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Work Environment

Office/Field Changes & PPE Requirements

We know this will be an evolving situation; we are collaborating with community partners and experts and will continue to update all of you.  Please be assured that we will do everything we can to take care of one another. PHS has established alternative work schedules and work from home arrangements where and when possible. Please see the office, field, and home sections below for information specific to those environments and any required PPE. For complete details on internal changes and processes related to PHS’s response, please see the COVID-19 Pandemic Policy (ID 6388) and COVID-19 PPE Risk Assessment & Use Policy (6390).

In an effort to ensure the safety of our patients and our PHS employees, the following guidelines for the safe and appropriate use of PPE have been implemented.

We are monitoring updates from the CDC and other leading agencies for recommendations that will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our staff and patient population. Below you can find a summary of current office and field environment requirements.

  • Masks are no longer optional when in the office. Masks are required for both staff and visitors to all branch locations.
  • Your mask can only be removed when eating or drinking. It is your responsibility to ensure the space you choose to eat your meal allows for 6′ distance from any other staff or guests.
  • Visitors to offices will be largely limited. Where permissible, office doors are locked with signage posted instructing visitors to contact front desk staff. Curb-side pickup will be used for all customer pickups. Any guests that enter the building without a mask will be provided a disposable one by the employee at the front desk. Signs notifying the required use of masks are posted at all front entrances.
    • Screening questions for all visitors included below. Notify your manager if a HIGH or MEDIUM risk situation is identified.
      1. Have you or anyone in your household had or been in close contact with anyone who has had a confirmed or pending COVID-19 test in the last 14 days?
      2. Are you or anyone in your household currently ill or been in close contact with someone presenting with: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea?
  • All meetings or training will be conducted virtually. Should a meeting require face-to-face interaction, use conference spaces that will allow for ample spacing between participants and masks must be worn.
  • In the Minneapolis office, simulation lab instruction and education classes are canceled and will be conducted virtually if possible, with the exception of Home Care Nursing (HCN) orientation, portions of HCN Annual Competencies, and education that is essential to patient care with outside agencies.
    • Participants are being screened for COVID-19 risk prior to class and are asked to wear a cloth mask or will be provided a disposable one prior to class.
  • Extra cleaning measures have already been instituted by our janitorial staff.  If you have any requests, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff or submit a Facilities Help Ticket by email.
  • Please continue to maintain your personal workspaces with the sanitizing products available, cleaning minimally at the start of each shift. As well, continue to maintain personal distance from others of at least 6 feet as much as possible. Everyone is also welcome to dress casually every day consistent with our “Casual Friday” dress code policy.
  • “Proof of delivery” signatures no longer required when an employee makes a delivery to a patient home or when a customer picks up an order from our office.
  • PPE requirements vary based on the risk level of the home.
    • Use PPE request form to access full replacement kits for drivers and front line clinicians: Click here to access the form
    • Mandatory PPE regardless of risk level (low, medium, or high) for any interaction include:
      • Procedure mask. A cloth mask is optional over the procedure mask as an additional barrier. Please see COVID-19 PPE Risk Assessment and Use policy for mask reuse instructions.
      • Gloves
      • Face shield or eye goggles
    • PPE cards with guidance for appropriate PPE use can be accessed at the links below.
    • Screening questions should be asked prior to all visits and deliveries. Notify your manager if you identify a HIGH or MEDIUM risk situation prior to visit or delivery.
      1. Have you or anyone in your household had or been in close contact with anyone who has had a confirmed or pending COVID-19 test in the last 14 days?
      2. Are you or anyone in your household currently ill or been in close contact with someone presenting with: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea?
  • Encouraging virtual visits where possible through Zoom.
  • PHS has implemented work from home arrangements to the furthest extent possible to reduce exposure while ensuring that we can continue to provide care and service to our customers.  We extended priority to our employees that are either personally at “high risk” or have a household member that is at “high risk” according to CDC guidelines for COVID-19.
  • We understand that ideal productivity may be impacted when working from home based on a scaled-back home set-up.
    • Please work with your manager to review any technology requests.
    • Unless given direct permission, we ask that you do not remove PHS-issued IT equipment from your office workstations.
    • Please also be aware that we are working with a limited number of Citrix licenses and ask that you exit Citrix when not in use.
  • When working at home, do your best to work as effectively and efficiently as possible and to minimize distractions. You should be as accessible and responsive as you would be in the office. To ensure security, lock your computer when it is unattended. As well, if you are using a personal computer, do not download files from Office 365.
  • PHS MSP and MKE offices have a limited number of phone lines that can be used at any one time. If you are redirecting calls via twinning or forwarding, please greet the caller and ask to call them back. By doing this, we will free up the phone lines open to reach the office.
  • Do not leave your home computer unattended when connected to work resources. You must lock or log off from your home system if you step away from it.
  • Please visit the CDC webpage- What to Do If You Are Sick, for information should you start developing illness symptoms.

Screening questions should be asked of all visitors and prior to any home visit or delivery. Notify your manager if you identify a HIGH or MEDIUM risk situation prior to visit or delivery.

  1. Have you or anyone in your household had or been in close contact with anyone who has had a confirmed or pending COVID-19 test in the last 14 days?
  2. Are you or anyone in your household currently ill or been in close contact with someone presenting with: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea?