Apria Is Continuing To Provide Excellent Care During The COVID-19 Pandemic
At Apria, we take great pride – both personally and professionally – in the role we play in improving the lives of our patients at home.
We assure you that our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and patients, and we take this commitment very seriously. We're taking all precautions available to us to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some of the ways we've adjusted to COVID-19:
- All Apria delivery technicians, warehouse personnel, respiratory therapists and licensed clinicians are required to wear an N-95 respirator mask for every patient interaction activity and to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after every interaction.
- For patients/caregivers with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, in addition to the N-95 respirator mask, delivery technicians, warehouse personnel, respiratory therapists, and licensed clinicians are required to wear all other appropriate personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE.” The PPE includes gloves, gowns, head covers, and shoe covers. Apria employees who work at a local branch office or other Apria facility are required to wear face coverings.
- All Apria employees engaged in patient-facing activities must wear the required personal protective equipment to help protect both the patient and the employee.
Apria has always placed an emphasis on maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, and the company has taken additional measures to reinforce this commitment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Apria has well-established infection control procedures in place, which are in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and have been validated through the accreditation process with the Joint Commission.
To reduce patient interaction, Apria has increased the use of email communication prior to delivery, following current protocols. Additionally, whenever possible, we are using electronically signed Apria Sales, Service and Rental Agreements (eSSRAs) to avoid handling pens and papers. Online device setup guides and instructional videos are also used when feasible.
Delivering to a Patient’s Front Door
When an Apria delivery technician is dispatched to a patient’s home, Apria has also implemented a “minimal patient interaction protocol,” which consists of the following:
- Leaving items at the door, when feasible
- Including patient equipment set-up instructions
- Providing a call-in number for the patient to obtain assistance if needed
- Utilizing video options approved by CMS for patient interaction whenever feasible
Apria company vehicle cabs are wiped down after each patient interaction. This includes frequently touched surfaces and objects like door handles, the steering wheel, clipboards, etc.
Entering a Patient’s Home
To minimize the risk of potential exposure, Apria has designated a minimal number of technicians who will enter patients’ homes.
When an Apria delivery technician is required to “cross the threshold,” due to the type of equipment setup (a bed setup, etc.), the delivery technician will:
- Always follow CDC handwashing and/or sanitizing guidelines before and after every patient.
- Communicate with the patient/caregiver to inform them that today’s visit will include precautionary measures intended to protect everyone and limit interaction.
- Maintain a minimum of six feet of distance from the patient and any other occupants of the home. If possible, isolate set-up activities to a separate room in the home with patient/caregiver permission.
- Leave all disposable items at the patient’s home; instruct the patient/caregiver to properly dispose in household trash and follow up by washing their hands.
- Inform the patient that instructional videos and setup guides are available on Apria.com
Picking Up Equipment from a Patient’s Home
Upon arrival at the residence, the Apria delivery technician will call the patient/caregiver on the phone to ensure they are present and ready for equipment pickup.
The delivery technician is required to ask the patient/caregiver a series of pre-screening questions to determine if the patient or caregiver has a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
Pre-Scheduled Apria Clinician Visit to a Patient’s Home
Apria personnel are maximizing the use of telehealth options for interacting with patients as permitted under new guidelines promulgated by the Office of Civil Rights.
Before performing home visits, Apria personnel are interviewing patients/caregivers by phone to determine the appropriate protective precautions that need to be taken.
- For patients/caregivers with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, respiratory therapists and licensed clinicians are required to wear an N-95 respirator mask, and all other appropriate personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE.” The PPE includes gloves, gowns, head covers, and shoe covers.
- For all other patient/caregiver interactions, respiratory therapists are required to wear an N-95 respirator mask and wash their hands with hand sanitizer before and after every interaction.
Apria Internal COVID-19 Protocols
Apria personnel who have had any risk of exposure who develop signs or symptoms compatible with COVID-19 must not report to work.
Employees are restricted from work in any healthcare setting until 14 days after their last exposure. If the employee develops any fever (measured temperature equal to or greater than 100.4°F or subjective fever) or respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) they must immediately self-isolate (separate themselves from others) and notify their healthcare provider.
Apria personnel who are asymptomatic are not restricted from work. However, they are required to check their temperature twice daily and remain alert for respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, sore throat).
Apria is closely monitoring its supply chain and working with the companies that manufacture durable medical equipment in an effort to ensure that there are no supply disruptions or shortages of critical equipment in the U.S.
Apria has already increased the inventories it considers to be at risk for supply chain interruption and is ordering additional quantities of durable medical equipment. In addition, because Apria sources its durable medical equipment from multiple manufacturers, we're hopeful we can mitigate any supply chain interruption.
Apria has a long-standing commitment to serving patients in times of need and we want you to know that you can continue to rely on us.