By CRISTINA JANNEY
KVC Hospital staff members lined Seventh Street on Tuesday afternoon as cars drove by with honking horns and waving drivers.
Audrey Lindenmeyer, KVC Hospitals Hays program director, said KVC workers have continued to come to work every day to provide care for children and teens struggling with their mental health.
The hospital administration organized the car caravan to honor the workers dedication. A similar parade was organized earlier in the day to honor the day staff and included the KVC Hospital patients.
"I think that it just shows them that, one, we really appreciate their dedication to KVC and to the kids and just wanting to say thank you again for their hard work," Lindenmeyer said.
"Sometimes it is difficult when you have larger numbers of staff and we get busy with our daily activities to show that appreciation. My hope is that they come away from this knowing how much we appreciate everything they do."
KVC operates a 50-bed juvenile psychiatric residential treatment treatment facility in Hays. It has 88 employees at the Hays location.
Bree Hysaw, behavioral health technician, said she was not scared to come to work at the facility despite the virus.
"When you are working with someone who you needs you, it's not so scary," she said.
KVC has continued to remain open throughout the pandemic and is accepting new admissions for inpatient acute hospitalization and psychiatric residential treatment at all of our treatment centers in Kansas, including Hays.
No patients or staff members have tested positive at the Hays facility, Lindenmeyer said.
KVC Hospitals have enacted protocols in attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Lindenmeyer said everyone has been open and willing to comply with the protocols, which have included temperature checks for employees as they enter the facility.
"I think for families they definitely appreciate the extra precautions that we take to know that their child is safe and that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe while here," Lindenmeyer said.
She said the Hays facility has been able to maintain staffing through the shutdown.
"I have been very impressed with the dedication of our staff has had throughout," Lindenmeyer said.
Those protocols were outlined in a press release issued by KVC on May 6. They are listed below.
KVC Hospitals COVID‐19 protocols
• KVC strongly encourages family involvement throughout the treatment process but as part of its goal to keep its clients safe, it will continue to restrict visitors until further notice. It is utilizing telehealth/video capabilities and phone calls to conduct family therapy and parental/guardian visits.
• Given the current challenges with the convergence of flu, cold, and allergy season along with concerns surrounding COVID‐19, KVC has created a workflow to care for clients who have potential symptoms. This includes a specialized observation space to conduct the necessary medical assessments while keeping other clients and employees healthy.
• All of the healthcare professionals are entering the KVC treatment centers through the main entrance only and are not using a separate employee entrance. This allows KVC to conduct a thorough daily screening process with each employee, using guidelines from the CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This screening includes temperature checks.
• KVC is screening its clients daily using guidelines from the CDC and the KDHE. This screening includes temperature checks twice a day.
• New potential clients are undergoing a screening process prior to admission to check for symptoms, fever, and self‐reported history of recent travel or interactions with people who have been diagnosed with COVID‐19.
• KVC housekeeping department is using disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and recommended by the CDC for sanitization of the coronavirus family.
• For children receiving treatment in KVC psychiatric residential treatment facilities, KVC will continue to cancel its community outings and weekend passes until further notice to reduce the risk of exposure.
• KVC has asked all vendors to leave deliveries outside and to alert us when a delivery has been completed. If a vendor must bring a delivery inside, they are undergoing the same screening process as KVC employees. For contractors who must complete work onsite, they are also undergoing our employee screening process.
• KVC will continue to provide extensive education to its employees and clients about COVID‐19 and healthy hygiene habits that prevent spreading.
• KVC will continue to cancel volunteer activities, tours and other activities that create opportunities for exposure to COVID‐19 in its treatment centers.
• For its PRTFs, each new client is tested for COVID‐19 as part of the admissions process. They will be given a face mask to wear until KVC has the test results to help ensure the safety of all clients in its care.
• If a PRTF client tests positive while in KVC care, the child’s treatment team will quickly determine the safest way for the child to continue receiving mental health treatment as well as treatment for COVID‐19. KVC will talk with the child’s family to develop a plan for a safe discharge from the PRTF so the child can return home to receive medical treatment for their COVID‐19 diagnosis. Then once the child is able to leave quarantine per CDC and state health department guidelines, KVC will help the family arrange to have the child return back to KVC to continue their mental health treatment.
"We value your partnership as we strive to provide the highest quality care and treatment for the children and families we serve," Ryan Speier, KVC Hospitals president said in the news release. "We will continue having frequent, open communications with all of our community providers so that together, we can help keep children and families safe and healthy throughout these challenging times."