Originally I started writing this blog after working in non-medical home health, and seeing a need in the personal home care industry for individuals to be more prepared for the necessity of non-medical home health care givers in one's home.
It was and still is my plan to remind us to have things in order regarding our likes, dislikes and just how we would want to be cared for when we are no longer ambulatory, or no longer totally in charge of our thinking capacity.
I envisioned a world and homes very different from what we are seeing today and will see in the future.
The Coronavirus has almost totally changed the conversation, as we continue to experience or observe the absence of the closure families had planned.
It has been so heartbreaking to see family members not being allowed to visit loved ones in their final hours or, even visit at all. We just were not ready for such scenarios.
So what will change in the home when you need to have a private home health caregiver in your home for some hours or 24/7? Some aspects will improve even if the service becomes more costly.
Best practices and training
Of course, we are learning on the job right now and no one can totally forecast for sure what home health care will look like even a year from now.
But, there are many indications of where we are headed and this natural disaster has only heightened the changes.
The Home Health Care Industry is busy with new and more robust training for caregivers in your home.
Institution of new procedures and best practices are ramping up, and marketing strategies to bring a more trained caregiver to your home is being planned.
All of this is being pushed faster as a result of the pandemic and will make life more comfortable for you if, and when you will need home health caregivers in your home.
So do we still need to prepare or not for those caregiver days?
Yes we still need to prepare because the world will survive and individuals will have the chance to carry on in the name of those who are being lost. And individuals must plan for their caregiver days.
The changes are evolving and will become worldwide over the coming years. Every country is instituting their processes and some of the practices will be exactly the same every where.
Right now one of the changes to home health care is the reluctance of families to have private caregivers come into their homes and the refusal of the private caregiver to want to work with any new clients.
This is causing some work slow down as caregivers need a comfort level to continue with old clients especially if they reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Caregivers do not want to take on new clients until the situation improves and they can be assured of having proper protection and safe working conditions.
It may be for the foreseeable future that a home health caregiver whether non-medical or otherwise wears a mask for their entire shift in your home.
Right now the mask covering the mouth and nose is a requirement everywhere. Who supplies them will change as we go forward, but for your protection keeping them in your home for your caregiver is perhaps smart.
Families have always provided hand sanitizers and washing of hands have always been in every training, but it is now of intense relevance.
Sanitizing wipes should be in the home always but now its even more important. If there are a number of people going and coming in a home no matter how pristine those counter tops appear they need to get wiped down for the comfort of the caregiver entering for a new shift. Right now availability of these necessities are a problem in many areas.
How will these costs affect the private home care industry as they figure out if they will pass the cost on to you the family and in what way. Some feel they do not want to supply their caregivers with gloves. Well that just doesn't work. Gloves are an absolute necessity before corona virus, during and after.
New Treatment Delivery
Another change is the manner in which The Coronavirus is energizing an entire industry with the push to improve the use of telemedicine and make it more accessible for the entire population.
There has always been patients who communicate with doctor's offices using their phones and they text back and forth. I worked with one client who texted her doctor's office every morning to be sure that based on certain criteria which she would measure and send to his office she was taking the correct dosage of her medicine for that day.
In the future it will be more widespread for you to visit with your doctor without going out of your own home. They have pre-established questions along with your health profile, and based on your complaint they will be able to ask you specific questions, diagnose your problem using new technological devices, and issue orders.
You can then get your medicine prescription sent right to the pharmacy who will have it ready for you. They may even deliver in some areas, and if you use something like AccuPac you wont have to leave your home to go to the pharmacy either.
In addition, the caregiver in your home can help the resident they are caring for and your practitioner determine the correct answer to the question they need resolved.
Also, they are seeking to relax the laws in some states allowing certain health professionals who are certified but not doctors to diagnose and approve treatment.
Who wants to move into a nursing home
And the third big change is due to the loss of so many of our elderly population in nursing homes people are now more reluctant to want to move into them.
Long before the coronavirus swept through these facilities many people have wanted to age in their own homes and stay there for as long as possible.
These homes are still going to be used but, there is a resistance much more now of getting new residents to move from their homes to nursing homes.
There is an enormous amount of building that was going on pre COVID-19 for especially memory care facilities, and eventually those rooms will get filled.
Some facilities previously accustomed to filling their empty beds with patients coming from hospitals after surgery are refusing to take the new patients.
People have always wanted to go home after a hospital stay instead of a nursing home, and if this continues the private home health industry will be boosting their ranks.
Many people will still need care in their homes, so more private home health caregivers will be needed to go in and assist those recovering from illness as well as the elderly.
If you have had any experience with changes in your in-home health caregiver routine due to the coronavirus, and would like to comment please do so below. We would love to hear your stories.
Ruth Y. Webster