Client & Family COVID-19 FAQs
Maintaining a Healthy At-Home
Environment During the Coronavirus
Last updated: 3/3/2021
We are always vigilant about our need to help protect our Clients, who are part of an especially at risk older adult population prone to underlying health issues from illness of any kind. Taking measures to protect the safety and well-being of older adults is not new to us, but we have implemented additional protocols during COVID-19 and constantly review current information and make adjustments as needed.
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: What is Family & Nursing Care doing about getting Caregivers the COVID-19 vaccine?
Family & Nursing Care has been following with vested interest all news regarding the efficacy, approval, and distribution strategy of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. Please take a moment to read our COVID-19 Vaccine Statement.
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. A team member will ask about symptoms the Caregiver has observed: vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate; existing chronic issues; and whether the Client has been seen by a physician and if family has been made aware. 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 COVID-19, 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 positive for COVID-19, his/her doctor will likely instruct them to quarantine for 14 days. We can arrange for replacement Caregivers for you during this time. Caregivers can safely 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 pay sick leave to affected Select Caregivers for up to 14 days and will offer financial support for affected Classic independent contractor Caregivers.
Q: What is Family & Nursing Care’s policy regarding a Caregiver who has been exposed to COVID-19?
Family & Nursing Care is not referring Caregivers who have a known exposure to COVID-19 until they have tested negative for COVID-19 at least three days after the exposure.
Q: What if our Caregiver can’t visit our family member? Can I get a replacement Caregiver?
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 is 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 Client and the degree of blood and body fluid contact that can be reasonably anticipated. The below are helpful face mask recommendations:
Wear a surgical mask or reusable 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/reusable 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.
We continue working diligently to maintain a steady supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and make it readily accessible to Caregivers.
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.
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 COVID-19 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 have offered webinar based educational opportunities, are sending emails and texts, and will continue to offer resources, all to ensure Caregivers are well-informed 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.
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.