Early in March I activated our Emergency Preparedness Response Plan and Procedure for COVID-19. This came shortly after assembling a dedicated team of expert nurses as well as long and thoughtful discussions about a proactive way to reduce our patient and staff exposure while continuing to care for our patients in the challenging home environment. During these meetings we also recognized the need to protect our staff with appropriate and adequate PPE and provided patient and staff education utilizing guidance from the CDC and WHO.
Our HR coordinator and I began ordering PPE from a variety of sources we found online and throughout the Metroplex to ensure we had the required PPE for our clinicians to keep them safe. Our sales team began finding seamstresses to sew face masks (some with HEPA filters) to protect our staff and protect their N95 masks supply due to the shortage. After unsuccessful attempts to order fit testing equipment for our N95 masks due to shortages and multiple rejected orders, I was able to make arrangements with a free standing ER to borrow their fit test equipment so we could have all of our employees and contract therapists fit tested for their N95 masks to ensure their safety.
We immediately began screening every patient by phone prior to every visit for possible symptoms of COVID-19 so that we were prepared. I created the process of requesting that staff complete a daily questionnaire in order to screen for possible symptoms before coming in contact with their first patient. We also limited access to our office through a one-way entry where guests and staff are screened for potential symptoms or exposure. We reduced our office staff presence by 75%, creating new operations for them to work remotely from the safety of their homes.
How has the company responded to this challenge?
Klarus Home Care provided their staff with 24/7 clinical support, innovative and proactive processes, access to PPE, the security of fit-tested N95 masks and updated information about the COVID-19 virus. I believe that because of this response, our clinicians became warriors during this pandemic. This team has been impressive in ways I would have never imagined. They have worked many long and exhausting days and weekends and have shown great creativity and courage navigating this crisis. They have demonstrated immense flexibility and steadfast dedication to our patients’ needs during this crisis with a willing heart and a smile.
What advice or thoughts can you share which might impact or motivate others right now?
Abide by social distancing orders to slow the spread so that we do not overwhelm our healthcare systems. Protect and take care of yourself by staying healthy, washing your hands often and getting plenty of sleep/rest. Please only take in information about COVID-19 from reliable sources, as many other sources may create confusion and unnecessary anxiety. Reach out to your health department for any questions or concerns as I have found them to be immensely helpful and knowledgeable. Support your staff however you can; the creativity and dedication they will show you will not disappoint. Above all, have hope and know that this will pass. We will gain great knowledge and benefit from powerful lessons through this crisis.
We thank Beverly Stubbs for all her hard work and have made a $1,000 donation on Beverly’s behalf to Partners in Health, a global health organization which brings quality health care to the most vulnerable around the world.