FAQ: Family House Safety Protocols

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** last updated October 2, 2020 **

IS SECU FAMILY HOUSE AT UNC HOSPITALS OPEN?

Yes. Family House reopened with limited capacity and high precaution on Monday, June 1, 2020. We intentionally filled guest rooms slowly in order to ensure that the new practices we have put in place will keep patients, caregivers, staff, and volunteers safe. We've worked with representatives from the Department of Health and UNC Health to establish protocols recommended by the CDC in these times of COVID-19. Nothing is more important to us than our mission to responsibly serve patients and caregivers.  

On the advice of UNC Health, access to Family House is restricted to registered guests and the staff and volunteers providing essential services. Anyone entering the building must agree to the following screening protocols:

  1. To the best of my knowledge, I do not have COVID-19 (coronavirus). I have never tested positive for COVID-19, nor have I cared for or had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or has a presumed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  2. I am not currently experiencing any of the following symptoms not related to another medical condition:
  • sore throat
  • new muscle pain
  • headache
  • shortness of breath or difficulty
  • breathing
  • new onset of vomiting or diarrhea
  • new or worsening cough
  • repeated shaking chills
  • recent loss of taste or smell

      3. Touchless temperature taken upon entering Family House.

All staff, volunteers, and anyone else entering the House are required to follow this protocol along with wearing face masks.

Note that the communal spaces of our Guest Kitchen and Dining Room are reopening with strict capacity limits and safety protocols enforced.

Please note that 2 guests total are allowed per guest room/suite. 

To prevent COVID-19 from entering Family House, we ask guests to stay in their rooms as much as possible, wash hands frequently, wear face masks, and remain at least 6 feet away from other guests, volunteers, and staff. We appreciate everyone inside the House following all these measures for everyone’s safety.

WHY DID FAMILY HOUSE TEMPORARILY CLOSE?

In coordination with our partner in mission, UNC Health, Family House made the difficult decision to temporarily close effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Please read more about the decision to safeguard our community's health through temporary closure on our website here. This was a tough decision to make, but a responsible and necessary one, to prevent COVID-19 from entering our facility. The outcome of viral transmission in a communal living situation comprised of immune-compromised guests would have resulted in devestating outcomes.

For patients and caregivers: your clinical team may still deem it safer for you to remain at home than it is to travel to Chapel Hill for your previously scheduled medical appointment; please check with your health care provider to see if your appointment has been cancelled or rescheduled.

ARE VOLUNTEERS WORKING AT FAMILY HOUSE?

A skeleton crew of volunteers started back to work essential House operational tasks on June 1, 2020. They have successfully performed volunteer activities using best practices and social distancing as recommended by health authorities. 

Volunteers were not working at Family House during our temporary closure, from April 1, 2020 until June 1, 2020. Pet therapy, meal providing, and other volunteer activities were discontinued in order to prevent COVID-19 from infecting anyone, including volunteers themselves. 

In late early fall 2020, volunteer musicians and musical groups have safely returned to bring the joy of music to Family House guests by performing outdoors, with guests sitting on the Front Porch. 

If you'd like to volunteer in a feasible capacity or have questions, please contact Georgie Clemens (georgie@secufamilyhouse.org or 919.932.8009).

HOW CAN I HELP FROM A DISTANCE?

Thank you for thinking of others during this uncertain time! If you'd like to show support for the patients and caregivers staying at Family House, donating to the Meal Fund so we can provide them with hot meals goes such a long way. You can imagine what an difference a meal makes to a patient before or after a long day at the hospital.

Please contact georgie@secufamilyhouse.org with any questions or suggestions. Thank you for your kind consideration of our guests, and for helping support local businesses!

WHAT IS THE CONTAGION ALERT PROTOCAL FOR COVID-19 AT THE HOUSE?

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 must alert the House Manager, self-quarantine, and call the UNC COVID Hotline for additional screening and guidance at 1-888-850-2684. Symptoms to note include having a fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath.

You can find up-to-date information about novel coronovirus on UNC Health's dedicated webpage.

ARE COMMUNITY GROUPS ALLOWED TO USE THE BOARD ROOM OR COMMUNITY SPACES AT FAMILY HOUSE?

No, not at this time. Until further notice, we must unfortunately limit building entrants to essential personnel and registered guests.

WHO CAN ANSWER MORE QUESTIONS?

Contact Family House staff with any questions:
Director of House Operations Jan Ross: Janice@secufamilyhouse.org
Executive Director Janice McAdams: Jmcadams@secufamilyhouse.org 

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