COVID-19 Updates


At Kindred Healthcare, our highest priority is protecting those who are entrusted to our care and the talented healthcare professionals who help us deliver hope, healing, and recovery.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently to ensure the health and safety of our patients and team members by applying a series of measured, science-based interventions ranging from PPE usage to rapid testing to evidence-based care. More recently, our efforts have included educating our team members about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines currently approved for use in the United States.

We continue to monitor the latest guidance related to the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, and we remain committed to providing updates to our team members on a regular basis.


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated August 26, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST

Please note that, when applicable, we have created separate sections for questions that apply to all team members, as well as those that are specific to Hospital Division team members and Kindred Rehabilitation Services team members. For specific clinical or operational directives, please follow the guidelines as they apply to your respective care setting:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

National distribution of a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is underway as part of an emergency use authorization (EUA). Kindred’s leadership team is working with federal, state, and local entities to ensure we are prepared to distribute the vaccine to our team members and coordinate with our partners where appropriate. We will continue providing you with as much timely and transparent information as possible.

COVIDUpdate

Q: Does Kindred require all team members to be vaccinated for COVID-19?
A: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently to ensure the health and safety of our patients and team members by applying a series of measured, science-based interventions ranging from PPE usage to rapid testing to evidence-based care. More recently, our efforts have included educating our team members about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines currently approved for use in the United States. Kindred currently complies with vaccination requirements where mandated by federal, state, or local government agencies, and in instances where the policies of our partners or host facilities require vaccination. We continue to monitor the latest guidance related to the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, and we remain committed to providing updates to our team members if our policies change.

Q: If I have not received the vaccine and want to work for Kindred, can I get the vaccine through Kindred?
A: Most of our hospitals have an adequate supply of vaccine on hand and can get it if they don’t. Our hospitals are happy to provide the immunization, if desired, upon hire. If a location does not have vaccine on hand, we will help new hires locate a vaccination center in a convenient location for them.

Q. Where can I find the latest information from the CDC on recommendations for domestic travel?
A. 
The CDC recently issued updated information for domestic travel in the United States. In short, the CDC’s latest guidance states that people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel in the United States, do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it, and do not need to self-quarantine following travel (if you develop COVID-19 symptoms post-travel, the CDC recommends you isolate and get tested). However, fully vaccinated individuals should still follow standard COVID-19 safety precautions during travel, including wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds, and frequently washing or sanitizing your hands. Below is a quick reference graphic provided by the CDC:

More detailed information related to travel – including specific guidance for international travel – can be found on the CDC’s Travel During COVID-19 website.

Q. I was scheduled to receive the second dose/booster of the COVID-19 vaccine on a specific date, but my vaccine administration site has a delay and I will have to receive my second dose/booster later than anticipated. Will the vaccine still be effective?
A. 
A short delay in receiving the second dose/booster of the vaccine should not be an issue. The CDC recommends that you get your second dose/booster of the COVID-19 vaccine as close to the recommended interval as possible (three weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech, and one month for Moderna), but the second dose/booster can be administered up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose if it is not possible to adhere to the recommended interval. More information is available on the CDC’s website.

Q. Is it safe for me to get a vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?
A. 
According to the CDC, people with underlying medical conditions can receive the COVID-19 vaccines provided they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. The two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. For a full list of ingredients in each vaccine, please review the fact sheets linked below:

You can learn more about vaccination considerations for individuals with underlying medical conditions on the CDC’s website.

Q. Will the COVID-19 vaccine shot hurt or make me sick?
A. 
Some people might get sore muscles, feel tired, or have a mild fever after getting the vaccine. These reactions mean the vaccine is working to help teach your body how to fight COVID-19 if you are exposed. For most people, these side effects will last no longer than a few days. 

