MAY 16, 2020
Although Maryland Gov. Hogan has lifted the statewide stay-at-home order that has been in place for more than six weeks and replaced it with a “safety at home” policy that would allow relaxing some restrictions, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich still maintains a countywide stay-at-home order.
We continue to accept new clients. Our caregivers are still providing care as they are deemed essential.
APRIL 9, 2020
On April 9th, CDC is now recommending that people wear face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain in order to combat the community spread of COVID-19.
Given this new guidance, all Nest & Care staff and caregivers are being asked to wear masks in their clients’ homes at all times. Masks/face coverings will be provided by the office. Please call 240-261-1328 to get your masks.
MARCH 23, 2020
There is little doubt that COVID-19, AKA coronavirus, is a real threat to the older generation. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are advised to stay in their homes to decrease the potential risk of becoming infected. For many older people, an in-home Caregiver is an essential person charged with keeping these citizens safe and taken care of.
Since the safety of clients and their families, as well as staff and caregivers, are the most important thing, the following rules are adopted at this time:
- No Caregivers exposed to COVID-19 will be referred to clients for a minimum of 14 days or until their doctor clears them to return to work.
- No Caregivers are referred if they have traveled overseas until a doctor clears them, are diagnosed with COVID-19, or treated preemptively to the COVID-19 infection.
- Caregivers will use the CDC-recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Guidelines are in place to ensure effective cleaning and disinfecting of hands and surfaces.
- Caregivers will not cross-cover between homes, communities, and facilities.
- Caregivers will undergo daily COVID-19 symptoms pre-screenings before their shifts.
- Caregivers will need to go through initial COVID-19 training and are provided with the latest recommendations from the CDC.
COVID-19 FAQ For Clients and Their Families
It’s essential to have a healthy home environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are taking every precaution we can to protect at-risk clients and their families from various illnesses, including COVID-19, flu, etc. The measures currently taking place help in reducing the risk to clients no matter what the outbreak is. Still, there are several questions clients and families may have about Caregivers coming to their home.
What Type Of Education Are You Providing The Caregivers To Reduce The Risk Of Exposing My Loved Ones To COVID-19?
Our Registered Nurses provide Caregivers mandatory COVID-19 training. In addition, one-on-one calls are conducted with Caregivers before visiting a new client. Emails are sent, and resources are provided to ensure the education of all Caregivers and that they follow CDC guidelines. Such information includes:
- Regularly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. When soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Not to touch their face without washing their hands first.
- Avoiding sick people.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue, throwing it away immediately and then wash hands.
- Upon going into the home, clean and disinfectant their cell phones and other objects/surfaces.
- Wear gloves when coming into contact with bodily fluids. Throw the gloves away immediately in an outside trash receptacle. Wash hands immediately afterward.
- Consume fresh foods, drink copious amounts of water, and get plenty of rest to bolster your immune system.
- Isolate at home when feeling sick.
- Avoid large gatherings outside the home, limiting contact with others, especially if they are considered high risk.
Will Caregivers Be Looking For COVID-19 Symptoms In My Loved One?
One aspect of certified CNA training is to recognize changes in clients’ conditions. Caregivers are told to alert the company if their Clients experience any symptoms related to COVID-19 such as fever, new and worsening cough, sore throat, diarrhea, allergy symptoms, and/or shortness of breath. Caregivers will observe, take notes, and report the client’s condition, appearance, or behavior. However, they are unable to diagnose patients due to licensing restrictions.
The Care Coordinator will reach out to the client’s family, asking them to call their medical doctor to determine what they should do next. If family members recognize the signs of COVID-19 in their loved one, we encourage them to contact the Care Coordinator right away.
What Is Nest & Care’s Policy In Regards To Caregivers Sick With COVID-19?
We care about the safety and health of our staff, caregivers, and clients. If a Caregiver is diagnosed with COVID-19 or learn they have been in contact with a person who has the virus, we ask them to self-isolate for two full weeks (14 days) and let the Care Coordinator know right away.
We have implemented a Caregivers’ support plan should they be diagnosed with the disease. Compensation is provided to our employees for 14 days with the right documentation.
Is There A Backup Support Available Should The Regular Caregiver Be Unavailable?
We will make sure that your family member is taken care of by sending out another Caregiver when necessary.
Should Our Visits To Our Loved One Be Limited?
According to the CDC, it’s imperative to practice “social distancing” to stem the tide of COVID-19. Therefore, we are asking families to reduce the number of times they visit their loved ones. We do encourage family members to reach out to their loved ones via phone or video chat. It’s important to stay in contact with your loved ones–just from afar.
Does My Caregiver Wear A Mask?
The CDC is recommending people wear cloth face coverings where social distancing measures are unable to be maintained. Research shows cloth face coverings can slow COVID-19’s spread and help people who unknowingly have the virus from spreading it. We also advise our Caregivers to regularly wash their cloth face coverings.
Nest & Care complies with the health agency’s recommendations on face coverings, and we ask that clients and their families also do so.
Will The Caregiver Wear Gloves?
Gloves are used in cases where bodily fluids are present. The day-to-day wearing of gloves is not useful in prevention since people frequently touch their hands, mouth, eyes, and face.
Should I Purchase Certain Cleaning Products?
It never hurts to have regular household disinfectant cleaners and wipers in the home – something with bleach or alcohol. Constant handwashing and frequently-touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly. Check out the CDC guide on handwashing –
How Will Your Staff Communicate With The Client’s Family?
