Amid the outbreak of COVID-19, we have had to make some adjustments to how we approach home care. When providing care for seniors, you have to be in close proximity with the client. It’s not possible to provide care while abiding by 6-foot social distancing. However, this increases the chance of spreading the disease. But we knew that we couldn’t close our doors and turn our backs on our clients when they need us the most. Instead, we evaluated how we could continue to safely and effectively provide care while minimizing the potential spread of the virus — which hasn’t always been a smooth road. In this post, we will share what we have learned from the coronavirus outbreak.
Communication Is Crucial
During this pandemic, our corporate headquarters has stayed up-to-date on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and local health agencies. As new research and guidance arises, our team has communicated it to our locally owned and operated offices. This has helped ensure that all of our franchise owners have accurate information about the infection.
We have created a group messaging channel designed specifically for COVID-19 information and tips. Our franchisees and their staff members have been active at sharing resources and asking questions. Additionally, our headquarters team has hosted weekly COVID-19 conference calls with our franchise owners. During this time, owners can ask questions, we can discuss strategies to approaching patient care safely, and we can talk about the implications of new guidelines. These calls have helped us maintain an open dialogue about challenges that franchisees are facing.
Define Infection Control Processes
As a result of COVID-19, we decided to create a care program tailored to infection control. We have other care programs tailored to other specific conditions, like strokes or Alzheimer’s. It seemed natural to create a care program for COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses. This care program includes caregiver training to help prevent the spread of infection and to identify signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We provide specific instructions for hand washing and practicing transmission-based precautions when working with clients who are sick.
Part of this program also includes a system for reporting client and employee infections, which helps us identify potential spreading of the infection and take precautions against it. All of our caregivers must perform a screening for COVID-19 before working with a client. This screening includes a series of pointed questions to determine their risk for the infection. If a caregiver has a risk of being exposed to the infection, we will not place them with a client for a minimum of 14 days or until they have been cleared by a medical provider. This care program has helped us define an infection control process that we can implement with other infectious disease that may arise.
Have Sufficient PPE On Hand
When working with seniors, our caregivers are in close proximity with their clients every day. Because COVID-19 is a highly contagious infection, it’s important that our caregivers have the proper equipment to keep themselves. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes gloves, face masks, respirators, gowns, and other equipment that is designed to prevent exposure to infection. When used correctly, this equipment helps create a protective barrier between a healthy individual and a sick one.
At headquarters, we realized early on that we needed to have plenty of PPE for our franchise offices. We sourced equipment for our teams across the nation. We also ordered hand sanitizer for our teams to use and to share with clients and referral sources. This equipment has enabled us to continue to provide quality home care amid this pandemic.
How We Will Move Forward
At Caring Senior Service, we will continue to learn from the difficulties that arise due to COVID-19. No matter what challenges come in the future, our commitment will always be to help keep seniors healthy, happy, and at home. We are welcoming new clients now more than ever because we understand that seniors with or without the virus need care and assistance.
To learn more about what we are doing to address COVID-19, feel free to reach out to us!