If someone in your household tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is medically stable to receive care at home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends precautions to reduce your risk of infection. A local or state health department staff member will be monitoring the patient throughout isolation. The staff member or the patient’s primary care provider will let them know when they can return to normal activities.
Learning how to care for someone with COVID-19 may feel overwhelming. Remember, a primary care provider or local or state health department is only a phone call away. In the meantime, follow the recommendations to care for your loved one while reducing your risk of being infected.
Have an understanding of the instructions for medication and care from the patient’s primary care provider. While the patient remains in isolation, they will likely need your support in getting prescriptions, groceries, or other necessities.
Monitor the patient’s symptoms.
Monitor your own health.
- If the patient is getting sicker, call their primary care provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This information helps the health center or hospital take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected.
- Ask the provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance.
- If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
- Clean your hands often.
- You are considered a “close contact”, which means you should call your primary care provider or use Prevea Virtual Care immediately if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, shortness of breath, cough).
You’ve heard the phrases countless times, but social distancing and home isolation are critical in preventing the spread of infection. With the exception of getting medical care, restrict any activities outside your home. Dedicate a room in your home that can be used for the patient. If possible, choose a separate bathroom for the patient to use. If space is limited, the patient should wear a facemask when around others. If the patient is unable to (difficulty breathing), you should wear a facemask when you are in the same room as the patient.
Forget what you learned in elementary school, “sharing is caring” does not apply to COVID-19. Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the patient.
The CDC created a detailed resource
for cleaning and disinfecting, specific to COVID-19. All “high touch” surfaces should be cleaned every day
, like counters, tabletops, doorknob, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Any clothing or bedding with blood, stool or bodily fluids on them should be washed immediately. Wear disposable gloves when handling these items and keep them away from your body. Dedicate a lined trash can for the patient to use. When removing the bag and/or trash, wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
During this time of stress and uncertainty, make time for your well-being. Your emotional health can be impacted in taking on the role of a caregiver. Talk with someone you trust about how you are feeling. Take care of your body through getting plenty of sleep, exercising and eating healthy meals.
For more information on COVID-19, click here