Wellness checkpoints

 

We have implemented the wellness checkpoint screening process at sites nationally for all employees, contractors, donors, visitors and volunteers. This process is in place to protect the health and safety of our teams, donors and to maintain our essential operations. Please take a moment to review what you can expect when entering a Canadian Blood Services site. If you have questions, please speak with your  facilities manager. 

FAQ: Wellness screening

How are employees being screened in donor centres?

It is important for our employees who are working on the front line to know that Canadian Blood Services is being proactive to mitigate the risk to both employees and donors. We have implemented the Wellness Checkpoint screening process at sites nationally to now include screening of all employees, contractors, donors, visitors and volunteers. Employees are asked to comply with the Wellness Checkpoint process and to inform their contractors of the Wellness Checkpoint.

In addition, a number of provisions are in effect to ensure that the employees working in our donor centres are healthy.

  • Employees are being asked to monitor their symptoms. Any employee who is sick, including but not limited to those who develop flu-like symptoms, is instructed to stay away from the workplace.
  • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms are being asked to contact their physician and public health agency for direction on whether it is safe to come into work.
  • Any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 would not return to work until they are fully recovered and cleared to do so by public health and EHS.
  • Any employee who is sick will be paid at their regular rate of pay for hours that would otherwise be worked, even if they would normally not have paid sick leave, or have paid sick leave that is less than their regular rate of pay
  • Employees do not need to provide medical documentation to their managers
  • Employees must follow the Public Health Agency of Canada advice to self-isolate for 14 days if returning from international travel. They are not expected to report to work under these circumstances. 
What changes have been implemented to streamline the wellness checkpoint process for employees?

1. Change in Access points: At some sites, employees may be re-directed to the main entrance in order to complete the wellness checkpoint.

2. Designated entrances: Employees must enter the building as directed to complete the wellness checkpoint. General access from other entrances such a side or back doors, is not prohibited. At sites where there are secondary entrances that are essential to our operations, use will be restricted to essential only.

3. Sites without reception or security guards: If you are the first to enter a building or the only individual on-site, you must complete self-screen at the wellness checkpoint

I have a cough due to a pre-existing condition. I am concerned that if I answer “yes” to having a cough at the wellness checkpoint that I will not be permitted to enter the building even through it isn’t related to COVID-19. What should I do?

Some employees may have COVID-like symptoms that are caused by another medical issue such as allergies or asthma. A declaration from their physician will need to be provided to Employee Health Services in order for a letter to be issued advising that they are safe to report to work and can pass through the wellness checkpoint. Employees should bring the letter with them each time they report to work and may be required to wear a mask during their shift. For more information, please speak with your supervisor.

If an employee cannot obtain a letter from their Doctor because of a variety of reasons, we ask that they stay home until they are able to do so. To avoid unnecessary trips outside of the home, we understand that health care providers may be able to email EHS with the letter.

Why was a decision made to implement the wellness check questionnaire via a poster before approaching the wellness check station?

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness checkpoints were one of the many measures implemented to keep our teams and donors safe and protect our essential operations. 

As we, as an organization, continue to adapt to evolving information on the virus, these measures are being consistently reviewed to ensure we can continue to safely deliver on our promise to patients and improve the donor and employee experience. 

On September 21, 2020, the following change was rolled-out regarding the facilitation of the wellness checks at both donor and employee wellness checkpoints: 

  • Employees working at the wellness checkpoints will no longer be required to read the wellness-check questionnaire to each individual entering our sites. 
  • Instead, before entering our sites, individuals will be asked to read the questionnaire on a large poster prior to approaching the wellness checkpoint. 
  • If the individual answers “YES” to any of the questions, they will be advised that they are unable to enter our sites and will be encouraged to return when they can answer “NO” to all of the questions. 
  • If the individual answers “NO” to all of the questions and receives an acceptable temperature reading, they will be permitted to enter our sites for further screening. 

As information on the virus continues to evolve, we are constantly looking at ways to safely improve efficiencies as well as the donor and employee experience. We anticipate that this change will contribute to the following: 

  • Maintain safety by reducing donor/employee contact with individuals who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or who have travelled outside the province in the last 14 days. 
  • Improve donor experience by allowing donors to self-postpone their donation in advance of entering our sites. 
  • Improve employee experience by simplifying the process and reducing the repetitive nature of the questions at the wellness checkpoint. 
  • Provide a consistent approach for both employees and donors. 
  • Provide a consistent approach for both employees and donors.
Will a donor be deferred for a specific period of time if they answer “YES” to any of the wellness check questions?

