Sep 28, 2020
What to know about COVID-19 home-based care

By Edgar Nyandong

Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients or those with mild symptoms can receive home-based care as a way of easing pressure on the country’s healthcare system. Healthcare providers however still insist on absolute precaution to protect oneself and others.

Providing support to help cover basic needs for the sick while receiving care at home is essential. This includes helping the sick follow the doctor’s instructions for care and medicine. For most people, symptoms may only last a few days after which they can feel better after about a week. A home care-giver can find out if over-the-counter medicines for fever can help the patient feel better.

Once we get them all set up in a secluded room at home, we must ensure that a sick person takes a lot of rest and drinks enough water. Since the sick person should not move out of the house to mix with the public, a caregiver should help them with their grocery shopping, filling prescriptions and getting the items they need.

Important to learn and watch out for are the warning signs. Just because someone is asymptomatic or presents mild symptoms does not mean that the situation cannot change. Have their doctor’s phone number at hand in case of an emergency. Help the person seek medical care immediately if they start getting sicker. During homecare, some of the emergency signs to watch out for are, but not limited to - trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; bluish lips or face.

As mentioned earlier, it is imperative that we protect ourselves when providing home care for a COVID-19 patient. Try as much as possible to limit contact by using different bedrooms and bathrooms. Eat in separate rooms and avoid sharing personal items like plates, spoons, forks and knives. After each meal, these items should be properly washed, preferably with warm water and soap, with the person wearing gloves.

Proper disposal of all waste material from items used by the patient is key. A caregiver must wash their hands often after handling such items, but also learn when to wear gloves. Everyone in the same house with the patient should closely track their own health to reduce the risks of falling ill themselves.

The house should be sanitised regularly to try and maintain the highest levels of hygiene. Proper ventilation is also one way of ensuring the virus does not spread easily to the rest of the family members.