GREENVILLE, SC—Prisma Health recently updated its policy on team member personal protective equipment (PPE) to match the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We have taken numerous steps to protect our team members and our patients during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Mark O’Halla, president and CEO of Prisma Health. “We understand that people are anxious. We will never put our team members in a harmful situation.”
”The updated PPE policy, which complies with CDC and WHO guidelines, means we match the PPE used with the condition of the patient, which is a basic measure to creating a safe environment and ensuring the right equipment is used in the right setting,” said Eric Ossmann, MD, chief of Preparedness for Prisma Health, vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Prisma Health–Upstate. “This is even more important when there is a global shortage of PPE, particularly N95 masks. No one should be using PPE inappropriately.”
“The recent policy update was a change in practice for our Midlands locations. The Upstate locations were already operating under this policy,” Ossmann said.
To ensure all team members are comfortable in the clinical setting, Prisma Health is requiring surgical masks be worn by all team members who work in patient-facing environments. This is not just for nursing and physicians, it includes team members in Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition, Admissions – anyone who comes in contact with any patient.
“We have taken many steps to ensure our team members and patients are safe,” O’Halla said. “We have restricted visitors and limited entrances to our facilities. We also started temperature checks on everyone entering the hospitals, including team members.”
Prisma Health also has enhanced its Employee Assistance Program for team members in response to the increased pressures associated with this community health emergency.
“We know team members are worried about carrying the virus home to their families, which is why we have provided information on discounted hotel rooms for our frontline team members who do not want to go home between shifts,” O’Halla said. “We are grateful for our community partners who are making this available.
“We are also sharing with our teams the inspiring messages that we receive from the public, and we are posting our own positive messages about our team in internal communications and on Prisma Health social media channels,” O’Halla said. “We are very appreciative of the community’s efforts to encourage our dedicated healthcare workers as well.”
Prisma Health will begin a Blue Ribbon campaign, tying blue ribbons on trees on our campuses and encourages community members to do so at their own residences to show support for our healthcare team.