During this epidemic, we at Home Care of New England are making it our priority to take all available measures in order to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by following all of the guidelines from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html). While the federal government is hard at work investigating, and working to slow the rate of transmission, state and local health departments are responding rapidly to changing local circumstances. We follow all state and local mandated changes in all procedures, to make sure that our clients are as safe as possible from transmission, this includes wearing PPE equipment (gloves, mask) while attending to our clients needs. The biggest thing that all people need to remember during this time, is that we all need to stay calm, and follow the instructions that the CDC has posted, and are regularly updating. While this entire scenario might feel overwhelming, knowing that your home care professional is closely adhering to all government, state, and local guidelines, should give you some sincere peace of mind. Your care is the most important thing for our staff, and we are taking every precaution to make sure that you are being taken care of in a manner to not only aid you with all of your care needs, but also to protect you from the current epidemic.
The following are guidelines from the CDC that all people should follow, as well as the guidelines that we are following to protect you.
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Stay home if you’re sick
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Assess the Suitability of the Residential Setting for Home Care
In consultation with state or local health department staff, a healthcare professional should assess whether the residential setting is appropriate for home care. Considerations for care at home include whether:
- The patient is stable enough to receive care at home.
- Appropriate caregivers are available at home.
- There is a separate bedroom where the patient can recover without sharing immediate space with others.
- Resources for access to food and other necessities are available.
- The patient and other household members have access to appropriate, recommended personal protective equipment (at a minimum, gloves and facemask) and are capable of adhering to precautions recommended as part of home care or isolation (e.g., respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene);
- There are household members who may be at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 infection (.e.g., people >65 years old, young children, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions).
Provide Guidance for Precautions to Implement during Home Care
A healthcare professional should
- Provide CDC’s Interim Guidance for Preventing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from Spreading to Others in Homes and Communities to the patient, caregiver, and household members (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html); and
- Contact their state or local health department to discuss criteria for discontinuing any such measures. Check available hours when contacting local health departments.
Know how it spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
(A message from the White House)
- Listen to and follow the directions of your STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
- IF YOU FEEL SICK, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
- IF YOUR CHILDREN ARE SICK, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
- IF SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD HAS TESTED POSITIVE for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
- IF YOU ARE AN OLDER PERSON, stay home and away from other people.
- IF YOU ARE A PERSON WITH A SERIOUS UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
Do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus
Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Please follow the CDC for all of the most up-to-date information on their efforts to stifle the spread of the virus. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html