Q. Do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance after getting the vaccine?
A. 
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least six feet away from people who don’t live with you. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

Q. Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
A. 
No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Q. Where can I learn more about the vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19?
A. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published overviews of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Each overview includes helpful information such as safety information, a list of the most common side effects, and demographic information from clinical trials. You can access the overviews on the CDC’s website via the links below:

Q. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?
A. Yes. According to the CDC, those who have recovered from the virus should still get vaccinated due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that, although very rarely reported, re-infection with COVID-19 is possible. The timing for the vaccination starts as soon as you are well enough to resume activities – typically 10-14 days after you start to feel sick. Since experts suspect that antibody levels decline in the months after infections, getting vaccinated about 60 - 90 days after infection is also reasonable if you are low risk. However, for healthcare professionals, getting vaccinated as soon as possible provides the most protection.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and the CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Q. After I receive my vaccine, do I need to keep the card/documentation provided to me?
A. As outlined by the CDC, when you are vaccinated you will receive a card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. As with any important health documentation, we encourage you to retain the information about your COVID-19 vaccine for your health records. 

Q. Why are there multiple types of COVID-19 vaccines?
A. 
Teams of medical experts around the world have helped in the search for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine – including many experts here in the United States. Having multiple vaccines in development and production is crucial so that vaccination programs can be rolled out in many different countries at the same time, reaching as many people as possible. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have already been distributed and hundreds of millions more are in production. New vaccine candidates are also in development, which may provide more options, as well as additional quantities for Americans and others populations around the world.

 


All Team Members

CLINICAL

Q. Are there any specific recommendations or directives for team members who are 60 years of age or older?
A.
At this time, there are no additional precautions outside of the CDC guidelines for reducing transmission. This guidance includes ensuring proper hand-washing techniques, social distancing, and avoiding touching of the face, nose and mouth. Below are links with additional details on general precautions for the public:

We recommend no employee come to work if he/she is not feeling well.

Q. I am immunocompromised or have a condition that results in a weakened immune system. What are my options for continuing to work if I am concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 positive patients?
A. Caring for patients with transmissible infections is part of our daily work at Kindred. If you are immunocompromised and would like to request an accommodation to limit your exposure to COVID-19 positive patients, please contact Unum’s ADA team at 1-877-217-5497. Unum will work with you and your physician to gather information that will help the company determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be made. Reasonable accommodations may include reviewing patient assignments to help minimize exposure. During the process, you should work closely with your HR Representative to determine if federal, state or local law requires additional considerations.

Q. As a supervisor, what do I do if a team member indicates that s/he suffers from a condition that results in a weakened immune system and s/he does not wish to continue to work?
A. Team members who are immunocompromised and would like to request an accommodation to limit their exposure to COVID-19 positive patients should call Unum’s ADA team at 1-877-217-5497. Unum will gather information from the team member and his/her physician that will help the company determine whether the employee can be reasonably accommodated. Reasonable accommodations may include reviewing patient assignments to help minimize exposure. During the pendency of the Unum process, the team member should work closely with his/her HR Representative to determine if federal, state, or local law requires additional considerations. 

Q. How long does COVID-19 remain active on surfaces, such as counters, handles, etc.?
A.
Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about six feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. Transmission of coronaviruses to individuals from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. That said, current evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

Q. With many universities moving to online classes across the country, should we temporarily restrict students from completing clinical studies/requirements in our facilities?
A.
Students completing clinical studies/requirements should follow the same process your facility is using for all other visitors and vendors, which likely includes being required to sign-in and answer screening questions. Additionally, we discourage assigning students to isolation patients at this time to help manage personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. 

Q. For our patients or family members whose primary language is something other than English, are there any general educational materials related to COVID-19 we can share?
A.
Yes. The Betsy Lehman Patient Center for Patient Safety – a patient-centered organization in Massachusetts – published a variety of educational resources related to COVID-19 in more than 30 different languages, including Spanish, Korean, Arabic, German, Creole, Hindi, Italian, and Russian. The fact sheets are being translated by a coalition of over 150 medical students representing 35 institutions, and all materials are reviewed and vetted by faculty members at Harvard Medical School. The full list of resources and languages can be found at https://covid19healthliteracyproject.com/#languages.

