Article originally appeared on the BrightStar Care website on March 17th, 2020
Nothing is more important than keeping our most vulnerable population safe during this period of uncertainty. BrightStar Care is committed to providing the highest standard of care to our clients who trust us with the care of their loved ones. This trust is predicated on transparency, so we feel it’s important to provide you with as much information as possible about the measures that we are taking to help keep our clients safe and healthy during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
What is BrightStar Care doing to stay on top of COVID-19?
BrightStar Care is taking a very active approach in preparation and ongoing understanding of COVID-19. We are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local health departments for live and up-to-date guidance and the newest knowledge related to COVID-19. BrightStar Care is adhering to the recommendations of the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus as well as how to care and treat patients who may be diagnosed with COVID-19 in their homes.
We have established an executive-level task force that includes but is not limited to clinical expertise, business operations, marketing, technology and strategy to ensure all independently owned and operated BrightStar Care agencies, especially nursing and caregiving staff, are armed with the most up-to-date and critical information regarding COVID-19.
How BrightStar Care keeps clients safe at home
Advanced Infection Control and Patient Safety Protocols
Every locally owned and operated BrightStar Care agency follows The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals, including infection prevention, which minimizes the risks of disease transmission as seen in viruses like COVID-19. Each of the preventative measures recommended by the CDC are already standard practice across our agencies, and all professional care staff completes stringent training administered by a Registered Nurse on topics critical to keeping clients safe such as infection control (IC), proper handwashing, and cough and cold etiquette. As a best practice, we follow both Joint Commission and CDC guidelines.
Due to the recent COVID-19 concerns, we have taken proactive steps to provide supplemental training to our BrightStar Care agencies for their caregivers and staff on the following topics:
- Hand hygiene standards
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) use (masks, gloves, etc.)
- Blood-borne pathogen standards and safety protocols
- Coronavirus overview from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Registered Nurse on Your Team
In addition to these protocols, BrightStar Care clients also benefit from the oversight of a Registered Nurse. You and your loved one have access to a BrightStar Care nurse 24/7 should an emergency arise.
Real-time Change in Condition Monitoring
Through our mobile plan of care technology, each BrightStar Care agency’s professional caregiving staff are directly connected to Registered Nurses at all times. Caregiving staff is trained to watch for signs that your loved one’s condition may be changing due to a new illness or complication or an ongoing health condition. Upon observing these changes, they can immediately log this into the client’s file alerting the nurse in real-time. This is especially critical with the long incubation period associated with COVID-19.
COVID-19 prevention tips
You and your loved ones can support infection control by taking the following steps:
- Practice frequent and effective hand hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Your BrightStar Care nurse can help with tips.
- Prohibit visitors who are not essential to be in the home.
- Clean all high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, toilets, phones, tablets, and bedside tables every day according to the label instructions on the household cleaning product.
- Place all used disposable gloves, face masks, and other contaminated items in a lined contained before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands with soap and water (preferred) or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) immediately after handling these items.
- Avoid sharing household items with your loved one including dishes, drinking glasses, utensils, towels, and bedding.
- Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have any bodily fluids on them. Wear gloves when handling these items and wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
- Contact your local BrightStar Care agency and your physician immediately if you experience a change in your condition warranting additional care such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath especially if not typical for you.
- Contact your local health department and our office should you have any confirmed interaction with high-risk individuals (e.g., recent travel to affected areas of China/caring for those who have done so).