As the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, we want to update you on the precautions Apria has put in place.
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 would like to assure you that Apria Healthcare’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees and patients, and we take this commitment very seriously. Apria is actively monitoring the rapidly changing events related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking all precautions available to us to avoid contamination.
- 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.
Please continue reading to learn more about the precautionary measures already in place to safeguard our patients’ and employees well-being, so we can continue to maintain strong operations during this critical time.
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 must 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.
Visiting Your Local Apria Branch
Apria employees who are able to perform their duties remotely (outside of the branch) have been transitioned to telecommute and work from home remotely.
In an effort to limit the number of patients and visitors at the local branch offices, Apria is requiring that only people who are asymptomatic may enter the branch and all visitors must have a prescheduled appointment to be seen.
Apria is also requesting that any visitor to the location use a surgical mask while on-site.
All Other Employees Working On-Site at an Apria Location
Apria is making surgical masks available for all employees working on-site at an Apria location. Apria is also requesting that any visitor to the location to use a surgical mask while on-site.
In addition, Apria employees working on-site must follow these additional guidelines:
- Practice social distancing from each other and from visiting patients.
- Follow hygiene rules. Wash their hands with soap frequently for at least 20 seconds. If they cannot wash their hands immediately, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- If possible, place hand sanitizer near workplace entrances.
- Do not share any objects. This includes pens, pencils, towels, and utensils.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as desks, keyboards, computer mice, phones, door handles, and light switches.
- Restrict warehouse entry to authorized personnel only.
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, the Company is hopeful it 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.
For additional information, please visit the CDC website
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your local Apria branch
Thank you for your trust in Apria.