The spread of COVID-19 has made choosing an elderly care agency more difficult than before. Because adults over the age of 65 are at increased risk upon contracting COVID-19, it is important to make sure that the care agency you pick is doing their best to protect patients from the virus. If you are searching for caregiving services for an elderly loved one, there are a number of new factors you want to consider in light of COVID-19. Finding a Trustworthy Care Agency Putting your loved one’s care in someone else’s hands is always difficult. It requires trust and confidence that a caregiver will be attentive to their needs. With the spread of COVID-19, putting your trust in caregivers might feel even more nerve-wracking. COVID-19 has put many elderly people in a difficult situation. Seniors are encouraged to limit social contact in order to cut down on potential exposure to the virus. At the same time, many seniors rely on daily caregiving from others. For elderly adults who cannot live independently, finding a trustworthy care agency is now more important than ever. It includes the security of knowing that a care provider is taking apt precautions in response to the pandemic. Criteria to Consider When choosing a care agency, it is always helpful to establish general criteria that guide your decision making. Considering factors such as the expertise of caregivers, services included, and cost can help evaluate care providers. Now, these criteria should also consider the agency’s response to COVID-19. Because the virus can spread quickly and through airborne particles, there are a number of actions a care agency must take in order to protect both their clients and staff. Good care agencies will have properly adjusted their protocols to safeguard against COVID-19. According to recommendations from the CDC on how to minimize viral spread, a care agency’s new practices might include: Increased sanitization of equipment/surroundings. Caregivers wearing masks, potentially requesting clients to wear masks. Caregivers utilizing other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face shields, and goggles. Physical distancing practices in the caregiving environment whenever possible. Regular testing for COVID-19 amongst staff. Encouraging or requiring caregivers to minimize their time in public places or unnecessary contact with anyone outside of work. Encouraging care patients to avoid public exposure whenever possible; i.e. receiving grocery delivery as opposed to going to the store, attending virtual doctor’s appointments instead of visiting an office, etc. These protocols–and how well they are adhered to–can vary from agency to agency. Make sure you understand a care agency’s response to COVID-19 and how well they are able to carry out these plans. Questions to Ask Care Providers If you are helping a loved one find a caregiving service, it is always a good idea to conduct an interview with any agency you are considering. This is a good time to ask questions about how the agency plans to protect your loved one from the virus. Some questions you can ask care providers include: Have your caregivers been properly trained in best-practices to minimize viral spread? Will you provide cleaning supplies and PPEs when needed? Are your caregivers required or encouraged to practice social distancing outside of work? Do you provide testing for your caregivers? Do you have a contingency plan in case a client or staff member contracts COVID-19? Does your agency provide any grocery/errand shopping for clients who want to avoid public spaces? Is your agency willing to provide care to clients with COVID-19? In-Home Care V.S. Residential Care Another important decision in choosing a care agency is to decide between in-home care and facility care. In-home care agencies provide caregiving services to clients within their homes. Residential care agencies include nursing homes, seniors living communities, and assisted living facilities that provide on-site care. Today, many clients are opting for in-home care agencies because they allow for easier navigation around issues related to COVID-19. In general, residential care facilities face more obstacles in adhering to recommended social distancing measures. However, both forms of caregiving do face their challenges in relation to the pandemic. Comparing how in-home and residential care agencies are uniquely impacted by COVID-19 can help you determine which option might work best for your loved one. In-Home Care Typically sends 1-2 caregivers at a time to care for a client. Might assign specific caregivers to each client in order to cut down on cross-contact during the pandemic. Can range from around-the-clock care to daily or weekly check-ins. Can provide a sense of companionship for seniors who might feel isolated or lonely. Residential Care Residents have access to facility caregivers. The level of personal caregiving varies amongst facilities. Depending on the type of care facility and a client’s needs, assistance might range from around-the-clock care to daily or weekly check-ins. The facility might restrict residents to their rooms during COVID-19 spread to minimize cross-contact amongst residents and staff. Residents might have restricted access to facility amenities during the pandemic; i.e. dining hall closures, gym closures, cancellation of typical social events. When choosing between in-home and residential care agencies, consider your loved ones living situation and circumstances. Is it viable for them to remain where they are currently living? How has the spread of COVID-19 impacted your loved one’s care situation? Caregiving is Still an Option Vulnerability to COVID-19 makes senior care a more challenging topic today. For those who are dependent on caregiving, the situation might feel overwhelming and scary. Luckily, there are still a number of care agencies that are continuously providing care in the safest way possible. While choosing the best care agency might require a bit more consideration than before, caregiving is still an option.
