The Decision to Stay Open During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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It was early March and I had just landed in Atlanta for a golfing trip with some of my closest friends.  Like others I was aware of the COVID-19 “situation” and was concerned but had no idea of the impact that it was about to have on everyone.  As my friends and I drove to our golfing destination, we were getting alerts of sporting events being cancelled, business being shut down, travel restrictions being put in place and the rumors of a national shutdown.  In the span of a few hours and a hundred miles in a car the “situation” got very real and had become a crisis that was immediately impacting everyone. Fortunately, I was able to get back to Richmond without delay.  Like everyone else we made immediate changes to our family routines based on rules imposed by others and some imposed based on our own comfort levels.  At the same time, I had to make some immediate decisions about my business, Assisting Hands Richmond (AHR), about how we were going to navigate this new landscape.  Assisting Hands Home Care Richmond provides Home Care Services to people who need help in their homes, by our very nature we are an Essential Service.  The first decision was to remain open and continue to provide care for our current clients. While this path seemed obvious, a lot had to be done to support and continue to support that very important and critical decision.  This decision was made in the context of Our Shared Values (Kindness, Compassion, Integrity, Creativity and Accountability) and was lasered focused on keeping both our Employees and Clients safe and healthy (see our COVID-19 Protocols / Procedures). As we move forward Assisting Hands Richmond is focused on the following areas:

  • Agency Monitoring – staying appraised of the latest CDC, OSHA and Virginia DOH guidelines. Any changes in these guidelines are immediately evaluated as to how we need to adjust our own procedures and protocols
  • Caregiver Training / Screening – Our Caregivers are our most valuable resource. These individuals are the Essential Workers that help take care of individuals in their home (or wherever they call home).  In order to help protect these incredible people we provide on-going training regarding COVID-19, infection prevention and control practices, use of PPE, etc.  Providing this enhanced training helps not only to protect the Caregivers but our clients as well.  We also continuously screen our Caregivers for any exposure to COVID-19
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – We have invested a substantial amount of time and money in securing all of the necessary PPE to keep both our Clients and Caregivers safe. This includes masks (KN-95 if necessary), gloves, face shields, goggles, isolation gowns, etc.  As mentioned before our enhanced training includes the proper use of this PPE.
  • Client Screening – We continuously screen our clients for signs of COVID-19. This allows us to provide the proper care and alert other medical professionals if COVID-19 may be present with the client or in their home.  This screening ensures that the client is getting the proper help and our Caregivers can be protected.

Focusing on these areas is not a one-time thing, it must be continuously assessed, adjusted and responded to so that we are remaining vigilant.

The decision to remain open has evolved into AHR providing additional services as it relates to COVID-19.  We are here to help individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as help all types of businesses reopen safely.

Caring for Clients with COVID-19

covid senior caregiver maskAs this pandemic hit our area in March none of our clients or Caregivers had been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Our immediate first steps in remaining open was all about preventing COVID-19 from spreading to our clients and employees.  To date our prevention measures have been successful.  The next decision was on whether or not we would accept new clients that had been diagnosed with COVID-19.  This decision was both obvious and complex at the same time.  I won’t drag everyone through all of the things I had to consider, research, evaluate and ponder.  In the end it came down to the fact that AHR has the opportunity to help others in need and so we will.

The demographic we mostly serve, seniors, are the most susceptible to the dangers of COVID-19.  AHR will be there for them when they need us the most and where others may not be willing or able to help. As previously described, we are prepared to provide this service while protecting both the client and Caregiver.  We have the skills, talent, training and resources and will put them to work for those that need us.

Additionally, we have all heard about the strain that our medical facilities are under with the number of COVID-19 cases. These facilities need somewhere to discharge their patients where they can make sure care is present. AHR can provide Home Care services to clients in their home which can translate into open beds at hospitals to treat others with more acute needs.  The Heroes that are working on the front lines need a pressure relief valve and the confidence to know that AHR will work tirelessly to make sure their efforts are not wasted when they discharge their patients back to their homes into our care.  Also, they will know that we are taking every precaution to prevent the client from having to be re-admitted back to the hospital and therefore put strain back on already scarce resources.

Business and Employee Screening Services

We all know that COVID-19 is not only causing trauma to our individual health but our economy as well.  Unemployment is at record highs, businesses are being closed and everyone seems to be on the brink of implosion.  Given all of the work that AHR has gone through to make sure that we remain open while protecting the health of both our clients and employees (Caregivers), we are in a great spot to help others through this same process.  We can help give businesses the confidence that they can re-open and do it safely.  Here is how we can help:

  • Screen employees before they start work
  • Recommend proper infection control procedures
  • Proper PPE protocol and training
  • Screen customers using non-contact thermometers

I know as a business owner you want to get back to work but you only want to do so in a responsible and safe way.  Having the right plan and procedures in place will make both your employees and customers feel valued. We can help you do that.

Employee Wellness Screening

We are all in this together and we will all navigate this together.  Like many others, I have decided to lean forward into this crisis, be driven by the courage of my conviction and not let fear or indecision define my outcome.

Please let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions you can call us (804) 500-9787 so we can see how we can help you through these challenging times. Stay Strong, Safe and Healthy!


Eric Rohr
Assisting Hands Richmond

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