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All Posts in Category: COVID-19 Caregiver Letters

Update to Caregiver Staff – 9.23.20

Dear Personal Care Employees:

We are writing to let you know that we were notified that a Canterbury Court employee on the second floor tested positive for COVID-19. They have had two employees that tested positive last week as well. As a precautionary measure all residents on the second floor are being tested, as well as all employees. Moving forward all staff working on their healthcare floors will be tested twice a week. Personal Care employees who work at Canterbury Court can be included in this testing. No Personal Care employees or clients were exposed.

I did not expect to be sending out a COVID-19 update seven months after the first one. This pandemic has been hard on the healthcare industry, frontline employees, parents, and our older adults. We continue to ask that you comply with all community policies. Wearing a mask while delivering direct client care is required. You may remove your mask while you are appropriately distanced.

As a reminder, we would like you to turn in any COVID-19 test results that you have. Please email copies of results to me, or text them to us. We will help facilitate testing for anyone who wishes to receive it. Testing is free. If you are traveling please make us aware of the travel so we can discuss testing options.

If you are exposed to COVID-19 reporting it to us is mandatory. It is strongly encouraged that you wear your face mask in public and use precautions when at gatherings and in public. Please continue your diligence in practicing safe physical distancing and proper hand-washing. We appreciate all the efforts that everyone is taking to remain as safe as possible and know that these efforts are making a difference.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

With gratitude-

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

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Update to Personal Care Employees – 7/2/20

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the holiday weekend, we want to bring to your attention the realities of what is happening in our community. COVID-19 is on the rise again. Many of you may already have a family member who has either been exposed or tested positive. Your diligence in practicing social distancing is more important than ever. Wear your mask; wash your hands frequently. Disinfect your environment both at work and home frequently. If you need additional supplies for doing all this, please let us know.

We learned yesterday that one of our clients at a Senior Living Community tested positive for COVID-19. They were tested following exposure to a family member who also tested positive. One Personal Care Employee worked with the client. She has tested negative for the virus and will be tested again next week. She is displaying no symptoms.

At this time, no Personal Care employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Your hand washing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are working. COVID-19 still poses a real threat and we must continue to take all precautions possible to remain safe. If you have a fever or do not feel well, we ask that you contact us immediately.

If you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 please contact us immediately. You will be required to take a COVID-19 test before returning to work. If you travel out of Georgia you are required to get a COVID-19 test upon your return. If your family members travel and you do not, please refer to all of our directions around social distancing, mask wearing, and disinfecting. If you are planning to travel please let us know before you depart and we can schedule the COVID-19 testing when you return. All office staff have had several COVID-19 tests. They are uncomfortable but not painful, and not frightening. We have been to CVS, Walgreens, and the Department of Public Health sites. All of them have been well run and staffed with compassionate people. We understand the inconveniences of our new reality and we are committed to getting through this together.

If you are interested in a COVID-19 test please contact us. We encourage you to take advantage of testing opportunities when they become available throughout the community. We will continue to send you testing resources as we learn of them. Some of our facility clients are now requiring regular COVID-19 testing, so we may be calling you to schedule you for mandated testing. We will work to find a site near your home when possible.

Many facilities have extended their restrictions on visitation until July 15th or later. The continued isolation and limited social engagement are difficult on everyone, particularly our clients. You continue to provide a lifeline and much-needed companionship to your clients and for that we and their families are grateful. The work you do is more critical now than ever and we appreciate your continued commitment to being as safe as possible. We will continue in our commitment to be as transparent as possible in our communication to you. Like you, we had hoped that this summer would find us recovering from this pandemic. Self-care is important in these times and we encourage you to find ways to renew yourself.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at 404-373-2727.

Stay safe!

 

Danielle Grabol

COO/Owner

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An Update to our Care Givers – 6/8/20

Hello All,

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, our protocols remain in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and the local Department of Public Health guidelines. At this time no Personal Care Employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We are grateful for this and will continue our diligence in our practices to ensure client and employee safety.

We are continuing to ask that you use a mask when delivering direct client care. When you are outside of a six-foot distance from your client your mask can be removed. You will be asked to wear a mask into any facility you are working in, and while in any common areas. As summer vacationing and travel resumes, we are asking staff who have traveled out of state to receive a COVID test upon return. We will continue to ask that health declaration forms be completed, and staff report any exposures of symptoms that they are experiencing. In the spirit of transparency, we will continue to provide you with updates when needed. There have been no additional COVID-19 cases reported within the communities we work in.

As continuing care retirement communities begin their gradual re-openings, we will continue to work closely with management teams to ensure the highest level of safety possible. Any client who is hospitalized or receives an outpatient procedure will be asked to wear a mask for 7-days upon their return, unless they have received a negative COVID-19 test.

These are challenging times in our society right now, and it is through the continuation of support and kindness for one another that leave us optimistic and encouraged. As our conversations and dialogues shift, we will continue to keep you updated as best we can.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please do not hesitate to contact me at 404-373-2727 or by email.

