Dated as of March 27, 2020

“Shelter in Place” / “Stay at Home” Guidelines    

As “Shelter-In-Place” and “Stay-at-Home” Orders are being instituted in various cities and states across the country, we wanted to keep you informed of how these protective measures impact your families. Many of you have expressed growing concerns should a caregiver be unable to work under these circumstances. Thankfully, every one of these ordinances has protected the work of caregivers, nurses, and care managers as “Essential Workers” for care in the home. As such, we wanted to reassure you that:

Under a “Shelter-In-Place” or “Stay-at-Home” ordinance, there is absolutely no prohibition on providing care to your loved one in their home (including senior living residences)

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update you as circumstances change. More importantly, we continue our strict employee safety protocols including regular heath screening, access to available personal protective equipment, and client safety screening during each visit.

We are grateful that Federal (including the President’s National Emergency Order), State and local law and policy makers have recognized that our caregivers, nurses, and life care managers are employed in an essential capacity, providing home care services to vulnerable individuals, the elderly and people living with disabilities.  Where a “Shelter-In-Place” order has been enacted, we have provided formal letters to all caregivers, nurses, and life care managers for them to carry just in case they are questioned by a law enforcement officer.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to call our office. In order to help foresee any issues we could be facing due to COVID-19, we have been consulting every day with highly reputable agencies in Washington, California, and New York who are all under “Shelter-In-Place” orders and who are experiencing COVID-19 is a more pronounced way than we are. Fortunately, they have all been able to continue their work and do what we do best – care for those who need it most.

 

Family Tree In-Home Care is actively monitoring developments and guidance around the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, we are conducting business as usual though we’ve added additional safety precautions which we’ve outlined below. Additionally, we continue to prepare diligently for all other precautionary measures as needed.

The COVID-19 situation is evolving, and while we do not know what is coming next, we want you to be fully aware of and confident in the ways we have been preparing our teams to work within this higher-risk environment. We have devoted significant resources and efforts to mitigate possible adverse impacts from COVID-19 and preparedness is coordinated as part of our company-wide continuity efforts intended to support our clients’ needs while keeping clients, caregivers, nurses, and all other team members safe.

Keeping People Safe

Our top priority is the health and welfare of our clients and employees. As a result, we have enacted the following precautionary measures, among others:

Support for your Residents. As you’ll see below, Family Tree is taking rigorous precautionary measures to continuing providing necessary care to our clients. In the event this crisis influences a resident’s or their family’s desire to leave your community for a period of time, Family Tree can support their transition home, assist them at home with all their needs, and work diligently to transition them back to your community once the situation surrounding COVID-19 settles. We value your trust and we’re here to support you and your residents in any way we can.

Offering Live-In Caregiving. For any client with gaps in care who wishes to severely limit their exposure outside of their home, we are now offering the possibility of a live-in caregiver. This would enable a client to have a Family Tree caregiver around-the-clock at a reduced rate. The professional caregiver generally is not expected to provide care during the night, but is available to respond in an emergency, and as such, live-in care is not appropriate for clients needing nighttime assistance. Additionally, the caregiver would require sleep in a private bedroom and access to suitable bathroom facilities.

Regular Employee Screenings. Your health and safety are our primary concern, so we will be conducting screenings of all of our caregivers, nurses, and other team members 2x per week indefinitely during this crisis. We will continue to re-evaluate the ongoing frequency and necessity of these screenings. Every employee will be screened for the following risk factors, and all screenings will be documented:

  • Fever or signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat;
  • Contact in the last 14 days with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19,
  • Traveled within the previous 14 days to a country with sustained community transmission per the CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
  • Close contact in the last 14 days with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, is under investigation for COVID-19, or is ill with respiratory illness. “Close contact” is defined by the CDC Guidelines as:
    • being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case; or
    • having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

For any caregiver who report symptoms of COVID-19, we will strongly recommend they follow the CDC guidelines for What To Do If You Are Sick, and immediately contact their doctor for further instruction.

As part of our commitment to our caregivers, we have enacted a policy to ensure that any caregiver who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their ability to serve our clients is on hold.

Protecting Clients Where They Live. In addition to the documented care plan of each client, every employee will be required to follow a COVID-19 protocol for every visit in a client’s home, including:

  • Wiping down all metal surfaces with disinfectant at the beginning and end of each visit;
  • Ensuring the client’s and care provider’s regular and rigorous hand washing with anti-bacterial soap during the visit;
  • Use of the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) as necessary and available; and
  • Ensuring adequate hydration of the client.

For any clients who report symptoms of COVID-19, we will recommend they follow the CDC guidelines for What To Do If You Are Sick, and immediately contact their doctor for further instruction.

Preparing Caregivers. We are currently stocking up on items in each office that will be made available to you for their use in the field. These include all available personal protective equipment suggested by the CDC. Based on the client’s condition, guidance for PPE will change:

  • Gloves;
  • Gowns;
  • Masks; and
  • Goggles or face shield

Travel Bans. As of last week, we are eliminating all domestic business air travel and all non-essential work-related travel. In place of travel, we are working to add telephonic and personal video conference technology for a number of team members to maintain client communication and meetings.

Office Staff Working from Home. Like many of your team members, the recent school district and day care closures will affect some of our team members. With regards to those affected team members who regularly work in the office, we’re making immediate arrangements to accommodate their ability to work remotely. We continue to actively monitor the COVID-19 situation and we’re pursuing ways to implement a remote workforce across the organization that will continue to fully support our clients and caregivers.

 

As always, thank you for your partnership in serving your community.

Be well,

Alex Bonetti, Founder & CEO

 

Questions?

Please contact our office directly.

Austin: (512) 337-8882

Denver: (303) 791-3155

Houston: (713) 333.9991

San Antonio: (210) 764-8500