An Update from our COO on COVID-19 Precautions – Obioma Maryann Asiegbu RN BSN
To Our Clients, Community at large,
You–Our Community–are the heart of everything that we do. We Care!. This is an Unprecedented time for all of us and the safety of our teams, clients and their families is our top priority. You likely have heard a lot of information in the news about the Novel Coronavirus, called COVID-19, in recent days as the growth of this virus rises in the U.S. and around the world. As a company dedicated to compassionate care, we have been actively monitoring the progression of the virus using the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
We believe that home remains the safest place for you or your loved one, as indications show that the virus is spread more quickly in larger group or public settings. Possible exposure will remain the lowest for those who are able to stay in their homes with limited outside contact. For this reason, we feel fortunate to be able to provide care that can keep clients at home and limit their exposure through an individualized / personalized care and support.
And while most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a small percentage of cases become severe and may progress quickly, particularly in the older Adults, elderly and among people with underlying medical conditions such as Diabetes, Heart disease, lung Disease. Because this is the primary population that we serve, we understand you may have concerns. For that reason, we want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19.
We are following updates and procedures from the CDC, State Department of Health, local and county authorities, and other agencies and resources.
We remain vigilant about our need to help protect our staff and clients from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease.
The following are some of the protocols and procedures we have in place
- Our staff is trained in infectious disease control.
- Our caregivers should not care for those who exhibit signs of or have been tested positive for the virus as a safekeeping measure for themselves and for their other clients and families.
- Our caregivers have an established protocol to stay home if they are ill with any sickness so as to not infect any of our clients or their family members.
- Our staff follows hygiene procedures directed by the CDC, including vigorous and frequent hand Washing with soap and water, use of sanitizing gels (with 70% alcohol level or higher), use of disinfectant wipes to frequently wipe down surfaces, proper coughing and sneezing techniques, disposal of any items that may have virus or bacteria, and much more.
- If any of our staff or their clients should show signs of COVID-19, we will report, isolate and quarantine, as necessary, abiding by national and local guidelines.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including under the nails. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as these are entry points for the virus.
- Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, telephones, TV remotes, doorknobs, faucet handles, steering wheels, counters and tabletops.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to keep your immune system healthy.
- Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back-up support.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
- Avoid crowds and, wherever possible, practice “social distancing” of remaining at a distance of six feet away from strangers, as recommended by the CDC.
- If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others. Maintain a distance of 6’ from others where possible.
Incidental Planning for You or Your Loved One
- Depending on the severity of the spread of illness in communities or the response taken by national and state authorities (ex. mandatory isolation, closure of schools, etc.), our staffing levels may be affected.
- We will make every effort possible to provide our clients with safe and appropriate care and seek to avoid canceling shifts. However, we cannot guarantee this will not occur given the uncertainties about this situation.
- At all times, we strongly recommend that our clients have alternative arrangements for the provision of care in the event we are unable to provide services. We encourage you to begin considering and putting into place back-up plans now, as the severity of the spread of this illness and planned interventions is still uncertain.
While these are uncertain times, I want you to know that iCare Home Healthcare Services stand in faith with our Clients, Caregivers, Our families and Our Communities. As new information becomes available, we will share that with our staff and clients. You can learn more here:
Get ready for COVID-19 now
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
- Stock up on supplies
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possibile.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk or being exposed.
Have a plan for if you get sick
- Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask fo help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
- Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
- Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
- If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Who is at higher risk?
Early information out of china, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical condition like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Covid-19 spreads through airborne droplets and direct contact. Plus, there is currently no vaccine against it.
To prevent it, you have to stay protected.
Follow these steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or more. You can also apply a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if water and soap are not readily available.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, especially if you are at risk of the disease.
- If you’re sick, stay home.
- Cover your nose and mouth if you bo cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues immediately into the trash.
- Wash your hands immediately after coughing or sneezing.
- If you get sick (e.g. fever, trouble breathing, cough, headache, etc.), contact your doctor immediately.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Distance yourself from crowded places. Also, maintain at least one meter distance from other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.