OSF Healthcare Sends Pandemic Workers to Rockford to Care for COVID-19, Other Patients
May 7, 2020
ROCKFORD—While all but essential workers are being asked to stay at home to contain the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), OSF HealthCare is expanding its response strategy to offer care to patients without the need for them to leave home.
Pandemic health workers  digitally connect with referred clients who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to stay home or in quarantine to protect themselves and others. 
OSF requires masks,
earns national honors
Mask rule: Beginning Monday, May 4, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford required anyone entering to wear a mask. Exceptions are made for those younger than 2 years old or those with medical conditions that prohibit wearing a mask.
Top honors: The health care watchdog agency Leapfrog Group has announced its top hospitals in 2020 and OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center received a ‘B’ grade, the highest grade received by a Rockford hospital.
The Top Hospital recognition showcases OSF HealthCare’s commitment to patient safety and quality.
Seven more OSF HealthCare facilities also achieved an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade.
Through this program, OSF HealthCare and the State of Illinois will proactively and digitally support those needing care, while also reducing the potential influx of patients into a hospital’s emergency department when they don’t need emergency care.
OSF HealthCare Saint Gabriel Digital Health has initiated the Pandemic Health Worker (PHW) and its Acute COVID@Home program in the Rockford area, bringing workers from other parts of the system to work in Rockford 
“The PHW program will allow us to fulfill our mission of serving with the greatest care and love, utilizing digital technology and trained compassionate and trusted community members to extend expert treatment and support to individuals where they are most comfortable, in their own homes,” said  Paula Carynski, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center president. 
“PHWs ... will also assess other social supports that might be needed such as food, financial support, counseling and access to behavioral health tools such as OSF SilverCloud.”
Shannon Egli (pronounced EGG-lee) is among the PHW’s who work from their cars. 
Egli and his PHW counterparts hit the road every morning to deliver care kits to individuals who are in quarantine at home with symptoms of COVID-19.
Normally Egli’s job is as coordinator of the Anatomical Lab in Peoria. He volunteered to be a pandemic health worker because he wants to bring empathy and optimism to people who are not feeling well, are scared, or in some cases lonely.
Egli takes additional measures to ensure a touch-free exchange.
“So hopefully, I’ll get there and put (their care bag) on the door knob and wait a few more minutes and then say, ‘It’s on your doorknob. Can you go out and get it?’ ” he said. The patient then knows to open the door to retrieve the bag after he leaves.
“A lot of people are isolated already so they just want to talk to somebody, and so while you’re helping them get through the apps that they have to learn about and you’re helping them go through the packet (they’ll receive), they just want to chit chat sometimes,” he added.
“It’s nice because you also get a little interaction at a time when we’re socially distancing from everybody,” Egli said.
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