The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of home health care agencies to make sure their clients stay as healthy as possible.
After all, many of the clients of Accredited Home Care are considered high risk for this virus or other medical conditions such as the flu or pneumonia. These higher risk levels are generally based on their age and health conditions.
While many assisted living communities and rehab centers basically have put their residents on lockdown for the last year, placing heavy restrictions on what they could do, where they can go, and who could come to see them, home health clients and their caregivers can decide their own levels of safety and concern.
Many home health care clients did limit their activities and interactions due to health reasons. They were careful who they allowed to come see them, and many also followed best practices for their state or community, such as wearing masks when needed and limiting physical contact with others.
However, they also appreciated home health care staff coming to visit for their regular appointments, including nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and home health aides.
All of these health care workers have been taking their own safety precautions so as to not infect their clients, especially since many of them visit multiple clients through the course of a day or a week.
We’re always happy to share our knowledge and practices with our clients, especially if they have questions about proper safety procedures. Since there has been so much for everyone to learn quickly about this virus and disinfection protocols, it’s normal for some clients to feel overwhelmed or like they’re forgetting steps and endangering themselves or others if they get a few steps wrong.
That’s why it’s easy to share tips like what parts of the house they should regularly disinfect, or how to dispose of possibly contaminated items, even tissues, to make sure no one is potentially exposed.
It has certainly been a scary time in the last year, health-wise, and we want to make sure our clients remain healthy.
In addition to trying to keep our clients safe, our employees also include a focus on keeping themselves safe from COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
These include employees from every skill level, from veteran nurses who have been with us for years to home health aides who have recently joined us.
Many of our employees have been able to take courses in communicable diseases and bloodborne pathogens in nursing school or other educational programs. This helped them learn common procedures for keeping themselves and others safe, especially when dealing with potentially hazardous bodily fluids.
Several of the preventative lessons from these classes can also be used with COVID protocols, such as the usefulness of gloves and masks.
We’re also committed to making sure all of our other employees know the proper ways to keep themselves safe and follow correct rules, even if they haven’t had formal academic training in topics like pathogens. This also goes for making sure they are provided with the right tools to do their jobs safely, which means that they, their clients, their families, their co-workers, and anyone else they come into contact with will have a lower risk of exposure.
Some of the recommended tools and procedures include:
- Face coverings. We encourage our employees to wear at least one mask when around others. Current CDC guidelines encourage people to wear double masks to block a greater number of virus droplets. These could include one layer of fabric and one disposable. N-95 masks are also preferable. Some people may wear bandanas or scarves but these aren’t rated as safe as masks that cover the mouth and nose. If you want additional protection or have challenges wearing masks for prolonged periods, face shields are an option.
- Hygiene. Experts still recommend regular washing of hands throughout the day with soap and hot water, especially after close or direct contact with people or possibly dirty surfaces. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Or if it’s difficult to find soap and water, we recommend a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol-based.
- Social distancing. Not getting too close to others is the name of the game. Medical experts are still figuring out how fast and how far COVID droplets spread, but 6 feet seems to be the accepted distance for basic breathing and speaking. Other more intensive activities like singing may spread them further. So standing or sitting at least 6 feet from a client, especially when one or both of you is wearing a mask properly, can lower everyone’s risk of potential infection.
- Vaccinations. We are happy to pay the cost of any employee who wants to get one or two COVID vaccinations. You’ll need to check with your health care provider for authorization and make an appointment at a nearby vaccination center. This is part of our commitment to our employees and ultimately to our clients and their families.