The risk of becoming ill with Covid-19 while receiving home care is minimal and needs to be weighed against the risks of not getting the help you need.
Slipping in the shower, forgetting to take medication or cancelling a nurse’s home visit, can compromise your health.
Covid-19 has changed home care. Services have had to innovate fast to continue to deliver safe, reliable, individualised care.
In March and April this year, many services reported that 20 per cent of clients had stopped or reduced care time, fearing the worst.
This trend was nationwide.
Like other providers, Home Care Assistance set up Covid safe practices, trained staff in infection control and provided PPE equipment.
We contacted clients to listen to their concerns and tell them about the new protocols. Now that client confidence has been restored and around Australia, services have generally returned to pre-Covid levels.
If you have concerns about your service, pick up the phone and ask some questions. Here are six ways that many home care services have adapted to life under Covid to keep you safe:
1. Many service providers have limited the number of carers who visit you by giving multiple shifts to the same carer.
2. Services have set up infection control protocols and trained care staff in these. This is in keeping with standards put out by state government health departments.
Staff sanitise their hands before entering your home. They sanitise the door handles. They wear PPE equipment when working closely with you, for instance for showering.
When they leave, they sanitise their hands again and discard the PPE masks, gloves and gowns. Social distance is maintained whenever possible.
3. Staff are assisting clients to do their shopping online and get their groceries home-delivered. In the past, shopping was a satisfying weekly outing for many. Clients were supported to get the groceries, walk around the shops and probably enjoyed a coffee and a chat. The social richness of shopping has gone but it’s a faster, safer process.
4. Home care services are supporting clients to use telehealth with Skype calls or regular phone calls. We also assist clients to set up conventional medical appointments and explain the safety procedures that their doctors have put in place. We can arrange for health professionals to visit you. For instance, nurses can come over to dress and treat minor wounds.
5. We know that social isolation can lead to depression and a higher risk of mental decline. Home care services are focused on the whole person. A carer’s visit is an opportunity to talk or share a joke as well as to attend to the basics.
6. Carers are connectors. They can be the bridge to enrich your life. They can set up Skype calls to family members, help you make an appointment with the home hairdresser or buy a birthday card for a grandchild and post it for you.
So, if you have a home care package and are reluctant to use it at present, I hope this assures you that home care services always put your safety and wellbeing first. We adapt. That is the nature of individualised home care.
Kendall Morton is Director of Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast to Wide Bay. Call 5491 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org