March 19, 2020 -- Please keep reading our information because the messaging is changing every hour of every day. Below is the latest information provided to the association -- please note that we will continue to send updates as soon as we receive any new information.
Contact Your Emergency Management Office NOW to Put in Your Request for Masks, Gloves, Gowns and Shields

AHCA's latest directive requires health care workers to wear surgical masks when providing care to residents.

We all know at this time that this request is impossible -- masks, gloves, gowns and shields are not readily available and the local emergency management offices are fielding calls as best they can. BUT, PLEASE contact your local emergency management office and make sure you tell them what you need.

JUST CONTINUE TO DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT

Health Care Workers Will Be Asked to Provide
Voluntary Sampling Testing in Large Cities and Counties

This morning on the 9:00 a.m. Emergency Management Call, nursing homes and ALFs in counties with populations of 500,000 or more will be asked to conduct voluntary COVID-19 worker testings to provide samples to DOH of any contamination among health care workers. 


Florida Counties Now Initiating One Per County
Supply Drop-Off Areas

Each county is now beginning to designate a one-drop location per county for supplies. This is a unprecedented event and the first time that counties have ever had to initiate only dropping to one location instead of several thousand. As soon as we have a list of where those locations in each county will be dropping supplies, we will let you know.

AHCA Mandate on Masks, Gloves, Gowns and Shields

AHCA knows that supplies are limited and suggests that facilities do their best to comply. Please put in a request for supplies through your local emergency management office.

NEW CDC Guidance: New Suggestions for Wearing Masks, Gowns, Gloves and Face Shields

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued today  new guidance  on the use of masks, gowns and face shields including suggestions on what to do if in crises shortages (which most all of you are in) and when your supplies are exhausted (see below for summary).
The country does not have enough masks and gowns to meet the needs of health care providers (HCP), particularly if this pandemic persists for the weeks that experts predict. In order to significantly conserve masks and gowns, nursing homes and assisted living communities need to implement significant conservation steps right now by reviewing the crises capacity strategies in the new guidance issued today by CDC.

We strongly urge you to start today in order to extend availability of your remaining  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) until such time as production and supply improves or we can obtain masks and gowns from other health care sectors and manufacturing.

To help long-term care providers take such actions, the CDC's new guidance will be helpful. These recommendations continue to protect from droplet exposure (which is how COVID-19 and most other respiratory viruses are spread). We believe these recommendations help preserve PPE supply given the dire shortage.
We understand that many of you are very close to running out of PPE and that any supplies you receive from your state or federal stockpile need to bridge the time until more masks and gowns become available. Therefore,  we urge you to adopt these new guidelines from CDC as soon as possible  and for some, that may mean coming up with more creative ways to use or make your own PPE.
Below are the highlights from the new CDC guidance on PPE use:
  • Implement extended use of face masks which allows wearing the same face mask for repeated close contact encounters with several different patients, without removing the face mask between patient encounters.
  
  • Restrict face masks to use by HCP, rather than patients for source control. Have patients with symptoms of respiratory infection use tissues or other barriers to cover their mouth and nose. 

  1. Implement limited re-use of face masks, which is the practice of using the same face mask by one HCP for multiple encounters with different patients but removing it after each encounter. Discarded if soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through. 

  • Prioritize face masks for selected activities, such as: 
  1. For provision of essential surgeries and procedures 
  2. During care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated 
  3. During activities where prolonged face-to-face or close contact with a potentially infectious patient is unavoidable 
  4. For performing aerosol generating procedures, if respirators are no longer available

  • Shift gown use towards cloth isolation gowns 

  • Consider the use of coveralls 
 
  • Extended use of isolation gowns (disposable or cloth), such that the same gown is worn by the same HCP when interacting with more than one patient known to be infected with the same infectious disease when these patients housed in the same location (i.e., COVID-19 patients residing in an isolation cohort). This can be considered only if there are no additional co-infectious diagnoses transmitted by contact (such as Clostridium difficile) among patients. If the gown becomes visibly soiled, it must be removed and discarded as per usual practices. 

  • Re-use of cloth isolation gowns among multiple patients in a patient cohort area without laundering in between.  

  • Prioritization of gowns for the following activities: 
  1. During care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, which typically includes aerosol generating procedures 

  1. During the high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of healthcare providers, such as: dressing, bathing/showering, transferring, providing hygiene, changing linens, changing briefs or assisting with toileting, device care or use, wound care 

  • When No Gowns Are Available consider pieces of clothing as a last resort, preferably with long sleeves and closures (snaps, buttons) that can be fastened and secured, particularly for care of COVID-19 patients as single use. Other options include:  
  1. Disposable laboratory coats 
  2. Reusable (washable) patient gowns 
  3. Reusable (washable) laboratory coats 
  4. Disposable aprons 
  5. Combinations of pieces of clothing can be considered for activities that may involve body fluids and when there are no gowns available: 
  6. Long sleeve aprons in combination with long sleeve patient gowns or laboratory coats 
  7. Open back gowns with long sleeve patient gowns or laboratory coats 
  8. Sleeve covers in combination with aprons and long sleeve patient gowns or laboratory coats  
  9. Reusable patient gowns and lab coats can be safely laundered according to routine procedures.
  • Implement extended use of eye protection is the practice of wearing the same eye protection dedicated to one HCP for repeated close contact encounters with several different patients, without removing eye protection between patient encounters including for disposable and reusable devices.  

  • Eye protection should be removed and reprocessed if it becomes visibly soiled or difficult to see through.  

  • If HCP touches or adjusts their eye protection they must immediately perform hand hygiene. 

  • Prioritize eye protection for selected activities such as: During care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, which typically includes aerosol generating procedures or prolonged face-to-face or close contact with a potentially infectious patient is unavoidable 

  • Consider using safety glasses (e.g., trauma glasses) that have extensions to cover the side of the eyes 
  • Designate convalescent HCP for provision of care to known or suspected COVID-19 patients 
  • Selected options for Reprocessing and clean Eye Protection are provided.  

List of Suppliers


Testing for Temperature -- 100.4 or Higher

To provide hospitals and physicians with clear guidance and testing criteria for the elderly or individuals with serious underlying medical conditions, the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration have developed a printable flyer.

Keep up with COVID-19 information on FSLA's Facebook Page and while you're there, like our page to continue receiving updates in your news feed.