The novel coronavirus, named COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads through airborne droplets, often when a person is within six feet of an infected person. The CDC warns the risk of infection is higher when people are in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. In other words, it’s more difficult for the virus to spread from person to person unless the person is first infected.
It is also possible the virus may be spread by touching an inanimate object an infected person has touched and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Although they don’t believe this is the main source of spread, experts do know the virus can stay active on an inanimate object for up to 9 days.
Recognize the Signs of COVID-19
In a nationwide survey in early March 2020, only 44% of 6,500 nurses said their hospitals had shared information about how to recognize if a patient has the virus. To care for your home care patients and protect them from the virus, it’s important to know how to recognize if someone in your circle of friends and family is sick, or if you have symptoms of the virus.
To date, those who are at the greatest risk of contracting a severe form of the illness are those who are elderly or immunocompromised. For the most part, that likely describes many of your home care patients.
Symptoms of the virus appear much like a bad cold or the flu as people experience fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If the illness becomes more severe, pneumonia develops, and it may lead to multi-organ failure and death.
How to Keep Your Home Care Patients Safe
To keep yourself, your family and by extension your home care patients safe, it’s important to practice social distancing, including from your family. Close contact with those who are sick or may become sick can only spread the virus. The objective of reducing the initial spread is to “flatten the curve.” This is a description of the number of people getting sick over the period of time in which they get sick.
If everyone got sick at the same time, hospitals would become overwhelmed and treatment would not be available, including ventilators and medication. To date, there is no cure for the virus, but healthcare professionals can provide supportive care to help people heal. However, if overwhelmed with the number of people who are ill, they will be forced to choose who does and doesn’t receive care.
By spreading out when people get sick it lessens the burden on hospitals and ensures better healthcare for everyone. To achieve that goal, it’s necessary to keep as many people well as possible for the foreseeable future. Here are strategies you can use to keep yourself and your patients healthy:
- Don’t provide home care if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or feel like you’re coming down with a cold. You may not have the virus, but if you pass a cold to your client, it debilitates their immune system making the next infection worse.
- Wash your hands often! Wash for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. Use friction to rub between your fingers and over your fingertips, singing the Happy Birthday song twice.
- Don’t touch your face, mouth, eyes or nose.
- Cover a sneeze or cough with a tissue and then throw it in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.
- Get plenty of sleep, eat a nutritious diet, exercise and consider a probiotic to care for your gut microbiome where most of your immune system resides.
- Steer clear of sugar, desserts and a high carbohydrate diet right now as those negatively impact your immune system making it more difficult to fight the virus.
Advise your home care patients and families to do the same. In other words, if a family member gets sick, they should stay away from others. Everyone in the patient’s family should be getting enough rest and taking care of their immune system as well as practicing social distancing.
Home Care Patients Are Waiting!
Your work in-home care is needed and appreciated by your clients and their families. You have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives while working flexible hours and never being bored. Call the recruiters at Anodyne today to see how working with experts can help grow your career.