form for the upcoming flu season electronically so you wont have to make a special trip to the office by clicking here. This is an annual requirement!
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. The below shows some key differences, based on the best available information to date:
Fever or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Typically, a person develops symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection
Typically, a person develops symptoms 5 days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary
While it’s not possible to say with absolute certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, the CDC believes it is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading at the same time. Protecting yourself becomes that much more critical - Getting a flu vaccine reduces your risk from flu but also to help protect our clients who will have limited access to health care resources.
Will a flu vaccine protect you against COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccine will NOT protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk illness, hospitalization and death.
If COVID-19 is spreading in my community, should I still go out to get a flu vaccine?
Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and our client's health this season.
When going to get a flu vaccine, practice everyday preventive actions. Any vaccination location following CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.
Why is it important for influenza (flu) vaccines to be given during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that people continue or start getting routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting caregivers and clients from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks. Flu vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations. It will also lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who should get their flu vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic?
While annual flu vaccination is (with rare exceptions) recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, it is especially important for caregivers and other essential workers to get vaccinated to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness.
A few months ago, New York was suffering through the worst ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals filled to near capacity and hundreds of people died each day. But, as New York slowly began to control the outbreak by mandating mask wearing, staying at home, and other precautions, other states have seen virus cases surge. As a result, Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that anyone coming to New York from a state currently hard hit by the virus would have to quarantine for two weeks. The order - a "joint travel advisory" joined by New Jersey and Connecticut - currently applies to anyone returning from the following states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Not travelling out of area is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. If you are thinking about travelling from your local community anyway, please consult the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html
Protesting during a pandemic is a risk, but so is the status quo of police violence. Please be smart and remember that he goal of the protests is the same goal as the response to the pandemic - saving lives. If you are going to participate in protest, try not to increase the spread of COVID-19 by doing the following:
- Wear a face covering
- Wear eye protection to prevent injury
- Stay hydrated
- Use hand sanitizer
- Don't yell - use signs and noise makers instead
- Stick to a small group
- Keep 6 feet from other groups
- Make sure you wear the company badge
- Check on your transportation arrangement and make any necessary adjustments to your travel schedule
NYC CURFEW JUST SET:
- Avoid large gatherings
- Practice social distancing
- Wear a mask whenever you leave the house
- Don't share objects at a cookout... bring your own food and drink
"While we may not be able to gather in person this year, we are united in our desire to honor men and women who gave their lives while serving as members of the US Armed Forces"
An 80-year-old New Jersey woman died and four other household members tested positive for the coronavirus after a home health aide ignored instructions to self-quarantine, state authorities said. Josefina Brito-Hernandez, 49, of Camden went to a local COVID-19 testing site, without telling the family, after not feeling well, state Attorney General Gurbir S.
These are worrisome times... cities locked down, isolation from friends and loved ones, economic instability... grief and loss on so many levels- from missing milestones such as birthdays and graduations to illness and even death... difficulties made worse by concern over the very air we breathe.
Such is the reality of living in the age of COVID-19 for many people around the world; and, while some of us may be coping well right now, our emotional strength may start to weaken as the pandemic drags on. We are basically living constantly with a level of fear, and we are only wired to handle so much.
Be aware of the following signs that your anxiety may be approaching dangerous levels:
A focus on bad news
As we shelter in place, a focus on watching alarming media reports on the growth of the virus and the devastation to the economy is another warning flag. There's also the guilt of taking our feelings out on loved ones, which is likely to happen when you're in close quarters with people for a long time and you haven't adjusted to that.
What to do to help yourself
- Stay socially connected with friends and loved ones even though you're physically apart.
- Practice gratitude. Science has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier and more optimistic. Write two or three things each day of what you're grateful for and it may just shift your view of the world.
- Be careful with media, especially social media. Be sure to limit the amount of time you spend watching the news, especially if you feel it makes you anxious. There is a lot of misinformation on social media and it only creates more anxiety for people.
