Corona Virus Update
A Special Message from Joan Ekobena, Director of Services
March 13, 2019
Visiting Angels is actively monitoring the progression of the coronavirus, COVID-19, via updates from our local health department, to ensure that we have the most accurate and latest information on the threat of the virus. As you know, this situation continues to develop rapidly as new cases are identified in our communities and our protocols will be adjusted as needed.
While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a very small percentage of cases become severe and may progress particularly in the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. Because this is the primary population that Visiting Angels 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) State 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. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
- As a standard practice, we have an emergency preparedness plan in place. We will continue to follow it as this situation evolves or update it accordingly.
- All caregivers follow established protocol regarding staying home when sick. This practice is not new to our staff.
- We have heightened our training and awareness of COVID-19 with our caregivers and have communicated with all employees the necessary precautions. Included in our protocol:
- Wash your hands immediately upon entering the client’s home.
- Always wear gloves when providing any care that requires you to touch the client.
- Require that anyone entering the home must wash hands immediately.Post a reminder note in the foyer. Have alcohol-based hand sanitizer available for those visiting such as meals-on-wheels, delivering packages or entering for any other reason.
- Wash hands after putting away groceries, touching money, anything that comes from outside the home. Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and ensure they are dried completely. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or having been in a public place.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Use commercial cleaning products to wipe high-touch points often.
- Communication with caregivers to assess any known risk factors, such as travel to areas with widespread outbreaks or local contact in areas known to have reported cases are ongoing.We have advised them not to report to work if they are deemed high-risk. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
- 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 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 or other group-type living situations, we will work closely with the facility on any protocols, exchange of information, or other guidelines as necessary.
- Many of our clients are especially at risk, given they are older adults or have underlying health issues. We are vigilant about our need to help protect these individuals from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. These measures are not new to us as we seek to minimize risk regularly for our clients, regardless of an outbreak such as this new coronavirus.
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 with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- 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.
Important Things to be Sure You Have in Your Home:
- Medical gloves
- Sanitizing supplies, (i.e. disinfecting wipes, Lysol spray, etc.)
- Hand soap and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content
- A working thermometer
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at 301-355-6578. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Your Visiting Angels Office Staff
Serving Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, and the Maryland Suburbs
Visiting Angels GAITHERSBURG, MD971A Russell Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20879