Client & Family COVID-19 FAQs

Maintaining a Healthy At-Home
Environment During the Coronavirus

Last updated: 6/9/2020

We are vigilant about our need to help protect our Clients, who are especially at risk, given they are older adults and may also have underlying health issues from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. These measures are not new to us as we seek to minimize risk regularly for our Clients, regardless of an outbreak such as this new coronavirus.

To learn more about Family & Nursing Care and our home care services in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, please call 800-588-0517 or email us.

Q: Will the Caregiver be alerted to look for symptoms that would prompt having my loved one tested or taken to the hospital?
Yes. Part of any licensed CNA or HHA training is to identify changes in condition. Caregivers are asked to notify the company if a Client has any of the following symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature, and/or shortness of breath. Please note that Caregivers can observe, record, and report the Client’s physical condition, behavior, or appearance, but are not permitted by their license to diagnose.

A Client Services Manager will inform the Client’s family and advise them to contact their healthcare professional to determine next steps.

If Family Members otherwise become aware that their loved one has symptoms of Coronavirus, they should immediately contact their Client Services Manager.

Q: What is Family & Nursing Care’s policy regarding a Caregiver who becomes ill due to COVID-19?
The health and safety of our Clients, Caregivers and Staff are of utmost concern to us. Should your caregiver test COVID +, his/her doctor will likely instruct them to quarantine for 14 days. We will arrange coverage for you during this time. Caregivers can return to work after they have tested negative for COVID-19 or when provided a health clearance from their health care professional.

Family & Nursing Care has implemented a plan to support Caregivers in the event they are diagnosed with COVID-19. With proper documentation, Family & Nursing Care will compensate affected Select Caregivers for up to 14 days and will offer financial support for affected Classic independent contractor Caregivers.

Q: What if our Caregiver can’t visit our family member? Do you have backup support? 
As always, we are committed to ensuring the safety of all Clients. We will refer a new Caregiver whenever possible.

Q: Should we limit our visits to our loved one? 
The CDC is advising “social distancing” to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and advising families to limit visits to older adults when possible. Many Senior Living Communities have their own policies regarding visitors, and we are working with those communities to comply.

We encourage Family Members to call their loved one by phone or video chat if available.  Keep in touch – but not necessarily in person.

Q: Should my caregiver wear a mask?
The CDC recommends following their use of Standard Precautions and Expanded Precautions. Standard Precautions are based on the principles that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions (except sweat), non-intact skin and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents. Expanded Precautions are based on contact and droplet precautions and airborne infection isolation. Whether PPE is needed, and if so, which type, is determined by the type of interaction with the clients and the degree of blood and body fluid contact that can be reasonably anticipated. The below are helpful face mask recommendations:

Non-COVID Clients
Wear a surgical mask or homemade mask when in the same room with client and when providing client’s personal care.

COVID +/COVID Exposed Clients
Wear a N95 or KN95 Face Masks when providing client’s personal care, when in the same room with the client, when in rooms the client uses, when handling client’s trash, dirty laundry, and utensils. Surgical masks/homemade masks can be placed over the KN95/N95 to extend their usefulness. In addition, a face shield should be worn in addition to the N95/KN95 face mask when providing client’s personal care.

Q: Should my caregiver wear gloves?
Gloves should only be used when there is contact with bodily fluids. Wearing gloves on a day-to-day basis for prevention is not helpful as we touch our hands, eyes, and mouth frequently.

Q: Do I need to buy specific cleaning products?
It would be a good idea to have regular household disinfectant wipes and cleaners on hand; anything with bleach or alcohol works. The recommendation is to clean frequently-touched surfaces and to practice frequent hand washing.

See:  https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

Q: How will Family & Nursing Care staff communicate with us during this time?
We will use the contact information you provided to give you updates via phone and/or by email. In addition, Family & Nursing Care will regularly update information about the Coronavirus on our website:  www.familynursingcare.com.

While we are currently limiting visits by our Client Services Team to homes and Senior Living Communities to only those that are most essential, we are increasing the number of telephone check-ins with Clients, Families, and Caregivers to assist whenever possible.

Q: What are you telling Caregivers to minimize the risk they pose to my loved one?
We have one-on-one calls with Caregivers before they go to a new Client, we are offering webinar based educational opportunities, are sending emails and texts, and will continue to offer resources, all to ensure Caregivers are well-educated and follow CDC protocols, including the following:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash their hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces including their cell phones upon entering the home.
  • Wear gloves when touching or have contact with the Client’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, and urine. Dispose of gloves immediately in an outdoor trash bin after removing them. Do not reuse them. Wash hands immediately after removing and disposing of gloves.
  • Properly donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Eat healthy fresh foods, drink lots of water, and get rest to strengthen their immune system.
  • Stay at home and away from others if they are feeling ill.
  • If they have underlying medical issues that put them in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit their contact with others.

Q: What about taking our loved one out of their living quarters (food shopping; doctor appointments)?
Because the CDC is advising “social distancing” to minimize the spread of COVID-19, it is advisable to limit trips outside your loved one’s home. Essential doctor appointments are necessary to keep. The physician’s office may have implemented some changes regarding how they see patients, so the Caregiver should call the doctor’s office before taking the Client to the appointment. Shopping and side trips before or after a doctor’s appointment should be avoided.

Q: Are caregivers through Family & Nursing Care considered “essential” and able to work?
Caregivers are considered essential, and have been provided a letter from Family & Nursing Care on March 30 verifying their status.

Family & Nursing Care provides 24 hour, 7 days a week support to families experiencing a crisis in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Call us now toll free at 800-588-0517 for immediate assistance.