Staffing

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How can I protect my health staff from being infected? The loss of even one staff member to illness would cause huge problems.

Be sure to follow the CDC and local health authority guidelines for health care providers. Staff should take precautions for themselves and patients as they would for any airborne infectious disease. Gloves, masks, gowns, and other appropriate personal protective equipment should be used when treating potentially infectious patients. Stringent personal hygiene and social distancing are essential to limiting the spread.

Until this disease is better understood, we recommend a low-index of suspicion and medical isolation for any patients who demonstrate symptoms of infection. Be prepared for emergency staffing by identifying community resources that may be leveraged as needed to help meet minimum health stay requirements (e.g., agency nurses, locum tenens physicians).

 
 

On normal days, we spend a lot of time responding to requests for routine and follow-up care. How can we manage an increase in demand for our services?

Clinicians should be prepared to triage patients so that medical resources can be directed toward those with the highest clinical acuity. All patients and their clinical concerns must be taken seriously. Non-COVID19 emergencies will continue to occur during the pandemic. These must also be diagnosed and treated. This is an excellent opportunity to set expectations with your inmate-patients on your triage process and that routine/nonurgent requests for care will get lower priority.

 
 

I am interested in how other psychiatrists are conducting their interviews. How are they minimizing contact from potential coronavirus carriers?

Behavioral health specialists should follow social distancing guidelines as much as possible. As many years of experience with psychiatric telemedicine have shown us, mental health is an area that is amenable to care provision without being in physical contact (or in the same actual physical space) with the patient.

Consider what services you can offer with audio connectivity only (a phone) and explore what your facility can offer in terms of video link-up. If video visitation services for inmates has capacity to augment health care, consider the use of that space and equipment.

 

 
 

I am seeking information regarding NCCHC’s standard regarding current CPR certification. We have a few employees who are new and their CPR certification is expiring. None of our area instructors are providing classes due to the COVID-19 situation. I am attempting to find out what your guidance is regarding this and continued certification. Our plan is to obtain training and recertification for these employees as soon as feasible, however at the current tiem, I’m not certain how to obtain. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

We suggest that you find online resources while waiting for hands-on instructions.Here is an option from the Red Cross, for example:https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/cpr-training/cpr-online

With respect to our survey and accreditation process, document the exigent circumstances and a remediation plan now and work to correct as soon as it's feasible.