Home Care Tips During COVID-19

August 13, 2020

The federal government has recommended physically distancing (also called social distancing) in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. While this advice is easy to follow for a worker who typically sits in the office, it is much more difficult for home care providers. The nature of home care services brings the caregiver into close contact with the patient. Many services provided are essential for the well being of the patient, so they must be done. Here are some tips you can share with your home care providers as well as tips for agency administrators such as yourself. Learn different ways to incorporate these suggestions using your home care software or EVV software.  

For Caregivers

Social Distancing 

You may not be able to physically distance yourself from your patient, but you can keep away from everyone else. This means staying home and only going out for essentials. If you do go grocery shopping or to get gas, take the necessary precautions. Make sure you wear a mask and sanitize your hands frequently. Always keep your hands away from your face, nose, and mouth. 

You could have coronavirus but not know it. For that reason, you should be wearing a mask when you’re out in public and when you are visiting patients. 

If you live with others, it can be difficult to socially distance from them since you use the same facilities. It is also their responsibility to practice safety measures, so that you don’t get sick and can therefore tend to your patients.

Monitor Yourself 

Before you leave to a patient’s home, take your temperature. If you have a fever, contact your agency immediately. Let them know you are ill and that your patients will need someone else to visit them. 

Make sure you also go through a wellness checklist before stepping in the patient’s home. Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Do I have shortness of breath?
  2. Do I have a fever?
  3. Do I have a cough? 

If you answer yes to any of these questions, call your agency. 

Take Extra Precautions 

If your client presents symptoms of COVID, take as many precautions as you can to avoid getting the virus yourself 

  1. Wash your hands frequently 
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. Wipe down commonly touched surfaces often
  4. Take extra care when washing the patient’s clothes or dishes (wear gloves) 
  5. Distance yourself from the patient as much as possible, while still completing all of your duties 
  6. Wear a mask, gloves, and gown if available 
  7. Sanitize your hands thoroughly before getting in your car 
  8. Strip off your clothes and wash them when you get home, if possible leave your shoes outside or in a garage  
  9. Take a shower immediately after 

If you live with others, consider quarantining yourself in one room of the house.

For Agencies 

Provide PPE

PPE stands for personal protective equipment. You cannot expect your staff members to supply their own personal protective gear such as gloves and masks when visiting clients. This can end up being very costly for someone who earns around the minimum wage. You should have a contingency plan in place if PPE equipment is in short supply. Remember that even a homemade face covering is better than no covering at all.

Ask Pre-screening Questions

Have your caregivers answer health related questions regarding themselves and the patient before they are able to clock in using EVV software such as:

  1. Do you have a high temperature?
  2. Do you have a cough?
  3. Do you feel a shortness of breath?
  4. Does the client have a high temperature? 
  5. Does the client feel a shortness of breath?
  6. Does the client have a cough?
  7. Does anyone else in the home exhibit symptoms of COVID?

How can I do this in my home care software?

In CareTime, you can set these questions up as Custom Prompts and put them in a Custom Prompt group. Then in the client profile, Custom Prompt tab, click on the “at clock in” option and select the custom prompt group name. Your caregivers will have to answer these questions in order to clock in.

Communicate With Your Caregivers 

It is a stressful time, constant communication can alleviate some of that stress. Make sure your staff members are informed of all agency procedures regarding Covid. Provide them with manual on how to deal with different situations such as: someone in the home presents symptoms, the client presents symptoms, if the caregiver starts to feel ill. If they have any concerns, make sure to address them in a timely manner. 

Show your appreciation for your caregivers. Offer positive words of encouragement and thank them for the services that they provide. If any of your caregivers do get the virus, reach out to them and ask how they’re doing as they recover. Reiterate that their health is the number one priority.

How can I do this in my home care software? 

In CareTime, you can use the Agency Messenger to send texts and emails to your staff members. You can specify the zone, type of staff member, or specific employees to send the messages out to. This is an easy and effective way to reach all of your caregivers at once to provide them with vital information.