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Archive for April 2020

Update to Caregivers – 4/28/20

Dear Personal Care Employees:

It has been seven weeks since schools were officially closed and we started this COVID journey together. In the past seven weeks we have seen many changes in the ways in which we care for others and ourselves. Throughout these changes you have remained steadily committed to our mission and for that we are grateful.

The Department of Health in conjunction with the National Guard will be conducting community-wide testing in several facilities that we work in over the next few weeks. When widespread testing is conducted we expect that there will be asymptomatic cases of COVID that are discovered. Testing will be made available to any Personal Care Employee who wishes to be tested. Anyone who has been exposed to someone who is COVID positive will be tested immediately. To date we have had three Personal Care clients test positive for COVID, none of them are receiving care at this time.

Many of the facilities we work in plan to extend their current isolation practices through the middle of May. While this is hard for the clients that we serve, we support the recommendations that older adults continue to physically isolate as best they can. We ask that you continue to wear your mask while you are working, practice hand washing techniques and notify us if you are not feeling well. If your client has a sudden change in status, cough, or fever please call the office immediately. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID, traveled out of the state, or work in another facility please let us know.

As we are all facing additional stress and anxiety in our lives I would encourage you to all take some time for yourself to decompress. Taking a walk, listening to relaxing music, a warm bath, spending some time away from your phone or even baking your favorite cake can all be ways that we relax. Remember that we are all in this together!

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions we welcome you to contact us.

Stay safe!

Danielle

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Update for Caregivers from Danielle Grabol – 4/22/20

Dear Personal Care Employees:

Each week that passes leaves me inspired and honored to work with you. We continue to see the ways each of you are committed to the work that we do. Thank you for all that you are doing to keep the mission of our work alive during these difficult times.

Each caregiver has been issued cloth masks. If you would like another mask please let us know. Cloth masks should be hand washed in hot water. Rotate out your mask. Avoid touching the front of your mask. Remove by the elastic or ties using clean hands. Wash your hands after you remove your mask. We are recommending that masks be stored in paper bags with handles. Please wear your masks, this is not optional. Keep your mask on while you are working even while in your client’s home.

We would like everyone to please respond to this email and let us know if you work another job and where. Many of the communities that we work in are asking us to please limit the number of facilities that staff work in. This is understandably difficult for us to manage

The Department of Health has been compiling a list of facilities with known positive COVID cases. These reports are being published in local news stories. We wanted you to know that there have been discrepancies in the reporting with some places being listed that don’t have nearly the amount of cases, and vice versa. Everyone makes mistakes, even Health Departments. We encourage you to continue to let us know what you are hearing in the communities that you work in.

As Gov. Kemp has made changes to the State’s guidelines we wanted to encourage you to please continue to practice safe social distancing, hand washing techniques, and be overly cautious when out in public. We have had no known positive COVID-19 cases with Personal Care employees. We want to continue to keep all our staff as safe as possible. Many of the facilities we work in have indicated that they will continue their current procedures until early May, when the state has indicated the state of Emergency will be over.

If any employee wishes to be tested for COVID-19 and would like assistance with that please contact Martha Clinkscales at 404-373-2727 or mclinkscales@personalcare.net Martha will help facilitate testing at Georgia Tech. This is no-cost testing and takes around 2-hours total with test results given on the same day.

We will continue to keep you updated as best we can regarding information as we receive it from communities. If you work someplace with an active COVID outbreak please notify us immediately. Please continue to notify us if you have been exposed to someone with COVID. If you do not feel well please contact us immediately. Do not report to work with a fever or cough. Let us know if you have traveled recently.

In these uncertain times we understand that tension and anxiety runs high. Thank you for extending us all grace as we face COVID together as a team. You are appreciated now and always.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions we welcome you to contact us. Stay safe!

Warm Regards,

Danielle

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Update to Clients and Families – April 15, 2020

Dear Personal Care Clients and Families:

Thank you for your continued support of the work we do and our mission to deliver the highest quality of care possible to older adults. We are continuing to do the best we can to make sure that you are informed and kept safe. Over the last several weeks efforts have been made to deliver masks to caregivers, cleaning supplies and sanitizer to clients, and gloves when needed. PPE is still in great shortage, and we are encouraging you to be good stewards of resources at this time.

We have had two clients that have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are residents at the same continuing care retirement community. Neither resident is receiving care from Personal Care at this time. Employees who were exposed were all tested and we are very grateful to report that all employees tested negative. Each of these caregivers was wearing their masks while delivering care. Wearing a mask is important and wearing it offers invaluable protection. We are encouraging all Personal Care clients to wear a mask when outside their home. Masks will be made available to you if you do not have one.

We are working in two communities where there is an “active outbreak” being defined as two or more residents testing positive for COVID. Extensive measures are being taken to make sure that staff are not working in multiple buildings. We have special protocols in place to minimize exposure as it relates to buildings with active outbreaks.

