Staying safe and healthy at home: Helping reduce your risk for the Coronavirus
Since March 20, the governor of Illinois put in place specific social distancing requirements, to help flatten the curve to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This includes large-scale measures like canceling group events and closing public spaces, such as libraries and schools. It also includes closing restaurants, bars, gyms, retail stores, and asking people to gather in groups of only 10 or less.
During this epidemic, Family Home Health Network is here to help our patients and their families, when and where they need us, which is at home. Our practices make it possible for older adults to comply with both Illinois orders and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), and still receive the health care they need.
We care about our patients: What Family Home Health Network is doing
Our clinical teams continue to provide care for those patients who need such essential services as physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, and skilled nursing. Our teams have implemented some specific, thorough precautionary measures to help ensure the protection of our patients. These include:
- Field clinicians and office staff are given a basic health screening at the beginning and end of each day, and travel restrictions have been placed on all employees.
- Employees only are allowed at our offices; we have implemented a NO Visitor policy.
- Meetings are conducted via phone conferencing systems.
- All employees undergo specific instruction on infection control methods and how to use personal protective equipment (PPE).
- We remain in close communication with our state health department and follow the CDC for further updates and protocols.
What you can do at home
There are plenty of ways our patients and their loved ones can help prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Here are a few simple reminders.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. These instructions may include precautions when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation when using it. Remember to clean these items:
- Place we sometimes forget: Beyond just counters and tables, wipe down hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, all handles, desks, bathroom fixtures, and toilets.
- Electronic equipment: This might include TV remotes, the stereo “on/off” switch, phones, keyboards, and tablets.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water is preferred if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid sharing personal household items
It may mean running the dishwasher more often, but you should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils. Similarly, you might be using the washer and dryer a bit more frequently, as well, to clean towels, hand cloths, lap blankets, or bedding. After using these items, or if they are used by others beside yourself, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
A note on using a face mask
Many people are wondering if they should be wearing a face mask to filter out germs.
To protect yourself and others, wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Many people are making their own cloth masks, right now. Refer to the CDC guidelines on how to correctly use and care for these types of masks.
With all of us doing a little bit, we can help flatten the curve in the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Family Home Health Network is here to help you, at home, by making a positive difference in the lives of our patients and your loved ones.