Written by Dr. Lucy Andrews
While we are living in a whole new world it seems mostly from indoors. We forget or push down the daily life routines and needs as we adjust to the “new way” forward. The reality is, while this too shall pass, it will not go back to what was. Time does move forward, and if you were thinking about getting care for a loved one and didn’t think the time was right, think again. Our family members who are at high risk for the virus are at risk for other health issues flaring up. We worry every day that self-isolation can be a problem for seniors in general, and now, with a national isolation process in place this becomes more and more of an issue.
So what can you do to ease your mind and care for a family member, a loved one who may live alone or has a spouse or partner who is also at high risk? The answer is simple, to get help to manage their care. Get help to avoid isolation and self-neglect, get help so that you have peace of mind that your loved one is eating properly, that they have enough food and medicine to last, that they are getting access to their physicians and other medical providers. Well, that sounds easy right! Know that as little as 12 hours a week can make all the difference in how our family and loves ones fare during this unprecedented time.
Now the question is how do I choose a safe option for my loved one? The questions we asked when looking for care before COVID 19 are NOW different than the questions we need to be asking now in this new world.
So here are a few that might help guide you to the best option for your loved one’s care.
1. How can you help to keep my loved one safe at home?
2. How do I know your staff is safe to come into our home?
3. What precautions are you taking to keep your staff safe?
4. Do you use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during a visit?
5. What is your process if my family member starts to feel sick with the symptoms of COVID 19?
There are the top questions I would ask when looking at an agency, or yes, even a private hire care staff (who you are now the employer of) do they have the PPE they need?
Here are the types of responses that you want to hear from an agency or private hire:
1. We are doing everything in our power to keep your loved one safe. We have created a pre-visit check-in that all Care Professionals follow each and every visit. This includes having the staff follow the CDC guidelines for masks (all clients and all staff). We supply PPE for every client and staff member that will be in your home for each care professional who is there and we use the 12-hour requirement to try and minimize having a large pool of different Care Professionals in your home.
2. Each of the staff takes and records their temperature before every visit. We ask each Care Professional where they have traveled and if they have any flu symptoms. We take them off a shift before they ever enter your home if they have any health issues! We have expanded our sick leave policies so staff can be assured of pay if they are ill and that they will not hesitate to call if they are not feeling well for any reason.
3. We do constant education on the evolving world and have tried staff on the best handwashing techniques infection control and how to put on and take off PPE after a visit to your home. We are ready to go we are set with protective equipment and we are ready to serve you and your loved ones.
4. We supply PPE enough for each care Professional use for each visit and for you the client if you suddenly do not feel well. Additionally, we have Care Professionals ready to work so if a Care Pro calls off sick we have staff available! We are ready to serve our clients and their families we are providing safe care and we can help!
5. We have an immediate process in place when a client is not feeling well and seems to have symptoms of COVID 29 or the flu and we put the full administrative functions around getting care, access to testing and medical care in the shortest amount of time possible when we can. We have a whole chain of event s that goes into place to ensure as best that we can the safety and care of your loved one and at the same time protect the staff who are caring for them.
So these are the types of questions you should be asking a new home care agency or private hire about what are they doing right now to make care accessible and safe so your loved one can stay at home and be safe. If you need more information, or resources in our community call us, email us, and we can help you get the services and care your loved one and you might need in this new world. Be safe out there.
Dr. Lucy Andrews
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