You are encouraged to practice safe social distancing, defined as maintaining six-feet of distance between yourself and another person. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can work hard to protect ourselves and those around us. Other tips include:

· Do not congregate with other residents if you live in a facility. Maintain 6-feet of physical space at all times if possible. Wear a mask if you leave your apartment.

· Do not go into communal areas to sit and visit

· Avoid using communal coffee pots, water fountains, etc.

· If someone approaches you, or your client, without maintaining six-feet of distance please create space. Not everyone is able to remember to physically distance themselves.

· If you have visitors please make sure that both the visitor and yourself are wearing a mask and visit outside with at least six feet of distance. We are strongly encouraging visits to take place remotely via WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc.

· Avoid using elevators with more than two people in them

· Wash your hands before and after touching anything in public, or touch with your elbows, using a paper towel or wipe, etc. Use hand sanitizer when soap is not available

· Avoid setting your cell phone down in public places. Disinfect your phone frequently throughout the day, removing the case to do so.

Please continue to practice safe hand washing techniques. Washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face and eyes, or eating with dirty hands is very important in infection control. If you do not feel well please stay home and avoid contact with others.

Our focus as an organization will remain to ensure the safety of our clients and caregivers. We are thankful for the trust that those we serve place in us, now more than ever in these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Stay safe!

Danielle Grabol

COO / Owner

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Communicaton Update to Caregiver Staff – 4/15/20

Dear Personal Care Employees:

We are in the thick of this crisis and are so grateful for your courage and calm as we meet our mission to deliver the highest quality of care possible to older adults, and keeping you safe and strong. Thank you for your faithfulness in saying yes and showing up to work on time and ready to provide care to others who are lonely and afraid

We have had two clients that have tested positive for COVID-19.  Neither resident is receiving care from Personal Care at this time. All employees who were exposed to these clients were all tested for Covid-19. We are relieved to report that all employees tested negative. Each of these caregivers was wearing their masks while delivering care. Your mask is important and wearing it offers protection for both you and your clients. Please wear your masks, this is not optional. If any client is suspected of having COVID and requires testing that you work with you will be immediately notified. King’s Bridge, The Holbrook Decatur, Clairmont Place and Lenbrook are the only buildings we work in with confirmed positive cases. Canterbury Court had a positive case and we are happy to report this person has made a full recovery and tested negative (three times!)

Communities that we provide care in have asked that we not send staff in that are working in multiple communities. Please notify us and let us know about the other jobs that you work.

All employees are encouraged to practice safe social distancing, defined as maintaining six-feet of distance between yourself and another person. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can work hard to protect ourselves and our clients. Here are some tips I want to reiterate:

· Do not congregate with other staff or clients when working in facilities. Maintain 6-feet of physical space at all times if possible.

· Do not take your client into communal areas to sit and visit

· Make sure that your clients are wearing masks when they leave their homes

· If someone approaches you, or your client, without maintaining six-feet of distance please create space. Not everyone is able to remember to physically distance themselves.

· If your client has a visitor that comes please make sure that both the visitor and client are wearing mask and visit outside with at least six feet of distance. We are strongly encouraging visits to take place remotely via WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc.

· Push wheelchairs at a distance that is farther away than normal

· Avoid using elevators with more than two people in them

· Practice physical distancing outside of work; be cautious with errands and wear your mask at all times when in public.

· Use hand sanitizer before and after touching anything in public, or touch with your elbows, using a paper towel or wipe, etc.

· Avoid setting your phone down in public places. Disinfect your phone frequently throughout the day, removing the case to do so

· We encourage you to wear gloves while providing patient care but do not wear them outside client communities. Cross contamination happens when people believe gloves make them safe and touch things with gloves that are contaminated. Washing your hands is key. Please be good stewards of glove use.

Remove and launder your uniforms after work. If you need more uniforms please let us know and we will arrange for a safe drop off. Please call us and notify us if you need to wear a clean uniform that does not meet Personal Care’s uniform guidelines.

Please continue to practice safe hand washing techniques. Washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face and eyes, or eating with dirty hands is very important in infection control.

If you feel that anyone is practicing unsafe hygiene or social distancing during this crisis, please call the office immediately to alert us. We will be discreet in how we deal with it. It is important for everyone’s safety that we address any concerns that could put others at risk.

This is a difficult time for everyone and we appreciate the ways our community has come together to help support those in need. We will continue to keep you updated as best we can regarding information as we receive it from communities. It is important that you know that a positive case in a community does not mean that you were exposed. If you work someplace with an active COVID outbreak please notify us immediately. Please continue to notify us if you have been exposed to someone with COVID.

