05 May Home Care: A Safe Option in COVID-19
A recent HCCI survey of the first wave of Covid-19, found homecare to be a safe option for older people. Reasons for this include:
- real-time implementation of HSE advice and guidelines issued by contact tracing
- excellent infection control practice and protocols for use of special PPE
- ability to curtail clusters – small number households
- access to local information allowing rapid reaction to limit outbreaks
The person- centred approach used in homecare works well during the pandemic because it considers both the emotional and physical needs of people. This approach is vital to protecting the overall safety and welfare of vulnerable people restricted in lockdowns.
Lessons from COVID-19
COVID-19 has affected older people more than any other group in society. It has caused real harm in terms of grief, physical ailments and mental health issues of isolation due to quarantine, cocooning and restrictions on normal social activities.
Reduced or no family visits & reduced activities for socialisation has had a negative impact on Quality of Life and Mental Health on all age groups but particularly older vulnerable people.
Home Care Safe Option During COVID-19
Because home care takes a holistic approach considering emotional and physical well-being the support has been especially beneficial to counteract the restrictions put in place on over 65’s during COVID-19.
Most providers use real-time applications to get information out immediately to carers. Homecare providers prioritise:
- Communication – staff work with up-to-date information about care needs to ensure the best possible responsive care service
- Protocols are in place so people know the situations to be reported to Public Health and how to act
- Carers use up to the minute Infection Control information and training, they know about risk control & safe use of PPE and can inform other members in the household of what needs to be done
- Close interaction with HSE Community colleagues – Public Health Nurse, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers
- Community healthcare links – GP, Pharmacists, Chiropodists, Dentists
- Person-centered care supports emotional and mental well-being as good service builds quality relationships between carers and clients
- Focus on good quality of life which encourages family involvement whilst abiding by Infection Control (e.g. Covid-19 window visits)
- Carer visits provide emotional support and combat feelings of isolation – they can help older people use video/ on-line technology
- Physical needs are supported. Carers also during Covid ‘cocooning’ carers encourage Chair Exercise to combat lack of normal activity
If you are considering how best to look after someone who needs care support, contact us to learn of the procedures we work with to ensure homecare is a safe option for older persons during COVID-19.