- Crack a smile by watching funny movies, listen to comedy routines, ask everyone you talk to on the phone to tell you a joke. Give back to them by doing the same.
"Mindfulness" is the psychological process of purposely bringing your attention to experiences in the present moment without judgment. Try the practice of meditation to improve your mental health by using some of the free tools here.
As you may know, finding a great home care agency for either service or employment may be difficult during this time of pandemic. Due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, many people rely on online reviews when it comes to picking an agency. We would be honored if you left us a review on Google and shared your experiences with us. You can do this by clicking here. Remember... DO NOT POST ANY PERSONAL CLIENT INFORMATION. Not sure what to say? Here are a few tips for leaving a helpful review:
- Share what you love most about working here
- Say why you chose All Metro Health Care
- Explain how you have been provided with PPE and infection prevention training to help keep you and your clients safe from COVID-19
Statistics and Trends
While we're dealing with the challenges of running the business during this time of crisis, we know you have your own struggles... many caregivers are single parents, working multiple jobs, and trying just like the rest of us to keep family members safe from the spread of COVID-19. We understand the challenges you are facing and we are here to support you.
- We are prioritizing your safety by making sure you have access to recommended personal protective equipment and checking in with you daily about your well-being
- We are ensuring you receive information about COVID-19 and infection control strategies
- We are providing you with multiple ways to provide feedback to the agency such as through this website and our anonymous hotline
We are pleased to announce that we now have an online caregiver portal to make it even more convenient for you to complete training and submit documentation from home. You can access the portal by clicking here, and we will keep adding new functions to it.
You are helping clients stay safe, you are leading with a can-do attitude, and we recognize all of your efforts. You are among the true heroes of the COVID-19 crisis.
A health disparity refers to a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality experienced by one group relative to another. Health disparities can be related to gender, race or ethnicity, income, education, sexual orientation or geography.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is a physician and immunologist who served as the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases ("NIAID") since 1984. Since 2020, he has been one of the lead members of the Coronavirus Task Force. Dr. Fauci took time during a recent White House press briefing to draw attention to health disparities, delving into how African Americans in some states had been harder hit by COVID-19 compared with the rest of the population.
"I stand in awe of each of you, of what you do each and every day. I know you are living in full days, longer hours and in added stressful conditions. Each time you have been faced ‘with the next thing’ you have risen to that task. All because you are caregivers at heart."
Signs of stress during an infection disease outbreak:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
Things you can do to support yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Constantly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting
- Take care of your body. Stretch, exercise, and try to eat healthy
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy
- Connect with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
especially washing your hands often with soap and water.
How to put on a facemask
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.
- Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.
- Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
- Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops.
- Hold both ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
- Hold the mask by the loops and wrap in tissue or place in a plastic or paper bag – without touching the front of the mask.
- Clean your hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or hand sanitizer.
The CDC has a guide on its website that can help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care. It may be accessed below:
Hand Hygiene: The Basics
Hand-washing is one of the most important steps to break the chain of infection. This micro-course follows CDC recommendations and provides a refresher on the specific requirements to successfully stop the spread.
TAKE THE COURSE
Preparing for a Pandemic
The course spotlights Pandemic flu, but it offers principles and practices relevant to viral transmission disease precautions.
TAKE THE COURSEcontent.relias.com/resources/REL-ALL-0-PPANINF/story_flash.html?_ga=2.248845966.845332331.1584981114-406572598.1530817808
Have a Worried Child at Home?
It can be scary to hear about a disease outbreak, but learning the facts can help ease your mind. Find out more about how viruses work, and the best ways to prevent them from infecting more people.
TAKE THE COURSE
Remember to clock-in/clock-out for shifts and complete any health surveys sent by the agency.
- The New York State Department of Health released a "Dear Administrator Letter" that contains COVID-19 guidance. The letter may be accessed by clicking here. Due to this guidance, the agency is contacting caregivers to ask pre-screening questions. You will likely be called upon to contact patients, in advance of your shifts, to make sure there wasn't any change in condition or circumstances that impacts our ability to provide coverage.
