Covid’s Affect on Home Care
We all know the coronavirus pandemic has affected our elderly population most harshly. Yet, while the focus has been on those living in senior communities, there has also been an impact to home care. Seniors living at home, and even those living in communities, count on home care assistance for their daily living needs. So, what happened when the coronavirus pandemic surged.
I reached out to Comfort Keepers and asked them how they’ve been impacted. Here’s what they experienced.
- Did you see an increase or decrease in requests for services?
A decrease for 3 months, followed by a surge of new requests at this time.
- Who were the requests from? The customer? A family member?
- Did you find that seniors who were unable to move into a senior facility, turned to home care in the meantime? Do you think they may have discovered home care as a long term option? Or do they see it as a temporary solution until facilities open again.
- Do you service seniors in senior living communities?
- If so, did these communities restrict your home care caregivers from entering? Have they placed restrictions on how you provide your services? For example, beyond the CDC recommendations of wearing PPE, hand washing, etc.… did they restrict which caregivers could enter?
We were allowed in with all precautions in practice.
- What procedures has your company put in place to assure the safety of your customers?
Temperature taken, PPE, questioning, quarantining when necessary
- Has contact tracing been put into place by your company or any of the senior living facilities?
I am not aware of this at the living facilities. We did our own internal investigations.
- Have you experienced a loss of caregivers due to infection?
- Have you been able to hire staff to cover your needs? Or has it been difficult to hire because of the fear of catching the virus.
It’s always a challenge to hire enough qualified caregivers – lots of competition!
- Generally, what message do you want to tell seniors and their families about home care during the pandemic? What can they do to help keep everyone safe – themselves and their caregiver?
For now, I would say that they are safer at home, with limited visitors.
What We’ve Learned
As the saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (Les Guepes, July 1848). It seems this may apply to the current pandemic. As much as our way of life has changed with social distancing, mask wearing, and contact tracing, our basic needs have stayed the same. Our elderly still need care. We just need to keep these things in mind.
- Home care is very much a solution for seniors living at home and provides a bridge to making a move to a community.
- It’s important, whether living at home or in a community, to take precautions and follow protocol to avoid the spread of any disease. Seniors should limit the number of people coming into their home, and make sure they wear a mask, and wash their hands. Seniors receiving care should follow these same precautions.
- Make sure any and all businesses you come in contact with have protocols in place. Don’t assume, because one company has requirements all companies are meeting those same requirements. They are working independently of each other and you need to check with each of them.
- And, finally, appreciate your caregiver. They are not “a dime a dozen,” and should be treated with as much respect as any doctor, nurse, or caregiver in the healthcare industry.
For more information about Comfort Keepers, go to: ComfortKeepers.com
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