If someone in my household develops COVID-19 will we lose nursing services during their infectious period? The agency will not look to suspend nursing services to your home for COVID-19. We believe in full transparency, and therefore will notify all of the nurses currently caring for your child. We will ensure that the nurses are given the
proper PPE to protect themselves. It has been our experience that most nurses have felt comfortable continuing to care for the patient with the proper PPE. However, there have been instances where a nurse has not felt
comfortable continuing to work until after the household quarantine period is over.

Who should we contact? If someone in your home has been exposed to COVID-19 or is showing any symptoms of COVID (which often mimics allergies, cold, and the flu) please notify the agency immediately 845-624-0260.

What If someone is sick in the middle of the night or I get a positive notification very late? Should I wait till the morning to call? Our goal is to protect our patients and staff. Regardless of the time, we want to be notified immediately. There have been instances where the agency has distributed additional PPE in the middle of the night to protect our patient and staff members.

I think I have allergies; do I really have to inform the agency for every cold and allergy symptom?
We understand that this can be a very challenging time of year with many allergies, cold and flu symptoms mimicking COVID-19. However, we urge everyone to be vigilant and to inform the agency anytime someone in
your household is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

My nurse has a slight cold; can they still work with full PPE? Depending on the nurse’s symptoms, and possible risk of exposure, the COVID Response Team, and Director of Nursing, Keri LeBoutillier will make that determination on a case by case basis.

Is my nurse required to wear PPE? The short answer is yes. As you may be aware, On April 17th, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that required all people in NY State to wear a mask or face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. That executive order extends to nurses during patient care. Patient care is defined as within 6 feet of a patient, and/or patient’s equipment. While a fabric face-covering complies with the executive order, in a healthcare setting we are asking our staff to wear a procedure mask (unless directed to wear a kn95 or n95). We take the safety of our patients and nurses very seriously. If you need additional masks, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements to get them to you. 

What PPE is required to be worn by my nurse?
This is a more complicated answer:
While caring for a patient in a home setting (with no known COVID risk or exposure), a mask and eye protection is sufficient. While caring for a patient in a school and/or transportation setting, a KN95 mask and eye protection is required. When caring for a patient with a known COVID risk (COVID symptoms or suspected or confirmed COVID exposure), the agency will issue full PPE (gown, gloves, KN95 or N95 mask, and eye protection).

If the agency issues full PPE to my nurses or the house, is it mandatory that the nurses wear it? YES, if we have issued full PPE, we believe there is a possible risk and require that the nurses wear the full PPE. We urge you to
ensure that they comply with agency policy.

What if I catch my nurse not wearing the PPE? Please notify the agency immediately 845-624-0260.

PPE makes my child nervous; does my nurse have to wear it? Is there another alternative? If your child seems to be adversely affected by the appearance of your nurse in PPE, please reach out to us. PPE geared towards children has come a long way. We can certainly brainstorm some ideas to make your child feel more comfortable while
continuing to protect the patient and staff.

If the agency issues full PPE, how long should the nurses be wearing the PPE? If the agency issues full PPE because we believe there is a suspected or confirmed risk, the nurse is required to wear the PPE until a member of
the COVID Response Team tells them they can discontinue use (typically 2 weeks at most).

What if my nurses or household needs more PPE? Please contact the agency as soon as you realize that you are running low to allow ample for you to receive it 845-624-0260.

Can PPE be used multiple times? Gloves and blue procedure masks should not be worn for multiple shifts. Many of our gowns can be washed and/or sanitized for multi-use. The agency will inform the nurse of the proper washing and disinfecting of reusable gowns. Our eye protection and/or face shields can be sanitized and washed for multiple uses. KN95/ N95 masks can be used for extended use (multiple shifts). The mask should be stored in a breathable bag when not in use. If the mask is soiled or damaged, please inform the agency so that we can issue a replacement. Gloves should be worn and discarded when appropriate.

Do the nurses have full PPE available on them? Or do you always have to bring it? At the start of the pandemic, PPE was very difficult to come by and although we never experienced a situation where we did not have the
necessary PPE, we issued PPE as required. However, as an agency, we have been very lucky to secure enough PPE to hopefully issue each nurse or household an emergency PPE kit. If you would like to keep a PPE kit in your home, please contact the agency 845.624.0260.

What COVID screening precautions does the agency take before the nurse comes to my home? Before the start of the pandemic, the agency surveyed all of our employees to determine certain risk levels (working for another agency, facility, or hospital), we began a strict daily screening process and implemented a contact reduction policy (to limit the number of homes a nurse comes in contact with).

The daily screening process; is that the COVID form that I sometimes hear that my nurse isn’t filling out timely? Yes, each nurse is required to fill out a daily COVID screening form by 8:00 pm the day before their shift.

Is someone checking the forms for questionable answers? Yes, the agency has a person dedicated to the COVID screening form questionnaire daily.

