Our Response to Covid-19
Over $125k and counting has been spent in response to a crisis that quickly emerged and has endured with unfortunate resilience. Like all of us, PSRS was taken by surprise by the Covid 19 pandemic and had to jump into action to become experts on transmission and prevention protocols.
Our comprehensive actions have included obtaining supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), legislative advocacy, enhanced pay for staff, and protocols for keeping those we support, direct staff, and our administration as safe as possible. Here are just some of the things PSRS has done to address health and safety during this crisis:
Infection Controls: PSRS continues to develop, and issue safety protocols at the homes, in the community, and at our office.
- In adherence with CDC and local health official guidelines, PSRS has implemented protocols that include staff health assessments at the start of each shift, including temperature checks and policies for community engagement, transportation, and visitation.
- Daily check-ins with staff and program teams to ensure staff and those they support are feeling ok and have all the supplies they need to stay safe
- With a lot of help from Kris Walker, we developed a tool to electronically track and trace employee and client health status.
- Established rapid response plans for quick set up of donning and doffing stations at each house/apartment to ensure staff properly wear/remove/dispose of PPE when needed
- Deployed prepared PPE kits to each home that include the proper gear for the staff who work there
- Posters, binders, and instruction cards so staff have proper tools to stay safe and keep those they support safe
- Limiting office employees, and following strict protocols (masks, social distancing, etc) for those who visit or work at the office. This includes providing our administrative staff with tools they need to work remotely (laptops, printers, SharePoint sites, communication tools, etc).
- Revamp of staffing schedules to limit the number of houses staff work at, cross staffing across homes, and to reduce staff if necessary while maintaining adequate support
Cleaning & Sanitation Kits: PSRS has, and continues to provide supplies to each home for cleaning and disinfecting - bleach, spray bottles, disinfecting wipes, reusable rags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap, alcohol wipes. Instructions and expectations are regularly discussed.
Personal Protective Equipment: Our office building looks more like a warehouse these days! We have been acquiring PPE for all employees - masks, disposable gowns, gloves, face shields, goggles, ponchos, Tyvek suits, shoe and head covers, respirators, gloves... and more. Homes are stocked with PPE so our staff can provide the safest support.
Training has been top priority - our Training Resource Manager Krista Nieman has not stopped! From specialized instruction like proper donning and doffing of PPE, to transitioning from classroom to virtual trainings, PSRS has provided over 30 trainings during the past several months.
Advocacy & Partnerships: PSRS leadership has been heavily involved with government representatives, department officials, committees, and advocacy groups to ensure funding for supported living includes enhanced pay for our essential staff and administrators, as well as for deploying intensive safety measures/equipment, and access to other needed resources.
PSRS and other providers are partnering with one another as well as King County Public Health to help keep each other informed of Covid positive test results and take urgent actions to prevent infection spread within supported living. We are also working with others on ways to make testing more available and accessible.
Board oversight: The PSRS Board of Directors is routinely updated and consulted regarding protocols and expenditures related to Covid 19.
PSRS sincerely thanks all of our staff, directors, administrators, and board members for their tireless efforts and hard work to keep those we support and each other safe. The things mentioned above would not have been possible without the teamwork, coordination, and commitment of 250+ people. We also thank our families for their patience and understanding as we have temporarily stopped or limited in person visits, overnights, and vacations. We realize how hard it is to be a family member or friend who can't engage in person with those they love, and the sacrifices made in recognition of our need for everyone's safety.
We hope to return to some semblance of normal in the near future. PSRS remains committed to the health and safety of those we support and employ. We deeply appreciate your support.