May 18, 2020

We want to inform you that the precautions we are taking to keep the people we serve healthy and free from COVID-19 infection are working with no known infections to-date. We are extending those precautions until the minimum criteria listed here has been met. Utilizing the President’s OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN GUIDELINES made official in mid-April, the minimum criteria that will be considered before we loosen the requirements for our services and offices are as follows:

  • If there have been 14 consecutive days of reduced documented positive cases of COVID-19 using the ISDH data source before June 1, 2020, we will consider re-opening our services and offices in stages.
  • We will keep the no visitor requirements in place until there is another 14 consecutive days of reduced documented positive cases of COVID-19 after June 1, 2020 for all our offices and service sites.

We continue to have guidance from the ISDH that those who are most vulnerable to serious infection from the COVID-19 virus should continue with the current stay at home restrictions. Pathfinder Services serves many individuals who are considered vulnerable. For those individuals, we will be very careful about reducing the stay at home restrictions currently in place. We also are still experiencing a staffing shortage that prevents us from being able to staff separate services for those who reside in our residential program and those who are only enrolled in our Day Services. We recognize that for some family members/guardians, having your loved one living with you and not having Day Services available is preventing you from returning to work. We are in the process of determining a priority schedule for those returning to Day Services. Thank you for answering the survey sent out to help us plan.

We are currently waiting for more guidance from the State Bureau of Developmental Disability Services about opening Day Services safely. I will be holding a series of Town Hall meetings in the next two weeks to go into detail on our planning and to answer any questions as to the why of our criteria. Your QDDP will be calling you about the times for the meetings.

In the meantime, we are making small steps to loosen up our strict no visitor policy for those served in our residential homes. but we are not making any changes to the protocols for staff as noted below:

  • DSPs and other staff continue to be required to wear masks at work, self-report symptoms, and if ill, stay home and not report to work. Temperatures are being taken and recorded.
  • If a resident is showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever over 100.4, dry cough, and shortness of breath), they will be evaluated by staff and by either Pathfinder nursing or by the local hospital physician phone triage line (as per physician and CDC recommendations) to determine the need for in-home or in-facility evaluation and treatment. If there is an emergency, as per our usual protocol, the resident will be transported by EMS directly to hospital.
  • The residents and staff in our residential homes continue to follow intense cleaning and protection protocols including hand washing, and the use of hand sanitizer and will continue.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at 260-359-3720. For service questions, your best contact is the QDDP assigned to your loved one.

Please be assured that we continue to do our very best at all times to protect and prevent your loved one from getting the virus while keeping them active and engaged.

April 29, 2020

We want to inform you that the precautions to keep the people we serve healthy and free from COVID-19 infection are working with no known infections to-date. We are extending those precautions until June 1, 2020. It is our understanding that Governor Holcomb will begin in stages on May 1, 2020 to reduce the restrictions on stay at home emergency requirements. We continue to have guidance from the ISDH that those who are most vulnerable to serious infection from the COVID-19 virus should continue with the current stay at home restrictions. Pathfinder Services serves many individuals who are considered vulnerable. We will move to re-open our services much slower as a result. We also are still experiencing a staffing shortage that prevents us from being able to staff separate services for those who reside in our residential program and those who are only enrolled in our Day Services. If conditions in Northeast Indiana improve to the point that there are very few new COVID-19 infections given the new widen testing protocols that have just been put into place by the Governor, we may reconsider our current decision.

  • Pathfinder Services has extended the social distancing for those we serve and will continue the suspension on visitation of visitors to our Residential Homes, including family members, to June 1, 2020, at which time the situation will be reassessed.
  • Suspension of Day Services, which includes PAC and Respite Services outside the residential home, have also been extended to June 1, 2020. Additionally, there will be no new admissions to any of our residential homes until June 1, 2020, at which time the situation will be reassessed.
  • DSPs and other staff continued to be required to wear masks at work, self-report symptoms, and if ill, stay home and not report to work.
  • If a resident is showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever over 100.4, dry cough, and shortness of breath), they will be evaluated by staff and by either Pathfinder nursing or by the local hospital physician phone triage line (as per physician and CDC recommendations) to determine the need for in-home or in-facility evaluation and treatment. If there is an emergency, as per our usual protocol, the resident will be transported by EMS directly to hospital.
  • The residents and staff in our residential homes continue to follow intense cleaning and protection protocols including hand washing and use of hand sanitizer and will continue.

