At an August 11 emergency preparedness workshop – held by the state Department of Health (DOH) Office of Health Emergency Preparedness (OHEP) – The Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) and peer associations each provided information on best practices by their members during the COVID-19 pandemic. OHEP intends to share these practices with its staff and use them in its own emergency preparedness planning.
HCA concentrated on: use of telehealth and other modalities by agency staff; development of infection-control protocols; clinical issues, including care directed to COVID-19 positive, suspected and negative patients; donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE); addressing staff anxiety and grief; development of online aide in-service training; accessing PPE; and more.
HCA also urged DOH’s release of data from the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) surveys completed by providers; clear guidance on COVID-19-related issues for home care and hospice providers; and access to PPE via local offices of emergency management and/or other sources.
HCA, the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of NYS receive a grant from OHEP for a number of educational, outreach and coordination efforts, including participation in the above workshop.
Another deliverable of our grant is to encourage agency participation in DOH drills. One of these, a voluntary Interoperable Communications (IOC) drill, is expected statewide sometime in September. DOH has made a video and slides to help agencies who want to participate.
For a definition of IOC drills, please see the glossary page on our home care emergency preparedness website here.
Similar to previous IOC drills, agencies will be contacted via the Integrated Health Alerting and Notification System (IHANS) and will be directed to access a link in the e-mail alert to complete a HERDS survey within two hours.
Agencies should ensure that their information is up to date in the HCS Communications Directory so they receive notification of the IOC drill.
The After Action Report, which should be completed and kept by the agency, is available for download here.
Also, the Health Emergency Preparedness Coalitions (HEPCs) will hold meetings in the following regions. To learn more about HEPCs, see here.
- Lower Hudson Valley – September 9 (9 to 11 a.m.)
- Capital District – September 23 (9 to 11 a.m.)
- Western Region – September 23 (9 to 11 a.m.)