The last couple of months have been strange, even scary, as residents of Maquoketa and elsewhere are dealing with a public health pandemic that none of us anticipated or even knew anything about even a few months ago.
It’s a time when people at all levels of health should be concerned and take appropriate safety steps, including those in great health, those with higher risk levels, and those needing hospice care.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care is happy to provide advice about how our clients can protect themselves and others whether they go outside or stay indoors as much as possible. We’ll also take our steps to make sure all of our dedicated and skilled employees are properly protected and practice good safety protocols before they go into the homes of our patients. We think this is vital to not only minimize their risk of exposure from their clients to also protect their clients.
These precautions are especially critical with some of our patients since many of them are in weak health due to whatever mental and physical condition or conditions they were and are dealing with prior to the time of COVID-19.
They may be battling disease or diseases that make them feel weak and tired and impacts their immune system. Treatments for various health conditions may further affect how they feel too, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery for cancer.
They may already be receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other forms of therapy. They may have family who lives with them at home or perhaps a caregiver who either lives there too or visits a few times a week.
In some ways, our hospice clients who choose to stay at home sometimes try to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible in terms of their daily lives and routines. We also try to keep our core mission the same too – help provide skilled home health care and quality of life to all of our hospice patients, regardless of whatever scary things are happening in the world.
Advantages of staying put
Like Dorothy said in that one movie, there’s no place like home. This current pandemic has encouraged people to stay inside when possible and look for alternatives and safer options to limit their exposure when they do have to go out.
For instance, many businesses now offer to bring their products to you when you drive into their parking lot, rather than letting you inside to browse or to speak to someone. Other places have improved their drive-through options, not just restaurants, which means you can feel safe inside your own car but still have interactions with others.
One of the bigger questions that have likely come up at your home is whether to stay put or move to a care facility. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.
For instance, a retirement community or assisted living may have more activities and on-site care, but it also may have other challenges, such as larger spaces and more areas to keep sanitized regularly as well as more staff and residents to take into account.
At your home, you get to set the rules or at least choose to follow appropriate health and hygiene guidelines A larger facility might be required to follow certain protocols to the letter, often shared by distant owners who may not be in the same state.
At your home, you can choose rules or guidelines that are as strict as state or national standards, or possibly come up with more strict ones.
You can also focus on why you want to stay in place – you’re comfortable here, you don’t want to have to pack up and move somewhere unknown when things are uncertain outside. Moving, especially for someone needing hospice care, can be quite stressful.
Being at home also can reduce the number of people you interact with. You might have a nurse or a few specialists or therapists pop in for a few appointments through your week but many assisted living centers have larger numbers of employees who are always working and checking on you.
You also can call the shots based on the status of specialists who are coming to visit or treat you for whatever reasons. If you are concerned about there being too many people in your space, you can arrange for them to visit individually at different times of the day. This will minimize possible contacts between you and the different members of our staff.
It’s not just about staff either: if you’re home, you can certainly invite other visitors provided they are respectful of you and your health rules and everyone takes appropriate precautions such as wearing masks or using sanitizer regularly. This could be useful for friends or family coming by to spend time with someone receiving hospice care.
Some assisted living centers have issued blanket bans on all visitors, even family, which can make it difficult for those who are craving company but can’t get anyone to remain close by.