During the COVID-19 health crisis, Roaring Brook will continue to make all of our current services available to our participants in a modified format. Social distancing guidelines and protocols will be enforced. We will observe six feet of spacing between staff and participants. Surgical or cloth masks will be worn at all times by staff and by anyone entering our building. We will allow a limited number of participants in the facility at any one time to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. We will still offer group and individual counseling sessions, primarily by telehealth, which will allow us to bridge the gap between the safety of our homes and the uncertainty of public interaction. We will provide telehealth services through HIPPA-compliant text, phone calls, and video chat services. Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) will remain open subject to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and state restrictions on the number of people who may gather together.
Based on CDC guidance, Kentucky regulations, and executives for healthcare providers and facilities, Roaring Brook has implemented the following practices and guidelines for our facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Masks required
All participants must wear a surgical or cloth mask at all times in our facilities. Staff must wear a mask at all times when working unless they are alone in their private office, or at their work station and socially distanced by at least six feet from other staff members.
2. Social distancing
State law requires social distancing to be observed in all healthcare settings where people wait to receive services to minimize direct contact between individuals. For this reason, we have arranged our reception area to only allow for a limited number of people at any given time, and for those persons to remain at least six feet apart from each other. To ensure social distancing can be maintained in our reception area when a participant has an in-person appointment or a group session, the participant must call when they arrive at our building and not enter until authorized by a staff member. Staff and participants are expected to maintain social distancing — at least six feet apart — when interacting with each other, including common areas and in-person group and individual counseling sessions. Sanitizing stations will be available for use in all common areas.
3. Staff members who are sick must stay home from work
Staff members who have any COVID-19 symptoms are to notify their supervisor immediately, stay home, and follow CDC-recommended steps. They are not to return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation in consultation with their healthcare providers. Roaring Brook will follow state and federal employment laws regarding leave for employees with COVID-19 or caring for a family member with COVID-19. Staff members who are well but who have a family member at home with COVID-19 must notify their supervisor before coming to work, and follow CDC recommended precautions and their supervisor’s instructions.
4. Mandatory screening of staff and participants
The most important aspect of our business is to ensure the safety of our participants and staff. We intend to do our best to keep those we serve safe as well as those who serve them. To this end, we will perform mandatory screening of all staff members and participants as they enter the building as follows:
(e) Any staff member or participant who presents with any of the physical symptoms described above or has a temperature above 100 degrees, or has been in contact with anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the disease, will be asked to immediately undergo testing for COVID-19 at our facility and sent home to await their test results.
(f) A staff member or participant who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to remain at home for a minimum of ten days or until they are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication for 72 hours, whichever occurs last. Staff members will receive paid time off during this period. A staff member who tests negative for the disease will be expected to return to work the following day. Participants who have a negative test result will be welcome back to our clinic under the guidelines in this Action Plan.
(g) Any staff member or participant who tests positive for COVID-19 must be immediately reported to the Kentucky Department of Public Health under state regulation.
(h) A staff member or participant who meets any of the other screening criteria listed above will be referred to our medical practitioner for further evaluation of their risk of exposure before deciding whether they need to undergo COVID-19 testing or return home to self-quarantine.
(i) Participants who meet the criteria for testing or further evaluation will be enrolled in our telehealth treatment program to ensure that they do not miss any groups or individual treatment sessions. Participants who receive a negative test result can return to the facility subject to following these guidelines.
5. Cleaning and sanitizing building and service areas
One of the best ways to combat COVID-19 is by using appropriate cleaning and sanitizing methods. For the further safety of our participants and staff, we have instituted strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures. All surfaces in the building will be cleaned and sanitized at least once per day, depending on use. Surfaces in common areas, such as shared office equipment (copiers, postal meter, printers) and restrooms, will be sanitized more often. As participants and staff enter group and individual counseling sessions, they must use hand sanitizer. After each group or individual session, the therapist and any associated staff are responsible for sanitizing each surface (e.g., tables, chairs, door handles).
6. No sharing of food or drinks
Under normal circumstances, coffee and other refreshments are often available to participants during group sessions and meetings and to our staff in the employee breakroom. However, during the pandemic, the CDC recommends that no community food or drink be available in business settings to minimize the risk of infection. For this reason, we will not provide or allow staff or participants to make or bring in coffee or other drinks or food for sharing with others. Participants may bring coffee, etc., into the clinic strictly for personal consumption. Staff may do the same and bring their food for lunch and breaks. When using the refrigerator or sink in the employee breakroom, staff will wipe down the surfaces they have touched with sanitizing wipes.
1. Group therapy
An essential component of our outpatient program is group therapy. During these times, we will conduct group therapy sessions by telehealth to the greatest extent possible. When we determine that it is safe to conduct in-person group therapy sessions, those sessions will be limited to state law and what our space will allow while practicing social distancing.
2. Individual therapy
Our counseling offices are spacious enough to accommodate one of our therapists and a participant while practicing social distancing measures. However, we encourage participants to attend their sessions through our telehealth service whenever possible during the pandemic, especially those with underlying health conditions or other health factors that put them at higher risk.
3. Participants who are sick should stay home
For the health and safety of our staff and other participants, any participant who feels ill or who thinks they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has a confirmed case of the virus SHOULD STAY HOME and attend individual and group therapy sessions virtually.
We strive to provide the best possible treatment for our participants in a safe and healthy environment. To do this, we will stay up-to-date on current guidelines issued by state authorities and the CDC on COVID-19 for the duration of the crisis. Our ongoing goal is to provide each person who enters our facilities with the most current information about the disease and implement recommended best practices for reducing the risk of infection for our participants and staff.
Participants who are eligible and wish to undergo Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) must come to our facility for an initial in-person assessment. Our medical staff will not prescribe drugs for MAT via telehealth without first performing an in-person examination and assessing the participant. However, we have invested in a tool that gives our authorized medical providers the capability to see participants who are actively undergoing MAT virtually and prescribe appropriate medication electronically so they can continue their treatment.
To any of our affected communities looking for help to end their substance use, we are here. Anyone who needs our help is welcome. We will provide as much PPE and other resources outside of our facility relating to COVID-19 as we are able. We are community advocates and will be on the frontlines of treating SUDs during this crisis.