March 23, 2020 Update on COVID-19 Activities

With cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in Southwest Michigan, Visiting Angels of Southwest Michigan activated Phase 3 of its Coronavirus Disease 2019 Action Plan effective as of March 23, 2020. Individuals who are most at risk are those who are aged 65 and older or have underlying medical conditions. The grim reality is that these are the majority of our care recipients. 

Phase 3 of our Action Plan recognizes the vulnerability of our care recipients and is focused on minimizing exposure and minimizing potential for cross contamination. This Phase is in effect until April 13, 2020 and will be assessed during this time for necessary modifications and adaptations.

Care recipients have been categorized into four different tiers depending on the level of care required. A risk/benefit analysis has been applied to each care recipient to ensure that the benefit of care outweighs the risk of exposure of the COVID-19 virus. Client coordinators will be calling each client and their responsible party to discuss the initial classification. Care recipients, their responsible parties and the client coordinators will discuss the rationale for such classification to collectively determine a classification moving forward.

Tier 1 Care Recipients

Care recipients in this category are capable of taking care of themselves and attending to all their activities of daily living, or alternatively there is a responsible party who is capable, available and willing to provide all necessary care. In this situation, the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 outweighs the benefit of ongoing physical exposure to Visiting Angels caregivers.

Tier 1 Care Recipients:

  • Person-to-person care will be suspended immediately.
  • Shifts may be altered to phone call check ins, phone call visits, visits through windows (care recipient inside, caregiver outside), Facetime, zoom, or other technology options.
  • Communication policies between clients and caregivers will be suspended during this time.
Care recipients, their responsible parties and the client coordinators will discuss the rationale for such classification, desires and plan moving forward.

Tier 2 Care Recipients

Care recipients in this category require care for assistance with activities of daily living to function, but do not require a high level of personal care. Care is essential for groceries, meals, medications, fluids, or other necessary items but otherwise can care for self. Caregivers are not helping with hygiene or other items that require caregivers to get within 6 feet of the client.

For Tier 2 Care Recipients

  • The length of shifts will be reduced in order to care just for the essential needs of care recipient.
  • Proper hygiene and disinfection will be exercised at all times.
  • Caregivers are to stay separated from care recipient a minimum of 6 feet at all times.
  • To limit exposure, once essential tasks are completed caregiver must leave care recipient’s home.
  • Number of caregivers with access to house will be limited to as few as possible.
  • Clients in Tier 2 have caregivers who may care for multiple clients in Tier 2 and Tier 1.

Care recipients, their responsible parties and the client coordinators will discuss the rationale for such classification, desires and plan moving forward.

Tier 3 Care Recipients

Care recipients in this category require assistance with all activities of daily living. Care is crucial and will continue as currently provided.

For Tier 3 Care Recipients

  • Proper hygiene and disinfection must be exercised at all times.
  • Caregivers for Tier 3 Care Recipients will be prohibited from caring for Tier 2 Care Recipients and other Tier 3 Care Recipients to minimize exposure.

Tier 4 Care Recipients

These care recipients have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. These care recipients will be immediately elevated to Tier 4.

For Tier 4 Care Recipients

  • We will work closely with this care recipient’s health care provider and health administration to provide care, infectious disease control and safety for our caregivers.
  • No caregiver providing care for a Tier 4 Client will have exposure to any other care recipients, Visiting Angels caregivers, or other Visiting Angels staff in order to minimize any potential for exposure to other clients.

These are unprecedented and ever-changing times.

The health of our care recipients and our caregivers is of the utmost importance to us. We are committed to be here for our care recipients and caregivers in this time of need and are available 24/7 to work with you to navigate the delicate balance of providing necessary care with minimizing exposure.

In the event that we are unable to provide care for all of our clients due to the spread of infection, we plan to discontinue services from the lower tiers in order to continue to provide care for our highest tier needs. It is possible that, even with these safety precautions, we will be unable to provide care even to those most in need and may have to perform another risk/benefit analysis.

We are expecting a high level of calls in the initial stages of implementing this phase of the action plan and we will be calling you to speak individually about your care recipient.

Please know that if you are unable to initially get through, that we have received your message and will be following up as soon as possible.

We remain privileged to be a member of yours and your loved ones’ care team and are in your corner in these uncertain times.

Best Regards,
Kara Hoorn and Denny Stults, co-owners
Ellen Kluck, Chief Operating Angel
Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.