Regards,

Danielle

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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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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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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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Communication to Caregivers

Many of us are healthcare providers because we feel it is a calling, not just a job. We are now being called to provide care in uncertain times for people who are high risk. The health and safety of our Personal Care clients and employees is our number one priority and we are taking proactive steps to ensure your safety.

As many of you have heard there is a major shortage of supplies including personal protective gear (masks, gloves, wipes, sanitizer, gowns). While this shortage is frightening as a healthcare professional, we are working hard to work around this. We are asking that you PLEASE be aware of your glove use. See the note below and please do not use gloves when it is not necessary.

We are working on having reusable masks made for all clients and caregivers. Our plan is to have this completed ASAP and delivered to staff who want them. While you do not need to wear a mask if you are not sick, we understand that you might be caring for people who are sick, and a mask is appropriate. Please look out for more communication later this week about masks.

COVID-19 is a virus that will only be contained if we continue to self-isolate and practice social distancing. We have asked all clients and their family members to adhere to this recommendation for the safety of our employees. We are asking you to self-isolate outside of work for the safety of your clients and co-workers.

I. Handwashing
a. Wash your hands before and after leaving a client’s home using soap and water (proper handwashing technique). EVEN if you use hand sanitizer at the entrance of a community, you should still wash your hands when you arrive!
b. Wash your hands after removing gloves.
c. Wash your hands after using the restroom.
d. Wash your hands after you have touched your face or blowing your nose.
e. Wash your hands before preparing/serving a meal.
f. Wash your hands as you report to work.
g. Wash your hands after handling an object that may potentially contaminated with germs, viruses, or bacteria (clothes/laundry, newspapers, trash, door handles)

II. Gloves
a. Wear gloves when performing ANY personal direct contact with a client.
b. Wear gloves when applying lotions/creams.
c. Wear gloves when assisting with eye or ear drops.
d. Wear gloves when emptying a urinal, catheter bag or bedside commode and trash.
e. Wear gloves if client requests you wear them.
f. DO NOT wear gloves when walking around in public and using gloves to open doors, etc. This is when you need to use a paper towel, napkin, or wipe.

III. Personal Habits to follow
a. Sneeze or cough into your bent elbow.
b. Do not touch your face.
c. Wash uniform/working clothes before wearing them again to work.
d. Distance yourself from crowds of 10 or more.
e. If you are sick (fever, cough, sneezing, not feeling well) stay at home. If you are not certain call the office for direction.

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Letter to Caregivers: March 18

Dear Personal Care Employees:

As concern around the COVID-19 virus have increased we want to reach out to you with an update.

If you have not reviewed the proper handwashing technique video please do so as soon as possible. Video HERE

All staff who have traveled internationally will need to notify the office immediately. We are asking all staff to let us know if you work another job. Many facilities are asking that we reduce the exposure of their residents by minimizing the number of people who enter their buildings. Personal Care is trying to get an idea of how many employees that we have that might work in multiple facilities.

Several facilities will be asking questions about recent travel, illness, or exposure prior to entering the building. Many of the buildings we work in will be limiting visitors, or not allowing visitors at all. Some might be taking your temperature prior to entering their facilities. We are asking that all clients self-isolate and avoid all group gatherings.

The CDC has recommended social distancing whenever possible. This includes maintaining 6-feet of space between yourself and another person, limiting outings that are greater than 250 people, and only going places that are essential. While we understand how difficult this is, containment is what is suggested to prevent widespread virus outbreaks. All group gatherings at Personal Care have been cancelled including our annual awards banquet and continuing education classes. All staff have been asked to practice social distancing and self-isolation outside of work hours.

HAND WASHING: Please wash your hands frequently. Hand washing should always be done when entering a client’s home, prior to and after meal preparation, and prior to eating. Use gloves when providing personal care to clients. Hand sanitizer is not as effective as proper hand washing!

The CDC recommends that you practice infection control like you would for any other virus. This includes:

  • Staying home when you have a fever of 100.4 or greater and not returning to work until you are fever-free for 24-hours without the use of fever reducing medication
  • Avoid touching your eye, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover you sneeze with a tissue and throw it away immediately, cough into your elbow not your hands
  • Wash your hands for at least 20-seconds following the guidelines in the handwashing technique video. If soap is not available use hand sanitizer (70% or higher alcohol content)
  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas and frequently touched objects

It is important that you encourage your clients to practice good hand-washing techniques as older adults often have more compromised immune systems. If you have any concerns about your clients and their risk for exposure to Covid-19 please contact us immediately.

If you have had any direct contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or worked someplace with a presumptive positive Covid-19 testing please contact us immediately.

The health and safety of Personal Care employees and clients is our number one priority. We understand that the recent school closures may have impacted your ability to work. If you are unable to work due to childcare, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

During these times of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are carefully monitoring the CDC and Department of Community Health websites. The health and welfare of frontline employees is a priority to Personal Care.  As new information emerges, we will continue to update you and make all necessary adjustments. If you have questions or concerns please contact Danielle Grabol at 404-373-2727 or dagrabol@personalcare.net

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