Seniors and those with many types of underlying medical conditions, such as chronic respiratory illness, are most at risk for contracting COVID-19. For this reason, the CDC is continuing to recommend that those at risk stay at home. It is imperative to understand that although these people are following the recommendations, and avoiding social contact, many still require services from in-home care providers. There are several important steps that you can take in preparation for outside caregivers to come to your home to provide essential services.
What to Expect From In-Home Care Providers
It is extremely important to know that your home care agency and all staff members are taking all of the appropriate steps and implementing all preventative measures necessary to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among their peers, their communities and their clients. They all understand that it is imperative that they protect their most vulnerable population. So, for this reason, there may be days when you generally expect your in-home care provider to stop for a visit; however, visits may be reduced for your health and safety as well as the health and safety of your caregiver. Many visits are now being replaced with frequent phone calls, so if you feel as though you must have an in-person visit, relay this to your in-home care giver and they will discuss the steps that both you and your provider will take before, during and after the visit.
What to Do Before, During and After a Visit from In-Home Provider
Before your in-home caregiver arrives be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and if you are physically able, use a disinfectant cleaner to wipe off all door handles that your caregiver may come in contact with, including the entry door handle, bathroom door handle and bedroom door handle. If the caregiver will have access to a medicine box or kitchen cabinet where medications are stored, be sure to wipe these off as well. Before opening the door for your caregiver to enter your home, put on a mask and check to make sure they also have on a mask before entering.
During your visit, maintain social distance as much as possible. For instance, if your caregiver has arrived to prepare a meal or to drop off groceries, avoid being in the same room unless absolutely necessary. If you cough or sneeze during the visit, make sure to do so in your inner elbow and wash hands immediately afterwards. Do not shake hands or hug your caregiver, understand that this isn’t meant to be offensive; it is simply meant to keep you both safe and healthy. Unless absolutely necessary do not touch the in-home caregiver; if they need to do a treatment or procedure, such as take your temperature or blood pressure, do not touch your face, take measures to prevent them from touching your face and request them to wash their hands afterwards or use hand sanitizer.
After the in-home caregiver has left, it’s recommended that you change your clothes, make sure to either put the clothing in the washer or in a basket away from your immediate area and don’t forget to remove your mask and place it in the washer as well. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Use a disinfecting cloth to wipe down the entry door handle and all areas that were touched by the caregiver and in the immediate area of where the caregiver sat or stood.
This is a difficult time for everyone, especially those who are home-bound and/or depend on their in-home caregiver for helping with chores, cooking, hygiene and companionship. If you are able to move around, consider going outside in the yard or just to sit on your porch for a few minutes each day; the fresh air will do wonders for your emotions. Stay in contact with friends, family and your in-home caregiver by telephone or other electronic devices. Your in-home caregiver misses the time with you as much as you miss the time with them and things will return to “normal”, but in the meantime remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, eat healthy foods and stay positive.
If you have any questions or concerns about in-home caregiver services, please contact 1st Meridian Care Services.