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Being a Caregiver for a COVID-19 Patient

Being a Caregiver for a COVID-19 Patient

It’s hard enough to make sure you’re taking care of yourself these days. That burden multiplies exponentially when you’re charged with taking care of someone else like an older parent, too. Now add in the possibility of having to provide care for a COVID-19 patient.

It can get overwhelming pretty fast, but don’t worry. Just take a few deep breaths. You can take some fairly easy steps to make sure your loved one is getting all the care they need.

How to Provide Support

The biggest thing you’ll need to do is make sure the person infected has all of their basic needs taken care of.

A COVID-19 patient can’t leave their home. It will be your responsibility to make sure there are still groceries or other essentials still in the house. Check with them to make sure you’re getting all of the things they need so there is some bit of comfort you can provide while they battle the symptoms.

Don’t forget to check on any prescription medications that may be needed. It’s good to consider a delivery service to get all this done if you’re finding it difficult to provide care and get done any other daily duties you may have.

While you’re doing the shopping, make sure there are plenty of over-the-counter medications in the home to treat the symptoms your loved one is dealing with. Things that treat fever and cough are what you will need to help lessen the severity as much as possible.

If the patient has any pets, you have to care for them, as well. It’s easy to forget to fill up the food or water bowl when you’re busy watching over a severely ill family member or friend.

Keeping an eye on how bad symptoms are getting will be key. Here’s what to look for so you know when you need to seek emergency medical attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Those are just a few of the signs you may see. You should have the phone number for the patient’s doctor on hand and give them a call if you notice anything else that’s troubling. If things get too bad, call 911, let them know you’re caring for a COVID-19 patient, and explain the troubling symptoms.

Woman wears mask and gloves as she disinfects surfaces in her home to prevent coronavirus spread

How to Protect Yourself

This virus is extremely contagious. You’ll have to be extra vigilant while you’re caring for someone who already has COVID-19 so you don’t contract it, as well.

Limiting contact is key. The virus spreads when you come into close contact with respiratory droplets, which happen when you talk, cough, or sneeze. You’ll need to try to isolate the person who is sick into a separate area of the house. They should be using a separate bedroom and bathroom than you are if possible.

For shared areas in the home, try to make sure they have good ventilation. Improve the ventilation by opening a window if you can. That gives the respiratory droplets somewhere else to go so they don’t stay suspended in that room as long.

Make sure you’re eating in separate rooms and not sharing any utensils. Again, you have to limit contact with the COVID-19 patient as much as possible. Thoroughly sanitize anything that the person infected comes into contact with. That includes bedding, towels, silverware, dishes, and electronic devices.

Another big step you’ll have to take is asking the patient to wear a mask when you’re coming into the same room. The mask will help contain the respiratory droplets so they don’t get into the air, which lowers the risk of becoming infected yourself.

Being that you are in close contact with an infected person, you’re going to have to quarantine, as well. Stay home and monitor your health as you continue acting as a caregiver. Watch out for the signs of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath, and a cough, among other things.

Much of your job is going to entail cleaning and sanitizing the home. Frequently disinfect areas that are touched often throughout the day. Wear gloves when you’re cleaning any areas where the infected person has been. That includes doing laundry. DO NOT shake out bedding or clothing the patient wore.

Last but not least, wash your hands thoroughly and often. It should be the first thing you do after coming into contact with any highly trafficked areas or touching any surfaces in an area the infected person has been. You should do this even if you were wearing gloves at the time. As soon as you take the gloves off, go and wash your hands.

We’ll Work Through It Together

The pandemic has changed the lives of people around the world. The only way to move past it is for everyone to work together to slow the spread of the virus until the vast majority of the population can be vaccinated.

Wear a mask when you go out, wash your hands frequently, quarantine when you’ve come into close contact with someone who is infected, and get your vaccination as soon as you’re able.