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
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
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
• 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
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
Ensure you have back-up plans in place for medications, medical supplies,
household needs, supports if the individual or primary support were to become ill.
Following several days of consideration and deliberations on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we decided on March 12th, 2020 to close our physical office in NE Portland. While counties throughout the state begin re-opening, we are continuing with a commitment to a remote approach for the safety of our customers, families, providers, and our team members. At this point, remote work will continue until at least August 1st, 2020.
Rest assured, Independence Northwest will continue operating as a fully responsive and engaged brokerage case management entity – we’ll just be approaching things a little differently.
The coronavirus situation is very serious and we have a public responsibility to do whatever we can to prevent and reduce the spread of the virus. The practice of social distancing has the potential to reduce virus spread and increase our ability to remain responsive in the days and weeks to come.
The majority of the INW team will serve customers, families, and providers through use of remote technology like laptops and cell phones. A small skeleton crew will maintain intermittent work at our office, managing physical information like mail and faxes.
INW Personal Agents and administrative staff will be available by both phone and email during regular business hours and essential in-person meetings will still take place at our office as needed. We will continue to reach out very regularly to customers and their circles of support to check in on services, develop plans, assess support needs, discuss emergency planning, provide coronavirus information and resources, and review and update backup planning.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Personal Agent(s) you work with or any of us here at Independence Northwest. You can find contact information and phone extensions for our entire team here.
Please note: When a member of our team is ill or unable to respond due to planned time off, we’ll make sure there’s someone available to assist you during regular business hours. Outgoing voicemail messages will state who is providing coverage and how to contact them. If you send an email to a team member who is unavailable, you can expect to receive an out of office email reply letting you know who to contact in their absence.
In the meantime, please protect yourself and those around you by washing your hands, disinfecting commonly used areas in your home and workplace, and staying home. Let’s take care of one another during this difficult time. When we take care of our own health, we’re taking care of the well being of those around us.
There are some rule changes effective November 1, 2019 that impact Personal Support Workers (PSWs). PSWs statewide received the following information from the State of Oregon in October 2019.
Effective November 1, 2019, Personal Support Workers must report serious incidents to a supported person’s case manager (Services Coordinator or Personal Agent) immediately, but no later than one business day after an incident happens.
What kinds of things are PSWs required to report?
Serious illness that will result in hospitalization, bodily injury, or death without treatment.
Serious injury that risks a person’s life or permanent injury without treatment.
Physical aggression resulting in injury to the person, PSW, or others.
Person receives emergency medical care.
Person is missing beyond the time frame established in their ISP.
Person is admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Person attempts suicide.
Person has an unplanned hospitalization.
A medication error that results in harm or puts the person’s health and safety at risk.
A safeguarding intervention or the use of safeguarding equipment included in a Positive Behavior Support Plan results in injury.
The use of a physical restraint that is not included in a Positive Behavior Support Plan.
What must be included in the report?
Name of the person
Date, time, duration, type, and location of the incident
What happened before, or leading up to, the incident
Detailed description of the incident, including what you did
Description of injury, if injury occurred
Name of the PSW and any other witnesses to the incident
Actions by the PSW or others to keep the incident from happening again
Upcoming CCO (Coordinated Care Organization) changes in our area have been announced. This includes the addition of Trillium to tri-county options and the exit of Willamette Valley Community Health, currently serving Clackamas.
Please see the notice from the Oregon Health Authority below for details and informational links:
OHA held a webinar with stakeholders across the state on August 22 to share the latest information about CCO 2.0 and the organizations that will serve Oregon Health Plan members in 2020. The recording of the webinar is now available online.
Learn more about OHA’s communications plan for members with changes to their CCO choices, the next steps in the awards process, and what stakeholders and providers can do to support members during this transition.
The following materials are available for you to download and are posted on OHA’s CCO 2.0 website: