0

Gumby and COVID-19 Part 1

The COVID-19 crisis has required the unbelievably flexible employees of CHAS Health to extend themselves even more than usual.  Did you know that at CHAS, we have a Gumby Award?  For those of you who are Millennial or younger, Gumby is a big green clay old-timey cartoon character known for his flexibility, recently portrayed once again by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live (the original Gumby is significantly less salty and more agreeable than Murphy’s version).  Since what seems like the dawn of time, we have been giving this award out yearly to express our appreciation for the extreme resilience and adaptability of our employees.  Our jobs change constantly and we swiftly accept change and move on to focus on how to best serve our patients in the context of today’s changes (or this morning’s changes, or this minute’s changes…). 

Working from home has been a new experience for many of us during this time, and has been particularly unusual for our front line health care workers. 

Rachel Clements, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at CHAS Lewis and Clark Health Center in Lewiston, Idaho shared, “I am so grateful that I can connect with my patients by phone or virtually so that I can help them achieve health.  It’s also a joy to be able to talk to people when we are most comfortable (both of us at home).  I get so many compliments on my kitchen curtains!” 

Rachel’s positivity and humor around this change are emblematic of the quiet heroics our health center staff display daily.

Due to the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis, some of our staff transitioned from working at a clinic to working at home on same day notice.  Less Gumby-like employees may have struggled with such a quick turnaround but at CHAS we’re more like, “That’s it?  What else you got?”

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

By Vanessa Bryant

0

Treating COVID, Grieving COVID

She may be wearing a surgical mask, but there is a person behind that mask who is dealing with the reality of the pandemic just like the rest of us.  Here is a story from Amanda, a Registered Nurse working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in Deer Park, Washington:

“It is natural to worry about the exposure and safety of my family, but my mind is definitely at ease knowing I have the PPE [personal protective equipment] to protect me from this terrible bug… My grandmother (in-law) passed recently, on hospice, from brain cancer. Her daughter was unable to visit her because she also has cancer and with the stay-at-home order as well as her being high risk to go in public, she was unable to see her mom during her last days–which breaks my heart. If this was my own situation, I would be absolutely devastated not to be with my mom in her last days.”

If you are struggling with grief or coping right now and would like to explore counseling services, call CHAS Health at 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

0

Health Access during COVID-19

When businesses had to close their doors due to COVID-19, people lost their jobs and wages. In health care, we see the impact job loss has on patients who suddenly lose their health insurance, and find that they have difficulty affording prescriptions.

Every day, but especially during the pandemic, CHAS Health’s Patient Services Coordinators help members of our community to gain access to much needed healthcare services.  Here is a story of our team working together at Maple Street Clinic in Spokane to help a patient:

A patient contacted the office to cancel her appointment because her son and daughter-in-law lost their jobs due to COVID-19.  She didn’t want to be a financial burden to her family by keeping her appointment. Her healthcare provider asked her to come in anyway, telling her CHAS would find a way to help with costs. After meeting with a CHAS Patient Services Coordinator, the patient was able to get assistance and a voucher for her prescriptions. The provider had also referred this patient to a specialist, but she didn’t want to go for the reasons previously stated.  The clinic team was able to get this patient full coverage for her specialist visit, allowing her to receive the care she needed without the worry of burdening her family financially during the pandemic.  

If you need help with health insurance or accessing other resources, call to speak with a CHAS Patient Services Coordinator: 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

0

Dental Emergencies and COVID-19

Our daily routines have been interrupted as we all work to practice social distancing, and many businesses that we would regularly frequent are currently closed. These changes have also impacted the health care system. Per state and CDC guidelines, dental services may only be provided for emergencies during the pandemic. This order has led many dental practices to temporarily close their doors, or provide limited hours.

What do you do if you have a toothache during the pandemic, and there isn’t a dentist open in your home town right now?

Here is one patient’s story, as told by Jessica, Dental Support Supervisor at CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic, located in downtown Spokane:

“We had a dental patient come in all the way from Ritzville because their one dentist who travels from Ellensburg was not seeing patients. He was in a lot of pain: unable to sleep, unable to control the pain with over-the-counter drugs, unable to eat. He was pretty hesitant to have treatment done by someone else, but was in so much pain he said if he did not get this tooth out of his head, he was going to take some pliers to it and get it out himself!

To make matters worse, his appointment was scheduled for the following week, not that day. Because we knew he traveled all the way from Ritzville, our dental team was able to pull together and make it work, despite a full schedule.

The patient was so grateful by the end of the visit, he thanked all of the staff present, saying Dr. Orth was the best dentist ever and he just might continue to travel for all his dental care because he liked her so much!”

CHAS Health clinicians are honored to be able to serve everyone in need during this challenging time.  If you need emergency dental services, please call us at 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

0

#GIVINGTUESDAYNOW | May 5th

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow is an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity–to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and heal.  Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can embrace. #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing.

Join CHAS Health for the next two weeks as we share stories from our staff and patients about working on the COVID-19 front lines. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, share our stories with friends, or if you can, participate in the giving to help us continue to serve patients during these trying times. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

0

CHAS Health Announces New Foundation; Prioritizes Funding for Patients Impacted by COVID-19

Spokane, WA, April 13, 2020 – Last year, CHAS Health took the initial steps to start a Foundation, with the intent of creating a funding vehicle to address patient and community health equity. The Foundation Board recently formed and recognizes the urgent need for a fundraising campaign to help economically challenged patients facing extraordinary difficulties during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We know people in our community are being impacted by lay-offs and lost wages right now. This leads to loss of health insurance, difficulty affording prescriptions, and other social determinants of health. We want to use the new Foundation to start providing patient assistance immediately,” stated Lindsey Ruivivar, Foundation spokesperson.

CHAS Health is actively involved in the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is quickly adapting operations to meet the needs of patients. Like other health care providers across the nation, CHAS Health is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical and N95 masks. The organization has temporarily ceased dental operations except for emergencies, in accordance with CDC guidelines and to conserve personal protective equipment. To limit the number of patients and staff in clinics and to help stop the spread of the virus, most patient appointments have been converted to telehealth visits when appropriate.

To-date, CHAS Health has screened 5,546 individuals for COVID-19, and tested 947 individuals; 31 tests have come back positive, and more results are pending. Five CHAS Health clinics have tents to screen patients for upper respiratory symptoms, while minimizing exposure risks for patients and staff.

“The pandemic has necessitated switching a lot of our operations to virtual care, which has proven to be effective both for medical and behavioral health services,” states Aaron Wilson, CHAS Health CEO. “We are focused on providing continuity of care for our patients, regardless of their circumstances.”

The Foundation has begun to receive seed funding, including financial donations from CHAS Health employees who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite operation and equipment challenges, the organization remains optimistic.

“We are excited to move the Foundation forward, and to use this as an opportunity for the community to partner with us to help patients get through the pandemic,” says Ruivivar. “We have been humbled by the tangible donations that have begun to pour in, from people dropping off masks, to businesses donating coffee and lunch for our employees who are working long hours right now.”

The Foundation is actively soliciting donations to provide assistance for patients in need. Donations may be made online at www.chas.org/donate or by calling 509-444-8888 and asking to speak with the Foundation.

###

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities.

The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

0

Proper Sanitation Techniques

Proper and safe sanitation is necessary for health. There are many ways to keep the surfaces and items you utilize on a daily basis sanitized. From cleaning and disinfecting, laundering, and properly washing your hands, maintaining safe sanitation can seem more complicated than it actually is.

While it may seem like a thoughtless task you do, most people do not wash their hands correctly. Washing your hands should be done after the following times;

  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After contact with animals or pets
  • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

To properly wash your hands, use warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Remember to focus on the back of your hands, your fingernails, and all the way to the wrist to ensure maximum cleanliness. If you cannot wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. When using hand sanitizer be sure to follow the 20-second rule as well and rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands. Be sure to avoid touching your faces if your hands are not washed.

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt, whereas disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs. While cleaning does not kill germs, it lowers the possibility of germs spreading by removing them from surfaces. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned on a regular basis. These surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. To properly clean a surface use warm water and soap.

To correctly disinfect and area you can use a diluted household bleach solution, an alcohol-based solution with at least 70% alcohol, household cleaners, or you can create your own bleach solution. To make your own bleach solution you can mix 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. When disinfecting, remember to keep the surface wet for several minutes with the disinfectant solution for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. If someone in your household is expected to have a virus or infection, frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected on a daily basis.

For soft surfaces and other items such as clothing, towels, and linens, be sure to launder items as possible. Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other items. Be sure to clean and disinfect your hampers as well. For items that cannot be put in the laundry, clean using soap and water or with the appropriate cleaners.

If someone in your house has an illness be sure to use disposable gloves when cleaning and dealing with infected items. Proper sanitation techniques can help prevent illnesses and germs from spreading to you and your loved ones.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

0

Help us fight Coronavirus

Stuck at home with just your savage sewing skills and want to do your part?

