Stay Safe During Coronavirus:
March 30 2020
As front-line workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic, home health aides have a huge responsibility to play. We are a vital piece of the healthcare system and we were made for such a time as this! But, as you work to help others, make sure you are doing your best to stay safe as well.
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe as a home health aide or caregiver during COVID-19:
- Ask Questions: Ask questions before you go to a home. Call beforehand and see if anyone in the home has been exposed to the virus or is sick themselves. Once you have been exposed, you may not be able to help care for other patients who are avoiding the virus, so make this a priority before you meet with anyone physically.
- Take temperatures: One of the first things you can do with a patient is take their temperature. Even if they don’t think they have coronavirus, if they have a fever, you can escalate their situation to assess and see if they need to be at a hospital. For many home healthcare patients, they already have preexisting conditions, and so a fever could be serious even if it isn’t COVID-19.
- Protect your face: Face screens and masks are helpful, but as we all know, many of them are in short supply. If you feel you need one for your interaction with a patient, feel free to use them. During times like these, most patients will not be taken off-guard for you wearing a mask.
- Wash thoroughly. We are pretty diligent about cleaning properly to begin with, but now is the time to be extra cautious about washing hands, instruments, and handles properly. It also helps show the patient and their family that you are taking things just as seriously as the rest of the healthcare industry is.
- Take Notes: Always take notes on your interactions, and note who was in the house with you. While we are tracing this virus, it could be important for you to know who is living in the home if they get sick and you were in the home while they were contagious. It’s important because these people may not be your main patient, but your notes could help out tremendously!
- Watch Your Mental Health: Now is the most important time of your career to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. We are facing unprecedented times in healthcare in the United States, which means that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, grieved, and even angry. Take breaks when you can. Avoid watching news constantly and surfing social media if you can. Take time for yoga, meditation, or something to help you feel good.
- Watch Your Immunity: Take care of your body. Get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet. Take your vitamins and do what you need to make sure you can fight off any viruses that might try to attack. The healthier you are, the more you are able to help others.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. The better prepared you are to protect yourself from COVID-19, the better you can adapt and pivot to meet the needs of your patients. We’re all in this together!