Caring for Someone Ill at Home

Caring for someone ill at home who has a contagious condition, involves keeping them, yourself and others in the house safe.  Assist them with their basic needs: food, liquids, medications, hygiene, safety and following the doctor’s orders. If they have a fever, help bring it down with prescribed or over the counter medication, serve lots of fluids so they don’t dehydrate and make sure they are eating. Sick senior manDrinking and rest can go a long way in feeling better. We recommend you have a thermometer to check for fever and if blood pressure is a concern, high or low, purchase a Blood Pressure gauge at your local pharmacy or online. This way you can monitor them more closely. Keep the doctor’s and other important information handy.

When the person is contagious, limit your contact with them as much as possible. Today with Covid-19, masks and gloves or other “PPE” is available for personal protection. Minimize any close contact with the person. Bring them what they need, leave items at bedside, take care of pets, bring in the mail and check on them from afar.  Keep in contact with the doctor or Nurse Practitioner. There are companies who make medical home visits or will use Tele-health to view and question the patient. Medicare and some insurances will cover a visiting nurse. 

Special Precautions for Covid-19

Because this virus is highly contagious, it is important to follow all the CDC guidelines to protect yourself from transmission. If you are in a high risk group; over age sixty or have your own health issues, you may not be the best person to care for them. Both of you should be wearing masks.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Loved One:

~Use masks, gloves, even a face shield.

~Use online delivery as much as possible for food, medication and most any item you need.

~Keep contact low, and at a distance (six feet) whenever possible.

~If, the person can self-isolate, do so. Sleep in a different room.

~Use a different bathroom when possible and the sick person should stay in their own room, not using the whole house or apt.

~No time for visitors unless they are necessary.

~As the caregiver, limit your going out. You may need to quarantine.

Household Tips:

~Try to have the best air flow possible, even open some windows.

~Good ventilation helps remove respiratory droplets from the air.

~Do not share items such as, cell phones,  utensils, linen, plates, glasses etc. and wash them using gloves and hot water.

~Throw away gloves after use. Wash your hands with soap and water after removing gloves. Line your trash bins so you can throw away the bag.

~Wash your hands with soap often! Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose and mouth.

~Clean and disinfect often – surfaces, kitchen bedroom and bathroom.

Whenever caring for someone who has a contagious illness, it is best to wear gloves when handling their laundry, bedding, kitchen utensils etc.

Caregiver – Caring for Yourself

Whether your loved one is contagious or not, a real risk for a care partner is burnout and self neglect. The stress of caring for another person is huge. Build your team. Monitor your own health, boost your immune system, keep you own medical appointments and accept help.  If you or your loved one’s condition worsens, get medical attention. If there is trouble breathing or higher fever,  call 911 as that is an important medical warning sign. If you aren’t a medical professional, learn the signs so that you can call for medical help when needed. Other symptoms to watch for are pain in chest or persistent pressure,  confusion or other cognitive changes and any loss of consciousness.

You can’t do it all for an extended period of time so make a care plan. Decide who is able and willing to help you. There are different ways that different friends and family members can help.  You may need to hire a health aide. A trained and experienced caregiver can be a tremendous asset to you. So, think about what your responsibilities are and build in supports so that you can be the most effective care partner.


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