In September, Evergreen Service Providers participated in a mandatory Infection Control Survey administered by the Behavioral Health and Community Settings Branch of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The purpose of the survey was to determine what Program Approved Service Agencies (PASAs) like Evergreen Service Providers have in place to address and manage the COVID-19 virus. The goal was to ensure the continued protection of the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (IDD) Individuals we serve and the Host Home Providers (HHP) who care for them.
The survey looked at the existence of COVID-19 education and procedures as well as the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). Evergreen ranked well, based on the proactive measures taken well before the survey was conducted. In July, Evergreen’s HHPs were provided with a 12-page COVID-19 protocol document as well as training through the Relias website. The survey included randomly interviewing HHPs about Evergreen’s actions related to the pandemic and very good reports were received from everyone who was contacted.
Surveyors recommended that HHPs keep specific items on hand in case someone in the household contracted COVID-19. Recommended PPE included N95 or KN95 masks, vinyl gloves, medical gowns, and face shields or goggles. It was also recommended that the IDD Individuals in their care have their temperatures checked at least once a day – more often if Individuals were participating in day programs – and tracked.
This information motivated Evergreen to take further protective actions. We initiated our own survey among HHPs to determine whether they had adequate PPE items in their homes. Evergreen followed up by equipping each host home with any PPE that was lacking, up to 3 masks, 3 gowns and 1 face shield. Also included was a touch-free thermometer – all delivered in an Evergreen tote bag. A laminated instruction sheet, detailing the correct use of each PPE item, was provided as well.
The state surveyor was pleased with the additional proactive measures taken by Evergreen Service Providers and how quickly they were put in place. Every PASA in Colorado was required to participate in this survey. We applaud the State for helping us assess our readiness for managing COVID-19, for reaffirming the effectiveness of the steps we’ve taken, and for the additional recommendations to ensure that our host homes are well-prepared as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. Thanks to each of our HHPs for their own efforts and diligence in keeping the Individuals we serve safe and healthy.