PCHC Safety Measures During COVID-19

PCHC Cares

PCHC is proud to be a part of the Community Health Leadership Board, or the CHLB. Through this organization, PCHC is working together with St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare; Northern Light Health; Eastern Area Agency on Aging; Penquis; Community Healthy & Counseling Service; and the City of Bangor and organizations associated with the City. Collectively, we can assure this community that going to the doctor continues to be essential. All of the organizations in this region are taking extra steps to ensure safety and good health. 

Here are things PCHC is doing to ensure safety in all facilities:

Social Distancing and Screening

  • Only patients, legal guardians, and staff are permitted to enter PCHC buildings at this time. Pediatric patients and dependent adults should be accompanied by only one legal guardian.
  • Everyone is required to wear a surgical mask in all PCHC buildings. PCHC will provide a mask to patients and legal guardians upon arrival.
  • Anyone entering a PCHC building is screened for flu-like symptoms and must agree to have their temperature taken. Anyone with symptoms will be asked to leave the building and call our nurse triage line for further instructions.
  • Any patients without flu-like symptoms will not share waiting room space or exam rooms with those with symptoms. Patients with flu-like or COVID-consistent symptoms will be seen in a designated exam room.
  • A minimum of six-feet distance between chairs in the waiting room is arranged in the unlikely event patients need to wait for an appointment.

Changes you May Notice

  • A clear, plexiglass-like physical barrier has been placed at receptionist desks for protection during check in and check out.
  • Staff are wearing full PPE (gown, mask, shield/goggles, and gloves) for any interaction with patients with flu-like symptoms or COVID-consistent symptoms. Staff has been fully trained in universal precautions.
  • PCHC is implementing a pager system that will allow patients to wait for their appointment in their car.
  • There is a dedicated RN triage line to screen for potential COVID-19 patients and encourage isolation/quarantine at home if a test is unable to be administered.
  • Screening calls are placed to patients the night before an appointment to determine if COVID-consistent symptoms exist.
  • Services from Unlimited Solutions Clubhouse are being offered entirely through video conferencing and social media.

Behind the Scenes

  • Additional time is being scheduled between appointments to avoid crowding.
  • PCHC’s common areas, including waiting rooms and all commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs, elevator buttons, and reception desks, receive extensive cleaning every hour, with a facility deep clean twice daily.  All exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned per CDC guidance after every patient visit.
  • PCHC has minimized the number of staff coming into contact with patients with flu-like symptoms, including reducing visits to hospitals.

PCHC Dental Services

  • The Dental Center will continue to follow recommendations of the American Dental Association and Centers for Disease Control and elective treatment will resume once guidelines allow.
  • Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns at (207) 992-2152.
  • Dental Walk-in care services for emergent/urgent care are Mon. – Fri. 8am to 5pm.

Curbside Pickup

  • PCHC pharmacies offer curb-side prescription pick-up. The option exists to also mail prescriptions, allowing people to more effectively shelter in place.

How Are We Doing?

  • We want to know if we’re not meeting your expectations for safety and health, or if you spot an unsafe practice. If you have any concerns, please call our safety hotline at 877-874-8416, or visit our safety alert website, https://pchc.alertline.com/gcs/welcome. We value your input!

PCHC is also taking extra steps at Hope House to ensure comfort and safety for guests, staff, and the community. Precautions being put in place at Hope House and associated temporary shelters include:

  • Like any PCHC facility, everyone is required to wear a surgical mask, and anyone entering the building must have their temperature taken and answer a series of questions to screen for flu-like symptoms.
  • At the shelters, anyone with symptoms will be tested on-site, with rapid test results.
  • Physical distancing between all guests during the day and at night between beds (at least 6 feet).
  • Multiple meal shifts in the dining room to ensure physical distancing during meals.
  • Activities and education to encourage shelter in place throughout the day except to access essential services.
  • An off-site isolation facility is used for individuals experiencing homelessness who test positive to safely isolate and be cared for by staff.
  • Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) or those identified through contact tracing as having been exposed quarantine off-site.
  • Telehealth services are available 24/7 for those under quarantine who need to see a medical provider.
  • Wraparound supports, including food delivery and medical care, are given to all guests including those in quarantine or isolation.
  • Hope House is minimizing traffic (patients and staff) between the shelter, transitions and clinics.

And while this pandemic is important and the steps being taken are necessary, it’s just as important to remember our own personal mental health. This is not easy. And even though we all have good days and hard days (oftentimes, good and bad are experienced on the same day), taking care of ourselves and each other will help us all pull through. 

Remember to do things like take a walk, get enough sleep, take time to appreciate the things we can be thankful for, and remain informed but make sure you take breaks from the news. Also remember to check in on friends and loved ones. It doesn’t take much to send a text message just to see how someone is doing. While we cannot physically do much for each other right now, we can still communicate, talk, share, and laugh. It will do your soul good.

We will get through this. It’s an incredibly difficult situation. But it will only be made more difficult if we don’t follow the guidance from the CDC to protect each other.

We are here for you as employers, providers, and members of this community. 

And we’re all in this together.