You know how vulnerable clients feel these days, especially those with pre-existing conditions who are also over the age of 60. Many of those pre-existing conditions require regular care, and this same population is struggling to balance the requirements of staying at home with getting the care they need.
The best cure for fear is solid and actionable information. And while it’s important to establish good hygiene practices and social distancing, essential maintenance for existing medical issues can’t be overlooked.
In the article “In-Home Care During Covid-19 Crisis” over at AARP, the organization drives the point home that it is vital to continue home care services that will help keep clients healthy, safer, and out of the ER. In fact, many clients who otherwise might have received care in-clinic or at the hospital can have those services delivered in their homes instead, at least on a temporary basis.
To support clients’ overall sense of wellbeing and health, you can place control in their hands with this 11-point checklist designed to minimize their risk while receiving at-home care. Share it with clients, and encourage its use as a step-by-step guide to ease minds and keep more clients safe.
Before your in-home care providers arrives:
- Call your home care service provider and ask what regular steps they take to ensure you and their staff are all protected. Be sure to ask:
- Do they touch base with staff daily to check exposure to others with COVID-19?
- Do they run daily screenings with staff for temperature and symptoms?
- Do they call ahead to ensure the clients they serve are symptom-free?
- Ask: what is the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocol?
- Do they change uniform coverings, gloves, masks and any other protective gear between visits with clients?
- Ask: is your in-home care provider getting extra help from staff splitting time between in-home and hospitals? In the article “Are Vital Home Health Workers Now a Safety Threat?” over at Kaiser Health News, recent studies have shown that there is an uptick in demand for at-home care services, and many nurses and nursing assistants are working extra hours in multiple health care settings.
Temporary providers who come from clinics or hospital facilities can be more aware of the CDC protocol than those working solely for the in-home services. Wherever your provider comes from, ask if the training at your in-home care service is consistent for all staff, both permanent and temporary.
- Assess the essential services you need delivered in your home and what can be handled with telemedicine. You can work with your in-home care service and physician to find the balance between obtaining what is required while tracking the rest with telemedicine services between essential visits. By striking the right mix, the doctor and client can be assured that the care is being met.
Home Health Companions offers a virtual service assessment for clients in determining the best mix on a case-by-case basis, and also continues to evaluate options and best-practices as the situation and client needs evolve.
While your at-home care provider is in your home:
- Ensure your caregiver covers their shoes upon entering your home, then washes their hands initially and then frequently throughout the visit.
- Ensure you and all others at home wear masks during the visit to protect everyone.
- Maintain the 6-feet social distancing protocol between the care provider and others in the home who are not receiving care.
- The care provider should abstain from any unnecessary actions such as hugging or handshakes to reduce physical contact.
- Only the materials for care should be brought inside the home.
In between home health care visits:
- After your provider leaves, wash your hands as well as any surface in your home where the home care provider had contact.
- Monitor your health metrics between home care visits to keep a record.
For hospitals, clinics and retirement communities, it’s important to have a candid conversation with each client that addresses anxiety about the pandemic in relation to specific health issues, as well as the relief in-home care can bring.
Factor in the heightened sense of isolation your clients may feel at this time, too, to assess if home care and telemedicine are needed to support this issue as well. At-home care is uniquely positioned at this time to help clients who are physically isolated feel less emotionally isolated as a product. Companionship, after all, is a vital requirement for whole health.
You can make the difference in countering the weight of helplessness with an actionable and attainable plan. Get ahead of fear or expectations with each client. And remember, most of what we’re living now will likely be part of a new normal for the foreseeable future, and many clients haven’t yet come to take that fully in. The steps taken today, however, will likely be the habits we all observe going forward for the safety of clients and staff alike.