As we enter the 2nd year of this pandemic, more families are exploring, and appreciating, the benefits of home care in the time of COVID. And home care providers, including Sky Heart Home Care, are constantly updating our protocols based on medical guidance. Our priority is to make sure we are doing all we can to keep patients, team members and communities safe and healthy.
Increasing reliance on home care in the time of COVID
As incidences of COVID hot spots were repeatedly linked to nursing homes during 2020, many families turned to home care as an option to help provide more protection from the virus for their aging family members. When loved ones are in their own homes, it’s easier to reduce contact with outsiders, control exposure time, and maintain desirable social distance. And a certain level of companion services can be provided remotely. There are other benefits too…
For the most vulnerable, less exposure to possible infection
Home care offers tremendous peace of mind for seniors and those with underlying health conditions who are at most risk of encountering the COVID-19 virus in public places.
- Help with errands: home care aides are able to take care of shopping for groceries, medicines and other essentials. When they return to the client’s home they leave common sources of infection (like shoes) outside, cleanse their hands, and wipe down any supplies that the family would like sanitized.
- Help handling online tasks: if clients are not as technologically inclined, aides can provide support for accessing online services like telehealth. They can even set up family chats, or help navigate vaccine- or testing-appointment booking systems.
- Ensuring access to healthy meals: Most home care services include a certain amount of light meal preparation, helping to ensure that your loved ones get access to healthy foods even if they (or you), are unable to prepare any themselves.
- Peace of mind: When someone you love is on their own, home care team members help give you peace of mind by regularly checking in on them, and so they enjoy the comfort and dignity of life at home. From regular bathing to ensuring medicines are being taken, to enjoying activities together, aides become a family’s much needed care partner.
Companionship helps support well-being
Apart from the above benefits, one of the main strengths that home care brings to older adults or to those recuperating from injury or illness—including COVID itself—is regular companionship. Across all walks of life, one of the positive side-effects of this pandemic has been increased awareness, worldwide, of the negative effects of isolation, including loneliness, depression and hopelessness.
In a report summarizing findings of a 2019 poll, [https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/report/loneliness-and-health ], the National Poll on Healthy Aging noted that “chronic loneliness can impact older adults’ memory, physical well-being, mental health, and life expectancy. In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy even more than being overweight or sedentary, and just as much as smoking.”
Home care aides and companion sitters create friendships and positive connections for loved ones who might otherwise be isolated day after day. Seeing someone in person, regularly, makes a tremendous difference in well-being for people of all ages and situations. In some situations, virtual visits can be an ideal temporary measure if that is deemed safer.
Increased testing, sanitization & protective gear
There are many steps that have become standard routines for home care during the time of COVID, and that can reassure families turning to providers right now:
- Frequent COVID testing: Weekly, or even more frequent testing is one of the keys to controlling spread among essential workers like home care aides, companion sitters, and nursing supervisors. Providers have systematically increased the frequency of COVID testing as it has become easier to get.
- More protective gear: Increased production of Personal Protective Equipment (you may have heard people call this PPE), like high-efficiency face coverings, face shields, and other devices, has made it easier to stock up on needed supplies.
- Cleaning supplies and assistance: And now that cleaning supplies like disinfectant surface cleaners and disposable towels are more readily available again, home health team members are able to help wipe down the most-used home surfaces to minimize risk of surface spread.
Home care is an invaluable help for seniors, as well as for those recuperating from illness or injuries. At Sky Heart Home Care we know that the connection and companionship we create with our clients helps increase their quality of life. We’re proud that we can also help minimize many of the risks families may be concerned about with group care. If at-home care in the time of COVID (or any time), is something you’re considering, we hope you’ll contact us first.