Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in the Home

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 5/4/2020 4:05 PM by Interim HealthCare
Caring for a family member with COVID-19 requires diligence with every aspect of care. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, those in a caregiver role must take extra precautions to ensure it doesn’t spread throughout their home. To help you do so, Interim HealthCare® has compiled some guidelines that will help you care for your loved one in the safest and most preventative manner.

1. Protecting the face
Always avoid touching your face in the T-zone: mouth, nose and eyes. Wearing a mask is essential in the care for your family member with COVID-19. It is important that both the infected person and the family caregiver wear a protective mask or a surgical mask. If a surgical mask is not available, a cloth mask will suffice. As always, if the family caregiver is going to encounter body fluids, they should wear gloves. Body fluids include blood, sputum (mucus), urine or stool.

2. Isolation within the home
The family member with COVID-19 should have a bedroom where they will stay during their illness. The door should remain closed when possible. The family should keep interactions or visitations to the room limited to necessary encounters. Family pets should not be allowed in the room. Screen or limit all
outside visitors and insist on a mask if they come into the home.

3. Disinfecting
The family must be diligent in cleaning all high-traffic or highly touched areas in the home, such as a shared bathroom. The surfaces should be cleaned with a bleach solution such as Clorox wipes or other similar brands. (If these are not available, a bleach solution can be made with four teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water. Ensure that the container is adequate for bleach.) If possible, the family should identify a separate bathroom for the COVID-19 patient to use. No one else should use this bathroom. If this is not possible, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after every use. Handwashing is important after each bathroom use as well.

4. Items in the home
The family must avoid sharing items that would normally be shared without thought. Examples include bedding, towels or wash cloths, eating utensils or dishes. These items should be separated for the family member with COVID-19 so that no one else in the family uses them. For laundry, wash all the bedding, clothing, facial masks and soiled items immediately and separately from the family laundry. When transporting these items to the laundry room, do not let them touch your body. Carry them in a laundry basket using gloves or a trash bag that can be thrown away.

5. Handling disposables
The family must be careful in disposing of used masks and gloves for their family member with COVID-19. Ensure that all gloves and masks are disposed into a lined trashcan, preferably with a lid. This trash can be tied up and added to the regular family trash but should always be handled with care, as there may be items soiled with body fluids, such as used tissues.

6. Watching for the symptoms
The family member that is isolated in a bedroom will still need to be monitored for worsening or changing symptoms. The family caregiver will need to decide how they will communicate with the COVID-19 positive family member and determine when they need to seek additional medical care. Whether checking temperature or monitoring any issues with breathing, the family member will need to be aware of any sudden changes in condition and report it to their physician.

7. Daily maintenance care
The family member with COVID-19 should be encouraged to eat nutritious and healthy foods to promote healing. Hydration is very important, so the family should encourage their loved one to drink plenty of fluids. The infected family member should receive all meals in their room—not at the dinner table with the rest of the family. If the physician has not directed a change in medication, the family should assist their loved one in maintaining their prescribed medications.

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