How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected home care and what is Collier Home Care doing to keep our clients and caregivers safe and healthy?

Mandatory Testing

Collier Home Care provides one-on-one private duty home care services such as stand by or hands-on assistance with bathing or showering; dressing; toileting; ambulation; transfers; grooming; feeding; medication reminders; light housekeeping and laundry; errands and driving to appointments to residents who live in senior living environments such as assisted living, skilled nursing rehab, and memory care. Collier Home Care also provides temporary staffing services to senior living facilities. Collier Home Care can provide certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides (HHAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered nurses (RNs) when they are experiencing staffing shortages.

Effective July 7, 2020, the Florida Department of Health has required that all nursing home and assisted living facility staff must be tested for COVID-19 and continue to be tested every two weeks thereafter. This includes all private duty caregivers.

Call to action banner for home care services showing a smiling senior man.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Since the beginning of COVID-19, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has recommended wearing face masks when individuals are around other people and especially when social distancing (6 feet of distance) is not possible. It’s important for caregivers to use a disposable mask when providing personal care with the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as assistance with bathing, showering, toileting, dressing, walking, transferring, feeding, and grooming.

Face coverings can be anything from a homemade face mask to a bandana or even a scarf. For caregivers, a medical-grade face mask must always be worn to keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching the people they are caring for. And while some may use gardening gloves to visit their local supermarket, caregivers must also have medical grade exam gloves that are to be changed regularly, furthering the worldwide shortage of supplies.

Mental Health of our Seniors

Many senior care facilities have been able to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities, if not totally keep the virus from entering through its doors through continued isolation of their residents. While this keeps their residents safe from infection from a foreign source, it also deprives them of visits from their loved ones. Family members must stand outside their parent’s or grandparent’s windows and wave at them from a distance, which provides their loved one with some solace, but is often not satisfactory. Caregivers can no longer take their clients on outings such as clothes shopping or going out to a meal without the fear of getting infected. This can make it challenging to provide mental and physical stimulation to keep clients active, engaged, and healthy.

How has Collier Home Care risen to the challenges we all face from the Covid-19 pandemic?

Collier Home Care has implemented the following measures to keep our clients and caregivers healthy and safe:

  1. We provided PPE (disposable gloves and disposable masks) to our clients and caregivers.
  2. We provided a Service Plan addendum to all clients with the following suggestions:
    • The caregiver is to use a mask and disposable gloves when proving personal care to the client.
    • The caregiver to sanitize and then wipe with water all food containers, prescriptions bottles, and other packaging prior to opening; caregiver to wash hands prior to meal prep if needed.
    • Caregiver to wash hands for 30 seconds with soap and water upon entering and leaving the client’s home.
    • Caregiver to keep hands away from their face, mouth, nose, and eyes while in the home.
    • Caregiver to disinfect surfaces and keep home environment tidy, clean, and sanitized as time allows and as permitted by the client. For activities that don’t require close proximity, the caregiver should maintain social distancing (6 feet of distance from the client).
    • Caregiver to limit unnecessary outings where clients would encounter others; caregivers to encourage social distancing and use of PPE when social distancing is not possible. ‘
    • Caregiver to open all mail packaging and envelopes outside the home and discard packaging prior to re-entering home; wash hands.
    • The caregiver to take the client’s body temperature each visit or as tolerated and monitor for fever, shortness of breath/ respiratory issues, and cough.
    • The caregiver to complete Covid-19 Self-Care Log daily prior to arrival at any shift with the client and immediately report any symptoms to the Collier Home Care office at (239) 920-3902.

Due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in Florida, we have decided to take additional measures with the goal of keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Effective Monday, July 6, all actively working caregivers are required to get the Covid-19 antibody test every two (2) weeks and provide our office with a copy of the results. In the event that a caregiver experiences symptoms at any time or tests positive for antibodies, he or she is to notify our office immediately and get a swab test done to determine if there is a current infection. The caregiver will be removed from providing any care until the office can verify a negative swab test result.

To date, we are not aware of any clients, caregivers, or administrative staff that have tested positive for Covid-19 and we wish to keep it that way. Collier Home Care is determined to keep all our clients and caregivers safe and healthy, both physically and mentally, during these trying times. Please contact us with any questions you may have about our at-home care services or what we’re doing to limit the spread of Covid-19.