April 16 2020
To all families,
Just reaching out to share some new information specific to updated protocols related to coronavirus risk management which we are implementing across all settings.
While we’re continuing to make our way through the pandemic and its impact across the state, we are starting to see some encouraging shifts in the trend of new cases. However, we have a ways to go yet and as such, we are continuing to work on how we can improve and strengthen the risk mitigation protocols we’re practicing when spending time with you, your children and other family members.
Below is an updated protocol we just shared with all SCI staff. This protocol is effective immediately, and we will be following up with everyone in the field to help them get comfortable with any adjustments they may need to get used to. We will also be following up with every family during our weekly check-ins to review the status of this implementation, and to seek your feedback on our efforts in this area.
Furthermore, we are planning to use this experience to maintain the same/similar hygiene/disinfection standards for everyone working in the field. We have similar cleaning/sanitizing protocols for our office settings which we’ll maintain in combination with this and other protocols for every staff member when they’re working in the field whether it be an office location, home, or other community based setting. We are also working on additional protocols for hygiene/disinfection when transporting, and are reviewing other scenarios which may warrant specific protocols as well. We welcome and look forward to collaborating with all of you on these efforts both in the short term and ongoing.
All SCI Personnel: COVID-19 Protection Protocol when working in the field, whether it be an office or client/family home.
Keep in mind the following information and follow the instructions and recommendations included below:
COVID-19 germs likely do not last over 3 days on any surface
Someone can spread the germs without knowing they have the virus or before they develop symptoms.
Someone can spread the germs without having the virus (e.g., I can shake hands with someone who has the virus, then shake hands with someone else and that person can get the virus and not me).
Drying cloth in heat or washing cloth in hot water helps kill the germs.
Disinfecting surfaces helps kill the germs.
Being 6 feet away prevents the spread of germs in our breath droplets. When this is not possible, any distance helps, but you should also wear a cloth face mask that covers your mouth and nose, per CDC guidance.
If you don’t have a cloth face mask handy, you can make one easily. Here are some ways this can be achieved: Surgeon General's simple face mask example, vacuum cleaner bag, t-shirt, paper towel face masks
Feel free to have fun with this, we and our clients should feel comfortable and happy as much as possible, this is no exception, so let your creativity and sense of humor be on display 😄 (I’m imagining mask making craft activities being shared in Chat for example).
If you need to cough or sneeze:
Always step away if you can, and sneeze into a tissue, paper towel or napkin, then immediately discard and wash/sanitize your hands.
You can also cough or sneeze into a handkerchief or loose piece of fabric (wash/sanitize your hands immediately after), and keep it carefully stowed away in a plastic bag in your pocket, shoulder bag, etc.
If you don’t have any of these available, sneeze into your elbow, if wearing short sleeves, wash your elbow (and hands) immediately. Do not let anyone touch your shirt if you cough/sneeze into the fabric.
Before leaving home
If you are bringing outside materials to the office or client home, use a plastic bin for each client’s materials. Make sure all items inside have been disinfected. In addition to the materials you usually have in the bin, have an empty bag (e.g., Kroger bag) and a zip lock with at least one disinfectant wipe or disinfectant-soaked paper towel. (If bringing materials to a client home, also place a large cloth towel or bed sheet in each bin to lay materials on when in use—see below.)
Disinfect your tablet/phone/computer.
Wash hands thoroughly immediately before leaving.
Upon arriving at the office/client home.
Do not bring in materials other than phone, tablet/computer, and bin if applicable. If you need to bring in personal items, store them in a disinfected container when not in use.
Wash hands thoroughly upon arriving (remember you just touched multiple door handles, seatbelt, keys, possibly other items, etc. upon leaving your home).
Upon your first time in a family/client home with this new protocol. Inform the primary caregiver/client present that SCI is using a new disinfectant protocol and encourage any input. If the caregiver/client requests you be less strict, explain you really need to try to at least follow the protocol or be more strict. Tell them it is required by SCI, but you will give the feedback to us that they thought it overly strict.
Maintain social distancing (6 ft) whenever possible, and if during your session/work time close contact is absolutely necessary, make sure to wear a cloth mask.
Before taking materials out of the bin, use your disinfecting wipe/paper towel to wipe it down (remember it’s been touched by your hands after you touched various door knobs, etc.). When taking materials out of the bin, either place them on the cloth towel/sheet you brought or first disinfect the space. Establish it as your “work/play area.” Keep the disinfecting wipe/paper towel(s) in a ziplock to keep it moist.
At the end of the session, disinfect each item before returning it to the bin, then wash your hands thoroughly.
Before leaving, ask the primary caregiver who’s present for feedback by asking them something like: “How do you feel about the disinfecting protocols I performed today?”
As you leave the home, if you touch anything after washing your hands, then disinfect your hands and anything you touched on the way to the car. Disinfect the bin with the wipe/paper towel before returning to your car. Then you know your car is all nice and disinfected. ☺
If you are unable to do #8 above, then take care to disinfect later as soon as you get home or to your next appointment.
If your client, family member or caregiver seems symptomatic, reach out for guidance. Even if you feel okay exposing yourself, if you have other clients, you might also be exposing them or your coworkers.
Do not use gloves unless you usually use them or as protection for your hands when doing a “deep clean/disinfecting”, as they can create a false sense of safety. Clean hands are always better 🙂.
SCI has ordered a variety of masks and we plan to keep them in supply but if they are not on hand you should use a home-made option such as those described above until/unless a company issued mask is available.
That’s all we have this round. We will continue to update you all as per usual. Let us know if you have any questions/concerns/suggestions.
Thank you as always for your support and understanding.
In good health, Fritz