Coronavirus Updates for Older Adults and Their Families
March 18, 2020
Information and best practices for your loved ones.
During this extremely challenging time, we're working around the clock to meet our clients’ needs, help families stay informed on COVID-19 updates, and share recommendations on how to mitigate infection exposure among older adults and their caregivers.
If you’re considering home care for your loved one, be sure to work with an agency that can provide specific details on the steps they’re taking during this unprecedented time. We’ve implemented enhanced protocols and new policies to take into account the presence of coronavirus within the communities where we provide care. Here are Honor’s latest updates on how we can all help support the safety of older adults.
Supporting safe social distancing:
On March 15th, California Governor Gavin Newsom recommended that all adults over the age of 65 and with chronic conditions stay isolated in their homes. On March 16th, Governor Newsom announced a “shelter-in-place” order for all residents in six counties in the Bay Area, effective 12:01 am Tuesday, March 17th through April 7th. This order currently restricts non-essential activities and businesses—but does not apply to home care or caregivers—in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties. Several other counties and states quickly followed.
Other regions may impose similar measures soon. Here are some suggestions to support safe social distancing and shelter-in-place situations.
- Have someone other than an older adult run any necessary errands and shop for groceries.
- If you’re near a Safeway or Target store, take advantage of their store hours reserved for seniors and at-risk shoppers. Safeway’s hours are currently on Tuesday and Thursday and vary by store, so check your local location. Target’s reserved hour is the first shopping hour of every Wednesday.
- Review your loved one’s medical appointments. Talk to their doctor about options for non-urgent appointments and, if possible, moving to Telehealth appointments, which are now being covered by Medicare.
- Talk to their doctor about keeping a two or three month supply of any critical prescription medicines on hand and explore options for medicine delivery, which many stores offer for free.
- Social isolation may be particularly challenging for older adults right now. Consider how you can use technology such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or Amazon Echo Show to keep in touch with your loved one or keep them connected with their friends.
- Emphasize the importance of maintaining good self-care habits, including sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and exercise.
Honor’s updated and enhanced protocols:
We’ve significantly updated our policies and protocols to mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Enhanced infection controls:
- If an Honor Care Pro exhibits any flu-like symptoms, we’re re-staffing and filling their visits with another Care Pro. We’ve also updated and expanded our clearance process for any Care Pros returning to work after being sick. We’re not penalizing Care Pros, but instead actively encouraging them to stay home if they feel sick.
- We’re working with our clients and their families to make appropriate adjustments to the Care Plan if a client exhibits symptoms of infectious illnesses. This includes working with family members to ensure that proper personal protective equipment is in the home.
Honor Care Pro safety precautions:
- We’re sending frequent reminders (including quizzes) to all Care Pros and reiterating the importance of taking universal precautions, including thorough, frequent handwashing and using disinfectants.
- We’re making key safety tools available to Care Pros, including hand sanitizer, flu shots, and gloves.
- We’re honoring client requests that Care Pros take their temperature before visits and are in the process of rolling out a requirement that they do so before every visit.
If your loved one is receiving care in a facility:
When an older adult needs support, we believe that care at home is safest. If you’re considering care for your loved one who’s currently in assisted living, supported living, or another facility of that kind—or they are currently receiving third-party care in a facility—be sure to ask the administrators of that facility what their current policy is for allowing third-party caregivers inside. In the past few days, we’ve seen skilled nursing and assisted living facilities significantly change their policies and procedures for allowing non-employees into their facilities. In some instances, this has led to our Care Pros being blocked from entering to provide care or encountering new screening requirements to be allowed inside.
Please know that we are continuing to provide in-home care to new and existing clients—and doing our absolute best to keep all of our clients informed as we work to support the health and safety of our older population.