March 12, 2020
Dear Clients and Families:
Senior Helpers of the Palm Beaches is actively monitoring the progression of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, to ensure that we have the most accurate and latest information. As you know, this situation continues to develop rapidly as new cases are identified and our protocols will be adjusted as needed.
While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a small percentage of cases become severe and may progress particularly in the elder population as well as in people with underlying medical conditions. Because this is the primary population that Senior Helpers of the Palm Beaches serves, we understand your concerns and want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19.
We are following updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Florida Department of Health, local and county authorities, the Home Care Association of America and other agencies and resources. Our response and plans may adjust according to the recommendations from these organizations. Based on updates and procedures from these sources and our internal protocols, the following information is intended to keep you informed and help you and your family take measures to limit your exposure to the virus.
As a standard practice, we have emergency preparedness and infection control plans in place. We will continue to follow them as this situation evolves and update them accordingly.
- All caregivers follow established protocol regarding staying home when sick. This practice is not new to our staff; however, we have and will continue to emphasize this protocol with staff through ongoing communication and education.
- We maintain ongoing communication with our caregivers to assess any known risk factors, inclusive of travel.
- All staff are required to notify us immediately if:
o They have traveled outside of the United States within the last 14 days
o They have returned from a cruise within the last 14 days
o They have traveled to a known area of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
in the United States within the last 14 days,
o They plan to travel outside of the United States in the future, while
the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not yet controlled,
o They plan to travel to a known area of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
in the United States, while the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not yet
o They have been in close contact with anyone who has traveled to one or
more of the areas listed above within the last 14 days.
- In these circumstances, staff will not be permitted to work until 14 days after their return and must provide a note from their medical provider stating that they are approved/released to return to work
We do ask that all clients/family members notify our main office at 561-626-9500 if they have engaged in any travel and/or contact as indicated above.
- We believe that home remains the safest place for you or your loved one, as indications show that the virus is spread more quickly in facilities, senior living communities, and larger group or public settings. Possible exposure will remain the lowest for those who are able to stay in their homes with limited outside contact. For this reason, we feel fortunate to be able to provide care that can keep people at home or limited exposure in group settings through personalized care and support.
- For clients we serve who reside in facilities, senior living communities, or other grouptype living situations, we will work closely with the facility or community on any protocols, exchange of information, or other guidelines as necessary.
Contingency Planning for You or Your Loved One
- Depending on the severity of the spread of illness in communities or the response taken by national and state authorities (ex. mandatory isolation, closure of schools, etc.), our staffing levels may be affected. We are committed to doing our very best to provide caregivers to all clients as scheduled. If we are unable to provide staffing, a member of our team will communicate this with you within a reasonable timeframe.
- At all times, regardless of a viral outbreak or other situations, we strongly recommend that our clients have alternative arrangements for the provisions of care in the event we are unable to provide services. We encourage you to begin considering and putting into place back-up plans now, as the severity of the spread of this illness and planned interventions are still uncertain.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical help.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to strengthen your immune system.
- Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back up support, if possible.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
- If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others.
- Create an emergency contact list (family, friends, neighbors)
- Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Clean these daily.
- In the event, you develop these flu-like symptoms including fever at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, and shortness of breath, we request that you contact us directly to assist with your care and efforts to prevent the virus from spreading.
Additional information and resources can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
As always, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at Senior Helpers of the Palm Beaches at 561-626-9500. We want to assure you that we are following all the necessary protocols to protect our clients and your loved ones. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Senior Helpers of the Palm Beaches Management