Stay home and stay safe has become the mantra of 2020.
If we stay at home we can keep ourselves and each other safe.
But what if our parents or family have caregivers coming into their homes to visit them? How do we keep them safe from COVID-19?
Luckily we have some guidelines to help you!
You see CalaCare serves many clients who rely every day on the talented and hardworking staff who visit them to provide absolutely essential services like helping them shower, eat, and grocery shop.
On top of that our nursing staff are in homes providing very complicated nursing care on a daily basis.
So how do we help clients (and the caregivers visiting them) stay safe?
Here are a few of the guidelines we follow that we strongly recommend to anyone who have staff visiting in the home:
#1 – Make your care teams as small as possible
The number of people your parents (or you) are exposed to rises exponentially with the number of people who are in the home visiting.
That means if you normally have 6 different caregivers visiting and you make some changes in your care plan to get down to 3 caregivers for the next little while, then you are not reducing your exposure by 50%, you’re reducing it by more like 90%.
That’s because each person who visits is potentially not just one person but also the sum of their whole network.
Remember though that reducing care teams is not easy.
In many cases that will mean being more flexible on shift times, changing visit durations, or even finding other solutions for some tasks. But when you evaluate that vs the reduction in exposure it can be well worthwhile!
#2 – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff
At CalaCare our office team has worked very hard to ensure that staff have access to PPE for all visits.
This is the best step we can take to protect our clients and our staff as well.
But this has an added wrinkle because it also means we’ve had to help educate clients and staff because some clients and residents see someone in a mask as threatening. This is because they believe (incorrectly) that wearing a mask is an indication of illness! That is not true!
Remember, someone wearing a mask is making a huge sacrifice in their own comfort in order to keep those around them safe!
If you have someone visiting in your home, make sure they are in PPE at all times. And if you are really stuck to find PPE for caregivers visiting your parents you can just call us and we’ll do whatever we can to help you!
#3 – Strict screening of clients, caregivers, and family members
Screening is simply the process of asking a series of questions to determine if the person answering is at risk of having COVID-19.
That sounds really obvious but it is rarely done properly!
At CalaCare we have processes in place to make sure that both caregivers and clients are being screened regularly by our RN care managers (it means we’re asking these questions on an ongoing basis) to ensure that everyone stays vigilant about avoiding the symptoms of COVID-19.
You see people tend to think that the rules don’t apply to them. They might think that because they normally have allergies then a runny nose and a headache are no reason to stay home.
But if they worked for us they would be home because a runny nose and a headache is a positive screen.
In case you’re unsure about how to screen people for COVID-19, I have good news! The government of Ontario has made it easy! They’ve put a tool online that you can use anything to ask the right questions.
Screen your caregivers and keep them (and you) safe!
I am so proud of our family here at CalaCare (both clients and caregivers) all the hard work they are doing to keep themselves and those around them safe.
I am 100% confident that we will soon be through this crisis and that although it may seem hard to imagine, life will return to normal!
Until then good luck, and stay home to stay safe!