As the corona virus pandemic continues, the number of new cases of COVID-19 is accelerating dramatically. The corona virus spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
If you’re caring for a loved one with COVID-19 at home, you might have these questions.
- How do you know when emergency care is needed?
- What is the warning signs? How long is the home isolation?
- What can you do to prevent the spread of germs?
Here’s some tips for you for how to care for a loved one with COVID-19 while keeping yourself safe.
First, follow the AT HOME ISOLATION MEASURES
While you may not have a COVID-19 diagnosis, your chance of exposure is high.
That means you could be contagious even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Follow the below ground rules without fail.
- Stay separate
Avoid sharing personal items (e.g dishes, cups/glasses, towels, bedding, electronics). Avoid face to face interaction with family members. If unavoidable, patient and family member must wear a mask when face to face and maintain a physical distance of >1m.
- Separate room
Ensure room is well ventilated.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Disinfect high touched areas (e.g : doorknobs, light switches, bed, table, remote control, bathroom) and any other item the patient had come in contact with at least once daily.
- No food sharing
Patient should not share their utensils. Patients are advised to clean their own utensils and keep aside.
- Always wear a mask
Yes, ALWAYS and throw the used mask into a closed bin and perform hand hygiene.
- Manage waste responsibly
For contaminated items, put in a trash bag and wash your hands afterward.
- Separate laundry
Patient’s laundry should be washed separately and hands should be washed thoroughly after handling dirty laundry. If possible, advise to wash laundry at warmest setting or with warm water.
- Stay connected
Always be at home and contactable at all times.
- Separate bathroom
If this is not possible, the patient may use a common bathroom, but it should be cleaned after each use with at least water and soap.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
IDENTIFICATION OF WARNING SIGNS:
Have the doctor’s phone number handy. Always ready to seek for help or call 911 immediately if symptoms become severe, such as:
- Coughing up blood
- Unable to tolerate orally
- Shortness of Breath and Chest Tightness
- Altered state of consciousness (ASC)
- Decreased urine output
- Lack of Oxygen – Oxygen saturation of less than 96%
- Cyanosis – (purple-blue lips or fingers), even when the patient is on oxygen
ADVICE FOR CAREGIVER
Caregiver is a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person.
It is recommended that people with the following conditions NOT care for COVID-19 patients:
- Adults over 60 years of age
- Patients with chronic kidney disease
- People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Immunocompromised persons (including those who have had transplants of a solid organ)
- People who are obese (body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2)
- Patients with serious heart conditions: heart failure, coronary heart disease, or cardiomyopathies
- People with sickle cell disease
- Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Pregnant women
- People with other diseases considered at high risk by health personnel
Caregiver’s role in home management of COVID-19 patients:
- The caregiver should use a mask when in the same room as the patient
- Help the patient follow their doctor’s instruction and care
- Make sure they rest and drink a lot of fluids
- Maintain at least 1 meter distance with patient to attend to their needs
- Explain to other family or household members the steps of preventing further transmission at home – wear mask and do hand hygiene
- Support the patient in treatment and other measures such as fever or cough medications, managing waste and do laundry for them
** WHEN TO DISCONTINUE HOME ISOLATION?
Have the sick person talk to his or her health care provider before resuming normal activities. The CDC advises that the decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments.
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