In the era of COVID-19, cutting down on contact with others remains the most assured safeguard for staying healthy. At the same time, “social distancing” measures pose complications for many elderly individuals. For a population that is both vulnerable to the virus and often dependent on physical assistance from others, caregiving can pose a challenge. How can you choose between receiving much-needed care and staying physically isolated? For those who rely upon daily assistance, in-home care services can mitigate this dilemma. Receiving care from a limited number of trusted caregivers within the home can safeguard against an increased potential risk of exposure to the virus. Many of us have heard stories of virus cases spreading particularly rapidly in senior living facilities. Home care makes it far easier to keep track of who, when, and where elderly care patients are coming into contact with others. Elderly individuals who already utilize care in an assisted living facility or nursing home can utilize in-home care as either a supplement or alternative to the daily services they receive. Even before the advent of COVID-19, many in-home care patients have enjoyed the ability to remain in the familiarity of their home environment, rather than having to adjust to a new living situation. This bonus can even give some patients an added sense of independence. The one-on-one style of caregiving that comes with in-home care also breeds companionship between a caregiver and their patient. In a time when many people feel isolated and lonely, this sort of bond can be invaluable to elderly individuals who otherwise would have extremely minimal social interaction. Home care has long provided the benefits of comfort and companionship. Now, as the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, those in need of caregiving should consider the added benefits of in-home care. With the uncertainties inherent in the spread of the COVID-19, in-home care has become the safest form of nursing. As a leading provider of in-home care for over a decade, New Wave Home Care is proud to offer much-needed care services throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We are committed to continuing to provide care, with innovations to better respond to our client’s needs along the way. To learn more about the benefits of in-home care, please see our types of care, or contact us to schedule a free consultation.
How we can address a health & safety issue with compassion When COVID-19 reached community spread in the United States, I knew right away that New Wave Home Care would face some challenges as we continued to provide elderly care. Like other essential businesses, we worked through “shelter in place” orders to ensure that our clients received the care they need, with the knowledge that our caregivers were putting themselves on the line to do so. Even after taking heightened precautions against the spread of the virus, continuing to conduct our caregiving services ultimately includes some level of risk. While we managed to keep every single client and staff member unexposed to COVID-19 for the first few months of the pandemic, we experienced our first positive test amongst a staff member last week. Luckily, the caregiver was asymptomatic which means that she faced no threat to her own health. Of course, we still had to jump to action so as not to spread the virus to anyone else in the New Wave Home Care network. Insufficient Standard Protocols After the positive test, I immediately referred to other caregiving experts to discern the standard protocols I should take as an employer in order to properly support this caregiver. Everyone had the same response: when employees test positive, they should quarantine at home for two weeks. Most employers also expressed the sentiment that because their staff fully understands the risk involved in working right now, they are not responsible for providing any extra support for their employees should they contract COVID-19. As a business owner, I understood the logic of these rationalizations. But faced with this new challenge, I struggled to accept the “status quo” response as the best way to help the caregiver that had tested positive. I knew that she lived with her three children under the age of ten, her aunt, and her grandfather. On top of living with at-risk individuals, they all shared a small one-bedroom apartment and a single bathroom. In a two week “quarantine”, my employee would not be able to isolate herself to a confined area. Sending her home meant almost certainly forcing her to spread the virus to her family. A Radical Response With the reality of my employee’s homelife weighing heavily on the situation, I decided to do something radical. Instead of sending her home for two weeks, I booked a two-week stay for her at a local motel. Many business owners, big and small, might scoff at the idea of spending money from their own pocket to help support an employee in this way. I also understand that not every employer can offer this sort of support. Realistically, even I would not be able to continue paying for motel bills were this issue to occur amongst a vast number of my staff. However, though my approach was perhaps not the most cost-effective solution, it was the most compassionate solution. As a provider of elderly care, I have dedicated myself to providing heartfelt and human-based solutions for my clients. How could I expect my caregivers to treat our clients with kindness if I cannot extend basic kindness to their