Additionally, please remember our web page where we will post the most current information about how Pathfinder Services is responding to this situation. You can access that web page and subscribe to our messaging system to receive the most current updates at pathfinderservices.org/familyresources/

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at 260-359-3720. For service questions, your best contact is the QDDP assigned to your loved one.

Please be assured that we continue to do our very best at all times to protect and prevent your loved one from getting the virus while keeping them active and engaged.

March 21, 2020

I want to thank everyone for adapting to a fast-changing environment causing all of us to make changes in our work and personal lives. For me, being the ripe old age of 67, I am even more diligent of limiting my contacts and washing, washing, and more washing my hands or using hand sanitizer. I am now aware of how much I have been touching my face as well. Later on in this communication, I have included an article sent to me by a physician friend to let me know that personal hygiene and infection control can keep us safe.

The first good news is that as of today, we do not currently have anyone we serve, support, or employ that has a confirmed case of the virus. All the measures and extra precautions you are taking to avoid contact and infection are working, thank you!

Secondly, we have instituted no visitor policies at all office and service sites until further notice.

Lastly, the most important good news is that there is a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that will go into effect sometime toward the end of April that enhances our PTO and Short Term Disability benefits for qualified employees. This new law will provide paid sick and FMLA emergency leave to employees who miss work for certain coronavirus-related reasons until December 31, 2020.

Dependent upon guidance and interpretation from the Department of Labor, the following is a summary of the benefits we are glad to provide to those of you who may qualify for these benefits at the time the law is activated.

Paid Sick Leave

Under the bill, Pathfinder Services, being an employer with less than 500 employees, will provide up to 80 hours of paid-sick-leave benefits if an employee:

1. Has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.

2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.

3. Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

4. Is caring for someone who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine or self-isolate.

5. Needs to care for a son or daughter whose school or childcare service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Paid sick leave will be paid at 100% the employee’s regular rate of pay for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above.

Employees taking leave for reasons 4-5 may be compensated at 67% their regular rate of pay.

Part-time employees are eligible to take the number of hours they would normally work during a two-week period.

Paid Family Leave:

· 12 weeks of job-protected leave when they can’t work—either onsite or remotely—because their minor son’s or daughter’s school or childcare service is closed due to a public health emergency. The FMLA defines “son or daughter” as a biological, adopted or foster child; a stepchild; a legal ward; or a child of a person taking the place of a parent.

· The first 10 days of leave can be unpaid unless an employee is qualified for the 80 hours of paid sick leave described earlier.

· For the other 10 weeks, eligible workers must receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, which will be capped at $200 a day (and $10,000 total).

· For employees with variable hours each week, paid leave would be equal to the average number of hours worked per day over the previous six months.

We will also waive our current policy for a temporary period that states an employee is required to use PTO benefits down to 40 hours before utilizing their sick bank. Sick bank can be accessed when the employee has a situation that is caused by the virus.

Pathfinder Services is committed to keeping the well-being of the people we serve and employ at the forefront of our minds. We appreciate you and can’t thank you enough for continuing to step up during this difficult time.

Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers

What Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s success is teaching us about the pandemic.

By Atul Gawande

March 21, 2020

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/keeping-the-coronavirus-from-infecting-health-care-workers

The success of Hong Kong and Singapore in stemming the spread of the coronavirus holds many lessons for how to contain it in the United States.

“The fact that these measures have succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve carries some hopeful implications. One is that this coronavirus, even though it appears to be more contagious than the flu, can still be managed by the standard public-health playbook: social distancing, basic hand hygiene and cleaning, targeted isolation and quarantine of the ill and those with high-risk exposure, a surge in health-care capacity (supplies, testing, personnel, wards), and coördinated, unified public communications with clear, transparent, up-to-date guidelines and data. Our government officials have been unforgivably slow to get these in place. We’ve been playing from behind. But we now seem to be moving in the right direction, and the experience in Asia suggests that extraordinary precautions don’t seem to be required to stop it. Those of us who must go out into the world and have contact with people don’t have to panic if we find out that someone with the coronavirus has been in the same room or stood closer than we wanted for a moment. Transmission seems to occur primarily through sustained exposure in the absence of basic protection or through the lack of hand hygiene after contact with secretions. Consider a couple of data points. Singapore so far appears not to have had a single recorded health-care-related transmission of the coronavirus, despite the hundreds of cases that its medical system has had to deal with. That includes one case reported this week of a critically ill pneumonia patient who exposed forty-one health-care workers in the course of four days before being diagnosed with COVID-19. These were high-risk exposures, including exposures during intubation and hands-on intensive care. Eighty-five per cent of the workers used only surgical masks. Yet, owing to proper hand hygiene, none became infected. Our early experiences in the U.S. have so far been similar.”

