In-Home Caregivers Take Heed with this Advice
COVID-19 Advice for In-Home Caregivers
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chrysalis Spectrum recognizes the concern and care that in-home caregivers and clients express. We want to take a moment to provide some advice that will hopefully ease the tension that individuals and families feel.
Caring for Someone with COVID-19
If you are caring for a person diagnosed with COVID-19, it’s important to protect yourself and others. The CDC provides a list of symptoms related to Coronavirus and offers suggestions for what in-home caregivers can do. This information also applies to people who test positive but experience no symptoms.
Health Note: Older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at more risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People at increased risk should call their doctors as soon as they experience symptoms.
In-Home Caregivers: Help Cover Basic Needs
• Help the person with COVID-19 follow their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine. Oftentimes, symptoms last a few days and people start to feel better after a week.
• Ensure the ill individual drinks a lot of fluids and gets plenty of rest.
• See whether over-the-counter medications for fever help to make the individual more comfortable.
• Take care of any pets and limit contact between the ill person and their pets when possible.
• Help them with errands, such as grocery shopping and filling prescriptions. Have items delivered by service whenever possible.
Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs
• Utilize the CDC’s self-checker tool to make decisions about appropriate medical care.
• Keep their doctor’s phone number on hand.
• Call the doctor if their condition worsens. In an emergency, ensure the 911 dispatcher knows the person might have COVID-19.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
Watch for emergency COVID-19 warning signs. For in-home caregivers, seek emergency medical care for your client when they show any of these signs:
• New confusion
• Trouble breathing
• Bluish tones in the lips or face
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• Inability to stay awake
Please note that this list does not include all possible systems. When your client is experiencing other severe symptoms that concern you, call their doctor. Notify them that you are seeking care for someone who may have COVID-19.
How Can In-Home Caregivers Protect Themselves While Caring for Someone with COVID-19?
As in-home caregivers, it is important to understand your limitations when it comes to caring for someone who may have COVID-19. The virus spreads easily from person to person, and it is crucial to take precautions as you care for your clients.
Limit Contact When Possible
COVID-19 spreads between people in close contact, roughly 6 feet. Typically, it spreads through respiratory droplets created when someone speaks, sneezes, or coughs. When possible, an in-home caregiver should not be someone at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
When possible, it is important that the sick individual use a separate bathroom and bedroom. Establish a “sick room” away from others when space allows, and try to stay at least 6 feet away from them at all times. When in a shared space, ensure that the room has a good airflow by opening windows to increase circulation. Improving ventilation in the space can also help to remove respiratory droplets from the air.
It is also important to avoid having visitors. This is especially true for any individual at a higher risk for severe illness.
Face Covers and Gloves for In-Home Caregivers
The individual with COVID-19 should wear a cloth face covering when around other people at home and out. This includes visits to the doctor’s office. A cloth face covering can help to prevent the spread of the virus to others. It contains the respiratory droplets and prevents them from reaching other people.
However, cloth facing coverings should not be placed on young children (under 2 years), those with trouble breathing, or individuals who cannot remove it without help. This information should not be abused by individuals who find masks uncomfortable.
For in-home caregivers, it is important to wear gloves when you have contact with the sick person. Immediately dispose of the gloves in a lined trash can after use and wash your hands right away. Ask your client to put on their mask or cloth face covering before you enter the room.
You may also wish to wear a face-covering throughout the day. This will limit the potential spread of the virus once you leave your client’s home. To avoid getting sick, practice everyday preventive actions:
• Clean your hands often
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
• Frequently clean and disinfect services
In-Home Caregivers Should Track Their Own Health for COVID-19
While caring for someone who is sick, in-home caregivers should stay home as much as possible and monitor their own health for COVID-19 symptoms. Continue to stay home when the care is complete and try to isolate for 14 days after close contact with someone ill with COVID-19.
Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and cough. However, other symptoms may be present. Trouble breathing is a serious warning sign to seek medical attention. If you are having trouble breathing, call 911. Notify your doctor about your symptoms before you go in. They will inform you of their procedures.