No. The wellness check supports our efforts to make sure those who enter Canadian Blood Services’ sites are healthy, but they should not be mistaken for donor eligibility requirements. 

The wellness check is intended to help limit the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our facilities by making sure that individuals are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms before they enter. 

Health symptoms listed in the wellness check such as nausea or fever can change day-to-day. For this reason, donors and employees may return as early as the next day to retake the questionnaire if they are feeling healthy. 

Donors and employees are reminded that if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, they should remain home and consider not coming to a Canadian Blood Services site until they are feeling healthy. This is to protect the safety of our teams, donors, and our essential operations. 

How are we supporting those who are visually impaired to read the wellness check questionnaire poster?

To provide support, our teams will always work hard to accommodate donors who are visually impaired by taking the time to read through the questionnaire. 

Who should I contact if I have questions/concerns?

For donor-related questions or concerns, please reach out to collectionandcliniclogisticsquestions@blood.ca.

For employee safety questions or concerns, please contact OH&S.

For all other inquiries, please contact communications@blood.ca or visit blood.ca/employees for more information.

FAQ: Employee temperature checks

How do I administer an employee temperature check?

When a security guard is present, they will take the temperatures of staff, volunteers and contractors using the infrared thermometer.  

When no security guard is present, employees, volunteers and contractors will take their own temperature with the infrared thermometer.   

Please read take a moment to read our step-by-step guide on how to take your own temperature for detailed information on the process.   

Additional supplies required for employee temperature checks, such as gloves, cleaning supplies and printed instructions, will be provided to you by facilities at the wellness checkpoint. 

What do I do if my temperature is too high? (38 degrees Celsius or above)

If you do not meet the requirements of the wellness checkpoint, including temperature, your name will be entered in the Denied Entry Log by the employee staffing the checkpoint.  If there is no one staffing the wellness checkpoint, you will need to complete the log yourself.  Anyone who is denied entry due to a high temperature may come back the following day, if they feel well.  

What do I do if my temperature is high?

If you do not meet the requirements of the wellness checkpoint, including temperature, your name will be entered in the Denied Entry Log by the employee staffing the checkpoint.  If there is no one staffing the wellness checkpoint, you will need to complete the log yourself.  Anyone who is denied entry due to a high temperature may come back the following day, if they feel well. 

May I retake my temperature?

Unless there was a technical problem with the initial measure or if the person is still hot from exertion or due to the warm environmental conditions, temperature should be taken only once.  The infrared thermometer is very reliable and accurate, if an employee temperature is high they cannot enter our facility but may come back the following day if they are feeling well.  

If I return from break - do I need to retake my temperature?

No, we will only do a temperature check once per day per staff member. The check will be done when a person first enters the facility. There is no need to be rechecked if an employee steps out for a break or lunch. Simply acknowledge the screener at the wellness checkpoint, if one is present, as you reenter the site. 

What is the process for staff boarding life buses?

Employee temperature checks must be administered prior to staff boarding our buses. Infrared devices will be available at muster points.  

Why is the threshold for employees 38.0°C and for donors it is 37.5°C?

Our medical team has validated that COVID-19 related fever as anything at 38.0°C or higher. 

The threshold for donors is more stringent for a couple reasons. First, an oral thermometer may register a cooler reading and second more stringent guidelines ensure we limit the risk of infection in the blood we provide to patients. 

Why are we providing infrared thermometers to employees and not donors?

Temperature checks are a longstanding requirement for blood donation. This practice is not a new COVID-19 mitigation measure, it is a policy that ensures individuals are healthy enough to donate blood. 

We are constantly reviewing our practices to ensure they are consistent with the latest science, government regulations and advice from public health. 

We began investigating alternative devices last year. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 there was a significant surge in demand as temperature screening and monitoring became important. The supply of these devices started to catch up with demand earlier this year.  

We are in the process of securing a contactless solution, but it will require an assessment of the technology available to ensure we are meeting operational needs as well as regulatory requirements. 

While this process is underway, we are confident that the safety mitigations in place such as disinfecting thermometers thoroughly between uses, mandatory surgical masks, physical distancing, wellness checkpoints, physical barriers and enhanced cleaning are appropriate to keep our teams and donors safe.

Donor Temperature Checks

Temperature checks are a mandatory part of wellness screening at Canadian Blood Services for donors, employees and volunteers. As of June 21, we will use touchless infrared thermometers to check the temperature of donors at the wellness checkpoint. The temperature will not be recorded and will determine if the donor is able to proceed through the donation process. Oral thermometers will move to the donor screening to take the temperature of record to determine eligibility to donate. 

