In-Home ABA Staff Infected
During this unprecedented Shelter-in-Place, I have had the ability to continue In-Home-Services for my son. In-Home Services can be both a blessing and a curse. Some services are paid for by medical insurance and others are paid for by the Regional Center. However, these agencies both contract "middle-men" (other agencies) to actually hire staff to work with clients with disabilities.
It's been my experience that even educated professionals have NOT properly interpreted the guidelines as posted online by the Federal CDC or the local County Health Dept. "Common sense isn't common". How the CEOs and Compliance Officers can misinterpret clearly written statements is very troubling.
One morning I received a series of texts. "One staff member (Person A) was exposed to someone (Person B) who MAY have Covid-19". His colleagues, who work knee-to-knee & shoulder-to-shoulder with my son & each other, had NOT been informed. The company was fine with them continuing to work in my home & the homes of other clients. They weren't instructed to get tested or shelter-in-place. These two young women (2/3 of the team) were sent to my home without any information about the health status of their co-worker or, the POTENTIAL safety risk to their own health.
When I brought it up with them, one replied that they can't be informed of another's personal information due to HIPPA. Oh, my! CONTACT TRACING can be done within HIPPA guidelines! In fact, during a pandemic, you better believe your company, the Health Dept., and more CAN and WILL follow the mandated and legal Contact Tracing. Good Gravy! Those poor, ignorant 20-something CHILDREN working at these agencies! I felt compelled, as a mother and former Public Health Educator to help them understand. (Let alone, they DO work in my home, along with my two sons and husband and one other care provider and I needed to protect everyone's health).
A month later, I was told a similar but more upsetting bit of info. The staffer from earlier HAD Covid-19. Again, the other two gals were here. They first report to their main office before driving the 40 minutes or so to my house. It was 30 minutes into their session when the owner of the ABA company called me. Although she had known since at least the evening before, she allowed her team to spend an hour & a half on the clock, and come back into close contact with each other & my family. (You bet I was angry!) She quickly told me not to worry because the staffer "hadn't been in my home since 2 days after his test for Covid-19". (WTHeck?)
*****This is why we NEED a person from each local Health Dept. going over the guidelines with EACH in-home service company. We can NOT assume everyone reads, interprets and implements these guidelines correctly.*****
I pulled up the CDC website while speaking with this person on the phone & I read from it. No where does it say anything about "2 days after the test for Covid-19". I informed her, and the other TWO staffers from her company (who had been here WITH Person A) that the CDC states one can develop symptoms 2-10 days AFTER exposure to someone with Covid-19. This is the ONLY place on their website that mentions "2 days after".
This staffer had symptoms but, many do not. I was told again that we were all fine because he hadn't been with us since 2 days after his test confirming he had Covid-19. O-M-G! How to educate her when she wouldn't stop to listen & rethink? The other workers would now be sent home to S-I-P, (That's a start) and they'd have to have a negative test for Covid-19 before returning to work.
Unfortunately, friends, this saga continued. I asked to be updated on Person A's "timeline" since she had been unsure of some things. When was he potentially exposed? When did he get tested? What was his current status? And please, let me know if he's hospitalized so I can send a card, or something. I was told I'd be updated later that day.....nope....not a word.....nothing more.....ever.
Please share if you've had other learning experiences that might help another family prevent safety scares with In-Home staff. We were so worried! I can't imagine how guilty I'd feel if anyone was hurt by my family unknowingly transmitting this killer.
*****Has anyone asked local representatives to mandate training of these Protocols? Has anyone pleaded with Health Departments to train these "Healthcare Workers" that work in client's homes? Please share what you think our community can do to help Covid-19 Protocols be implemented consistently.*****
Be safe my friends. For you, your family, your staff, and everyone in your community.