Below are guidelines/resources/information for our staff/clients/families to follow to keep everyone safe.
SELF-MONITORING DAILY CHECKLIST
Employees must perform a self-health check before reporting to work. and client family members should perform a self-check and report all symptoms and variances immediately, including disclosure of concerns from other agencies involved. If employees/client family members exhibit symptoms in the past 48 hours which cannot be explained by a known, noncontagious condition, immediately call out of work/services following our Call Out policies. HR staff will follow up with employees and a nursing manager will follow up with all client families.
The following are the symptoms:
Fever (100.4) or Chills
Shortness of Breath
Muscle or Body Aches
New Loss of Taste or Smell
Nausea or Vomiting
Congestion or Runny Nose
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
Inability to wake or stay awake.
Bluish lips, face, or unpigmented skin (gums, around the eyes, nail beds).
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Employees should also complete a screening of the client/household when they arrive to work and report concerns.
Notify us if you believe you are symptomatic, have been exposed to, are being tested, or have a diagnosis of COVID-19; and notify your healthcare provider for further instructions.
REPORTING SICKNESS OR EXPOSURE (OR POTENTIAL EXPOSURE)
If employees, clients, or family members exhibit symptoms, call out of work/services following our Call Out policies. We are available to you 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 :30 p.m. with staff here to assist and On Call scheduling and managers are available outside of business hours.
All employees will perform client screening for COVID-19 every visit.
Report if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 or who is testing for COVID-19.
Report if you become aware of an employee of another agency in the same home that we are serving that has tested positive for COVID-19 or is undergoing testing. We do reach out to other agencies that provide services in the same client home, to keep them informed of our staff who undergo COVID-19 testing due to possible exposure or illness.
Report any intentions to travel to areas where quarantine is required.
Clients/families – please report directly to our Clinical Supervisor, or On Call if after business hours.
Employees – please report directly to the HR Office, or On Call if after business hours.
EVERYDAY PROTECTIVE MEASURES
FACE COVERINGS AND OTHER PROTECTIVE MEASURES
For Client Homes: please mask when working indoors.
Please mask when you are occupying a vehicle with others for work purposes.
Your mask needs to cover your mouth and nose.
You must use a fresh mask each shift, whenever mask is soiled or damaged, or when patient care situation dictates.
Wear a mask and a shield when performing aerosol generating procedures such as: open suctioning, cough assist/chest PT, BIPAP, CPAP, nebulizer, high flow oxygen, trach changes, or trach mist.
Facemasks are not required when:
Alone in a room
Eating or drinking (if 6 feet of physical distance or a physical barrier are maintained)
It is necessary for mouth to be seen (e.g., communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing) and a clear, plastic facemask cannot be used [use an alternative (e.g., face shield) instead]
An employee cannot wear due to a medical necessity, medical condition, or disability for which there is an approved accommodation for.
Every member in the home (or visiting the home, including staff)
is vaccinated and are screened for COVID exposure and symptoms.
We have provided a supply of surgical masks to every home health client in addition to the PPE (personal protective equipment) kit. Please let us know as more are needed.
In Schools: When care is provided within the school setting, we are asked to comply with the school’s PPE procedures, including 100% face covering, possibly the addition of a shield, standard precautions when performing procedures, and at times gowning for certain procedures.
Maintain physical distancing, keeping a minimum of 6 feet from others whenever possible.
Be mindful of others - Do not linger at or near where others are working. They may be uncomfortable with your presence and uncomfortable saying so. Give a friendly reminder if they are not exercising physical distancing around you.
We are taking proper safety precautions by asking employees, clients, and families questions during appropriate times such as new staff/new client opens, prior to interviews/orientation, returning to work/services after having COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis, or possible exposure to COVID-19 to confirm absence of a fever and other COVID-type symptoms, confirm if social distancing and self-isolation has been practiced, etc.
Remember, the best way to prevent the spread of infections is to follow the same protocols for any respiratory virus (colds, flu, and stomach bugs).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Limit your exposure to large groups of people and practice physical distancing.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (then throw it away), or with your sleeve – not your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at least daily.
Vaccination has become a primary agent in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC strongly recommends vaccination for healthcare workers and considers it to be a scientifically proven safety standard and a vital part of overall COVID-19 management plans in today’s world. OSHA standards related to COVID-19 assert that ensuring vaccination among healthcare employees is an important aspect of employee protections in the workplace, as well as providing some protection for patients, as well as your friends, and family.
What You Need to Know
Everyone ages 5 and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping protect against severe disease and death from the virus that causes COVID-19, including known variants currently circulating (e.g., Delta variant).
The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, which are rare.
As with other routine vaccines, side effects may occur after vaccination. These are normal and should go away within a few days.
People who are fully vaccinated can resume many activities they did before the pandemic. However, people should wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech (ages 12 and older) or Moderna (ages 18 and older) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have a moderately or severely compromised immune system, you should receive an additional primary dose of the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose.
Everyone ages 16 years and older can get a booster shot. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred in most situations. Although mRNA vaccines are preferred, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.
