COVID-19 impacted everyone in one way or another – including professional caregivers. During the pandemic, the healthcare industry had to change how they cared for patients. Caregivers had to quickly overcome challenges and implement changes to ensure the safety and well-being of those in their care. Things haven’t "returned to normal" since the pandemic. Instead, the Homewatch CareGivers team has had to learn to provide high-quality care that coincides with our "new normal."
What changes have we made, and how do they impact you and your loved ones?
Changes During COVID: New Innovations in Healthcare
During the pandemic, the priority of Homewatch CareGivers and all healthcare professionals was preventing illness. To that end, several changes were implemented within the industry to serve patients and care recipients safely. The following are just some adjustments made over the past few years.
The Rise of Telehealth and Virtual Care Solutions
Social distancing was one of the first precautions put into place during the pandemic. Social distancing wasn’t just about keeping six feet apart. In many cases, it meant finding alternative ways to provide care. Thankfully, patients still received the care they needed with telehealth services. Patients could see their doctor from the comfort and safety of their homes through phone calls and video conferencing. Family members and professional caregivers helped by setting up and teaching care recipients how to use this technology.
Safety and Infection Control
One of the top priorities of everyone in the healthcare industry was keeping people free from illness. Wearing protective equipment, avoiding touching hands to face, and disinfecting surfaces more often quickly became the norm.
Personalized Care Plans: Meeting Individual Needs and Preferences
During the pandemic, many family members became the primary caregivers for those in need. Such a change helped protect the health of care recipients. However, it also emphasized that family members often weren't equipped to help those with complex needs.
When people need specialized care, those helping them need specialized education and resources. Homewatch CareGivers ensures that care between professional caregivers and family members is collaborative. We offer support to family members by openly communicating so everyone is on the same page.
Personalized care is important to us, and we know that when our caregivers leave, family members take over. Educating family members is one of the best ways to meet the unique needs and preferences of care recipients.
Caring for the Emotional Well-Being of Care Recipients
The Homewatch CareGivers team has always prioritized the emotional well-being of those in our care. But enduring a pandemic was especially challenging for older adults. According to a recent report, older adults dealing with dementia and isolation became more anxious and stressed during quarantine, and loneliness also increased during this time. Family members and caregivers found inventive ways to reduce loneliness, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and visiting over Zoom or FaceTime.
The Evolving Role of Caregivers: Embracing New Responsibilities
Now that the COVID state of national emergency has been officially terminated, many wonder: What now?
While we can breathe a sigh of relief, a few things are very clear. Many people are more concerned than ever about their health and safety. They want people around them who will respect their healthcare wishes and keep them safe. Another thing we’ve learned is that the emotional support of care recipients and their family members is a priority.
How are we operating now that we’re dealing with a "new normal"?
Emotional Support: Nurturing the Well-being of Care Recipients
Researchers recently examined the effects of loneliness and social isolation on older adults. According to the 2023 PubMed article, these factors contributed to a decreased cognitive impairment-free life expectancy. In other words, isolation and loneliness contribute to cognitive decline. It’s imperative to reduce loneliness and improve older adults’ emotional well-being.
Homewatch CareGivers professionals aim to do just that with personalized care. We hire people who love spending time with others and are empathetic and compassionate. Our caregivers not only care about "getting the job done," but they care about the person they’re serving. Over time, those they care for become like family.
Taking Steps to Protect Caregivers
As the pandemic progressed, it soon became clear how much providing care impacted family members. While they have immense love for those who need care and want to help them, they’re not trained professionals.
Not only was the physical safety of their loved ones impacting them, but so was their emotional well-being. According to ACTA BIOMEDICA, the anxiety and stress of older adults "negatively impacted the psycho-physical health of their caregivers."
Family caretakers need assistance for their health and the continued support of their loved ones. That’s why Homewatch CareGivers provides Back-Up Care. Whether a family caregiver has an emergency, a schedule change, or simply needs a break, we’re there to help. Back-Up Care includes pre- and post-natal care, respite care, surgical aftercare, and more.
Caregiver Training and Education
According to Harvard, family caregiver training is essential. While this was difficult during the pandemic, professional healthcare providers have more training opportunities. For example, family members who can’t get away can receive training and education via telehealth. And when we care for people recently released from the hospital, we work in tandem with family members. We ensure everyone is on the same page concerning physical care and safety, medications, and doctor visits.
The Power of Adaptability: Thriving in the Ever-Changing Landscape of Home Care
The COVID-19 pandemic created some unexpected home care trends, which we now refer to as our "new normal."
Thankfully, the Homewatch CareGivers team has responded with resilience and incredible adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges. Those challenges contributed to a transformation that forever altered how care is provided and received.
While the transformation hasn’t been easy, ultimately, the pandemic was a catalyst for innovation. It forced us to adapt and find creative solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of caregivers and care recipients.
While our path forward still holds some uncertainties, Homewatch CareGivers’ commitment to providing exceptional care remains constant.
Are you interested in making a positive impact on others? Schedule an interview with Homewatch CareGivers to learn more about starting a meaningful career as a caregiver.