COVID-19 Updates

Update from Urgent Response Team - March 24, 2020

Per Carolyn Rudy, Nursing Services Coordinator

  • Transporting filled Sharp’s Containers - During the duration of this Coronavirus challenge, please keep filled sharps containers at your program site. Please be sure the container is properly secured, according to directions on the container, and then locked away for delivery to the main office at a later date, for disposal.

Per Jayme Crowder, Associate Director of Support Services

  • Telepsych Appointments – there are several providers that are able to provide this service. Please do not have Team Members using personal cellphones to conduct these appointments. If you do not have the proper equipment on the program computers to adequately use these services please check with Program Coordinators to utilize their laptops.

Per Caleb Cunningham, Associate Director of Facility Services

  • Cross Contamination Concerns - As homes begin to share products such as cleaners, wipes, PPE, etc… I ask that you do not send these items directly to other homes as this can cause cross contamination. Please have items to be re-distributed ready for maintenance as we do our mail runs. Maintenance will pick up all items going between homes, quarantine them for 72 hours, then redistribute them as needed.


Update from Urgent Response Team - March 19, 2020

The following developments have occurred over the course of the day:

Per Associate Directors of Operations:

  • Effective immediately, Individual funds should be kept secure and locked in the Individual’s lock box, with only the Program Manager and Program Coordinator maintaining access to the lockboxes. If an essential purchase is needed on an Individual’s behalf, the Program Manager/Coordinator can facilitate making the necessary funds available, with the receipt and change immediately being returned. The use of ‘black bags,’ or money readily available outside of the secure lock box should be discontinued until further notice.
  • The intention is not to make Individual’s funds inaccessible to them, but rather to have measures in place to maintain security of Individual funds. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with this temporary measure.

Per Carolyn Rudy, Nursing Services Coordinator & Jayme Crowder, Associate Director of Support Services

  • Please see the attached document for guidance in caring for healthy/ill Individuals.
  • A clarification from yesterday's email regarding temperatures - this applies to ALL Friendship Community Team Members, if you do not have access to a thermometer in your own home please do so when beginning a shift.

Per Michelle Butler, Director of Operations (With input from Carolyn Rudy, Medical Services Coordinator)

  • As we continue to care for Individuals, we continue to await further word from ODP on how to care for Individuals who may test positive for Covid-19.  In the meantime, using the CDC website as our guide, the following PPE is what is recommended for Covid-19 outbreak, with some adaptations for our population.  Please note the CDC is recommending N-95 masks for hospitals where intubations are occurring and there is currently a shortage nationwide of such masks.


When no one in the home has been confirmed with Covid-19 infection:

  • Gloves and gowns- per our current routine practice (noted on page 2 of Standard Precautions in Red Infection Control Manual) and page 4 of Exposure Control Plan (Red Infection Control Manual)
  • Face shields (reusable): per our current routine practice (noted on page 2 of Standard Precautions in Red Infection Control Manual) and page 4 of Exposure Control Plan (Red Infection Control Manual)
  • Ear loop face mask:
  • As always, used by TMs who become ill and wear a mask until they can leave shift.  Otherwise, sick TMs should be out of the home and not exposing others.
  • Used by some Team Members who have been cleared by Human Resources and Nursing to return to work under specific guidelines.
  • Otherwise, please do not routinely use these masks, so we can maintain a supply.


When an Individual has been confirmed with Covid-19 Infection or there is suspicion of infection:  If the Individual agrees to wear an ear loop face mask, this should be done at critical appointments and times when others are within the 6 feet circle.  Otherwise, the Team Members are protecting themselves in the following way:

  • Gloves and gowns- per our current routine practice (noted on page 2 of Standard Precautions in Red Infection Control Manual) and page 4 of Exposure Control Plan (Red Infection Control Manual)
  • Face shields (reusable) plus an ear loop face mask: when within 6 feet of care for an Individual
  • Please be aware, if you have a positive case, a FC nurse who enters your home may need to take extra precautions, in order to maintain safety when moving to other locations as a nurse.


Reasonable supply of PPE:  An inventory of PPE supplies in the programs has been completed.  Because we are currently struggling to reorder some of these supplies, we request that you do the following, in consideration of your team and others within FC:

  • Consider your Team’s needs for 3-5 days
  • If you have extra supply beyond 3-5 days, please inform your Program Coordinator


Friendship Community is attempting to set up plans for how to get supplies out to the homes, based on where the needs are the greatest.

 Per Jessica Schweers, Training Administrator:

  • CPR classes haven been canceled until the April 23rd
  • All in-services and SAPA Trainings have been canceled until further notice
  • Med training will continue as planned with a smaller class size (all who have been affected have been contacted
  • Initial & Group Orientation will continue as planned
  • If a day services TM is assisting within a home, please ensure the checklist that was sent out earlier this week has been completed
  • Note there has been a concern about CPR and how that is handled for new TMS.  The reg state:

Training just wants to take a minute to thank everyone for all that you are doing to help keep the individuals safe. 

Thank you to all - God Bless!

  • In response to COVID-19 precautions ... DAY SERVICES (Friendship Heart Gallery & Studio and Meaningful Day Academy) are TEMPORARILY CLOSED until further notice.

Like all of you, Friendship Community is aware and concerned about how the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic will impact each of us, our families and the Individuals in our care. There’s no doubt that we are entering new territory with this situation.

We believe that the best way to move forward is to provide consistent communication and accurate facts, not fear and panic.  We will strive to keep you informed through emails ( and resources on our website, Be assured that specific Team Members daily are monitoring credible local, national, global and government communications for the most up-to-date information.

A Friendship Community Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) has been established to address prevention, cleaning practices, infection, outbreak and closures. Education and updates will be shared soon through webinars, meetings and by email. If you have immediate questions or concerns, please speak with the Program Manager of the home/program to assist and/or direct you to the appropriate Leader.  Please be advised that decisions are being made regarding cancellations of all non-essential events and group activities.  Information regarding cancellations will be communicated accordingly.

We understand that you may be feeling anxious, but please look to trusted sources for accurate information (;  to assist us as we promote a calm, safe, healthy, proactive environment for Individuals and Team Members.  We are in this together. Please help us in doing your part to use proper hygiene (hand washing) techniques, discernment in visitation,  get rest, ensure adequate nutrition, and stay healthy.  If all of us are mindful, take care of ourselves and those in our care, we will get through this together.  We are actively praying for all Individuals, Team Members, and family members to be protected from this and other illness, and we encourage you to do the same.  Thank you for your ongoing support of Friendship Community!

Personal Steps for Prevention


We encourage you to take steps to safeguard your personal health and to minimize risk exposure. You can prevent everything from a cold, flu, and the coronavirus by consistently following these action steps:

    • Avoid close contact with people, especially those who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • COVER – Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw the tissue directly in the trash.
  • WASH – Wash your hands often with soap and water vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  • CLEAN – Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces (phones, door handles, counters, keyboard, etc) with everyday household disinfectants.
  • STAY – Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you were exposed, it is important to call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) and your doctor before going for care.


  • Be prepared to stay home for an extended period of time due to illness or quarantine. Consider the food or medication you will need to be self-supporting during this time.
  • Talk with your family and friends about prevention measures and set the example.
  • Have the contact information of your Doctor and PA Health public line saved on your phone.

Where can you find additional trustworthy Covid-19 information?


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Call family physician, urgent care or emergency room if you experience shortness of breath, coughing and fever.