Why is the nurse required to submit their form by 8:00 pm? Theoretically, a nurse has their shift at 12:00 am (only four hours after their form is due). An 8:00 pm submission deadline allows ample time for someone to check the form, and report any possible issues to the scheduling coordinators. It also allows the scheduling coordinators a few hours to find possible coverage and enough time for us to issue PPE to your home if needed.

What if a nurse does not complete a COVID screening form before their shift? NYSDOH requires that the nurse complete a COVID screening form before arrival at work. If the nurse fails to comply with NYSDOH or agency
policy, they can be subject to disciplinary action from the agency and DOH.

What happens if a nurse was not truthful on their COVID form? We require full transparency from families and nurses. If a nurse is not truthful on their COVID form, they can be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Can I request that a nurse be COVID tested before coming to work with my child? Yes, and we have had many of our nurses get COVID tested before starting a new case. We cannot mandate them to get tested; however, we can tell them that they will not be eligible to work in your home without a negative test.

Does the agency prefer a PCR test or Rapid test? We as an agency prefer the results of a PCR test. PCR tests have proven to be more accurate.

If my child is exposed at school, will my nursing services continue? The agency will not look to suspend nursing services to your home for COVID-19. We believe in full transparency, and therefore will notify all of the nurses currently caring for your child. We will ensure that the nurses are given the proper PPE to protect themselves. It has been our experience that most nurses have felt comfortable continuing to care for the patient with the proper PPE. However, there have been instances where a nurse has not felt comfortable continuing to work until after the quarantine period is over.

If my nurse is exposed at another home can they work in my house? This is a very unpopular answer but unfortunately for everyone’s safety, the answer is no. Once we learn of exposure in another home, we lock
down that home to ensure that no other homes have the possibility of being affected.

When is the soonest my nurse can return to my home after an exposure elsewhere? Typically the answer is 14 days from the last known exposure.

Can my nurse travel with my child during the holidays? Or attend a family function? Effective July 15, 2020, a nurse may only accompany a patient outside of the patient’s residence/property for necessary and approved functions only. Approved functions currently approved by the COVID Response Team are medical & hospital visits, and school (if applicable).

With the new travel restrictions issued by Governor Cuomo, does my family or nurse have to quarantine after traveling to areas outside of NJ, CONN, and PA? The agency sent out a memo dated 11.2.20 where Governor Cuomo announced any travel out of state for more than 24 hours (excluding from NJ, PA, and CONN) requires a 3-day quarantine and COVID test on the 4th day. If the traveler(s) test comes back negative, they may exit quarantine early. Nursing may be suspended during the travel quarantine period and while the results are pending.

As an essential worker, isn’t my nurse exempt from the quarantine rule? NYS does allow essential workers to be exempt from the travel restriction/ quarantine /testing. However, agency policy does not. We will enforce the policy even to essential personnel. Our goal is to keep our patients and staff safe.

Because my nurse is required to wear a mask during the COVID pandemic, do you still require them to get a flu shot? Our mandatory influenza vaccination policy applies to all ”employees, collectively referred to as “HCP” (health care professionals). Accucare Nursing & Home Care has a responsibility to protect its HCP, clients, and the
community from influenza. Policy compliance is a condition of employment.HCP must receive an annual influenza
vaccination before November 1st each year; HCP members not adhering to this timeline may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment. A nurse may be eligible to decline based on
medical or religious exemption.

If my nurse has another job outside of Accucare, are they required to notify the agency if they have an exposure or are working with a confirmed or suspected COVID patient (patient currently exhibiting cold symptoms)? Yes, per agency policy we require the notification. We understand that each situation is unique and this is not a one
size fits all answer. The COVID Response Team will gather detailed information and determine if there potential risk and notify all involved parties. The COVID Response Team in collaboration with the Director of Nursing, Keri LeBoutillier will determine the necessary course of action on a case by case basis.

If my nurse is currently assisting with COVID testing either for school, community or another job, are they required to notify the agency? Yes. The COVID Response Team will gather detailed information and determine if there potential risk and notify all involved parties. The COVID Response Team in collaboration with the Director of Nursing, Keri LeBoutillier will determine the necessary course of action on a case by case basis.

My nurse is going to be attending a large Holiday dinner? Can they work afterward? In most cases, the answer is probably a yes. We would however like to be informed so that if a nurse is engaging in any behavior which is deemed high risk, we could talk about issuing additional PPE.

With the holidays approaching, can my nurse be in my house during a holiday party? Especially with COVID cases surging in the state right now, it is so important to continue to take precautions and stay diligent, so we can help protect ourselves and our loved ones to stay healthy and safe. We certainly encourage families to continue to social distance whereas all possible. We know that we are all looking forward to a time when we can return to a more normal life. We understand the challenge with families and the holidays. Certainly, you may feel comfortable visiting with your extended family and friends and your nurse may be extremely uncomfortable with such gathering. It’s vital that we have those conversations and know in advance if there are any plans for extended
gatherings indoors. We believe in full transparency and want to be able to offer the nurse the options to make them feel protected while still ensuring that your child has care.