Unlike many medications, COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination.
People can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time.
For more information about COVID-19 Vaccines please visit: Things to Know About Vaccines
Effective 5/1/21 Maine has moved to an “All states exempt unless specified” approach. This means that travelers from or returning from exempt states are not required to test or quarantine upon arrival.
Testing is still recommended.
Maine’s policies for domestic travel for healthcare workers
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
PROTECT YOU & YOUR FAMILY from all Contagious Respiratory Illnesses
We are now into the flu season along with the pandemic. The CDC say’s it’s possible to be infected with seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time & having the flu may increase the severity of COVID-19 if you catch both. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms. Only testing can rule out COVID-19 but a flu vaccine remains the top recommendation for staying well and is a Maine CDC requirement now.
COVID-19, the flu and the common cold appear all to be spread similarly through:
Respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
All these viruses can be spread from person-to-person. It is possible that people infected with COVID-19 may be infectious before showing symptoms. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic/the sickest.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE?
Quarantine means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus but are not currently symptomatic.
Isolation means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus. Isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms and you are fully vaccinated and boosted or have completed your primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine WITHIN the last 5 months OR completed the primary series of the J&J vaccine WITHIN the last 2 months and do not have any symptoms you do not need to quarantine. You will need to test on day 5 and wear a mask around others for 10 days. If you cannot answer yes to the above then you will need to quarantine (stay home) for 5 days, test on day 5 if possible and wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.
If you develop symptoms, stay home, isolate, get tested, and contact your healthcare provider if symptoms persist.
If you test positive for COVID-19 regardless of your vaccination status: Isolate.
Stay home for 5 days. If you have no symptoms or resolving symptoms – including no fever for at least 24 hours without medication – and you’ve isolated for 5 days, you can leave your house but continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.
If after 5 days of isolation your symptoms are persistent or worsening, continue to stay home until you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are resolving AND until 24 hours after your fever resolves without the use of medications. THEN you can leave your home. For questions about your symptoms: Call your healthcare provider and continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.
WHERE DO I FIND A TESTING SITE CLOSE TO ME?
to find a list of testing sites in Maine. This is not an all-inclusive list. Other healthcare facilities in Maine may offer testing. Maine CDC recommends that you call ahead to learn about test availability before visiting one of these sites.
Maine CDC cannot guarantee test type or appointment availability at these sites. Please call ahead to ask questions about appointment availability, test type, and timing of results.
RESOURCES AND EDUCATION
For more coronavirus information, visit the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention's website.
Or, contact Maine's 211 system by calling 2-1-1 or 1-866-811-5695, texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing email@example.com.
For a copy of the HHH COVID-19 Plan which includes policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19, in accordance with OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), contact the Human resources Office.
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, contact your direct supervisor or other members of the leadership team. We will continue to do all that we can to help support our clients and their families and our staff. Please continue to be as positive as possible for our clients and families. Remember, we will get through this together!
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
StrengthenME - is Maine’s behavioral health and resiliency response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. They offer resources specific to caregiver staff and separate resources for all Mainers which our office staff and your loved ones can take advantage of.
Caregiver staff resources – are available through a partnership with the State of Maine and Work Force EAP. The program is specifically designed to help healthcare and frontline workers with COVID-19 related stress while working through the pandemic. Here are some offerings:
30-minute Wellness Workshops that focus on mental & emotional wellness using practical tips and mindfulness. Check out the schedule on the website for offerings each month.
Click HERE for Wellness Workshops
10-minute Wellness Breaks - If you are short on time, try these for a quick mid-day reset – no registration is required: Click HERE for Wellness Breaks
Trainings – join 50-60 minute trainings on a range of stress-related topics. No registration required. Click HERE for current Trainings
Group caregiver discussions - A professional consultant will facilitate discussion for open dialogue and psychoeducation about stress management and resiliency strategies. 50-minute via Zoom; no registration required. Click HERE for current Group Discussions
Individual Work/Life Coaching – access 1:1 confidential coaching with a licensed professional to assist with stress and to explore wellness options and resiliency. Up to 6, 50-minute sessions conducted via Zoom. To schedule services, call 1-800-769-9819.
All staff (includes office staff) general StrengthenME resources - This initiative seeks to help any Mainer with free, confidential, and anonymous resources if experiencing pandemic-related stress. Check out the tools, support, and community connections that promote wellness, resilience, and recovery. Resources can help people develop coping strategies and self-care practices before emotional challenges escalate into more serious mental health problems.
. Or, call the phone hotline at:
Call (207) 221-8198 or 866-367-4588, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Email questions to
OTHER BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RESOURCES
can take advantage of the
Statewide Crisis Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 888-568-1112. It is free, confidential, & staffed by trained crisis clinicians. Seek help immediately if you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed by depression or anxiety or talking about suicide, feelings of hopelessness or unbearable pain, or about being a burden to others.
Maines 211 Service
- Dial 211, text your zip code to 898-211, email
, or visit
to connect you to a wide range of services in your area.