Information on Coronavirus Impact
Learn More About Our New COVID - 19 Protocols
As mandatory restrictions are put into place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Homewatch CareGivers is continuing to focus on providing high-quality care. Home-based care for disabled persons, seniors, adults, and children are considered essential services during this time of crisis, and we’re still here for you and your home care needs.
Concerns for those in need of caregiving services are completely understandable so rest assured that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and best practices are being followed so care can continue. Remaining in the home is being recommended for people everywhere to slow the spread of the disease. Professional caregivers have always been trained to take measures to minimize the spread of illnesses and promote safe caregiving. This practice continues and is more important than ever.
As part of CDC recommendations, the following protocols--in addition to existing infection control policies and procedures already in place—are being implemented:
Caregiver Wellness Checks
The standard process for Homewatch CareGivers is as follows: Through different communication routes, (mobile app, text messaging, email) a caregiver is asked: Are you sick, do you have a fever or cough, have you had close contact with an individual(s) diagnosed or under quarantine for COVID-19? If a caregiver answers “yes” to any of these questions, they are to contact the office immediately and are instructed to contact their physician or local health department for evaluation.
- Caregivers are also instructed to stay at home when sick and must report this to the office when they are feeling ill. Although this is standard policy on illness, it is even more important to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
- Caregivers will be asked if they have a “return to work order” before being assigned back to shifts with clients.
Client Wellness Checks
Quality Assurance (QA) visits are an important part of the care we provide. During this time, QA visits normally scheduled for in person will take on a different look per Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommendations. These will be conducted more frequently through the use of technology to support “social distancing” and protecting those receiving care.
- Homewatch CareGivers is checking in virtually and/or by phone calls, on a regular basis, with all clients to ensure they are feeling well and to see if there is anything needed before the next scheduled visit.
- Clients who are not feeling well or are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 will be instructed to contact their healthcare provider or local health department immediately. We will also work together to identify how continued care needs will be met.
Keeping areas in the home clean and safe has always been a priority for Homewatch CareGivers. Additional cleaning protocols for all clients’ homes include:
- Cleaning and wiping down surfaces big and small from countertops and tables to light switches and doorknobs
- Frequent and consistent handwashing while in the home, before coming to the home and after leaving the home
- Continued virtual training on infection control and prevention and housekeeping to all caregivers
Minimizing Loneliness Associated with Social Distancing
The effects of isolation are felt by millions of people and those ages 65 and older are at increased risk for feelings of loneliness, especially at this time when visitors are restricted even in the home. With increasing “stay at home orders” that are happening all over the country, loneliness, helplessness and boredom are real problems seniors will face more than ever.
Here is what caregivers bring to their clients:
- Ideas to address the loneliness, helplessness and boredom that social distancing causes, by staying active in meaning and purposeful activities, such as philanthropy, spiritual or recreational (reading, yoga) activities (Click here to read blogs with more ideas.)
- Keeping people engaged in activities of daily living, such as participating in cooking and continuing with personal hygiene and grooming each day
- Continue person-directed care by empowering individuals to participate in decisions about things like ordering food and medicine online for delivery
- Facilitating connection with friends and family via virtual access
Family caregivers who are concerned about spreading possible germs to an elder loved one can check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website's tips on keeping yourself and others safe.