The COVID-19 is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges that every state of the U.S. is facing with the number of active cases surging every day.
As more and more people are getting affected by the impact of the novel coronavirus across the United States, agencies need to ensure they aren’t underprepared for the pandemic and its consequences.
While President Trump recently said that the federal government’s guidelines for social distancing would be lasting until April 30th; it’ll surely impact the entire home care industry.
Since many home care workers are already thinking they are underpaid, things become quite challenging for the agencies to manage the situation efficiently.
On the other hand, the majority of caregivers aren’t adequately prepared or have enough information to manage care in this critical situation.
It becomes necessarily crucial for the agencies to take charge of adequate training of the caregivers along with the assurance of proper supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
In a consistent effort to make for this situation, here we’ve compiled some practices that home care agencies need to follow during the COVID-19 outbreak. Go through this checklist that would aid flawless caring for your clients and caregivers.
Before Caregivers Visit a Client
Agencies need to plan the overall delivery of care for clients with diverse care needs. One needs to alter the care plan for most of the clients seeking care for daily chores.
Here’s what needs to be done
Explore Remote Care options: There could be several care options when it comes to daily chores and guidance for the seniors.
If your clients are facing issues related to health and unable to figure out what they can do, you can guide them regarding the same over a phone call.
This would help in managing the situation for the time until you reach them for support. This would help the caregivers in managing crucial time for attending the ones who are in an urgent need.
Ensure Your Staff is Well Trained: Each caregiver working for your agency must know how to deal with a client who is quarantined or having the infection.
You should arrange training sessions for the individuals that enable them to deal with a situation efficiently without any chance of getting infected.
Go through the Client Travel History: In most of the cases, the ones with a travel history of the affected area are prone to the infection. The agencies need to collect the entire information from the clients and then plan care delivery to ensure better care is delivered by the experts with minimal risks.
While Visiting the Clients
Home care agencies across the United States are quite worried about the fact that most of the caregivers aren’t agreeing to deliver care due to the fear of contamination.
As a responsible home care service provider, you must assure them that you have well prepared for the pandemic and are concerned for them as well as the clients.
Here’s that you need to ensure:
Ensure Adequate Protection: The most essential aspect of caring in this critical situation is to ensure that your caregivers are having enough supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This would enhance their safety while they are caring for the ones who are infected or are suspected.
Ask them to wear face masks and take proper care when they witness respiratory symptoms in the seniors along with fever.
Isolating the Suspects: Ask your caregivers to isolate the ones who are suspected of infection so that you can take adequate precautions to prevent the spread.
Proper isolation procedures must be followed and make sure the caregiver updates the agency regarding their health and current condition.
Don’t Allow Client to Leave their Room: Since several instances of contamination have been witnessed through social gatherings; it is crucial to restrict outdoor activities immediately.
Some people prefer walking or wandering outside without any reason, which can be quite risky in this situation. Therefore, it is advised that caregivers must assist the elderly in any outdoor task and ensure they don’t leave their room.
In case of severely infected individuals, caregivers should maintain hygiene and ensure the seniors wear a mask in the home itself if they aren’t advised for hospitalization.
Limit Visitors: The caregivers should limit visitors to prevent the spreading of the infection. One should encourage video calls and phone calls instead to maintain social distancing.
Proper hand hygiene must be ensured before the visitors enter the home to minimize the risk of contamination.
Seek Medical Help: Ask your caregivers to seek emergency medical help if they are witnessing severe symptoms in the seniors or even they are feeling unwell with symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Additional Home Care Policies Update
Agencies need to be very active and must alter their home care policies and must emphasize caregivers’ safety and other facilities. Here’s what needs to be considered by home care organizations during the coronavirus breakdown:
- Regular training for staff members to prevent COVID-19 infection prevention
- Minimize the entry points to your office
- Hire more staff members that can deliver care
- Cancel group activities
- Update paid leave policies
- Ensure your office’s reception has an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and sanitizers
- Monitor CDC’s guidelines and ensure your workers follow them
Home Care Agencies should work precisely on creating an Emergency Plan during this Outbreak.
- Reviewing emergency plan
- Updating plan according to the current situation in the state
- Updating all caregivers’ contact information and emergency contact details
- Reviewing personal policies like sick time, overtime, and leaves
- Coordinate with the local emergency operations/ health department
- Coordinate with other agencies for the additional workforce in case of shortage
- Include volunteers and train them to deliver adequate care
- Lit the caregivers that can overtime and work in flexible shifts
- Plan for your workers’ family as well
- Get regular updates from the CDC and the World Health Organization
- Make a process to monitor and report any workforce illness in your agency
- Develop an occupational health plan for caregivers with exposure to COVID-19
Home care agencies delivering personal care services across the diverse states of the United States must follow this checklist and ensure their caregivers and other workers are safe and well informed to deal with this global pandemic.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is collected from various sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO, and other sources and is for informative purposes only. The information offered here does not necessarily reflect the personal opinion of the editor or publisher.
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