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Psynergy Publishes Disease Prevention Guidelines

March 9, 2020 - An open letter from Psynergy Programs Director of Government and Public Affairs Lynda Kaufmann:

 

Good morning county and community partners,

Psynergy has been taking action to prevent flu outbreaks amongst our residents and staff, and avoid the exposure of influenza and Coronavirus.  Since February 26th our Disaster and Emergency committee has been meeting and planning prevention measures.  We all understand many of our clients are at a higher risk due to underlying medical conditions, COPD, asthma, and chronic cigarette use, while also living in a congregate living situation.

Jorge Mendez is finalizing a manual “COVID-19 INFECTION CONTROL MANUAL.”  If you would like a copy of this manual once finalized please email me, [email protected]  I know many of you have not had an opportunity to meet Jorge yet, but he has 20+ years working in community mental health, formerly Vice President of Front St. Inc. (operator of 7th Avenue Center), opened the Santa Cruz PHF in December 2013, and has an MPA/HSA from USF.  He has been guiding our agency in keeping staff and clients safe in many ways, but specifically a current focus in infection precautions.  I have known and worked with Jorge for 16 years, being co-board members for NAMI Santa Cruz, working for him at Drake House RCFE in Monterey, and other community committees.  Psynergy is very fortunate to have him on our team for the last year working on residential Quality Improvements, and putting practices like the ones below in place. 

Psynergy is using the following preventions and precautions recommended by the CA Public Health Department, local CDC, and Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing:

 

  • Each facility has been taking baseline temperatures on clients, and any client with flu-like symptoms will be asked to stay in their room, and we will provide bedside care and support.  So far, in all four residences, this has not been necessary.  Anyone returning from the hospital will have temperatures taken daily for 7 days post-visit.
  • We have been limiting our community outings in public.
  • Our community Dialogue groups have focused on handwashing, coughing into your elbow, disposing of tissues, not sharing cigarettes or cups, and more handwashing!
  • Each shift exchange with staff we dialogue with staff about not coming to work sick, taking their temperatures, supporting clients in the above-mentioned efforts.
  • All conservators and case managers have been notified by letter, which is also placed on every facility and clinic entry door as a reminder to please limit any visit if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Any and all admissions will be dependent upon all vitals on the day of admission.  So far three facilities we typically admit from were closed by the Dept. of Public Health, and one has already reopened. 
  • Any and all discharges from a Psynergy program will take vitals on clients prior to discharge to ensure we are not perpetuating any transmissions of influenza to any other community.
  • The Client Development staff, Jenny, Lynda, and Tracey are taking extremely cautious precautions when assessing clients in other facilities.  We are limiting our person-to-person contact and conducting phone interviews when possible.  This is not ideal, but we are ensuring we are not bringing any infections back to our communities.  The CD team is constantly using handwashing practices, using hand sanitizers, not shaking hands, etc.
  • There are also other specific protocols we are using that are outlined per CCL Notice Updates.

  

Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jorge Mendez if you have any questions about steps we are taking to protect our clients and staff from Influenza and COVID-19.