The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued detailed guidelines encouraging Home Health Agencies to take appropriate action to address potential and confirmed COVID-19 cases. Experts say confirmed COVID-19 cases are expected to continually rise in the country and homecare patients are among the most vulnerable, notable, The CMS is coordinating with the CDC to ensure the Home Health Agencies have the most up-to-date information to care for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases. The healthcare providers are encouraged to review the new guidelines carefully; making sure caregivers are adequately trained in the application of the detailed guidelines. They will evaluate whether the patient needs to be hospitalized or can be cared for at home. The provider should follow the prevention steps below until the patient can return to normal activities.
Specific Instructions for Caregivers of COVID-19 Patients:
- Make sure Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is available “and wear it.”
- Make sure the patient follows instructions for medication. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home; provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
- Closely monitor the patient for respiratory symptoms. (fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and sore throat. New guidelines also recommend taking the patients’ temperature twice daily.
- If in your judgment, the patient is getting sicker, “call 911 and the healthcare provider.” Tell the 911 dispatch personnel that the patient has confirmed COVID-19 or is undergoing evaluation for the disease. This will help to determine what steps are necessary to help the patient and it will help to provide protection and prevention for the emergency medical staff.
- Healthcare providers should notify local and state health departments for additional guidance, in protection and prevention for all staff and family members.
- Household members should stay in another room separated from patients’ as much as possible.
- Use a separate bathroom if possible.
- Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
- The patient should not handle the pets of other animals while sick.
- Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflows, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves.
- Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- You, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
- The patient should wear a facemask when you or other people are around.
- Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
- Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. DO NOT REUSE.
- Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste.
Clean your hands immediately after handling these items. Wash thoroughly with soap and water, in addition; use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
Our role at Mir Home Care Inc is to prevent and control the spread of any disease while protecting our staff and patients.