Facing COVID-19, Safety is Our Top Priority
You care about patients, we care about you.
Updated 7/24/20: The work of a nursing professional has never been easy — and when you add in the safety concerns of COVID-19, on-the-job challenges have reached unprecedented heights. Working in these times, worries range from getting sick and being unable to earn a living, to bringing the virus home to your family, or even carrying coronavirus into the workplace and exposing the people in your care.
As the pandemic continues, nothing in recent times has thrust healthcare personnel into the spotlight like this. Frontline workers are recognized as heroes — finally receiving long deserved praise and recognition. And while “thank yous” are meaningful and appreciated, they don’t alleviate the overwhelming concerns regarding your working conditions.
Everyone has been asking the same questions, from nurse personnel and healthcare professionals, to our account managers at All American and even the facilities themselves. What’s being done to keep people safe while providing critical care? We understand the worries that plague you each and every day as you go to work. They echo the same questions many facilities are asking themselves:
Business as usual isn’t an option
If there was ever a time to reinforce everyday practices to promote health and safety, it’s now. Facilities across the country are strengthening their protocols to keep both workers and patients safe. The key is understanding the risks, making safety the top priority and making sure you can do your job, while caring for yourself at the same time.
On July 17th, the CDC released updated COVID-19 testing information for healthcare personnel (HCP). The new guidance outlines the appropriate use of testing among healthcare workers including those who are asymptomatic without known or suspected exposure for early identification in special settings, specifically nursing homes. This is especially helpful in setting the expectation of rapid turnaround times (i.e. less than 24 hours) for results as many healthcare facilities now require a weekly test to clear staff for work.
The updated guidance considers changing outbreak conditions and how surges are occurring in different states and localities while others are attempting to reopen. Despite having months of data to consider, there are still many variables at play since social factors and healthcare-specific factors are intertwined. Because these lines are blurred, it is essential for healthcare facilities to have contingency plans to address staffing shortages.
The CDC also updated guidance on mitigating healthcare personnel staffing shortages as recently as July 17th. As the pandemic progresses, shortages will likely occur and maintaining the safety of both healthcare personnel and patients has prompted many facilities to reach out to All American Healthcare for assistance with adjusting staff schedules, hiring additional nurse personnel and rotating healthcare workers’ shifts.
To support this effort, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance as well for both healthcare workers and employers. It lists specific recommendations that facilities should institute to reduce staff exposure, including:
- Physical barriers or partitions to guide patients, curtains separating patients in semi-private areas and airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with proper ventilation.
- Isolating suspected cases separately from confirmed cases, restricting the number of healthcare workers entering rooms and training in the appropriate use of PPE.
- Performing as many tasks as possible away from patients, working from clean to dirty, limiting opportunities for touch contamination when interacting with patients and surfaces.
- Wearing proper PPE as supplied by healthcare facilities including gloves, gowns, eye/face protection and N95 respirators. If experiencing shortages, see OSHA’S information on flexibilities and prioritization here.
We care about YOU
At All American Healthcare, representing healthcare workers across the country, we are regularly following up with facilities to ensure that the necessary precautions are being taken with your health in mind, and tracking their response to new regulations. Under the current conditions, healthcare workers need all the support they can get to stay well. Let there be no question that your safety is our top priority.
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