Essential Emergency Preparedness: If You Get Sick, What Do Nurses and Doctors Need to Know to Communicate Best with You?

Nothing is more essential than being able to communicate your needs in the midst of a crisis.

At present, many people across the world are being hospitalized for COVID-19 coronavirus. In some areas, hospitals are not allowing visitors to stay with people who are admitted, due to an abundance of caution over spread of the virus.

If you or someone you support were to need to communicate wants and needs without familiar supports in place, now is the time to create a backup communication plan.

We’ve pulled together multiple resources for you to check out and consider. Check them out here: http://independencenw.org/communication/

As you continue to refine your safety plan during this heightened period, please consider including a communication document of some sort. Fill it out, keep it somewhere safe, and if you need to seek medical attention, make sure it’s updated and with you.

March 17, 2020: Important Coronavirus Notice from Oregon DHS for Customers and Families

March 17, 2020
From: Oregon Department of Human Services
To: People living in their own homes or family homes, Children in foster care homes, and Family members of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) living in these settings; and Child Foster Home providers serving children with I/DD

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is a virus that makes people feel unwell. People with other health issues are most at-risk if they get this virus. COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person through droplets in the air and on surfaces that people touch. To protect the health and safety of people and their families, the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) is providing the following guidance.

Help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

How to protect yourself and others.

Practice good hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after
    you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%
    alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the
    inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately follow the “practice good hygiene” steps above.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables,
    doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Clean dirty surfaces: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Wash items including washable plush toys as appropriate. If possible, wash items
    using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  •  Put at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is
    spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at
    higher risk.
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members
    from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use,
    if possible. Plan to clean these rooms, as needed, when someone is sick.
  • Avoid gatherings and activities in the community when possible.

Take precautions for visitors

  • Prior to accepting a visitor into the home, screen the visitor for signs and
    symptoms of COVID-19 by asking the visitor the following questions:

    • Have you had signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever,
      cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
    • Have you had contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed
      diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19?
    • Have you traveled internationally within the last 14 days?
  • • If you have concerns about a visitor being ill, you can decide to restrict the visitor
    from entering the home. Consider alternative methods to visit, such as phone or
    video chat.
    • If you choose to allow visitors, provide guidance on protecting themselves and
    others by practicing proper hand washing, limiting surfaces touched, and
    maintaining a safe distance from other household members.

Working with your staff (i.e., Personal Support Worker, Direct Support Professional, or
alternate caregivers)

  • Discuss together how staff can support the you in implementing the steps listed
    above to remain healthy and safe.
  •  Individuals, families, and child foster home providers should expect staff to follow
    good hygiene guidelines and preventive measures to reduce the spread of illness

Back-up Planning & Working with the Case Manager

COVID-19 Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance
ODDS COVID-19 Information
ODDS COVID-19 YouTube Video