One thing I hear that is universal these days is that people are tired of COVID 19. I call it COVID fatigue and it comes and goes as we periodically try to come to terms with the strange place we occupy dealing with a pandemic. I continually say to myself that this too will pass, but the ripples of what the pandemic affects are very real and endlessly roll out like waves after one throws a rock in a still lake. It is hard to think of a single aspect of your lives that have not been influenced.
Home care, in general, is not usually something that someone “wants,” per say. Most people delay getting help as long as they can. It means they have lost at least some level of independence and it can be hard to allow a new person/personality into your personal space. As a result, people resist and delay getting it until the situation becomes need based and not a nicety.
So here comes COVID 19…as if people needed another reason to put off getting home care! But deciding to get home care amid a pandemic offers a new set of challenges…ripples, if you will.
The need for care does not simply evaporate because of a virus. The decision to seek home care is more complicated, however. The risks of having outsiders come into one’s home needs to be considered. What protocols does the home care company employ to keep clients’ safe? What routines do clients’ want that are personal to them that make them feel less vulnerable? What precautions will the caregiver(s) take to remain virus free?
Caregivers rely on their health to be able to earn a living. Unlike a person that telecommutes, a simple head cold can sideline a caregiver because they are in such close proximity to the people they assist. As a result, caregivers are pretty meticulous about hygiene and staying well. The last thing they want is to transmit an illness to a client that has a compromised immune system. If caregivers get sick, they proactively stay home and get well. However, since they do take personal hygiene seriously, they remain a pretty healthy population.
As a company, we provide both our clients and caregivers with all of the CDC guidelines on a regular basis. We sent all caregivers a high quality, washable mask and continually reinforce the need to wear gloves as appropriate with clients. We also tell our team to never go to work if they feel ill.
Our client base has reacted in a variety of ways to the pandemic…some have gone to extremes and have our caregiver change their entire outfit upon arrival. Some insist on gloves and face coverings at all times. Some have even cut back on the amount of coverage to reduce the number of people coming in/out of the home. Others have gone about business as usual with little change in routine.
Probably the biggest change about relying on home care is the need for not just a plan A and B, but also plan C. I wrote a BLOG entry on April 14th back explaining that in detail. The essence of what that means is that if plan A is us or a home care company…and plan B is a family caregiver, what is plan C? During a pandemic, a plan C is essential…if anyone in the client’s care ecosystem gets COVID, it means two weeks of self isolation and an inability to send in healthy persons.
For us, the phone has not stopped ringing, but it has slowed some. However, we are open for business and doing the right thing for each and every client we service. I am happy to report (knock on wood) that thus far, while COVID has affected us peripherally, it has not payed a visit to our clients or our direct team.
Stay well and if we can ever help, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone!