Don’t Make COVID-19 Screenings So Unpleasant That Employees Quit!
This COVID-19 pandemic will be forever renowned as one of the biggest challenges to the long-term care industry. The whole world has seen massive changes in how care can be communicated, delivered, and transmitted.
Despite these challenges, a new wave of creativity has opened the minds of all involved to aid the facility in caring for residents when health restrictions are in place.
The staff has had to adjust to new protocols like never before. No one enjoys being subjected to a COVID-19 screening prior to every shift. As an industry that already experiences high turnover, facilities must consider “staff friendly” screening methods to avoid their staff leaving over that as well. No one wants this requirement to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. A covid screening app can make an irritating requirement a bit more palatable.
Add Some Fun To Your Trainings!
There are no comedic values with this pandemic, but that does not mean training sessions concerning COVID-19 screenings cannot be fun as well as educational. It might be just the time for a lighter moment and for a good networking session between staff.
Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Food – always a winner with all facility employees, pot luck or cater in, let them eat and learn.
- Quiz – have a few small prizes for paying attention during the training.
- Role Playing – this can develop further understanding of the screening process.
Many staff members may already be angry about the constant COVID-19 screening process. Perhaps they suspect they may have the virus but desperately need to work so they may attempt to hide their symptoms. It is possible to do but the thermometer will not lie.
Additionally, the screener himself may deny entry to certain staff members just because he can. We are all aware of how a little power can corrupt an individual. It is an unusual situation but managers must be aware that it can happen.
The screener should try humor – it actually may help explain the importance to the staff that the screenings are for the benefit of all.
- “It is not personal, you are all staying outside the facility until you pass the screening!”
- “You must know by now that long-term care is all about the documentation, we just got to do some more of it!”
- “You know how nobody wants to be the ‘one’ who creates a survey deficiency? Let’s apply that to this virus!”
- “The door screenings will just tell us what we already know. COVID-19 is not allowed in here and so far it’s got the memo!”
Follow-up training may be needed as further updates from the government arise. This training can be structured for different facility departments as well as for the whole staff. The screening procedure can be explained to new hires at interviews and during orientation. It is important for the staff to know that the screening is for everyone, including management, visitors, and owners.
Management should have an “open-door policy”. Staff should know that they are welcome to approach management at any time to ask questions or for clarifications.
Transparency should be the norm for the daily screening as a strong deterrent against COVID-19. Training can emphasize to staff the desire as well as a duty to protect themselves and others in the facility.
COVID-19 Screening and training should include:
- Brief overview of the coronavirus
- Facility door screening process and reasons for implementation
- Role of the screener
- Examples of denial to work
- Facility policy and procedures for return to work
Employees may be scared they are at additional risk for contracting the virus and any misinformation circulating the work environment needs to be rectified.
An understanding of coronavirus basic facts and symptoms will help to allay the fear associated with COVID-19.
Management may need to address any problems that arise from the screener, such as:
- an alleged unpleasant attitude
- not screening all employees
- not knowing all the steps to complete the screening properly
All staff assigned to the door screener role should be friendly, familiar with the screening process, and most importantly, make the correct determinations in allowing or denying entry into the facility.
They should explain to the employee the reason or reasons if access is denied and contact management immediately. The employee must exit the facility immediately and understand the necessity of a COVID-19 test.
What if the employee refuses to leave?
Although an employee may be upset, tearful, angry, and may not afford to lose any pay due to the denial, the screener has to consider his duties and the well-being of everyone inside the facility.
Management should support the employee through regular check-ins and arranging a tentative date to return to the facility. If financial support is necessary, there should be parameters for this emergency.
In the unfortunate event that the situation escalates, other management employees may need to be approached and the corporate branch contacted.
The company must remain compliant with state and corporate obligations. It also has the right to contact the police if any person refuses to leave the premises after they have been requested to do so.
Structure of Screenings
There is more emphasis on the door screenings being completed than the method being used to do so. A good software system can hold all information required and reduce paperwork consumption as well as review progress.
The fundamental message of COVID-19 screening relates to maintaining safety and reducing the manifestation and spread of this deadly virus. Screenings for all staff is the first line of defense.
Instead of enabling staff to think they have to be “granted permission” to come to work, change the thought pattern. Screening is a preventative measure that is designed to identify initial concerns and keep everyone safe, which can ultimately save lives.
Support your facility employee covid screenings and stay healthier at work. It helps all of us.