Why are you taking donor temperatures at the wellness checkpoint, then again in the private screening rooms?

Since the launch of the donor wellness checkpoint, we have been screening donor’s health by taking their temperature with oral thermometers and recording the temperature on paper for donors to bring with them to donor screening. This was to ensure the donor was not entering our collection events with an elevated temperature and risking the health of our employees, volunteers and other donors.

We are in the process of securing contactless thermometers that will allow for a quicker, touchless method of taking donor temperatures. The temperature will not be recorded at the wellness check but will determine if the donor is able to proceed through the rest of the donation process.

Health Canada requires that the donor’s temperature is taken and recorded as a critical donation eligibility step to ensure the blood donated is safe for transfusion. To support this, oral temperature taking is still required and will be done at the time of donor screening in the private screening rooms, where there is an acrylic barrier between the employee and the donor in addition to mandatory masks

I don’t feel comfortable with donors taking their mask off in the enclosed screening room, even after passing the wellness check.

The implementation of contactless temperature taking is to quickly assess donor health before they enter our facilities. Because Health Canada requires that all donor temperatures are recorded to ensure the blood donated is safe for transfusion, oral temperature will be taken inside the private screening room. We have taken measures to ensure donors and employees are safe in the private screening rooms, such as installed acrylic barriers and the requirement for employees to wear masks.

Why didn’t we implement contactless thermometers for donors sooner? Why is the implementation of the Health Canada approved devices taking so long? When do we anticipate the devices we intend to use permanently will be approved?

When we started the search last year for a contactless thermometer with a medical device license, there was a shortage of these devices. As we continue our submission process with Health Canada to permanently replace our oral thermometer devices with non-contact infrared thermometers (NCIT), we are temporarily changing the way we take temperatures of donors at the wellness checkpoint.

Why don’t we just wait for Health Canada approval on the permanent devices, instead of changing the process twice and potentially causing donor confusion?

Making improvements to our process and the donor experience is a priority. We hope they would see this change as a positive one.

What do we say to donors who don’t understand why we are taking their temperature twice? (don’t understand our “temp of record” issue)

Please inform them that the implementation of a contactless temperature taking device is to quickly assess donor health before they enter our facilities. Because Health Canada requires that a donor temperature is recorded to ensure the blood donated is safe for transfusion, oral temperature will be taken inside the private screening room.

The NCIT’s don’t show a red/green screen to alert a high or low temperature. Do I tell the donor their temperature at the wellness check?

No, unless they ask. If the temperature is 37.5 degrees or less, simply let the donor know they may proceed. If the temperature is higher they cannot pass the wellness check and must be informed they will not be able to proceed.

Sometimes the donor temperature is different at the wellness checkpoint than in screening. Why?

Oral thermometers and infrared contactless thermometers use different technologies and different locations on the body to measure an individual’s core temperature. Some variation of temperature readings between the two devices can be expected. Also, if the individual is warm or cool because of the ambient temperature outside or due to recent exercise or activity this may have a temporary impact on their temperature.

What do we do when a donor passes the wellness checkpoint but has an elevated temperature in screening?

The temperature given by the Carescape oral thermometer is the temperature of record in order for the blood donation to proceed. If it is higher than acceptable for the donor to be eligible to donate a blood donation, then the donor must be deferred.

Are we putting employees at a greater risk for isolation and contracting COVID by asking donors to take off their masks twice during the process?

Donors will only take off their masks at the wellness check if they have passed the initial infrared temperature read. When the donor is asked to remove their mask for the oral temperature check in the private screening room, all safety measures will be followed, including mandatory mask worn by the employee and an acrylic barrier between the donor care associate and the donor.

How do we take temperatures of donors who are wearing a head covering?

As the temperature device must be aimed between the eyebrows, head coverings generally do not cover that area. A toque or beanie would have to be pulled back to expose the area.

Why can’t you take my temperature somewhere other than forehead? (i.e. wrist)

The approved device is only designed for use on the forehead and we must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Will we use the same NCIT devices to take temperatures for both employees and donors at the wellness checkpoint? Does this new NCIT device have better accuracy than the current device used for employees?

Employees will continue using the current devices supplied. For sites that do not have a separate employee wellness checkpoint, the NCIT device for donors can be used to take the temperature of employees at the wellness checkpoint.