COVID-19 AKA Corona Virus – you’ve seen the news, the stock market reaction, the lines at COSTCO for toilet paper…
I was recently watching the original animated film Toy Story with my almost 5-year-old, who now likes to repeat this exchange between the two main characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
“This is no time to panic.” “Now is the perfect time to panic”!
Is this the perfect time to panic?
I’ll leave the level of actual panic up to the individual…
But how organizations that are focused with direct healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations respond, is of critical importance….
We list several important considerations for an effective program to respond to any situation that may arise with your staff and clients in your community. This is a basic outline to help guide your caregivers, inform your clients and make a difference in your community.
While this may seem mundane, ask yourself: “would I rather be stressed responding to a crisis or prepared and confident”? “Would I rather have uneventful daily routines or be reacting and putting out fires”?
- Be Proactive and Prepared: In general, having in place “ready to respond” programs in advance, that inform how you and your team will answer to emergencies (power outages, disruptions in the supply lines, earthquakes, fires, pandemics, etc.) will greatly enhance your ability to respond in real time.
- A Focus on Safety: Your ability to response to events that are rare, such as a pandemic, stem from your base line readiness addressing daily safety concerns and risks in general. For example, preparation for flu season, overall precautions to prevent infection on a daily basis, attention to training with safety precautions that are standard – all build a culture that is better prepared to handle rare events that require a crucial yet measured response when answering to a crisis, pandemic, and any other situation that requires immediate responsiveness.
- Practical Protocols with Caregivers: Having practical protocols in place such as addressing transitions with field staff to and from locations in and out of residents’ homes. For example, having a protocol prior to entering the residence, upon entering, and exiting the environment plays a big role with avoiding the spread of germs. This involves pre-cautions like application of sanitizer, adherence to hand washing routines, using sick time when appropriate if symptomatic, to avoid exposure to at risk patients, etc.
- Identifying High Risk Patients Any type of illness that can cause infection where seniors and other at-risk populations in your care, need extra steps of pre-caution and can help reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and ER visits. Understanding the risk and likelihood for readmission to hospital and the risk factors involved can help keep people safe in the home environment. Reviewing notes and documentation and updates to the plan of care and any change of condition can help identify your most at-risk patients.
- Remote Patient Monitoring as part of your healthcare delivery model, such as with a company such as AlayaCare, can be a great technological tool and approach in a first and fast response system of care where chronic conditions for patients are better managed at home.
- Create a Feedback Loop with alerts to your primary care team or appropriate associates and schedule the appropriate frequency with monitoring health checks and check ins (remotely and/or in person).
Establishing a solid foundation based on some of these simple rules of thumb can help mitigate risk, avert unnecessary readmissions, respond to crisis as well as run of the mill scenarios.
If you take the time to get a baseline benchmark to how these examples are being carried out in the field – you’ll learn a lot of where you need to focus and improve care delivery, customer service and patient care outcomes.
Working with a business consultant is a great is a great way to help improve outcomes and maximize your investment with your healthcare business.
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