COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Caregivers: Things to Think About

woman cleaning the windows

It is very likely that a COVID-19 outbreak will be coming to a community near you. As people around the country scramble in preparation for quarantine periods and lockdowns, there is rising concern surrounding caregivers and if they will still be available to help with grocery shopping, cleaning, and other non-medical caregiving needs.

The majority of caregiving service providers have been deemed essential businesses, allowing caretakers to continue their in-home visits. While these organizations are still able to provide services, some clients may be fearful of the risks of accepting help.

This crisis has put a spotlight on caregiving as well weighing the risks associated with having people in and out of your home, regardless of who they are.

We’ve highlighted a few things to think about if you or a loved one is receiving caregiving services during this time:

1. Communication

Now more than ever, it is important to be in constant communication with your specific caregivers and the organization they are employed with. What is the company’s policy regarding the COVID-19 outbreak? How are they monitoring the situation and what actions have they taken to ensure everyone’s safety? Are Caregivers required to wear personal protective equipment? Have they practiced a 14 day self-quarantine?

2. Consistency

Do you have the same caregiver come into your home day after day? Or is it always someone different? If you are able, now is the time to request the consistent caregivers to limit the exposure of multiple people in and out of your home.

3. Creativity

Are you able to get creative with caregiving methods? For example, if you have a caretaker that does grocery and medicine runs each week – perhaps they can leave those items on the front porch instead of coming into the home. If assistance is needed to put groceries away, suggest that your caregiver use disinfectant wipes to wipe down the items once they come into the home.

4. Filling in the Gaps

Can a family member temporarily step up and assume any caregiving responsibilities during this time? Many are out of work or working from home right now. If members of your family have practiced self-quarantine, and know they are healthy, perhaps they could take over non-medical caregiving responsibilities for the time being? On the other hand, for those that may not have family nearby, caregivers could be expected to increase the scope of their work to step in and fill the gaps. Perhaps taking on additional household responsibilities, such as cooking, cleaning and landscaping.

As always, be consistent with the CDC’s suggested guidelines and practicing social distancing when practical. Clean surfaces and wash your hands before and after caregivers have been to visit. The COVID-19 outbreak if a fluid situation that is changing daily. The one constant is that we are all in this together, and we need to look out for each other.