How is COVID-19 Impacting Elderly Care Homes?
With the current rise in the spread of covid-19, older people are at risk of contracting the disease and quickly succumbing to it. To avoid such scenarios and reduce the number of deaths, this article discusses care to be given to the elderly people in various facilities.
Coronavirus amongst the elderly
The government has announced in conjunction with the word health organization that older people are more vulnerable to covid-19 compared to any age. The elderly have weak immunity, so any exposure to certain risks and conditions could easily make them acquire the disease. Older people have various illnesses and can easily be mistaken to have been infected.
According to the United Kingdom Health Protection Agency and the UK Ministry of Health, the following are the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 in the elderly:
- High temperatures
- Dry cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest pains
- Loss of speech difficulty in movement
If caution is not exercised, the elderly can succumb to Covid-19 in a matter of hours.
Covid-19 resources for the elderly in the UK
The government of the UK is committed to providing resources in the form of information to the elderly through the health protection agency portal. The portal provides a means to protect the elderly and the symptoms among the elderly. The government is also providing medical care coverage for the elderly suspected to be having the virus. The Medicare program involves teaching adults on prevention means and other means to stay safe.
Benefits and services resources are available to the elderly during the crisis. The counsel for the aging and elderly alongside the elderly locator is providing special services such as food and nutrition, insurance benefits, connecting the elderly with their families, and income benefits.
Caregiving resources. Southwest health line, elderly care resources, and London caregivers organizations are committed to supporting the elderly during these moments of crisis. The organization, among others, are committed to ensuring that the elderly do not suffer psychologically during this period.
Disability and critical illness resources:
The following agencies in the UK are committed to attending to the need of disabled elderly during the crisis. Government of UK, gov.uk/access-to-work, scope.org.uk, disability-grants.org, and gov.uk/apply-blue-badge among others.
Financial resources for the elderly:
www.turn2us.org.uk, societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk, and www.ageuk.org.uk › managing money in later life are committed to ensuring older people do not run out of financial resources during the lockdown period.
Mental and isolation resources in UK:
Food and nutrition:
Guidelines for home care for older people during the Coronavirus:
Older people are very vulnerable to Covid-19; thus, their needs should be handled with a lot of care. Here are the guidelines for caring for older people during the Covid-19 crisis period:
1. Personal behavior
Those working in the care homes for the elderly should ensure they restrict themselves to the following precaution even when offering sheltered housing care to the elderly:
- The staff should wash their hands with water and soap for about 20 seconds. If water is not available, they should sanitize before they see the elderly.
- The sanitizer should be alcohol-based but not too concentrated to affect them.
- Home care staff should take caution that they do not sneeze, cough in the rooms with the elderly.
- While in the rooms, they should keep a distance of three feet.
- The staff should help the older people to restrict their movement and also abide by the rules of no sneezing, maintain social distance, wash their hands regularly, and also sanitize.
2. Other home care requirements for the elderly
Besides personal behaviors, the staff should watch out for the following in the various care homes:
- The staff should ensure they take temperatures for the elderly daily.
- The temperatures should be taken in the morning and the evening.
- The doorknobs, chairs, door handles, walking aids, books, and other apparatus in the homes should be disinfected regularly. Older people should be shown more affection during these times; lest they feel abandoned and neglected.
- The staff should ensure and try as possible to maintain the routines of older people. Above all, the staff should be more concerned with the mental health of older adults. Staff should work towards means to relieve the elderly against any form of anxiety.
- The staff should organize regular online communication between the elderly and their close families and other friends.
- Those visiting the elderly should carry their test results and show that they have not had any contact with any infected persons or any other person exhibiting signs of infection.
- The staff should keep the close family of the elderly informed about their health status and wellbeing.
Care in the outside environment.
It is easy for the elderly to come into contact with the illness in the environments outside the home for the elderly because not much tighter protective measures are put in place. In the outside environment, the following measures should be taken to protect the elderly:
- Those visiting the rooms for the elderly should not show any signs of infection such as fever, dry coughs, and breathing difficulties.
- Entry into the rooms of the elderly should be restricted to certain people who are also quarantining.
- The food delivered and any other thing delivered into the rooms of the elderly should be free contamination.
- The utensils should be cleaned before they are used by the elderly. After use, they should also be thoroughly cleaned before they are stored. The utensils should be given a special storage unit away from other utensils and should not be used by anyone else.
- Visiting older people should be restricted. However, the elderly should not be abandoned due to the current circumstances.
Responsibilities of elderly care homes and sheltered housing in managing coronavirus
- All the homes should ensure that the elderly residents have access and constant contact with medical facilities so that any suspected case should be taken away from the facility and quarantined in an intensive care unit.
- The elderly should be restricted to movements outside their rooms. They should spend more time indoors to ensure they don’t feel abandoned and idle; the special services staff should provide entertainment facilities and other media to keep them occupied.
- The premises should be regularly sanitized, and all the prevention and control facilities such as masks, gloves, sanitizers, and paper towels should be available in large quantities for use by the staff or the elderly.
The homes and housing facilities should provide regular psychological support.
Precautions when someone is suspected of infection
- The homes and sheltered housing should have a special quarantine and isolation rooms for outside the facility or far from other elder lies. Any person suspected of such symptoms should be held in these facilities. In the case of anyone with temperatures above normal, the precautions should be taken immediately.
- After quarantining the suspect, the staff should contact medical facilities.
- The rooms with suspected patients should be locked and disinfected immediately. Nobody should be allowed to access such rooms.
- The staff should handle suspects while putting on masks and other protective gear. Any staff suspected should quarantine and, even after recovery, should continue putting on a mask and other protective equipment.
- In case the suspect is to be transported to e medical facility, they should not be transported using public transport means.
- The staff accompanying the patient should put on protective gear.
- Any person who has come into contact with the suspect should be quarantined in their residents, or if the elderly should be taken to the quarantine facility.
- Older people who have healed from the Covid-19 or the symptoms have decreased should be held in a separate facility for 14 days before resuming to their room or shelter.