We will update you either by phone or email to let you know what is going on with your loved one. Though we have limited the visits of our Care Coordinators to Senior Living Communities and homes to only essential staff, we have increased the number of check-ins with the clients, families, and Caregivers to help when necessary.
What If Clients Need To Be Taken Out To Appointments or Other Places?
Since the CDC is requesting people to practice social distancing, your loved one should stay within the home as much as possible. If they need to go to the doctor, they will be taken there. Many doctor’s offices have put into place changes in how they see patients. Therefore, Caregivers will need to call the doctor’s office before transporting the Client there. Any other trips are not advised.
Are Our Caregivers “Essentials”?
Caregivers with our company are deemed “Essential” and have a letter that verifies them of their status.
COVID-19 FAQs for Caregivers
How Can Caregivers Best Protect Themselves and Their Clients?
There are key steps that should be taken:
Steer clear of sick family members and friends.
- Limit visits outside the home to essential locations only to reduce contact exposure. If you go out to non-essential businesses, be mindful of social distancing practices.
- Caregivers who are sick should not visit any place until they are symptom-free for 24 hours without any medication.
- Clients and Caregivers need to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Caregivers will help their clients to do this. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will need to be used when soap and water are not present.
- Use a tissue to cover sneezes and coughs, throwing it away immediately after. If there is no tissue on hand, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
- Wash hands before you touch your face. Help your Clients clean their hands regularly too.
- All objects and surfaces need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Should Caregivers Talk To Their Clients About COVID-19?
If Caregivers are asked about the coronavirus or feel the need to talk to their Clients about the virus, there are several recommendations worth following:
Assure your Client that all the necessary precautions are taking place – regular handwashing and sanitizing, cleaning and disinfectant objects and surfaces frequently touched, etc.
Advise them to also follow these measures and to avoid touching their face without washing or sanitizing their hands first, as well as coughing or sneezing into a tissue and throwing it immediately away.
Be a source of calmness for Clients, and talk with them about you following the recommended CDC guidelines.
What Should Caregivers Do If Their Client Exhibits COVID-19 Signs?
It’s imperative that Caregivers are keenly aware of their Client’s health. If you notice them continually coughing, have a fever or sore throat, or are short of breath, they need to make their Care Coordinator aware of it right away. The team will work hard to get the Client the help necessary.
What Is Nest & Care’s Leave Policy?
We care about our Clients, Staff and Caregivers’ health and safety; therefore, if you become sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, you are asked to self-quarantine for two full weeks (14 days). We will work with you so that you can still receive compensation during that time with proper documentation. Let us know immediately to get your Clients the help they need.
What Do Caregivers Do About Unexpected Visits To A Client’s Home?
The CDC is recommending people to observe social distancing measures in order to reduce the spread of the disease. Therefore, families are being asked to limit their in-person contacts with their loved ones and reach out to them via video conferencing or phone calls.
Should Caregivers Use A Face Masks When Taking Care of Their Client As Well As When They Are Not?
According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are necessary when it’s not possible to social distance from others. Even simple cloth face coverings can slow the virus’ spread and keep those who have it unknowingly passing it to others. These coverings should be washed in a washer after every use. To make your own face coverings, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
We advise our Caregivers and Clients to use face masks as advised by the CDC.
Is There Something Caregivers Must Do Differently In Cleaning?
It would be wise to have disinfectant cleaners and wipes (something with alcohol or bleach) to regularly clean frequently touched surfaces and objects. It’s recommended that people wash their hands often.
What Precautions Must Be Taken To Prepare A Client’s Food?
It is important to wash your hands before preparing food. Make sure all food-preparing utensils are thoroughly cleaned and is done often. There is no evidence, at this time, that COVID-19 is transmittable through food. That does not mean, however, that it is not impossible.
What Must Caregivers Do Differently When Shopping For Food?
As advised by the CDC, try to social distance yourself from others and use a face mask. Only go shopping when it’s absolutely necessary and use a list for the items you need to get in and get out. If you can, use a grocery delivery service like InstaCart or Peapod. Some pharmacies do offer medication delivery services.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated there is no evidence that food and food packages are harboring traces of the COVID-19 virus. However, it is advised to wash your hands after loading and unloading groceries.
Do Caregivers Need To Be Anxious About Clients In Senior Living Facilities?
Senior Living Communities’ staff and residents are at high risk for catching COVID-19, similar to the general public. Therefore, steps are being enacted to protect individuals from the virus. Such things being introduced include taking temperatures of visitors and screening them for potential symptoms of the virus and other illnesses.
Since the disease is particularly dangerous for seniors, these communities are going above and beyond to protect them.
What Supplies/Equipment Do Caregivers Need With Them?
Gloves need to be worn any time Caregivers will be in contact with bodily fluids. Surgical masks and gowns are not necessary and have not been shown for their effectiveness against the respiratory illness.
Will Caregivers Learn of a Client’s Health Before Going To Their Home?
We are constantly in contact with Clients about their health so that Care Coordinators will inform Caregivers of potential issues.
What Can Caregivers Do If They Get Sick and Lack Health Insurance?
The Maryland Health Exchange has a special open enrollment until June 15 for Caregivers. Check out marylandhealthconnection.gov to learn more.
Will Nest & Care Continue To Give Caregivers Work Opportunities?
This is a difficult time for everybody, but the commitment to caring for older people remains the same. We will provide our Caregivers with as many work opportunities as possible while also coming up with new ways to assist seniors through this trying time. This will offer more work opportunities for Caregivers.