The COVID-19 virus outbreak is a serious public health concern. Because evidence has shown sustained person-to-person spread, resulting in severe illness and illness leading to death, it is important that we comply with recommended safety practices, modify behaviors and improve communications to prevent further spread and ensure the safety of our patients, staff and communities.
In response, DCI has developed and implemented a comprehensive plan to stay abreast of, and effectively communicate, the latest COVID-19 information and provide a support system to our patient-care frontline, so they can focus on our priorities – the patients.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, DCI leadership has met daily to discuss the most up-to-date information, while closely monitoring all communications from state and federal government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, National Institute of Health and American Society of Nephrology. It is our obligation and commitment to our patients, staff, partners and communities to consider the guidance of these organizations, so that we can determine the best course of action each day.
DCI leadership has been in frequent contact with other national kidney centers, with whom we have had long standing relationships, to share best practices and collaborate on improving policies and procedures to better serve our patients during this challenging time. As our mission states, “The patient is our reason for existence,” and providing the best care for our patients is what drives every decision we make, every day and in every circumstance.
The DCI Quality Management Team is working overtime serving as the information support center for all DCI clinics; and our executive team, including DCI founder, Dr. Keith Johnson, is also providing support and guidance to our medical staff.
DCI has developed guidelines for daily screenings at each clinic for designated patients and staff. Patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms must wear a face mask while in the facility and will be taken to an isolated area for further screening and dialysis. It is DCI’s goal to safely provide in-center dialysis and not overburden emergency rooms, when possible, while awaiting test results.
DCI has established updated testing protocols, guidance on personal protective equipment inventory and advanced work-from-home capabilities for qualifying staff members. Non-essential travel has been canceled, and corporate meetings and conference attendance have been canceled or postponed.
To address the needs of the DCI clinic staff, support programs have been put in place to address anxiety and stress associated with serving on the frontline of patient care, while also being responsible for following protocols to mitigate the risk to patients and staff. DCI leadership recognizes the added pressure on our staff and is reinforcing the availability and benefits of our Employee Assistance Program.
With information changing rapidly, DCI engages in on-going communications to ensure team members have the most current information available and provides daily reminders to protect staff and patients, including:
- Executive leadership daily briefings
- Corporate-wide communications from DCI Vice-Chairman of the Board
- Q & A WebEx sessions with clinic staff and nephrologists
- Quality Management team-led conference calls for clinic staff
- Human Resources memo distribution with updated policies and procedures
- Toolkit of patient resources, addressing multiple topics to inform patients and alleviate anxiety
DCI has also addressed risk factors associated with the spread of the Coronavirus with signage throughout the facilities encouraging frequent hand washing and other safety practices to minimize the spread of germs and, potentially, the virus.
Just as COVID-19 is ever changing, DCI’s approach will also evolve to reduce risks and ensure the health and safety of our staff and patients.
We are defined by our response to the challenges around us. With everyone’s cooperation, we are confident that we will face COVID-19 in a professional and compassionate manner by putting patients first, supporting our staff and partner nephrologists, and being a positive contributing member to our healthcare community.