3/18/20 - Message for Division of Rehabilitation Services Customers – Home Services Program

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Dear HSP Customer,

The following guidance is based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommendations for prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus of 2019 disease (COVID-19). DHS encourages you to monitor guidance available through the CDC and IDPH.

Please note that the Home Services Program (HSP) may take precautionary measures regarding any local office visits, upcoming redeterminations, or current referrals you may have scheduled. HSP hopes to ensure the health and safety of both you and our team members. To do so, you may be asked several questions pertaining to your health, environment, and/or travel history should you contact your local DRS office.

HSP would recommend taking extra precaution by thoroughly screening any service providers before entering your home and allowing close contact. Please see the reverse side of this document for guidance on what to ask your service providers before allowing them to work.

Upon request and prior approval from your HSP Counselor, you may receive a one-time deep cleaning service which will not impact your monthly Service Plan Hours or services.

What if my Provider is sick or refuses to work? HSP recommends planning. Preparation is key to ensuring your health and safety are covered:

  • Ensure you have an ample number of Providers available. You can sign up a family or friend for back up assistance in times of emergency or utilize a Homemaker Agency.
  • Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to see if they would be able to assist in the event of an emergency, should your Provider not show up for work.
  • Maintain a stock of non-perishable foods that you can open and consume. Maintain a stock of supplies such as hygiene products or convenience products.
  • If you use medications, sign up for prescription drug delivery or see if family or friends are able to assist in getting your prescriptions.
  • To reduce the risk of back up providers or family and friends transmitting or contracting illnesses, follow the guidance on the back of this document. Emphasize the importance of sanitizing before touching you and wearing masks and gloves if needed.

Remember, you are the Provider's employer. If the Provider chooses not to work if they are not ill or showing symptoms, you can act on that Provider's choices. However, if the Provider is showing or claiming any symptoms, safety is priority and they should not report to work.

Resources available to maintain current information regarding COVID-19:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - www.cdc.gov
  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) - http://dph.illinois.gov, (800) 889-3931, DPH.SICK@illinois.gov
  • Call your local DRS office for assistance with rescheduling an assessment or questions regarding additional or back up Individual Providers

Please use the following information before and/or during your service providers' in-home visit to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19


Before a provider arrives for a shift or enters the home, ask…

  • In the last 14 days…
    • Have you traveled to a location where COVID-19 has been diagnosed or suspected?
    • Have you had close contact with persons who have traveled to a location where COVID-19 has bee diagnosed or suspected
    • Have you been sick with the cold or the flu or other respiratory illnesses
    • Have you been around people who have been or are sick with the cold or flu?
  • In the last 7 days…
    • Have you had, or currently have, a fever, nausea and vomiting, or diarrhea?

If yes was answered to any of these questions, it is recommended you utilize your back up provider for at least 14 days from when the service providers' symptoms began.

Practice Good Hygiene

Encourage providers to...

  • Avoid physical contact when possible
  • Maintain a 6-foot radius from people in the home
  • Clean hands on arrival and throughout their shift
  • Avoid touching your or their face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with arm
  • Disinfect common surfaces regularly
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting A/C or furnace

Food Safety

With food and/or groceries…

  • Do not share food with providers or family members
  • Do not share utensils or dishes with providers or family members
  • Ensure your provider or family member practice strict hygiene when preparing food

Individuals with Vulnerabilities

Consider extra precautions…

  • For individuals with underlying conditions including heart, lung, kidney disease; diabetes; and immune system suppression
  • Have healthy people act as if they were a risk to the individual with underlying conditions (follow good hygiene)
  • If possible, provide protected space for vulnerable household members
  • Ensure all utensils and surface are cleaned regularly

Sick Family Members (not with COVID-19)

To avoid illness or potential complications to you or the provider…

  • Give sick members their own room if possible
  • Ask them to wear gloves and surgical masks
  • If multiple people are in the house, have only one person (not the provider) care for the sick individual

If you develop symptoms related to COVID-19, please contact your medical provider. If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, you may contact the Illinois COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@illinois.gov.