For Professionals: Caring for Clients During COVID-19
Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated: 3/9/2021
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.
For additional information regarding Caregiver services in
Washington, D.C. and Maryland 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 first COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. Please take a moment to read our COVID-19 Vaccine Statement.
Q: What steps is Family & Nursing Care taking in helping to protect the safety & well-being of Clients and Caregivers during COVID-19?
- We are staying informed. We continue to follow updates from Federal, state, and local governments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and share any new updates and recommendations and adjust our own procedures accordingly as necessary.
- We are working closely with Senior Living Communities in the area and are providing updated information regarding each community’s unique protocols and COVID-19 testing procedures to our staff and any Caregivers working for Clients at those communities.
- We continue to inform Caregivers about CDC recommendations, including the importance of continuing proper hand hygiene, to stay home when sick, and more (see below).
- We have offered webinar based educational opportunities to Caregivers on properly donning and doffing their PPE, as well as working with clients who have tested positive for COVID.
- Our Nursing Department is always available to answer questions and give advice to Family & Nursing Care Select Caregivers
- The majority of our office team is operating in remote work environments to help limit unnecessary interaction between the Caregivers and others in the company. Fortunately, over the past few years Family & Nursing Care invested in technology to make this possible, and even has staff working in other parts of the country in case our area is significantly impacted.
- Home and Senior Living Community visits by our Client Services Team have been limited to absolute necessity. Our staff is fully available for phone calls and video conferencing when needed.
- Our COVID-19 task force meets regularly to review any new information and recommendations from local and national health authorities. We stand ready to make any changes necessary at any moment.
- We continue working diligently to maintain a steady supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and make it readily accessible to Caregivers.
- We are not referring Caregivers who test positive for COVID-19 until they have tested negative or we receive a health clearance from their health care professional.
- We are 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.
- We are not referring Caregivers who are known to have traveled outside the region via public transportation (example: planes, trains, buses, etc.) until they have received a negative test after isolating for 3 days or have remained symptom free for 10 days after their return.
- Any Caregiver who has worked with a client who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not be referred for work with other clients until the Caregiver tests negative for COVID-19 at least three days from last exposure.
- Caregivers are expected to follow CDC guidelines and use proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Our COVID-19 testing coordination team alerts Caregivers as to how to get tested for COVID-19 and how often.
Q: How will you continue to coordinate with me as the health crisis continues?
We will use the contact information you provided to give you updates via phone and/or by email. In addition, Family & Nursing Care regularly updates information about COVID-19 on our website: www.familynursingcare.com. If you have a specific question, there is always someone available by phone, 24/7.
Q: What is Family & Nursing Care’s leave policy related to COVID-19?
The health and safety of our Clients, Caregivers and staff are of utmost concern to us. Should a Client’s Caregiver test positive for COVID-19, his/her doctor will likely instruct them to quarantine for 14 days. We can arrange for replacement Caregivers 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 if a Caregiver can’t visit their Client? Can you send a replacement Caregiver?
As always, we are committed to ensuring the safety of all Clients. We will refer a new Caregiver whenever possible.
Q: How can we convey our policies with regard to this health situation to your Caregivers?
Caregivers who work for residents in Senior Living Communities and long term care facilities are aware that professionals and management in these settings rely on them to follow their policies. Please keep our office team informed about any changes, and we will communicate with all Caregivers who provide care for residents of your community.
Q: Will Family & Nursing Care Caregivers wear masks when caring for a Client?
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:
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 mask 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: Will caregivers 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: Should Clients and Caregivers do anything differently to clean the living area, do laundry, cook, and grocery shop?
We have encouraged Caregivers and Clients to be extra diligent during this time by having extra disinfectant wipes and cleaners on hand and frequently clean surfaces that are touched often.
As for grocery shopping, we should all consider curbside or grocery delivery services. If a personal grocery store visit is needed, it is recommended that Clients and Caregivers go during special set-aside hours for older adults, they should maintain proper social distancing, be prepared by having a comprehensive shopping list for efficiency, and wash/antibacterial hands upon completion of shopping.
Q: Will the Caregiver be alerted to look for symptoms that would prompt having a Client 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 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.
A Client Services Manager will inform the Client’s family and advise them to contact their healthcare professional to determine next steps. We will work with families to manage each unique situation. If the client lives at a Senior Living Community, we will collaborate with the community staff as consistent with their policy.
Q: What are you telling Caregivers to minimize the risk they pose to a client?
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 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 PPE.
- How to safely work with COVID + clients.
- 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.
Additionally, we have provided Caregivers with resources for free COVID-19 training courses and have encouraged them to take this training.