Illingworth Research Group herewith provide a brief communique to update clients and stakeholders utilising Illingworth’s Research Nursing (RN) services on the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Illingworth continues to provide our services with minimal interruptions.
Travel and Logistics
- Illingworth RNs have been able to continue travelling within the limitations of regional restrictions. RNs are provided with appropriate documentation to support their travel. It should be noted that inter-state travel in the US has been impacted by state-by-state restrictions.
- RN travel has been impacted by both sites and patients refusing to allow travelling RNs to see their patients/enter their homes. Illingworth cannot always mitigate this risk with replacement RNs and visits have been impacted.
- Illingworth has on the whole, been able to source all equipment required to support RNs conducting off site nursing. There have been some delays with certain equipment including infusion pumps, due consideration should be given to requisition timelines when setting up home nursing.
- There is a shortage of dry ice globally however this is mitigated by the use of couriers bringing dry ice at the time of sample collection rather than individual RNs sourcing dry ice.
- Logistics issues have arisen as a result of BREXIT related issues and efforts are being made to mitigate these risks.
- Courier costs have been increased in some circumstances due to both COVID and BREXIT related issues, these costs will be passed through to the projects.
Research Nursing COVID-19 Guidelines:
- Illingworth does not currently provide RN services on COVID-19 trials.
- Illingworth has clear guidelines, based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and GOV.UK COVID guidelines, and training for RNs conducting off site nursing to protect both the patients and the RNs themselves. The guidelines/training cover:
- The circumstances under which an RN may or may not work on Illingworth projects. Essentially RNs exposed to COVID-19 patients will not be able to work on non-COVID-19 projects.
- Procedures in the event that an RN is considered to be exposed to COVID-19
- Procedures for the RNs to ensure that the patient and household members are not displaying signs of COVID-19 infection.
- PPE requirements
RN COVID vaccinations and testing:
- Illingworth cannot mandate that our RNs receive the COVID-19 vaccination however it is highly recommending and Illingworth tracks RN vaccination status where these data are available.
- Illingworth does NOT require that our RNs are regularly tested for COVID-19. A test only represents the RN’s status at a single point in time, good practice in terms of hand hygiene, personal symptom tracking, and appropriate PPE have ensured that COVID-19 infection rates in our RNs are extremely low.
- In the event that an RN tests positive for COVID-19 or displays symptoms of COVID-19, the RN will no longer be able to conduct off-site visits until return-to-work criteria are met. Illingworth may not be able to replace an RN at short notice, or additional travel expenses may be incurred as a result of a replacement RN having to travel further.
- Illingworth is noting an increase in testing of patients for COVID-19 within study protocols. Illingworth RNs can conduct a COVID-19 tests, tests must be provided by a central lab and provision made for reporting of the results as with any lab test. In the event that a patient tests positive, the RN guidelines will be referred to, to determine if the RN is considered to be exposed to COVID-19. In the event that an immediate test is used and the patient tests positive the protocol must specify exactly how the patient should be managed, this strategy must be determined in conjunction with Illingworth as our default position will be the immediate termination of the visit to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
- In circumstances where patients are required to travel to site for clinical trial participation, burden can be reduced on patients by utilising Illingworth’s Patient Concierge Services. It should be noted that COVID-19 patients can be supported by this service.