Home Care in the COVID-19 Era
The role of home care in caring for older adults and the medically vulnerable amid the COVID-19 outbreak can take many forms. From providing companionship to homebound older adults separated from their families because of physical distancing guidelines to supporting the long-term recovery of survivors of the virus once they are discharged from the hospital, there are many ways professional home care providers can be of invaluable service.
Isolation from family
Whether they live at home or in a care facility, older adults and medically vulnerable individuals have been severely impacted by stay-home orders and social distancing guidelines. Visitor bans at care facilities, imposed early on in the crisis, continue, as does separation from family members for many older adults living at home. Even prior to COVID-19, 43 percent of those over age 60 reported feeling lonely. That figure is likely higher now.
Having a professional home care provider to rely on for physical and emotional support can be hugely beneficial. Caregivers provide much-needed companionship — relieving anxiety, loneliness, and boredom. For those living at home, having a caregiver to handle errands, including shopping, can help minimize infection exposure from group environments. In addition, at a time when hospitalization can carry additional risk, having a caregiver helps reduce medication errors and falls and therefore risk of hospitalization.
Long-term recovery from COVID-19
Because of its novelty, there is so much unknown about COVID-19. What is emerging, however, is growing evidence of long-term health impacts for those who are hospitalized with the infection and survive. Cardiovascular complications, for example, have been found in 20 to 40 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Patients experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome that requires ventilator treatment may need several months to fully recover strength and function. Kidney damage, too, has been found in 20 to 25 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Long intensive care stays, common for severely ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients, are associated with post-ICU delirium, causing long-term physical, cognitive and emotional health effects. Cognitive rehabilitation can take up to six months.
Home care can keep patients on the road to recovery and help avoid relapses or complications. Home care providers can help with gentle exercise to restore strength, conversation and companionship to alleviate depression, light cleaning and running errands so the patient can avoid other infections, transportation to medical appointments, and medication reminders.
Reluctance to move elderly family members to long-term care facilities
With approximately a quarter of deaths from COVID-19 occurring in long-term care facilities, families may be delaying moving their elderly family members to facility-based care. Their care needs still must be met, however. And family members may be unable to fill those care needs themselves because of competing demands on their time.
Having in-home care from professional personal care providers gives family members peace of mind that their loved one is cared for and looked after, and it ensures that an elderly individual has the caretaking he or she needs.
Home Care Book is the agency of choice for families who want the best care for their loved ones. Whether it’s in-home or at a residential facility, we provide the care, help and support older adults deserve.
To get started with professional, compassionate in-home care, contact us for a free quote or call 214-377-0711 today.