CEO Update | Universal Pandemic Precautions at our U.S. locations

CEO Update | Universal Pandemic Precautions at our U.S. locations

Fellow Caregivers,

Cold and flu season is fast approaching. This will introduce new complexities as we protect you and our patients from COVID-19.

We are adopting Universal Pandemic Precautions to reduce risk of transmitting pathogens. Here are the latest changes to protect caregivers:

  • Last week, we began requiring ear loop or surgical masks.
  • Today, we announced another layer of protection — face shields on top of masks in clinical areas. Please read the guidelines carefully.
  • We are implementing these precautions in every Cleveland Clinic U.S. location. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Our temperature screening stations play a vital role in keeping everyone safe. As we care for more patients, we will ask other caregivers across the organization to help staff our stations. If you are asked, I hope you will answer the call for this important role.

We had tremendous participation in our Lift Every Voice sessions, which created a safe environment for caregivers to discuss issues of racism and bias. On our journey to end racism, we now offer anti-racist allyship training to caregivers. Register for an upcoming session.

Our community outreach efforts address racism as a public health crisis. Celebrate Sisterhood, a popular program for minority women, provides education and resources to stay healthy during these unprecedented times. Linda Bradley, MD, released a new webinar in the series about systemic racism affecting healthcare. Watch the webinar.

As an inclusive organization, we value people of all backgrounds and abilities. We join the nation in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act continues to have a transformative effect on employment opportunities, accessibility of spaces and improvements to technology.

Our Hero of the Week embodies the skill and compassion of nursing. Chelsea Kelly, RN, recently stopped her car to assist a man suffering a massive heart attack in his yard. It would turn out that man was the father-in-law of another Cleveland Clinic caregiver.

Chelsea administered CPR while coaching the man’s wife on rescue breaths. Her life-saving intervention allowed the man to be transported to main campus. Now that he is recovering at home, our patient and his wife expressed thanks in this video.

True to her calling, Chelsea also shares gratitude in helping another. “This experience confirmed my belief that I am in the right profession and made me see how much I love being a nurse,” Chelsea says. “We are all one big family.”

Thank you for your dedication.

 Dr. Mijahlevic |  Cleveland Clinic

Tom Mihaljevic, MD
CEO and President

Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP), including use of face shields, adopted across U.S. locations

Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP), including use of face shields, adopted across U.S. locations

Our priority throughout this pandemic is the safety of our patients and caregivers. As we live with COVID-19 and see cases rise, we continue to adopt best practices that limit our caregivers and patients’ exposure to COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Recent evidence supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP) in a healthcare setting prevents transmission in clinical areas during seasons where multiple respiratory viruses are circulating simultaneously. As a result, we are implementing UPP protocols.

What are Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP)?

UPP are protocols that reduce risk of transmitting pathogens (e.g., COVID-19, influenza) by direct or indirect contact with respiratory droplets from symptomatic, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. UPP helps keep caregivers safe by adding layers of protection from transmission.

Elements of UPP include ear loop face or surgical masks, which were adopted last week, as well as use of face shields, which go into effect for all caregivers who enter a clinical area at a Cleveland Clinic facility in the United States on July 30. Florida caregivers have already started wearing face shields.

Use of face shields

All caregivers who enter a clinical area will be required to wear face shields, in addition to ear loop or surgical masks. (Caregivers at our Florida and Nevada locations should refer to communications from their leadership for details specific to their facilities.)

Clinical areas are spaces where patients are examined and/or provided care, treatment or therapy. These spaces include nursing units, radiology, phlebotomy and physical or occupational therapy. Clinical areas do not include building entrances, cafeterias, etc. Below are details and more resources for proper use, disinfection and storage of face shields:

  • Caregivers who enter a clinical area will be provided with a face shield to use. Face shields will be located in the supply rooms on the clinical units at the facility. 
  • The face shield should be labeled with a caregiver’s name prior to first use.
  • Caregivers should don a face shield when entering a clinical area and doff it as they leave the clinical area. Exceptions to this would include traveling from one clinical area directly to another.  
  • Each face shield will be extended use while the caregiver is working in any clinical area.
  • Caregivers should disinfect their face shield any time it is doffed, and store it in a clean manner for reuse.
  • Refer to our Cleaning and Disinfection of Extended Use Face Shields resource for more information.

Goggles/eyewear are an acceptable alternative in areas where clinically indicated or department provided (i.e., Operating Room, Emergency Department or procedural area).  

Emergency Departments will maintain their current Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) practices. For Behavioral Health units, follow your department protocols. Interventional Radiology, Cath Labs, operating rooms and other procedural areas should contact their local Infection Preventionist to clarify how these changes affect their PPE.

We appreciate our caregivers’ understanding as we continue to adapt during this evolving pandemic.

Additional resources