Whatever you call it- post-quarantine life, the new normal, or the new world -many caregivers are wrestling with questions around whether to start or resume home healthcare services:
- How can you get caregiver support in the home without putting you and your family, home healthcare workers, and the larger communities at risk?
- Is it safe to have workers in the home?
- Can I get home healthcare if I take my family member out of their long-term care (LTC) home?
- How do you make these decisions, when the stakes are so high and there continues to be much so much uncertainty?
Home care facts: what we do know
Even with the uncertainty, there are some things we do know that are relevant to home healthcare:
- Home care is an essential service. Home care services include nurses, personal support workers (PSWS) and rehabilitation therapists like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, social workers and speech language pathologists.
- The health and safety of clients, their families and home care workers is the top priority of home care organizations.
- There are infection prevention and control (IPAC) standards for home care and these standards have been updated to specifically include COVID-19.
- Home is one of the safest (and often preferred) places to be and most caregivers want to keep their family member at home for as long as possible. Statistics for one of the large homecare providers revealed an infection rate for COVID-19 of 0.04 % and no COVID-related deaths to date. In stark contrast, in settings like long-term care homes with COVID-19 outbreaks, serious illness and death rates have been as high as 13 %. Given the failure of several provincial long-term care (LTC) homes to prevent and control COVID -19 outbreaks, some caregivers with family already living in care homes want to bring them home (this comprehensive decision aid is a great guide if considering this choice).
The home care checklists
Home care (like everything else!) will look somewhat different because of the need to increase health and safety measures for COVID -19 infection prevention and control. It has been reorganized, for example, to reduce the number of different healthcare workers going into any one home.
Infection prevention and control is a joint effort and responsibility. Here is a checklist of what to expect from your home care worker AND a checklist for your part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting yourself, the person you are caring for and home health care workers.
Your home care agency or your home care worker will inform you if and when there are any additional infection prevention and control practices.
Let us know how these checklists have helped you with your homecare decisions.