- As of today, the Corporate Headquarters and all branch locations remain open and are operating at normal business hours. However, this may soon change. All caregivers must begin to use EVV (i.e., clock-in/clock-out) for their shifts to help ensure timely payroll processing in the event associate staff are not permitted to access the office. EVV instructions may be accessed by clicking here.
The best defense continues to be good hygiene and safety precautions. As a reminder, here are things you can do to help keep yourself healthy:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially: a) after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; b) after going to the bathroom; and c) before eating or preparing food
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow (not your hands) or use a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash
- Get a flu shot - it's not too late
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stock up on prescription medications and supplies in case you need to stay home
- If you need to travel, check the CDC website for travel warnings and restrictions
- Visit www.cdc.gov for more information
- All fieldworkers must follow infection control procedures/standard precautions (e.g., hand washing). Fieldworkers may complete online training on this topic for pay and in-service credit by clicking here. Log-in instructions are available by clicking here
- Using automated time and attendance (EVV) is more important now then ever. Clocking-in and clocking-out for each shift lets the company keep better track of which fieldworkers are coming into contact with which clients
- Fieldworkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., fever, severe cough, etc.) must contact their branch location immediately so that precautions can be taken
- There is now a company mailbox for staff to submit their COVID-19-related questions. The may be submitted using the form below:
- We have reviewed our 2020 Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness Plan to minimize disruptions/ensure continuity of operations. The plan will continue to be updated as more information on COVID-19 becomes available
- We maintain an electronic emergency patient census through our core operating system, HHA eXchange. This census contains basic demographic information as well as priority codes, transportation assistance levels, and emergency contact information. All branch locations have been instructed to ensure information is current
- Our VP – Patient Services continues to coordinate with local health departments, the Office of Emergency Management, and private suppliers to help ensure the adequacy of supplies. However, the reality is that there are nationwide shortages on certain recommended PPE
- As a precaution, we have begun to limit certain face-to-face activities. Only initial assessments and post-hospitalization visits will continue to be conducted in-person by clinicians. All other nurse visits (e.g., supervisory visits, etc.) will be conducted as scheduled, but telephonically. Personnel-related requirements (e.g., re-orientation, performance evaluation, in-service, etc.) has been either suspended or is being conducted remotely
- We continue to accept new patients, but they are first assessed for COVID-19 risk based upon current recommended screening questions about potential exposure (e.g., recent travel, close contact, symptoms, etc.)
- We have reinforced infection control/prevention measures with all caregivers (e.g., handwashing, good daily hygiene, etc.). We have developed a COVID-19-related e-learning module on our electronic learning management system and are paying caregivers/crediting in-service hours for completion. Associate staff are limiting direct person-to-person contact by leveraging technology, as appropriate
- Symptomatic caregivers and certain asymptomatic caregivers who meet other risk criteria are being directed to their healthcare provider and are not being assigned to patients. We have developed "decision trees" based upon federal and state guidance with respect to which clients we continue to service and in what manner. A tool showing current decision-making criteria can be accessed here. At this point in time we do not have any staff or clients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- We have not yet experienced a surge in call-offs and are still able to cover all authorized hours. This may change as schools close, public transportation options decrease, etc. Scheduling Coordinators are monitoring patient schedules and identifying potential replacements. For certain high-hour patients, we are asking that their informal supports be prepared to assume responsibility
- We are hosting twice daily calls between corporate and branch staff to conduct re-education and apprise one another of updates. We have updated our staff call-down list and ensured remote access capabilities in the event of site closure
What is a CoronaVirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The most recently discovered coronavirus that everyone is talking about causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
what is covid-19
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of covid-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
how does covid-19 spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay away from a person who is sick.
How likely are you to catch covid-19?
In most locations, the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries. Unfortunately, new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. It’s important to be aware of the situation where you are or intend to go.
what can you do to protect yourself?
what should you do if your patient is diagnosed with covid-19?
If you become aware of a diagnosis, contact the office immediately so that proper precautions can be taken.
should you worry about covid-19?
It is normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones. We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings.