One of the more confusing and challenging things about the current COVID-19 pandemic has been trying to figure out what the “rules” are for how to stay safe.
By rules, we’re talking about things like the various tools recommended, or in some cases mandated, to help keep infected people from infecting others, as well as to avoid infection. It also can include any public health rules, suggested guidelines, or best practices designed to limit the spread of the infection.
For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made modifications to some recommendations over the last year as knowledge of COVID increased, including the value of masks, the type of masks, and whether single, double, triple or no masks are the most effective. Or whether the recommended social distance between people is 6 feet, 10 feet, or 20 feet.
The team at Accredited Home Care has tried to stay current on all of these various rules and regulations, along with creating our own in-house guidelines and procedures for our staff. In some cases, what we recommend for our people may even be considered more restrictive than local, state, or national guidelines. Plus, ours have stayed fairly firm over the last year while official regulations are often adjusted, sometimes for political reasons or based on new scientific info.
Why do we do this? Simple. Most of our clients are seniors, a demographic that has been shown to have the highest risk for catching COVID-19 and either having a difficult time with it or an even higher risk of death.
Plus, many of our clients have other health conditions or may not be in the greatest health in general, which could further increase the risk of being infected by COVID or other diseases. Then there are other close friends or family members living with them who we also don’t want to potentially infect. We love our clients and want to do everything we can to make sure they stay safe and enjoy our care!
At the same time, we are also conscious of our team members and don’t want to expose them to possible infection risks, especially since nurses, aides, or therapists may visit several clients throughout the day, and each client presents a different environment and possibly different methods and attitudes of protecting themselves.
These safety methods also go beyond COVID-19. They can also be useful to lower the risk of infection from other diseases, viruses, or infections such as the flu. There’s plenty of other nasty bugs and diseases going around that a little prevention goes a long way.
A big part of Accredited Home Care’s safety protocols and general health information can be found here. This includes access to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID guidelines along with info from the State of California and different guidelines for different areas of the state.
We provide details about mask-wearing protocol for clients, staff, and others we may encounter during a visit to a client’s house.
Some other items that present the ability for our staff to exercise caution but still provide quality service to clients include:
- Access to COVID sick time plus standard sick time. Both options allow an employee to not be penalized or forced to go to work if they feel sick or believe they’ve been exposed to something that could be contagious. These options make it a suitable option if they decide to stay at home and not be a risk to clients. It also can let them quarantine as a health precaution if needed.
- Remote administrative tasks. Although our home health care staff still must show up at a client’s location to deliver standard services, we don’t need them to come to the office and potentially infect other employees who could then potentially infect clients. They can send in paperwork, time cards, or similar tasks electronically. Some employees that usually work in the office are also working remotely making it easy to connect with them outside phone or in-person.
- Explore social distances. There are some exceptions when we have to get close, like taking temperature or blood pressure. But in other circumstances, such as visiting or discussing therapy, it’s easy to be physically far apart.
- More protection. Masks are a given, but some of our people may consider adding more, depending on circumstances. This could include a mask plus a face shield. It could also include gloves, which is one option available to home health care workers like those who offer physical therapy and social distancing can’t be maintained.
The vaccine will hopefully make it fairly easy to return to opportunities to socialize. Things may not “return to normal” for a while now, but there are going to be improvements. We encourage staff to contact their local county public health office to find out about vaccine distribution options in their areas.