Q. Are there any resources we can share with patients who live with large or extended families that may include individuals who are at higher risk for COVID-19?
A.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidelines for infection prevention for large or extended families living in the same household, including those with older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The guidelines are available for download in English at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/living-in-close-quarters.pdf and in several other languages on this page.

Q. If our facility is running out of high-demand supplies as a result of precautions related to COVID-19, are we able to purchase off-contract supplies?
A. There is an established escalation process in place through all local Materials Managers. If your facility is running low on supplies, please reach out to your Materials Manager for assistance. If necessary, the Materials Manager will escalate the request to the Support Center Supply Chain Organization.

Q. There are reports of a national concern about the availability of masks; what can we do to ensure we have what we need to provide care for our patients?
A.
Materials Management should report PPE supply status to the facility CCO/CEO on a daily basis. The allocation for each facility will be emailed to Materials Management each Friday. It is essential that the order for this amount be completed every Monday morning to ensure orders are delivered in a timely fashion. Please note the following:

  • Contact precautions ONLY require gowns and gloves.
  • Droplet isolation ONLY requires a standard mask; no gowns or gloves are required unless there is a potential for exposure of blood to bodily fluids.
  • Airborne isolation ONLY requires an N95 or PAPR.
  • If a patient is on multiple types of isolation, combine the recommendations accordingly.
  • Due to COVID-19, based on CDC guidance, Kindred requires all staff to wear a mask (procedure or N95) at all times while at work.

Please secure all N95 and isolation masks for use only when needed and to prevent removal from the facility. In addition, it is important to remember that proper handwashing and avoiding touching of the face, nose and mouth are the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your patients from infections.

Q. Should male clinicians with facial hair wear an N95 mask or a PAPR?
A. If a male team member has more than one day of beard growth, he cannot achieve an adequate seal with the N95 mask, and should not care for a patient in negative pressure isolation requiring N95 unless a PAPR is available for use. If a PAPR is not available, an alternate team member should be assigned to the care of the patient.

Q. What is the recommended alcohol percentage in hand sanitizer to effectively protect against COVID-19?
A. The CDC recommends that if soap and water are not readily available for hand-washing, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands with the sanitizer and rub them together until they feel dry.

Q. Should service animals accompanying a visitor be restricted from entry to our facilities?
A. Yes, out of an abundance of caution, service animals should be restricted from entry to our facilities.

HIPAA AND PATIENT PRIVACY

Q. If one of my team members/patients is in self-isolation or tested positive for COVID-19, what information can be shared with other members of our staff?
A.
If a team member or patient is confirmed to have COVID-19, you should inform your team of the possibility that they were exposed in the workplace if they were in contact with the team member or patient. However, you should NOT disclose the identity of the ill team member or patient as that remains protected health information.

Q. How is Kindred notifying newly admitted patients about COVID-19?
A.
At the time of admission, each patient and family member receives notice as part of their admission packet about COVID-19 and how Kindred is responding to the needs of patients and family members.

Q. If one of my patients is under investigation or tested positive for COVID-19, what information can be shared with the impacted patient and responsible party?
A.
The affected patient should be notified, and the responsible party should be informed that their loved one has been placed on isolation and clinically appropriate testing has been initiated. The name of the affected patient should not be shared with other patients and families.

Q. If a patient at my site has been under investigation or tested positive for COVID-19, what information can be shared with the non-impacted patients at our at site?
A.
You cannot share the names, identities or room numbers of patients who are in quarantines/isolation or who have tested positive for COVID-19. You should tell concerned individuals the following: “Kindred is monitoring all incoming team members and patients for signs/symptoms that may indicate potential exposure. If a patient or team member tests positive for COVID-19, we are prepared to take appropriate action to deliver life-saving care while ensuring we protect our other patients who are critically ill and in a vulnerable state. In addition, out of an abundance of caution, we will monitor patients and team members for symptoms in compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.”

