Keeping Your Staff Safe During COVID-19
As you know, healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring your organization to follow specific and stringent safety precautions in order to keep workers and their families safe from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of guidelines and things to consider; here’s a roundup of the most important things you should be doing to keep your staff safe:
Follow Infection Control Protocols
The CDC recommends using telehealth strategies whenever possible to provide medical care. If telehealth isn’t a possibility for a particular patient who needs to be seen in person, it’s essential to perform a screening for COVID-19 symptoms before the patient’s visit. Taking their temperature to assess a fever, asking them if they’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and effective triaging can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to your staff. Infection control protocols also include encouraging physical distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene, and requiring that staff who have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient quarantine for two weeks before returning to work.
Optimize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
You’re likely no stranger to the shortage of PPE that healthcare workers are experiencing across the nation. There are ways you can optimize available PPE, however, to help keep your staff (and patients) as safe as possible:
- Make a PPE plan—and stick to it. The CDC offers a PPE burn calculator to help you assess how quickly your organization will use up your supplies. Just be sure you’re purchasing PPE from a reputable source, especially when buying internationally.
- Maintain proper donning and doffing procedures. PPE should be donned and doffed in a particular order to maximize safety. And when doffing, your staff should remove PPE incredibly carefully so as not to contaminate their hands.
- Consider decontaminating used filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) only if necessary. Conventional standards of care don’t dictate the decontamination and reuse of FFRs unless you’re experiencing a shortage—which most healthcare workers are. If you do need to use a decontaminated FFR, make sure to follow CDC guidelines for decontamination to ensure safety.
Know Your Distinct Risks
While all healthcare workers share a base set of challenges right now, it’s important to note that different types of facilities will experience their own unique risks, as well. For example: Primary care providers are often more able to take advantage of telehealth strategies than home health workers. And many senior living community workers who can’t enter their facility without a recent negative COVID-19 test are subject to testing shortages. Knowing the unique risks of your specific sect of the healthcare industry can help you think critically about where you should focus your energy when it comes to keeping your staff safe.
DispatchHealth is Here to Help
Partnering with DispatchHealth can help your healthcare organization get through these difficult times unscathed. We offer at-home urgent care in locations all across the country, treating everything from chronic conditions to high-acuity illnesses, helping relieve your burden during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we can treat almost everything an emergency room can, helping your at-risk patients avoid trips to the ER or urgent care, and we offer night and weekend hours that your facility might have a tough time catering to right now. And we are, of course, taking extensive protocols to ensure the total safety of your patients and our staff.
We also accept most major health insurance policies—including Medicare and Medicaid—and offer an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients, which has proven helpful to patients having a difficult time affording their medical care due to COVID-19-related layoffs. We’re all in this together, and we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how a partnership with us can help get you—and your staff—through the COVID-19 pandemic as best as possible.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. Sources referenced in this article: