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An Update from our CEO, Carl McManus, on COVID-19 Precautions and Holiday Safety
At Comfort Keepers, we are closely monitoring the progression of the COVID-19 virus as we continue to provide uplifting in-home care to seniors and other high-risk adults across the country. We are proud to support seniors and families every day by providing care that helps older adults live and thrive at home.
With the holiday season approaching, local and national authorities are still advising that seniors and other high-risk adults exercise caution, practice social distancing and isolate at home as much as possible. Home continues to be the safest place for older adults, and exposure is lowest for those with limited outside contact.
The CDC has published guidelines to help families celebrate the season in a safe, mindful way this year. You can find these guidelines here. Below are some tips on safely celebrating the holidays, as well as our company guidelines for providing the best quality of in-home care during this difficult time.
It is possible to have a joyful holiday season filled with connection, purpose and hope – even for those that are physically isolated from each other.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family Over the Holidays
- Mental health is at the top of mind for many seniors and their loved ones. It is important to remember to include those that are in isolation in holiday plans – whether that is safe, socially-distanced visits, letters and cards, video calls or scheduled time on the phone.
- Those in the same household can participate in traditional holiday activities together. While outdoor events and small groups are considered lower risk activities, it is still not recommended that seniors or high-risk adults attend gatherings with those that live outside of their own home.
- Family and friends that can’t be together should consider adding virtual events to their holiday season. This can include sharing dinner together on a video call, doing a recipe exchange by email, Black Friday shopping online or a virtual game night.
- Anyone participating in high-risk activities or with direct exposure to someone with Coronavirus should avoid in-person visits with loved ones until completing a 14-day quarantine.
- Practice basic infection control protocols. This includes:
- Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and washing hands.
- Regularly cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, telephones, TV remotes, doorknobs, faucet handles, steering wheels, counters and tabletops.
- Wash hands often and avoid touching your mouth, nose or face with unclean hands.
- Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to keep your immune system healthy.
- Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back-up support.
- 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. Maintain a distance of six feet from others where possible.
While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, a small percentage of cases become severe and may progress quickly, particularly in the elderly and among people with underlying medical conditions. For those that receive in-home care, or have a loved one that needs a caregiver, we understand you may have concerns.
For that reason, we want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19.
- We are following updates and procedures from the CDC, State Department of Health, local and county authorities, the Home Care Association of America, and other agencies and resources.
- Prior to each care visit, our recommended protocol is that offices complete a certification for all caregivers and clients to reduce the risk of illness. This certification confirms that all parties are complying with CDC guidance for safety and have not been in any high-risk exposure situations. This allows Comfort Keepers to work together with families, seniors and caregivers to create the healthiest environment.
- Our staff is trained in infectious disease control.
- It is our recommended protocol that all caregivers wear masks.
- Our staff follows hygiene procedures directed by the CDC, including vigorous and frequent hand-washing with soap and water, use of sanitizing gels (with 70% alcohol level or higher), use of disinfectant wipes to frequently wipe down surfaces, proper coughing and sneezing techniques, disposal of any items that may have virus or bacteria, and much more.
- If any of our staff or their clients should show signs of COVID-19, we will report, isolate and quarantine, as necessary, abiding by national and local guidelines.
There are a number of ways that Comfort Keepers caregivers are helping seniors stay safe at home, including:
- Providing respite care for family members
- Shopping for groceries and running errands
- Companionship to combat social isolation
- Assistance with technology to connect with loved ones
- Help cleaning and disinfecting their home
- Personal care to assist those with more advanced care needs
We understand that this is a difficult time, and we are proud to be providing these essential services to older adults and their families. If you need support or advice, please reach out to your local office. Every client receives an individualized care plan that details their specific needs, and we can customize our services accordingly.
As new information becomes available, we will continue to provide resources and information. You can learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html