BYOD Update

The COVID-19 Pandemic has elevated the need to eliminate all barriers to employee communication and remote collaboration. This means access to internal email and news posts on the Intranet as well as participation in virtual meetings via Microsoft Teams must be readily available whenever needed. This situation does not minimize our responsibility to protect private information.

To accommodate this unusually dynamic situation, we have adjusted security settings to allow employees to use their mobile devices’ browser to access company applications and data at office.com, even if the device is not enrolled in the Intune. Use of these web applications is secure because you are working behind an encrypted gateway that requires you to log in at each use and the information is not actually stored on your device like it is when using an actual mobile app.

Be advised that these web apps in office.com will not perform as well as the installed mobile apps (Outlook online versus Outlook mobile for example). Office.com will also persistently suggest that you install the mobile applications, which is still not permitted without full enrollment into Intune. Therefore, device enrollment into Intune is still recommended for the best experience using company data on your device. We are pleased to offer this secure alternative for those who choose not to.

March 17, 2020

Any staff member with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must follow a self-reporting protocol during the current organization restrictions.

We will not be taking temps or other vital signs on employees unless requested as a personal screening measure.

Self-reporting protocol will follow CDC symptom monitoring guidelines.

Please adhere to the following protocol:

GENERAL

  • If you have had contact within 14 days of a known or officially suspected COVID-19 case or travel to a CDC high-risk restricted COVID-19 area, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.

SHOWING SYMPTOMS

  • If you have a fever greater than 100.4, dry cough and/or shortness of breath; or if you have two or more of these symptoms that are NEW onset and not chronic issues like asthma, allergies, etc., NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.
  • If you have a fever by itself that is less than 100.4, you are not required to implement work restrictions.
  • If you have a fever AND a new onset dry cough or new onset shortness of breath, you are restricted from working until approved for return by Pathfinder Services.
  • If you experience the onset of a fever and dry cough or shortness of breath while at work, remove yourself from the common area immediately, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR, and arrange to go home and/or seek medical attention.

We will provide what we can in means of protection but cannot guarantee exposure and/or transmission will not occur.

March 17, 2020

Any staff member with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must follow a self-reporting protocol during the current organization restrictions.

We will not be taking temps or other vital signs on employees unless requested as a personal screening measure.

Self-reporting protocol will follow CDC symptom monitoring guidelines.

Please adhere to the following protocol:

GENERAL

  • If you have had contact within 14 days of a known or officially suspected COVID-19 case or travel to a CDC high-risk restricted COVID-19 area, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.

SHOWING SYMPTOMS

  • If you have a fever greater than 100.4, dry cough and/or shortness of breath; or if you have two or more of these symptoms that are NEW onset and not chronic issues like asthma, allergies, etc., NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.
  • If you have a fever by itself that is less than 100.4, you are not required to implement work restrictions.
  • If you have a fever AND a new onset dry cough or new onset shortness of breath, you are restricted from working until approved for return by Pathfinder Services.
  • If you experience the onset of a fever and dry cough or shortness of breath while at work, remove yourself from the common area immediately, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR, and arrange to go home and/or seek medical attention.

We will provide what we can in means of protection but cannot guarantee exposure and/or transmission will not occur.

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update – Program Changes ​​​​​​​

“In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be quite apparent if we underreacted or did too little.”

Over the weekend, we received guidance from the State Board of Health and from the Bureau of Developmental Disability Services (BDDS) for those we serve in our CSS Division.

We are now taking the following actions to protect the folks we serve in our residential programs:

  • All Day Programs will be suspended beginning Wednesday, March 18th, and will be re-evaluated on March 27th to determine whether we can re-open.
  • There will be no visitors allowed in the residential homes, including families and guardians to be reevaluated on March 27, 2020.
  • Family members/guardians will be asked to volunteer taking their loved ones to stay with them until the virus has run its course.

We have also received guidance from the State of Indiana for Childcare Centers and we are following that guidance regarding the operation of Kids Kampus:

  • Kids Kampus will remain open.
  • The Kids Klinic will be closed temporarily.
  • Staff will be meeting families at the curb for drop-off and pickup of their children.