COVID 19 - Novel Coronavirus
As the BC COVID-19 curve flattens our community begins to move to the “new normal”. The key to moving forward is to ensure that we take every precaution necessary for the safety of our patients and our drivers.
After consultation with several infectious disease health professionals, the VCDS IPAC Policy was written. It has been developed with an abundance of caution, following Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidance, while balancing necessity with practicable and reasonable action.
Our future service will look and feel different but will remain consistent with our sole objective - getting cancer patients in need to their appointments, safely, on time, with compassion and understanding.
INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL POLICY (IPAC): UPDATED: 2020-07-04
As many of our patients are elderly with compromised immune systems and the majority of our drivers are in a high-risk category for acquiring infection, it is imperative that VCDS provides a safe environment while transporting cancer patients. This policy has been developed on the principle of ‘an abundance of caution’ in consultation with several health care professionals with expertise in Infection Protection and Control (IPAC).
The VCDS IPAC Policy is intended to ensure all Drivers are compliant with the safety needs in the transportation of cancer patients. The Policy is subject to review and revision when necessary to reflect changes in the infection prevention and control environment to ensure our services meet our goal of minimizing the risk of infection to patients and drivers.
VCDS Dispatchers will:
- Screen the patient at initial registration and at each subsequent appointment booking using the VCDS health screening questionnaire (attached) to determine if the patient currently has or has been exposed to any contagious illness or been out of the country in the last 14 days.
- Inform the patient that we are unable to provide transportation until the patient is well if the patient has a potentially contagious illness as defined by a positive response to the questionnaire.
- Inform the patient that they are required to supply and wear a mask during transportation.
- Inform the patient that only one person may accompany them during transportation and that person must supply and wear a mask.
- Ensure patients are not transported in a carpool.
VCDS Drivers will:
- Contact the patient the day before the scheduled appointment time to screen the patient using the VCDS health screening questionnaire (attached) to assess their health and wellbeing.
- Inform the patient that we are unable to provide transportation until the patient is well if the patient's response is positive to any part of the questionnaire.
- Confirm that the patient and an accompanying person will supply a face mask and wear it during transportation.
- Wear a mask at all times when with patients.
- Supply a mask from the ‘travel kit’ in the rare instance where the patient does not have one.
- Place the patient (and other individuals) in the rear seat to maximize social distancing.
- Maintain rigorous hygiene and appropriate precautions by:
- Washing hands before and after each patient contact and
- using VCDS provided and/or clinic/treatment facility hand sanitizers upon entering and leaving the facility.
- Ensure vehicle sanitation by periodically wiping down vehicle hard surfaces and seats with disinfectant solutions/wipes (spray aerosols are not recommended as they may distribute particles).
- Withdraw from driving whenever experiencing a cold, virus, a fever, or any other infectious ailment.
Patient falls ill in the vehicle:
- In the rare event that the patient is ill in the vehicle the following recommendations are suggested:
- Wear gloves, a mask and eye protection and clean up as soon as possible with soapy water (e.g. dish detergent). Rinse and dry with paper towels.
- Wash hands when gloves are removed.
- Use disposable supplies, like paper towels, to wipe up.
- If fluid splashes into one’s eyes rinse gently with water for 15 minutes.
- Wash thoroughly with soap and water.
The VCDS will:
- Pay for professional cleaning of the vehicle’s interior if the patient is ill with reimbursement through the monthly Driver expense claim.
- Provide drivers with a ‘travel kit’ that includes a washable mask and a supply of medical masks, hand sanitizer, and disposable gloves. Drivers will ensure the ‘travel kit’ is subsequently maintained with reimbursement through the monthly Driver expense report. (Drivers are expected to provide a supply of disinfectant wipes).
- It is highly recommended that Drivers:
- Get an annual flu shot (Flu season is typically October-April).
- Consider getting the pneumonia shot.
VCDS HEALTH SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE:
To ensure patient and driver safety, Dispatchers and Drivers will ask each patient if they may have any symptoms of a communicable illness such as a cold, flu, fever, or any risk factor for COVID-19 exposure? The questions will be asked by:
- The Dispatcher when the patient makes contact to book an appointment(s)
- The Driver the day prior to the scheduled appointment
In the last 14 days have you:
- Been outside Canada and not completed a self-isolation or quarantine program
- Been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
- Lived or worked in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak
- Been advised to self-isolate or quarantine at home
Noticed any symptoms of a cold, flu, fever, or other contagious illness.
If the patient answers yes to any of the questions they must be informed that:
For the safety of our Drivers, we will not be able to provide transportation until you are symptom-free.
We suggest you contact your doctor or call 811.
When symptom-free, please contact our Dispatch line 604-515-5400 for appointments.