Q. If one of my team members is self-isolated or tests positive for COVID-19, what information can be shared with patients and their responsible parties?
A.
If a team member tests positive for COVID-19 or is under self-isolation, the name of the team member should not be shared with staff, patients or families. You should tell concerned individuals the following: “If a patient or team member tests positive for COVID-19, we are prepared to take appropriate action to deliver life-saving care while ensuring we protect our other patients who are critically ill and in a vulnerable state. In addition, out of an abundance of caution, we will monitor patients and team members for symptoms in compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.”

Q. What information can Kindred ask a team member regarding his/her health during this situation?
A.
As an employer, Kindred may ask if a team member is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, tiredness, cough or shortness of breath. We also can inquire about team member travel out of the country and between highly infected areas. If this information is maintained, it will be treated as confidential and only be available on a need-to-know basis.

Q. Can I look at a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR) to see if he/she has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
A.
You may ONLY look at a patient’s EMR if you are currently treating that patient. You MAY NOT look at the EMR of a patient who has not yet been admitted to see if he/she has been tested; the transferring facility will relay that information and site leadership will notify you if there is a risk of exposure. 

Q. What information can be shared with first responders?
A.
A facility may provide first responders with the names of those patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, a facility may (but is not required to) provide local 911 dispatch with a list of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and been discharged home.

Q. Can I post about a COVID-19 patient on social media to protect the public?
A.
NO, you may not post any information on social media related to a patient that is either being tested for COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Q. What can I do to help ensure my team members are successfully managing their personal and professional lives during this difficult time?
A.
It is important to support best practices and celebrate the hard work of the entire team during this uncertain time. Take time to recognize everyone’s efforts and thank your fellow team members often. In addition, it is vital to continue practicing good hygiene – at home and at work – in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, unless you are wearing appropriate protection.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you are not working, follow all local and state guidance related to staying home, avoiding gatherings, maintaining social distance and avoiding nonessential travel.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available), then throw the tissue in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS 

Q. What options do I have for taking a distribution from my Kindred 401(k) Plan account at this time?
A.
T. Rowe Price – the plan administrator for the Kindred 401(k) Plan – recently provided an update that the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allows a new penalty-free distribution of up to $100,000 during the 2020 calendar year to help qualified individuals meet urgent financial needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualified individuals include:

  • Anyone diagnosed with the virus.
  • Anyone whose spouse or dependents have been diagnosed with the virus.
  • Those experiencing “adverse financial consequences” from quarantine, furlough, layoffs, reduced work hours, inability to work due to lack of child-care, or the closing or reduced hours of a business owned or operated by the individual on account of COVID-19.

For more information, including assistance determining if you are qualified or to request a distribution, please contact T. Rowe Price at 1-800-922-9945.

Q. I had a questions related to compensation/PTO that I submitted to HR Help, and they provided guidance on my specific situation. Do I need to inform my supervisor of the answer they provided me?
A. Yes. If you receive guidance from HR Help regarding pay, time off, etc., please be sure to share those instructions with your direct supervisor so he/she is aware of your situation.

OTHER/GENERAL

Q. Are there any company resources available for team members experiencing financial distress?
A.
Yes, if you are facing catastrophic financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact your manager/supervisor or local HR representative so they can initiate a HOPE Fund request on your behalf.

The HOPE Fund is Kindred’s 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was established to provide support to team members facing a wide array of catastrophic events, ranging from natural disasters and unexpected medical issues, to homelessness and the loss of immediate family members. You can learn more by visiting the HOPE Fund page.

Q. I want to support my fellow team members who may be facing financial distress related to the pandemic; how can I help?
A.
One way to help support team members who are facing financial distress is to consider contributing to the HOPE Fund. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please complete the payroll deduction form that accepts one-time donations or ongoing payroll deductions. Once complete, please return the form by faxing it to 1-877-737-1924.

