November as National Family Caregivers Month – a time to celebrate the contributions of caregivers, to recognize, support, and empower them, and to provide them with tools that they need to make a difference. Here are 10 tips for Family Givers
Congratulations to Cynthia Sender for being nominated Top Business Woman in Orange County. Awards will be presented at the 2020 Annual Women in Business Awards Virtual Program, October 28th from 2pm. Click the link to see the 2020 Nominees and find out more about the virtual conference.
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In response to the spread of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus, we’ve enhanced our system of infection controls to support the safety of our clients, their families—and the caregivers who serve them. Informed by public health guidelines and best practices, Care Protect is designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the seasonal flu, and other infectious illnesses.
Care Protect is our system of enhanced safety protocols for better infection control:
- New Pre-Visit Check for Care Pros Many Additional Safeguards to Support
- Expanded PPE Requirements and Training
Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our clients. Care Protect ensures better trained and informed caregivers, new more rigorous protocols and procedures, continually updated communications in this rapidly changing environment, and a pre-visit check built into our app—so no Care Pro starts a client visit without undergoing our enhanced infection control process.
New Pre-Visit Check for Care Pros
Before entering a client’s home to start a visit, every Care Pro must answer multiple questions to be sure they’re feeling well and not at risk of exposing a client to infection. We also require Care Pros to agree to wash their hands before doing anything else at the start of the visit—and to contact us immediately if their client has any flu-like symptoms or has been in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Additional Safeguards to Support Safety
While the coronavirus is highly contagious, following key steps and safeguards helps to mitigate the transmission of infection while supporting safe care at home.
Restaffing Due to Illness
If a Care Pro is sick or has a fever, they must stay home—and we don’t penalize anyone for missing a visit due to illness. We’ll immediately notify you and begin restaffing the visit, and the Care Pro will be removed from any care visits and cleared to return to work in accordance with public health guidelines.
When arriving at a client’s home, our Care Pros are instructed via our app to wash their hands immediately before starting care.
When using gloves to help a client with personal care, Care Pros are instructed to dispose of them immediately after use.
We’re working to make sure every Care Pro has a thermometer so they can do pre-visit temperature checks via Honor’s proprietary app before each visit.
If a Care Pro has exhibited any flu-like symptoms and been taken off the schedule, they must pass our new, enhanced clearance process before returning to work, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
In addition to our Care Notes sent after each visit, we’re sending clients frequent updates on our new policies and protocols to keep families informed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements and Training
Since PPE is in short supply, we have a full-time team dedicated to sourcing and providing hard-to-find items. All Care Pros are required to wear masks and gloves when interacting with a client who exhibits any flu-like symptoms—and they’re trained on proper PPE usage by video. PPE continues to be a requirement for Care Pros when providing personal care, including bathing, toileting, or other activities where there could be contact with bodily fluids. We’re also initiating a new policy that Care Pros and team members performing Care Consults in the home wear masks.
With Honor, you’ll get great Care Pros— and a greater feeling of confidence that we’re doing everything we can to support you and your loved one’s health and safety.
As a home care provider serving older clients—many with preexisting health conditions which make them more vulnerable to infections, including the coronavirus and seasonal flu—we’re taking our responsibility to our clients, their families, our community, and our caregivers very seriously.
We understand that many facilities have new guidelines for admitting third-party caregivers and we’ve created a highly responsive, dedicated team to respond to changing conditions. Our care team can work with your facility to address your specific screening criteria for care professionals. Our top priority is always to support the safety and well-being of our clients and Care Pros. By working together, our Care Pros can support your staff members by providing individualized care to our shared clients.
Here’s how we’re enhancing protocols and policies to help mitigate infection exposure during this unprecedented time.
Enhanced Protocols and Instructions for Our Care Pros
Heightened Infection Controls
- We’re implementing a new pre-check-in process for all Care Pros before they can start a shift—and building it into our app. To mitigate the risk of transfer, we’re rolling out a requirement for every Care Pro to take their temperature prior to a care visit and let us know if they’re experiencing any of these symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat,or nausea. And we prompt them to wash their hands before doing anything else for the visit.
- If a Care Pro exhibits any flu-like symptoms, we immediately begin work to re-staff their visits with another Care We’ve also expanded our clearance process for any Care Pros returning to work after being sick. And we’re instructing Care Pros to stay home if they feel sick and not penalizing them for missing any visits.
- We’ve updated our client consultations to screen for flu-like symptoms so we can ensure proper protections are in place before care
- We have new infection controls to help mitigate transmission such as requiring Care Pros to wear masks, gowns, and gloves when interacting with clients exhibiting flu-like
Care Pro Safety Precautions
- We’re sending frequent reminders to Care Pros, reiterating the importance of taking universal precautions, including thorough, frequent handwashing and using
- We’re making key safety tools available to Care Pros, including hand sanitizer, flu shots, and
- We’re actively adjusting our protocols based on the latest local and federal guidelines—and reaching out to public health officials in every county we serve to stay up to
- We’re in close contact with all facilities we serve to stay informed of their most recent guidance and
Our clients’ safety is our top priority—and we’re working around the clock to navigate through these challenging circumstances. We hope this information is helpful to you and inspires ongoing trust in our Care Pros and confidence in our abilities to support your residents’ care need
Know What to Ask Before Setting Up Care
Many families are balancing the risks of non-family members coming into their homes and the benefits of trained caregivers supporting their loved one’s critical needs. While home is the safest place for your loved one, not all home care agencies are created equal. Be sure you’re working with an agency that prioritizes the health and well-being of your family and your caregivers—and has systems and protocols in place to support your safety.
At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we created a dedicated COVID-19 response team that’s been working around the clock to update each of our policies and procedures to support safer practices for our caregivers and clients. Based on this work, we’ve compiled a list of questions that we recommend you ask before choosing a home care agency to care for your loved one.
10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Home Care Agency
Enhanced Safety Protocols
What are your updated safety protocols and how are they documented?
What are your call-off and sick leave policies for caregivers with infectious symptoms?
When do you require personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and masks, and how do you help your clients acquire hard-to-find items?
Caregiver Communication and Training
What training do you provide your caregivers to support proper infection control?
How often do you update your caregiver protocols and how do you communicate these updates to them?
How do you ensure that caregivers comply with your safety protocols?
Management of Urgent Situation
Do you offer 24/7 trained support for urgent situations?
If a caregiver is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, what would you do? If a client is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, what would you do?
If my caregiver has to cancel at the last minute, how would you restaff the visit?
A responsible home care agency that prioritizes your safety during this crisis will have clear and complete answers to each of these questions. We hope this is helpful to you and your family.
Many Seniors suffer from some form of depression, social isolation, or general sadness, especially during and immediately following the holiday period.