Noble Home Care Services LLC is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our nurses, clients, and visitors in this current challenging health environment.
This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is designed to protect staff, clients, and our community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All employees are responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to lessen the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 in our client’s homes and communities, and achieving this goal will require full teamwork.
- Hygiene and Source Control
Employees are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their shift, prior to any mealtimes, and after using the restroom. Hand-sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) are at entrances and locations in the workplace so they can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water, as long as hands are not visibly soiled. Hand sanitizers are checked daily for adequate levels and are replaced with full dispensers when they become empty.
Please note the handwashing signs around the home and follow all recommended guidelines.
Masks, gloves, and disinfectants have been provided by the client’s family or Noble. Please communicate when supplies are running low.
Employees, clients, guests, and visitors are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and to avoid touching their face, particularly their mouth, nose, and eyes with their hands. Employees are expected to dispose of tissues in the provided trash receptacles and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all employees and other persons entering the workplace and home.
- Cleaning and disinfecting
At the beginning of every shift, please wipe down and disinfect conducted high-touch areas; doorknobs, countertops, fridge, medication cabinets, DME equipment, computer, keyboard, etc.
Appropriate and effective cleaning and disinfecting supplies have been purchased and are available for use in accordance with product labels, safety data sheets, and manufacturer specifications, and are being used with required personal protective equipment for the product.
- Screening and Policies for Staff Exhibiting Symptoms of COVID-19
If any staff feels unwell, please stay home and contact your direct supervisor immediately. They will work on filling your shift. If any staff member traveled out of state, especially to an area with high incidents of COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has, please notify the direct supervisor before reporting to work. Current CDC recommendations regarding travel direct individuals to follow their state, tribal, territorial, and local recommendations or requirements after travel. Current MDH guidelines do not require travelers to stay home for fourteen days after traveling out of state. However, it is important for all individuals who participate in out of state travel to continuously monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, to get tested if symptoms are present, and to stay home (quarantine) if you become ill.
Employees have been informed of and are encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following policies and procedures are being implemented for employees to self-assess and to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
- Do not take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
- Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
Employees with COVID-19 symptoms should be sent home immediately. If they cannot be sent home immediately, isolate in a closed room until they can be sent home.
- If they become sick (or symptomatic) at home, they must contact their supervisor by email and/or phone and report their symptoms.
- Employees who are symptomatic for COVID-19 are placed on an immediate 14-day quarantine and are asked to find a testing location that can test them and further assess their symptoms.
- Employees who are positive for COVID-19 will have to quarantine and test Negative before reporting to their respective locations of work.
Employees who have been in close contact with a household member with COVID should not be at work until their quarantine period is finished.
Please note the symptoms and signs of COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Any staff person that experiences these symptoms should contact their doctor and not come to work. Our policy requires a doctor’s clearance and negative COVID-19 test in order to return to work. Criteria for Return to Work for personnel with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 based on CDC guidelines:
- Symptom-based strategy for those who have been exposed to, or received a diagnosis for Covid-19 – excluded from work until:
- After10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- Symptoms have improved.
- 24 hours of being Afebrile without the use of antipyretics.
- Health care personnel with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms – excluded from work until:
- After 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive diagnostic test assuming they have not developed symptoms since their positive test
- Negative results from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens were collected 24 hours apart.
- Social Distancing
Employees should ensure they are always wearing a mask while at a client’s home. Due to providing necessary direct contact care for clients, effective social distancing proves difficult, if not impossible, to achieve making the need for mask wearing paramount. Masks are always available at all client’s homes and in the office. Please make sure you are always wearing a mask.
- Communications and Training Practice Protocol
Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was communicated by email to all employees in May, in July, and has been updated again on August 15th, 2020. The necessary COVID-19 training was provided via our online learning module through EduCare. Additional communication and training will be ongoing by email and at the client’s homes.
All employees are required to complete the COVID-19 training through EduCare. Your direct supervisor will inform you of when to complete these courses.
Resources used for this policy were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Association for Home Care, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).