We have known for many years that the work we do is essential. You are helping care for an at-risk population during a time of great uncertainty. We appreciate the strength and calmness that you bring to those you help.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions we welcome you to contact us.

Stay safe!

Danielle

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COVID 19 Update to Clients and Families – 4/9/20

Dear Personal Care Clients and Families:

In an effort to continue to sanitize homes as best we can we have obtained a cleaning product from Clorox. This week we will be delivering an industrial strength EPA approved COVID-19 killer cleaner called Biostain as well as an 8-oz container of hand sanitizer. Each client will be charged $10 for these supplies and they are for your home. Some of you have indicated that you don’t need these supplies and were not included on our delivery list. Caregivers are being asked to use the cleaner to wipe down all commonly touched areas each day like light switches, handles, bathrooms, door knobs, etc. We are asking you to please be proactive in your supply needs, particularly around gloves, so we can anticipate delivery needs in advance.

At this time, we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our organization. We are continuing to work closely with staff to emphasize the importance of hand washing, sanitizing commonly used areas, contact precautions, physical distancing and reporting symptoms when they do not feel well.

We have asked that any client who goes to a doctor’s appointment, urgent care center, emergency room/hospital, or returns home from a skilled nursing facility/rehab facility to self-quarantine for 14-days and wear a mask while receiving care. Additionally any clients with fevers, a cough, or exhibiting respiratory symptoms will be asked to wear a mask.

Employees are being asked to wear masks while they are at work. We understand that this might be unsettling to some of you, but it is a proactive measure that we have in place and believe it is for the safety of both clients and caregivers.

Very few of us expected to start 2020 off with a pandemic. This is an unprecedented event and health care providers are collaborating with each other like never before around best practices, PPE shortages, testing resources, etc. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such great community partners that allow us to continue to deliver care.

While you are physically distanced from your loved ones, you are not alone. Thank you for the continued ways you have shown your support and appreciation.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please do not hesitate to reach out.

With gratitude,


Danielle Grabol, CCM
Chief Operating Officer/Owner
Personal Care, Inc.

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Letter to Staff from Danielle Grabol – April 6

Dear Personal Care Employees:

We are writing to update you on a few things. If someone from the office has not contacted you already regarding masks, gloves, cleaning products, and hand sanitizer needs, we will. We are in the process of delivering supplies to clients homes that are in need.

Wearing your mask is mandatory, even while working with a client in their home. This is a precautionary measure that we are taking under guidance from the CDC.

If you do not feel well please call us immediately! We understand that this is allergy season for many of us, and it can be hard to determine if we are suffering from allergies or sick.

Many of your clients have memory loss which can make quarantine especially difficult. It is hard to help these people self-isolate and they might wonder why you are wearing a mask. “There is a contagious virus and we are wearing masks to protect each other” might be a simple answer to a complicated situation.

If you have traveled outside the state of Georgia recently, or plan to travel please contact us. If anyone has left an area of high COVID-19 spread to come to your home they need to self-isolate for 14-days when they arrive. This is an important safety measure for you.

Anxiety is understandably high right now. A good way to manage fear is to become educated about what we are fearful of. The more we know about the real dangers of COVID-19 with accurate information the better you will feel. Focus on what you have control over: your ability to wash your hands, limit your exposure in public, clean and sanitize your home, wear your mask. Limit your time watching TV if the coverage is distressing.

Awareness is not the same as being fearful. It is important as a healthcare provider that you are aware of COVID-19 and the risk factors. Constant fear that is not reality based can create stress. Try to take time every day to shift your focus to something positive. Spend time doing something that helps to calm you. Create a support system with people in your life that help you feel balanced and grounded. If someone creates more anxiety for you then you might want to create healthier topics to discuss.

We are all in this together. As we continue to navigate this ever-changing situation we want you to know that you are not alone. Dealing with an unprecedented health crisis, coupled with children out of school can become overwhelming. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Stay safe!

Danielle Grabol
Chief Operations Officer

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Update to Caregivers – 3.31.20

We are utilizing our email communication to give you updates on how to keep yourself safe and what is going on at Personal Care during this Covid-19 pandemic. This challenge means that in any given day, policies, procedures, and information may change multiple times. Our plan is to send you email updates on Mondays and Fridays. If we need to add a mid-week email we will do so.

First and foremost, thank you for being as calm and helpful as you have been. In the midst of school and daycare closings, 99% of you have continued to work your schedule and go to work. Your commitment means security and safety for our clients, and our goal is to keep both you and them as safe as we possibly can.

Here are some updates, with the most recent ones first, and reminders below.

Protective Personal Equipment (PPE), which means gloves, masks, and gowns are in short supply. Until last Friday, March 20, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), asked that we refrain from issuing masks, because of the shortage for acute practitioners, such as hospital and emergency first responders. Last Friday the CDC suggested that Health Care Practitioners working on hospitals wear masks. They did not indicate whether this included private-duty homecare employees. On that day we began mobilizing volunteers to make masks. It takes 20-30 minutes to complete each mask. Volunteers are working hard on sourcing materials and getting more masks made daily.