Q. Are there resources available for team members to help deal with stress and anxiety?
A.
Yes, there are several resources available for team members to help you and your family members cope with some of the emotional challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • For all team members:
    • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides free and confidential access to licensed professional counselors who can help you with stress, anxiety, depression and other challenges. EAP services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via phone at 800.854.1446 or online at www.unum.com/lifebalance
  • For team members enrolled in a Kindred medical plan:
    • Teladoc Telemedicine Services, which provides anytime, anywhere access to quality healthcare services by U.S. board-certified physicians via consultation conducted by phone or video. Consultations are available for a variety of non-emergency conditions, as well as behavioral health issues such as stress and depression. For more information about Teladoc, please visit www.teladoc.com or call 1.800.835.2362.
    • Healthy Steps Wellness Program, which offers several activities and coaching programs that can help you during this difficult time. You can access your personal Healthy Steps Wellness account at www.healthystepswellness.com or via www.kindredforme.com.

For more details on these resources, please review the Wellness and Well-Being flyer that was mailed to team members’ homes in mid-April 2020.

Q. Outside of work, what precautions should I be taking when it comes to grocery shopping, ordering takeout, running errands, etc.?
A.
It is important that you follow any orders, guidelines or recommendations issued by state or local officials for your immediate area, including those related to social distancing, avoiding gatherings, and postponing all non-essential travel. In addition, the CDC has recommendations for protecting yourself and others while performing tasks required to accomplish essential household tasks such as buying groceries and medicine, completing banking activities, and ordering takeout or receiving other deliveries. For most of us, this entails maintaining six-feet of social distancing in social encounters, and if not possible, wearing a cloth or paper mask. You can find the full list of CDC guidance on their website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/essential-goods-services.html

Q. As we enter the summer season and begin spending more time outdoors, are there concerns that COVID-19 can be spread via mosquitoes or ticks?
A.
According to the CDC, there is no current data that indicates COVID-19 is spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The primary way the virus spreads is from person-to-person droplets. For more information, please refer to the CDC’s guidance on how COVID-19 spreads.

Q. Can COVID-19 spread through pools, hot tubs, etc.?
A.
The CDC indicates that there is no current evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, etc., especially when proper disinfection of the water takes place. However, the CDC recommends that individuals follow all state, local, territorial, or tribal guidance that determines when and how public pools, hot tubs, and other venues may operate. Additionally, the CDC states individuals should continue to protect themselves and others in these settings by maintaining proper social distance – even when in the water—and wearing cloth face covers when not in the water. For more information about precautions related to pools and hot tubs, please refer to the CDC’s list of considerations for aquatic venues as well as guidance provided by your state, local, territorial, or tribal health officials.

Q. I have another PRN job for a company other than Kindred. Are there any restrictions about continuing to work in Kindred facilities if I have other PRN work where I go to non-Kindred healthcare facilities?
A. There currently are no restrictions for clinicians working at other locations as long as you are following CDC guidelines and taking precautions to limit exposure to COVID-19. During this time, we encourage team members to check with your site staffing manager as we may have additional hours available at some of our facilities.

Q. I am in a role in which I can effectively complete my primary duties while working remotely, and I have made arrangements with my supervisor to do so. Where can I find resources or information for technology assistance?
A. For team members who have made arrangements with their supervisor to work remotely, IS has established a site on Knect with information and technology support resources at: Knect > Support Center  > COVID-19 Remote Workforce FAQs. 

 


Kindred Rehabilitation Services (KRS)

CLINICAL

Q. What is the guidance on cleaning gait belts used in rehabilitation treatment?
A. There are three options related to ensuring gait belts remain clean and sanitary: 1) each patients utilizes his or her own gait belt that they do not share with anyone else; 2) launder the gait belts between each use; or 3) utilize gait belts that can be wiped down between use (plastic).

 


Hospital Division

CLINICAL

Q. A family has hired a private-duty sitter for a patient at our hospital. Given current restrictions on visitors, how should we handle private-duty sitters going forward?
A. If a private-duty sitter is already in place for a patient today, the sitter can continue his or her duties, but must be screened upon entrance to the facility like all other visitors. Any request for new private-duty sitters who are not already in place today should be based on medical need only. 

 


In addition, below are links with additional recommendations/precautions for the public regarding COVID-19: