Society for Healthcare
Good morning, SHVL Colleagues -
As part of the covid-19 response, this weekend, our hospital system limited visitors to one per patient and no overnight stays. Nothing has been changed regarding volunteers coming in and serving their normal shifts/assignments, but I'm looking to get a pulse check from areas around the country to see if other volunteer services are being affected and in what ways. Are your hospital systems taking any proactive responses regarding Volunteer Service?
Several Volunteers have shared that they are cutting back on their services out of abundance of caution and staying away from the hospital, though.
Thanks in advance for sharing!
To date, we are not changing or limiting volunteer presence at our hospitals. I have had 7 volunteers, so far, take leaves of absence until after the COVD-19 situation resolves. Therapy Dogs International, the certification we require for our Pet Therapy Volunteers, sent out recommendations last week for them to suspend visits until it is over.
I did receive a call a few minutes ago from a local Veteran's Affairs office - he stated the VA (on the federal level) just told them to stand down all volunteers in any VA Hospitals.
At this point our biggest concern beyond the usual precautions, and I expect our flu visitation policy to be extended, we are most concerned with spring break travel. Many families take trips as well as college students. Some of our colleges are out this week and most others in the area are out next week.
Also volunteers, with that serving heart, often do mission trips. We are asking that anyone who leaves the country who feels perfectly fine to wait at least one week back feeling fine before returning to the volunteer position. They must also report their out of country destination and how they felt upon return. We are definitely concerned about our international student volunteers who may be going home to a high risk country. They have been warned that they could be quarantined by the US government upon return for 21 days by their university. A couple have cancelled their trip home.
We are also warning to continue to check with us as things are changing daily from the committee who is overseeing the response at our hospital.
as of last week we have suspended our volunteers from going in patient rooms all together. this includes our daily rounds, meal ticket distribution for companions, imagination library sign up and chaplain visits. for the chaplain visits and daily rounds, they are calling the room to check in on our patients. for the meal ticket distribution and the imagination library sign up, we are leaving that information on the door so that the next visit of a clinical person they can take it to them. this helps limit access to patients all together. our volunteers are going to be screened as the employees are, once that rolls out. we have increased our cleaning of volunteer desks and wheelchairs as well as I'm keeping a log of the volunteers travel plans out of state as well as out of country.
Last week was an eye opener. The news media let people know that we had someone that was tested for coronavirus and sent home. Turns out the person was negative and we don't have any positives in this area as of this date and time. Because of that rumor the uniform sale vendor considered leaving but changed their minds when they received the correct information. The uniform vendor did tell me that volunteer services were canceling their fundraisers to keep people out of the hospital. So that is something to think about where fundraisers are concerned. We have an upcoming $5 jewelry sale and that will bring a lot of people in, so I am just watching for news in our area.
So far no cases. I have told volunteers if they feel they don't need to be here that is perfectly fine. I have several that stay away from the hospital this time of year anyway due to flu. The hospital sends out news frequently to update our status and I send the latest info to the volunteers.
We have initiated a temporary interventional discontinuation of Eucharistic Ministry for our pastoral volunteers. We have interrupted student clinical rotation by not permitting students or pastoral volunteers in patient ISOLATION rooms to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is under strict conservation due to the high demand.
I have 5 volunteers in higher risk areas who requested LOA during this time due to their personal health treatments.
Our system has temporarily suspended all volunteer and student activities, so no volunteers may report for duty until further notice. This is aligned with increased visitation restrictions at our locations.
Although we have no cases (yet), all patient contact volunteers have been asked to stay home. Also, anyone under the age of 18 cannot volunteer at this time (Maryland Governor's remarks prompted that).
Some volunteers have decided to not come in at this time, but it is their choice.
We have a triage tent set up outside our ED for anyone presenting with symptoms.
We have established a child care plan for our employees who do not have alternate plans for their children because all our schools are closed for the next two weeks.
I am hoping all this proactive planning pays off, but think it will eventually come our way. Since we are so rural, we have not yet been impacted like other areas in Maryland.
Patricia what type of service did your hospital set up for day care
We decided the load would be more than we could handle in-house so we have an agreement with a local church run daycare program. We are referring our staff who may need such services to them. This removed the burden from the health system.
Additionally, an update (things seem to be changing rapidly here) we have NO volunteers on our premises. I had to send everyone home Monday. Our gift shop remains open with the single employee who manages it. Just this morning we closed our lobby entrance. Who knows what the day will bring.
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