These masks have been delivered to employees working at King’s Bridge, Canterbury Court, and Saint Anne’s Terrace. We have delivered the masks as they have come available. This week these will be delivered to employees working in private residences. They are delivered in a paper bag, per CDC guidelines. The bag includes a few gloves, and a letter verifying you as an essential employee, should you be asked to prove this, and the cleaning instructions for the masks. If you know anyone who sews and might want to help with this effort please let us know and we will get in touch with them with supplies and directions. If you have already received a mask we welcome feedback about the fit and comfort.

We have approximately 95 N95 masks at the office. We have been purchasing these 10 at a time, often requiring us to be at a store at 6am when they open. Our goal is to have enough for each of you to have one of these, and ultimately two washable masks. Our plan is to distribute the N95 mask when we have enough to give one to everyone. Sanitizing your masks and understanding contamination is important.

We received a large shipment of gloves Friday which took ten hours to source. Gloves are in high demand and many clients who normally supply their own gloves are unable to do this at this time. We are asking that you be mindful of the shortages and your glove use.

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of access to testing. As essential employees in health care each one of us should have access to testing now and when we feel we need it. It is simply not available unless you are demonstrating acute symptoms. Governor Kemp recently reminded us that testing is NOT available for people who want it unless you are experiencing the following symptoms:
• A high fever accompanied with respiratory distress
• The need to be hospitalized due to respiratory distress
• A member of the high risk group that is exhibiting symptoms
• A person that the CDC or Department of Health has determined requires testing

We have reached out to the private labs that are in Atlanta to inquire about access to testing. Private labs still require a physician’s order to test, and you still must exhibit symptoms. One of our buildings is working with a private lab and if this arrangement proves successful we will try to access this opportunity too. If you hear of testing that is available please let us know.

As this is also the height of the pollen season in our beautiful city, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain if you have allergies, a sinus infection, or the virus. The biggest identifier for the virus is the spiked fever and the cough at the back of the throat, along with difficulty breathing. This is not the time to go to work sick. If you do not feel well we would rather you call and consult with us about how you are feeling before you go in to work if you are feeling unwell.

As a reminder proper handwashing technique is crucial in infection control management. Wash your hands after touching anything in public for a minimum of 20 seconds. Wash your hands when you arrive at work. Do not set your phone down in public areas, and consider disinfecting it throughout the day.

Another communication is being sent out with reminders about physical distancing and infection control measures. Launder your uniforms frequently and if possible remove your shoes before you enter your home.

Again, we thank you for your commitment to the work we do and the ways in which you have reassured your clients during this uncertain time. Each week Danielle is on a call with the CDC and Department of Health regarding best practices and procedures. This information is changing frequently as we learn more about Covid-19. Additionally she is on a call with other home care providers to discuss what measures they are taking to protect staff and employees.

Some of you have contacted us with creative suggestions and it is appreciated. We encourage you to let us know if you have questions, concerns, or feedback. Danielle is available by phone or email at dagrabol@personalcare.net

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Letter to Clients – 3.31.20

March 31, 2020

Dear Clients and Families:
This week we will finish delivering masks to all Personal Care employees. This project was made possible through the generosity of our community and several client family members, employees and Personal Care friends. We are deeply appreciative of these efforts and are continuing to collect masks for staff.
There is a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and disinfecting/cleaning products. We asked last week about your glove needs. We would like to recommend that all homes be disinfected at the beginning and end of a shift with an approved cleaner to kill the COVID-19 virus. This week our nurses are calling caregivers to speak with them individually about the best ways to disinfect commonly touched areas and whether their clients have the appropriate cleaning products. Please provide these and if it is not possible please let me know.
We have updated our Health Declaration Form to replace the question about international travel and change that to any travel outside of the state of Georgia. If you employ private caregivers or housekeepers we would suggest you ask them these same questions. The shelter in place mandates to “flatten the curve” only works if all caregivers, clients, families, employees, and visitors practice them. Thank you for staying the course and continuing to follow these guidelines as your decisions impact the community now more than ever.
Our organization has not had a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. We are committed to continuing to be as transparent as possible with updates and protocols during this ever-changing and unprecedented situation. We take our responsibility to protect our caregivers and clients very seriously and we are committed to taking proactive measures to ensure their safety and well-being.
On a lighter note I wanted to share with you a heartwarming story from Clairmont Place that was featured in the news. Physical distancing does not have to mean social isolation for older adults. While we cannot share a warm embrace I encourage you to find creative ways to connect with those you love.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.
Warm Regards,

Danielle Grabol
COO, Personal Care, Inc.

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