The way of caregiving pictured above is now unheard of these days. It is all about following CDC guidelines, social distancing, and having as little contact as possible with others. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus how critical healthcare workers are needed in our society.
Healthcare workers are doing their best to provide that human connection that is needed by people, which mean putting their own lives at risk. As a Care Manager, our focus is on our clients, and their well being. For me, a typical day is very personal. With the recent pandemic, I have not been able to visit all of my clients, and therefore I have been constantly worrying about them. While they are adjusting to phone calls, instead of in-home visits, they still want me to visit them. They tell me they trust me, while stating that they know I would not come see them if I thought I was contagious with COVID-19. The reality is, I may put them at risk, not knowing I was, and I may also be at risk if I were to do this.
Keeping that connection, even with phone calls, means so much to someone who is sick or in need of help, and the gratitude they feel for you comes from them having someone that they feel cares about them. This is something some of them would not have or get from anyone else. Care Managers are especially involved in this because our clients have trusted us to help with any situation they go through. We have been there when they need medications, when they run low in groceries, when they need to make an appointment and are not sure who to call; all the way to making sure they have rides to wherever they need to go. We are there for the small things, so when the very large things such as the threat of a virus comes up, our clients know we will be there for that as well. The relationship we establish is priceless and our clients know we will inform them to the best of our ability!
Keeping Elders Safe During the Pandemic
The fear of COVID-19 continues to be a problem for most elderly and compromised individuals. Our elderly population have been living in fear and isolation over the last few months. After listening to some concerns over the last several weeks, I am continuing to hear some of the same concerns from most of my clients. One of the most common things I am hearing, is how hard it is to stay away from their family and friends. It is our job to educate the elderly on how to stay safe and calm throughout this process, without feeling left out and forgotten. Alot of our elders already feel left out, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, it has escalated. Here are some education tips that we can enforce with elders to help keep them safe, educated, and connected:
- Wear a face mask when going into supermarkets, pharmacies, medical appointments, or anywhere there may be a large crowd
- Postpone unnecessary medical appointments and reschedule them for later dates
- Stock up on food and drinks - enough for 2 or 3 weeks
- Make Telehealth visits for needed medical appointments
- Encourage family members to show you how to use smartphones, tablets, or laptops for video chatting or face-timing with others
- Stock up on medications and obtain up to 90 days of refills
- Order meals or groceries and have them sent to your home
Dealing With the Stress
COVID-19 has affected everyone in different ways, and healthcare workers are front and center when it comes to “fixing things.” Unfortunately, we cannot fix this, and we cannot stop this snowball from rolling right into every one of our clients, family members, or co-workers. Whether it’s the isolation, the anxiety, or the worry and concern of contracting this virus, stressing about it can lead to anxiety that can then begin to interfere with daily functions. Some suggestions that are useful in fighting against stress during this time are:
- Meditation - There are 6 types of meditation to choose from
- Listen to light and relaxing music
- Stream your favorite TV shows and movies
- Stock up on medications and obtain 90-day refills
- Take time before bed to reflect on your day
- Count to 10 and take deep breathes!
This pandemic caught us all off guard and made us realize how much we need human contact, and to have empathy and compassion for others and their situation. Care Management has changed for us for now and we have to do what is best for everyone, and continue to help them all we can over the telephone. I will be as happy as they are when I can go visit them in their homes again, and have that person-to-person human connection they want and love! Healthcare workers are going above and beyond what they thought their jobs would be when they decided to go into the healthcare profession. Care Managers cannot fix the pandemic, but we sure will be there to help our clients when they need us!
If you or a loved one is showing signs of memory loss, you are worried about their safety, or you're not sure where to start, Care Management could be right for you. A Professional nurse Care Manager can begin by completing an an assessment and creating a unique plan of care for you. CAB is one of the only in-home care companies that also offers professional Care Management services! Call us at 865-444-6787 for more info today.
Written Collectively By: Care Managers
- Misty Carmichael RN, CCM
- Melissa Kauffman RN, CCM
- Christina Kennedy , BSN
- Cynthia Adams, LPN