COVID-19 Response - vnatexas.org

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COVID-19 Response

A Message from Katherine Krause

Updated as of July 1, 2020

VNA remains committed to taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this constantly evolving climate, we are monitoring recommendations and updates while making decisions daily to keep our patients, clients, volunteers and staff healthy and safe. Following are the steps we are taking to safely carry out our mission to serve our most vulnerable neighbors, the elderly and ill in the midst of the pandemic.

Clinical Operations:

VNA is taking extra precautions to gradually increase our clinical presence in the community. We continue to stay apprised of the current situation, especially the increase in positive cases, to meet the needs of our patients in Hospice and Palliative Care safely and effectively. Our team is following the recommendations of the CDC and the regulations of CMS as well as the state and local guidelines.

While we currently have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to care for our patients, VNA is still anticipating that we may face some of the challenges all health care entities are encountering, which is a shortage of much-needed Personal Protective Equipment. We are calculating the “burn rate” of our PPE supply weekly and making adjustments to our staffing as a result of the available and predicted need. We are also making efforts to conserve PPE as much as possible by limiting the number of staff in the field where we can, only using PPE as directed by the CDC and ensuring that we accurately screen all patients and referrals. The CDC has allowed for contingency plans to address crises such as COVID-19, and this guidance includes extended use and limited reuse of masks. We have also delivered fabric face coverings to our patients so they can wear them during VNA visits as an extra layer of protection. Again, we are mindful there may come a point when PPE is in short supply, so we have to maintain care and conserve our resources where we are able. We will continue to make changes daily as the situation evolves, so please keep a close watch on communications from VNA as this is vital to our patient and staff safety.

VNA has also made many adjustments to our staffing policies. As a health care organization, we must protect our patients by staying home if we are sick, constantly screening ourselves, and reporting any symptoms to our managers. This is one area where we have to practice with extreme caution and diligence so VNA staff does not spread this virus. Our patients are the most vulnerable population, and it is our duty to protect them during this public health crisis. This is also why we are screening all patients and wearing the correct PPE if someone fails even one of the screening questions. With that in mind, we are grateful for your patience and support as we move into this new business practice.

Meals on Wheels Operations:

Beginning July 7, we are excited to welcome back our dedicated Meals on Wheels volunteers for in-person deliveries.

Our top priority is keeping our clients and volunteers safe! Volunteers choosing to participate in delivery must follow some essential safety steps.

  • Volunteers and staff must complete the COVID-19 screening tool the morning of delivery prior to arriving at the drop site. You can access the screening tool on the VNA Mobile App the morning of delivery. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, or if you are not feeling well on your delivery day, please cancel your route using the Volunteer Portal and email volunteer@vnatexas.org immediately.

  • All volunteers must use the VNA Mobile App to deliver meals; no paper manifests will be printed. This is important for contact tracing if a volunteer or client tests positive for COVID-19. Using the app also reduces staff time as well as the contact required to produce paper manifests.

  • Face masks must be worn when picking up and delivering meals.

  • Social distancing of 6 feet is required at all drop sites at all times. All coolers will be staged accordingly.

Blue insulated bags and hand sanitizer will be provided at the drop sites as needed at no charge. If you are using a previously used blue bag, please wipe it down with disinfectant prior to packing out your route. Please do not use gloves to make deliveries. Instead, please do not use gloves to make deliveries as hand sanitation must occur between each delivery.

All clients receive freshly prepared meals consisting of the white cold bag and hot meal tray, and shelf stable meal boxes. Some clients will also receive yellow breakfast bags. It is important to check the app for the meal count for each meal type. Please be sure to count out each of the items you need prior to leaving the drop site. You may also have some greeting cards to pass along to clients.

Also, there are plastic blue bags to package the shelf stable meal boxes. When you arrive at the client’s home, you can remove the hot and cold components from their respective insulated bags and place the other meal components into the blue plastic bag for each client. This makes handing over or dropping off the meal components easier and reduces contact with the client.

Please call all clients before you arrive at their homes to alert them of your arrival. You can utilize the app to make note of any issues you encounter and mark each client as delivered or not delivered.

Thank you for providing safe and compassionate care to our homebound senior clients. Be sure to let the VNA team know if you have any questions or concerns. Stay safe and welcome back!

As a friendly reminder, in order to participate in our virtual or physical deliveries, you must be a fully onboarded volunteer (completed online application, completed online training, and successfully passed your background check). If you are not fully onboarded, please start the process today at https://volunteer.vnatexas.org/landing. The onboarding process can take 5-7 business days.

Both virtual delivery and upcoming physical deliveries will require the use of the VNA Mobile App. It’s easy and user friendly! Please click on the link below to watch a video on how to use the mobile app. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKuidTH76Hc

Please reach out to our volunteer engagement team with questions or concerns at volunteer@vnatexas.org

Your Impact:

As the Covid-19 crisis remains a major threat to our health and wellbeing, our critical needs have not changed. If you’d like to help:

  1. Donations to continue our work in an ever-evolving environment where need is great and the cost of goods and services are increasing. It costs $7 per day to feed a senior.

  2. Click Here To Donate

  3. Volunteers to serve in a variety of ways in the coming weeks and months.

    Hospice Volunteer Interest Form Become A Meals on Wheels Volunteer

  4. For additional Covid-19 resources visit our page below.

    Covid-19 Resources

I am continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of our compassionate volunteers, donors and staff. Thank you for all you do to deliver hope to our senior neighbors in need. I wish you all good health and peace during this time.

Sincerely,

Katherine Krause Photo round

Katherine Krause
President and CEO

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