The interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus. Ascend Healthcare, LLC (Ascend) is encouraging all staff members and clients to have a general knowledge of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recommended protocols.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is working across the Department of Health and Human Services and across the U.S. government in the public health response to COVID-19. Much is unknown about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, such as with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in China and some limited person-to-person transmission has been reported in countries outside China, including the United States. However, respiratory illnesses like seasonal influenza, are currently widespread in many US communities.
HEALTHCARE FACILITY GUIDELINES:
The following protocols have been established by the CDC and effective at Ascend Healthcare since 03/05/2020:
- Actively encourage sick employee’s to stay home
- Separate sick employees or clients
- Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all employees and clients
- Increase routine environmental cleanings
- Advise employees and potential clients before traveling to take certain steps
- Avoid congregate settings
- Ascend will temporarily have more flexible protocols regarding sick leave. Should a staff member feel ill, a doctor’s note will not be required to excuse sick time.
- Staff members showing signs of illness will immediately be sent home. Ascend will identify on-call staff members to best be prepared for any staff illness.
- Ascend is prepared to turn a double room into a triple room should any client appear to be sick or demonstrating acute respiratory illness in order to support symptom isolation.
- Ascend will post additional hand washing and respiratory etiquette signs in common areas and bedrooms.
- Ascend will increase routine cleaning measures, including using sanitation wipes to down common areas two times per shift.
- Any employee or client who has been traveling will be required to routinely monitor their temperature throughout shift.
- Any new client admitting who has recently traveled or used public transportation will be subject to routine temperature monitoring.
- Ascend will temporarily stop attending AA, NA, and emotions anonymous meetings to avoid possible congregate settings where illness may be easily spread.
- Ascend will be mindful in outing identification to ensure congregate areas are avoided.
Ascend will make every effort to maintain clinical standards and provide consistent group, individual, and family therapy sessions as regularly scheduled.
- Ascend is encouraging all contract group facilitators to run their groups via Zoom. This will enable our clients to continue to receive the best possible care in the safest setting.
- Ascend is encouraging all potential new admissions to the facility to not use air transportation and is screening for travel to high risk areas.
- Ascend is requiring all family therapy sessions to be conducted via the telephone and Zoom.
- Ascend asks all out of state families to reduce flying to and from your home state to Los Angeles.
- Ascend will temporarily suspend all upcoming family day programming and in lieu of groups will offer individual parenting support and coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Ascend asks for family support in reducing the number of offsite visits. It is our responsibility to put the health of the overall group above all else. If an offsite visit is determined clinically necessary Ascend requires all congregate spaces be avoided to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19. Violation of this rule could result in early termination from the program.
CLIENT ILLNESS PROCEDURE:
Due to increased concern over potential client illness, Ascend will adopt the following procedures as advised by our medical director.
All clients will have their temperatures taken and documented 3x daily regardless of symptom display
- Ascend will bring in concierge doctors to address routine medical issues typically seen at Urgent Care
- Ascend will discontinue taking clients offsite for lab work. Ascend will do in-house blood draws with a contracted company.
- All clients exhibiting a cough will be required to wear a mask until symptoms subside
- All client exhibiting a cough will be required to participate in increased routine temperature monitoring
- Any client exhibiting cough symptoms and a fever (above 100 degrees) will need be quarantined until a parent or guardian can safely pick them up and will need to be temporarily discharged from the facility back home until a medical clearance can be provided
- Any client whose symptoms escalate to include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing will be taken to the emergency room and will subsequently need to be temporarily discharged from the facility until a medical clearance can be provided
Please note Ascend is not able to provide on-site COVID-19 testing and current requirements to be tested at a hospital or testing center are stringent and include: Coughing, Fever, Difficulty Breathing AND in some cases, an identified exposure event. Medical providers are encouraging persons with mild symptoms to stay home and self-quarantine.
NEW ADMISSION PROCEDURES:
- All potential clients will be required to complete a COVID-19 comprehensive questionnaire prior to approval to admit.
- All potential clients will require medical approval (by Dr. Ross or Dr. Acosta) prior to approval to admit.
We are making adjustments to the required 14 day quarantine post travel in our pre-admission protocol. In order to ensure that we are operating in the safest way, we have identified a company who will provide Covid-19 testing to potential admits following travel. Our new protocol will require a 7 day quarantine PLUS a negative test. The test is also effective for persons who appear asymptomatic. We are continuing to require the 7 days because that is how long it can take for the virus to build up enough antibodies in your system to show a positive result.
- All new admissions will be immediately evaluated by the nurse upon admission to assess for any COVID-19 symptomology, complete a comprehensive nursing assessment, and be provided with a hygiene orientation.
- All new admissions will be provided with Ascend supplied clothing and their own personal garments will be immediately laundered.
- Ascend is requiring all staff take and document their temperatures at the start and end of their shift.
- Ascend is encouraging all staff to follow all CDC guidelines around social distancing outside of work.
- Ascend is encouraging all staff to follow ‘Stay Safe’ quarantine procedures as outlined by California government agencies
- Ascend is requiring all staff inform their supervisor if they have violated ‘Stay Safe’ quarantine procedures and have attended congregate meetings or designated high risk zones
- Ascend is requesting all staff who are considered high risk to postpone non-essential excursions outside their homes in order to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. This includes anyone over the age of 60 and anyone who is immunocompromised.
ALL EMPLOYEE’S MUST NOTIFY A SUPERVISOR IF:
- They are sick OR have a sick family member
- If they feel any type of acute respiratory illness
- If they OR a family member are confirmed to have COVID-19 (coronavirus)