With independent, assisted, and memory care communities continuing policies of highly-structured, and minimal, to no-visitor policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families weigh the decision whether to bring mom or dad temporarily home or accept their isolation from loved ones. Both scenarios include unique challenges. Companion care – as an adjunct resource –can help ease anxiety and fill in the care gaps created by the COVID-19 crisis whether they are now at home or in a senior living community.
Georgia-based, companion care company Angel Companions’ executive team made the decision to continue placing caregivers in both private homes and senior living developments. But to do this in the environment of a novel virus meant reviewing best health practices and implementing firm, new procedures.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we do business,” said Angel Companions vice president and general manager Elizabeth Herrington.
New policies extend beyond CDC recommendations. The company now only places caregivers with one client, or screens them for assistance within a single senior community, and one resident, to minimize their contact with multiple medically-fragile populations.
In addition to the caregivers and clients, anyone else in close contact with the client is screened. “We assess any known risk factors, such as their travel to areas with widespread outbreaks or local contact in areas known to have reported cases,” Herrington said. “We also advise our caregivers not to report to work if they are deemed high-risk.
“When this virus subsides,” she continued, “I believe we will continue with many of our new protocols and continue to be more vigilant about our homecare services.”
Herrington noted that she recognizes the numerous factors involved with the decision to bring another person into the home during the uncertainty of a novel virus. “We face similar concerns,” she said, “which is why we have enacted fluid, but firm care guidelines.”
In addition to following the latest recommended procedures from the CDC and their state’s Department of Community Health, Angel Companions seeks input from both clients and caregivers to ensure that everyone feels safe, cared for and connected.
For working families, a companion caregiver will not only help their loved one with their health and hygiene needs, light housekeeping, and meal prep, but caregivers can pick up prescriptions, groceries, and other tasks that will allow them to remain at home and lessen the risk of exposure.
“We are working with our clients and family members to make sure they have everything they need during the pandemic,” Herrington said. “We have been delivering gloves, masks, cleaning supplies, and meals to our clients and their families.
“Not only does one-on-one care in the home provide a better service for your loved one, but in-home care keeps them safe.”
Lisa Parks is a marketing and communications consultant, and Alzheimer’s Community Educator who advocates for seniors and people with disabilities. www.imagecomgroup.com