I am a live-in caregiver. How do I prevent myself and my patient from contracting COVID-19?
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, In Home Supportive Service (IHSS) personnel who are more commonly in our community as live-in caregivers play very important roles in ensuring the safety of persons who are at high risk of getting severe illness from COVID-19.
If your primary responsibilities include housekeeping, preparing meals and/or feeding your patient, doing their laundry, and take care of their personal hygiene such as toileting, oral care, bathing, and grooming, here are some of the things you need to in order to keep yourself and your patient safe from COVID-19:
- Create a safety plan and incorporate it in your routine.
A safety routine looks like washing your hands, before and after your caregiving tasks such as feeding the patient, administering medication, helping with personal hygiene and care, and so on. Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, you may use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. On top of cleaning your hands, disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- When providing care, wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves.
When you are interacting with your patient, it is important to wear the appropriate PPE. Wear a mask, which is preferably a surgical mask or N-95 mask with no exhalation valve. If both are not available, a homemade cloth face covering with at least two layers is better than not wearing a mask at all.
It is important to note that wearing a mask and other PPE are not substitutes for preventive measures such as frequent handwashing and maintaining social distancing from people who are not living in the same household. After every interaction with your patient, it is recommended that you properly and responsibly dispose of your used PPEs by throwing them in a covered trash can, and wash your hands immediately after disposal.
- Maintain social distancing with people who are not living in the same household.
Social distancing is another crucial measure in preventing COVID-19. Avoid close contact, maintaining a 6 feet distance from other people. Limit visitation and encourage maintaining meaningful connections with your patient’s loved ones through remote technology platforms such as video chat.
Source: LA Public Health
For more resources, go to: