It is a stressful, confusing, and devastating time, particularly for those working in the health care industry. As people around the world fall victim to the coronavirus, the vulnerable population in senior care facilities is being hit especially hard.
You need to look after your residents, of course; but at the same time, it is critical that you are taking the appropriate steps to keep your employees healthy. After all, you cannot effectively serve the seniors in your care if your employees are out of work sick.
It is also important that you demonstrate to your employees that their health and wellbeing – and the health and wellbeing of their loved ones – is your top priority. It is a difficult time right now, but this period will pass. By following these recommendations, you can help your employees get through this time with as little risk as possible.
Create a COVID-19 Preparation Planning Team
The individuals on this committee should include members from different departments. They should ensure that the facility is actively following recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and other public health advisories. This team should also be responsible for disseminating information to the full staff and ensuring that the regulations are being effectively followed.
Stock the Correct Equipment and Supplies
One of the most important things that you can do is make sure that your employees have the right supplies to keep them safe. This includes making sure sinks are stocked with soap and paper towels. There should be hand sanitizer in every room. Post signs in different areas with the required protective equipment to keep individuals informed. Trash bins should be located near the doors so that employees can safely dispose of their used equipment when leaving.
Restructure Your Visitor Regulations
It may be wise to limit visitations during this time. At the very least, you should ensure that anyone coming into the facility is not showing symptoms of the virus, or has not had exposure to an individual with symptoms in the past fourteen days. Encourage virtual visitations as much as possible and post any new requirements on your website and the front doors of the building.
Consider Your Staffing Needs
Obviously, anyone who can work from home should. As much as possible, try to stagger shifts and limit close employee interaction. You also need to be strictly enforcing a sick leave policy. Anyone who shows symptoms of the virus should be self-isolating at home; under no circumstances should they be coming into work.
Steps to Take Moving Forward
The above recommendations will help keep your employees – and residents – safe. Regularly check in with the CDC to make sure you are effectively following all guidelines. Education and training will be key, so it is important you keep open lines of communication. By doing so, you can minimize the risk to your staff and clients. By working together, we will come out of this dark chapter more quickly and safely.