Professional caregivers have always been given training and protocols on how to keep themselves and their clients safe from illness. After all, it is the job of a caregiver to keep people safe and to encourage a healthy lifestyle, whether that means minimizing fall risks, assisting with healthy meal preparation, or donning a mask and gloves to reduce the potential spread of illness.
The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to a lot of questions about alternatives to nursing homes with everyone now being asked to “social distance” and what it means to be safe, or safely cared for, during a pandemic.
In order to maintain visits with clients, caregivers are all asked to follow these safety precautions when visiting:
- Use good hand hygiene following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines
- Wear protective personal equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves, in accordance with CDC recommendations
- Using a variety of technology (surveys and other online questionnaires), caregivers are asked if they have a fever or a cough and if they have been in close contact with anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have a known exposure to it. If they answer yes, they are instructed to contact their health care provider and not see clients.
In addition, there are infection control measures that can be taken in the home environment to help slow the spread of the virus.
Home-based services differ from traditional healthcare services in many ways. While many of the basic knowledge requirements, such as those for bloodborne pathogens, are the same, the way one applies this knowledge in home care is different. Understanding the chain of infection and ways to break this chain is critical for all who have contact with individuals in home care settings and is key in preventing the spread of potentially harmful microorganisms.
Light housekeeping has always been one of the services available, but now caregivers have new protocols to use sanitizing wipes on all surfaces—from the kitchen to the bathroom and from big to small areas, including countertops, light switches, doorknobs, sinks, and more.
Online training for safety is not just available to caregivers, but also to family members who are caring for someone who is in an at-risk category such as a compromised immune system. Click here to request access to the Homewatch CareGivers University courses, available for free to family caregivers.