Make face masks from home and help keep our staff safer.

How?

Just follow the instructions contained in this how-to video:

Or this video from Deaconess Hospital

Or any other video you fancy!

What you will need

Fabric

  • CHAS can provide the fabric in the form of Chas Health T-shirts. Contact clbooey@chas.org to pick up shirts. 

Elastic cord. 

  • This can be sourced from Joann Fabric, and potentially other craft stores. 
    • Don’t have random elastic cord lying around? Get creative and try cutting up hair ties, or anything else that can comfortably be worn around the ear and has a little give to it!

Distribution

If you have made a mask and don’t have any particular clinic in mind, please drop them off at the closest site to you and they can be redistributed as needed. 

Just because you’re not on the front lines doesn’t mean you can’t support our community

Purpose

These masks are for use by staff not involved in direct patient care such as front desk and pharmacy. If you are involved in direct patient care, you will use a surgical or other paper, mask. We will also be able to distribute them amongst our communities and patients. 

Other resource:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

Casey Linane-Booey, Risk Manager

0

Managing Stress and Anxiety with COVID-19

With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, stress and anxiety can be difficult to manage. Coping with stress during these times is essential for you and your loved ones. While stress can appear differently in everyone. According to the CDC on their website to help with anxiety and stress during the coronavirus, common signs of stress can include;

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Common changes to watch for in children include;

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

As important it is to know the signs, it is just as important to know the resources to help with stress and anxiety. Taking care of yourself during these times can seem difficult with orders to “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place”. We are fortunate to have resources online to help us through this unique time.

Health.com recently published an article “10 Virtual Therapy and Mental Health Apps to Cope With Coronavirus Stress” that has great options to explore while at home, https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/virtual-therapy-mental-health-apps. All apps suggested in the article are free to download, with some having in-app purchase options. If you currently have a behavior health physician that you work with, ask them if you can schedule an appointment via online video conference.

If you are having these feelings, please feel free to reach out by calling 509.444.8200 or learn more about our behavioral health services.

Additionally please keep in mind how to deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Below is a graphic from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. You can also access more resources by visiting www.adaa.org.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

0

Become a pro at working from home!

During these unusual times, here are a few tips and tricks to help you have a productive and successful day working from home.

Keep your morning routine. 

Continue to get up at your normal time, get ready, eat breakfast, etc.  This will help get you mentally prepped to “head to work”. 

Set up a dedicated workspace. 

Do your best to mimic your current work conditions.  A desk, supportive chair, monitors, etc.  Try to make sure that if you can, keep your workspace outside of areas of relaxation in your home such as your bedroom or living room.  Keeping that mental divide will help set your pace for remoting into the office.  Be sure to communicate expectations of your work area to others in your home.  Except your beloved fur babies – they are great co-workers!

Set your work schedule.

Once you and your supervisor have determined what your schedule will look like, only work within those hours.  It is important to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 

Take breaks.

When you are at work, you are not working 100% of the time.  Take time to stretch every hour.  Look out a window.  If you can, get some fresh air! Exercise is a great activity for your total wellbeing.   Just remember to take your breaks and lunch away from your computer. 

Keep in frequent touch with your department. 

With many telecommuting, it is easy to forget to connect with others.  Say good morning (via Skype) as you normally would in person.  Call to chat about projects.  Department meetings or touchbases are easily set up using Skype or Zoom.  There are many options to keep you connected with coworkers.  

Over communicate.  

Since you are working from home, it is harder for others to be aware of your plans, projects, location, and schedule.  Consider opening up your calendar to others and keep your calendar updated with times you are available.  Schedule your break times.  Update your Skype status.  

Put on some background noise.   

Let’s be honest, in the office we are surrounded by background noise and conversations.  It is probably weirder to work in silence.  There are many music-streaming platforms are highly aware of the surge of work from home and have graciously put together some great playlists for our listening pleasure.  If music isn’t your jam, you can turn on a podcast or put a show on for back ground noise. 

Most importantly – remain positive!

As the mantra goes, this too shall pass! 

Resources and Support:

Linkedin is offering a class on remote working.  It has 16 sections with information ranging from time management, video conferencing, and how to use both Zoom and Skype.

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/paths/remote-working-setting-yourself-and-your-teams-up-for-success

For anyone who is working from home with children, here are some tips from CNBC to get you by.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/working-at-home-with-kids-during-covid-19-crisis-with-kids-underfoot.html

by Stefanie Sproule, Administrative Services Project Manager