The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has become increasingly important for our patients in recent days. At AmeraCare, our dedicated staff is actively monitoring the progression of the virus, and are keeping up to date with the latest information. As you may know, COVID-19 is developing rapidly, and it’s impacting older generations and those with existing health issues more than the young and healthy.
While most diagnosed cases of the coronavirus are mild, causing flu-like symptoms including fever and cough, some cases are becoming more severe. Because we serve patients who primarily fall into risk categories, we want to ensure that you can stay safe and healthy during this time.
What Should You Do To Protect Your Family
It is important that everyone take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, even if you do not fall into a risk group. Ensuring you stay healthy will help prevent you from potentially becoming a carrier of the virus and bringing it home to your loved ones. The following tips will help to protect your family during this time.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, especially those that could have come in contact with someone who is sick.
- Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to strengthen your immune system.
- Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back up support, if possible.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
- If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others.
What Procedures Are AmeraCare Following?
We are following updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) State Department of Health, local and county authorities, the Home Care Association of America, and other agencies and resources. Our response and plans may adjust according to the recommendations from these organizations.
- As a standard practice, we have an emergency preparedness plan in place. We will continue to follow it as this situation evolves or update it accordingly.
- All caregivers will follow established protocol regarding staying home when sick. This practice is not new to our staff.
- Communication with caregivers to assess any known risk factors, such as travel to areas with widespread outbreaks or local contact in areas known to have reported cases are ongoing. We will advise them not to report to work if they are deemed high-risk.
- We believe that home remains the safest place for you or your loved one, as indications show that the virus is spread more quickly in facilities and larger groups or public settings. Possible exposure will remain the lowest for those who are able to stay in their homes with limited outside contact. For this reason, we feel fortunate to be able to provide care that can keep people at home or limited exposure in group settings through personalized care and support.
- For clients we serve who reside in facilities or other group-type living situations, we will work closely with the facility on any protocols, exchange of information, or other guidelines as necessary.
- Many of our clients are especially at risk, given they are older adults or have underlying health issues. We are vigilant about our need to help protect these individuals from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. These measures are not new to us as we seek to minimize risk regularly for our clients, regardless of an outbreak such as this new coronavirus.
Contingency Planning for You or Your Loved One
Ensuring that our staff is healthy enough to treat your loved ones is critical during this time. While we are taking every precaution, we are also aware that this virus is still spreading and all community actions are not yet certain. Because of this, it is important to have a plan in place for your loved one in our care.
- Depending on the severity of the spread of illness in communities, or the response is taken by national and state authorities (ex. mandatory isolation, closure of schools, etc.), our staffing levels may be affected. As a result, we may have fewer staff available to cover all shifts.
- We will make every effort possible to provide our clients with safe and appropriate care and seek to avoid canceling shifts, however, we cannot guarantee this will not occur given the uncertainties about this situation.
- At all times, regardless of a viral outbreak or other situation, we strongly recommend that our clients have alternative arrangements for the provisions of care in the event we are unable to provide services. We encourage you to begin considering and putting into place back-up plans now, as the severity of the spread of this illness and planned interventions is still uncertain.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. AmeraCare’s staff is following all the necessary protocols to protect our patients and their families. We will continue to update as more information becomes available.