employment? I would be remiss to not offer the same level of support to my staff. I believe that working in the caregiving industry requires me to approach health and safety issues with compassion. Right now, this means facing each challenge throughout the COVID-19 crisis head-on, and continuing to consider the uniqueness of each person’s circumstances. The Faces of the Pandemic What I understand now is that throughout this pandemic, it is easy to group people into statistics. My caregiver might be seen on paper as just another positive test. But behind that positive test is a face, someone that I know and care for, who also has a family and story of her own. Seeing the faces of the COVID-19 crisis reminds us to act with compassion. Hearing some of the stories of those that have been affected by the virus can help to understand that we cannot always approach every positive test with a generalized response. Although standard protocols are an important way to remain precautious right now, we also need to practice empathy in order to wade through this crisis together. Due to the inherently unpredictable nature of this virus, I am unsure of any other possible challenges that might arise in the future. What I do know is that throughout these difficult times, New Wave Home Care will continue to practice its philosophy providing care on the basis of compassion. Of course, this extends to providing thoughtful support for our staff as well. Sam Gopinathan, BE, MBA (Owner & CEO, New Wave Home Care)
Since the advent of COVID-19, our world has changed immensely in just a few months. With nearly all aspects of our personal and professional lives impacted by this pandemic, we have all had to make some sacrifices, as well as adjust to new “normals”. In the world of health care, this means adapting to remote medical appointments. Social distancing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent overcrowding in hospitals is now making telemedicine the new normal when it comes to doctor’s visits. Utilizing phone and video calling, telemedicine allows for healthcare professionals to conduct a large percentage of medical appointments remotely, cutting down on the need for in-person contact. Not only does telemedicine protect both doctors and patients from community spread of COVID-19, but it addresses the barriers of accessibility to medical care that many Americans face. Doctors are increasingly turning to telemedicine as an answer to obstacles of transportation, overcrowding in hospitals, and affordability, suggesting that the practice will continue to persist as a standard in medical care for years to come. These services offer particular promise for the elderly, a demographic that often struggles more than any other to access much needed medical services. Our own clients are overwhelmingly opting for telemedicine, as are many elderly individuals at large. Considering the emerging importance of telemedicine throughout the era of COVID-19 and beyond, New Wave Home Care is now working to make these services easily available to our clients. Our latest program, New Wave e-Visit: Doctors on Demand will provide elderly patients with convenient and safe medical access while helping to mitigate the increasing obstacles posed by in-person medical appointments. By partnering with doctors to offer 24/7 access to telemedical services, we are proud to be at the forefront of one of the new norms in both the home care and medical industry. As a leading elderly care provider, New Wave Home Care is not only committed to providing superb in-home care but responding to the medical needs of our clients. We are here to help you adjust to new standards in elderly care by providing guidance along the way. If telehealth services sound beneficial to you or a loved one, we are always available to provide more information on New Wave e-Visit: Doctors on Demand. To learn more about the benefits of telemedicine, or any of New Wave Home Care’s other services, please visit our weekly blog, or contact us to schedule a free consultation.
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The homecare services industry is now choosing how they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many are forced to follow suit. While continuing to follow updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local authorities, the Home Care Association of America, and other agencies and resources, some are still left with a dilemma of how to shift their caregiving services to meet the current environment.
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The world at large is currently in the process of adjusting life’s daily operations. In an attempt to cut down on the spread of coronavirus, a lot is changing. Nearly all of us have taken heightened precautions of sterilization to cut down on the transfer or illness. Some countries, states, and local governments are calling on citizens to stay inside completely with as little social contact with others as possible.
In the past week, Americans have experienced a number of immense daily changes in an attempt to curtail the rapid spread of COVID-19. With the virus reaching pandemic status, the United States is no longer watching foreign countries deal with its impacts from afar.
As you are likely aware, there are several media reports about the growing concern about Coronavirus. Prevention is always a better option than waiting for a supposed cure and we would like to be proactive in our planning, to do our part to prevent whatever we can for our Clients.