Four Questions to Ask a Home Health Agency About COVID-19

Is it still safe to use home care?

Author: Brenda Sweeney

Many caregivers such as home health aides are still caring for seniors and going inside patient’s homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has changed the way caregivers think about interacting and socializing with others.  

Home health and visiting nurse agencies provide health care services in a home for an illness, injury, or chronic illness that needs monitoring. Throughout the pandemic, many people are questioning whether having someone else is their home is the right decision. For those who need skilled medical care, like feeding tubes or wound care, they may not have a choice. And staying on top of a chronic condition can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, which bring their own increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.

As Hebrew SeniorLife’s Director of Quality for Home Health, we’re taking every precaution necessary to make sure home health workers are safe and reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 when they’re inside a patient’s home.

If you or your loved one is considering a home health agency, here are some questions you can ask to make sure they’re following proper protocols, and to make your care as safe as possible:

  1. What is your COVID-19 screening procedure? Ask any potential agency if they are screening employees for COVID-19 by doing temperature checks and assessing for other symptoms and/or exposures to virus. What policies are in place if an employee tests positive?
  2. What are the infection control policies? Are they following proper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines?
  3. Do you have necessary personal protective equipment? It’s important that a home health agency has proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff are wearing masks, gloves, and face shields for all visits, and gowns when necessary per the policy of the home health agency.
  4. Are you able to test for COVID-19? Do you have sufficient tests to be able to test a patient, if necessary?

COVID-19 has significantly changed the landscape of health care in many ways but Hebrew SeniorLife’s Home Health is still a resource for you and your loved ones.

Our team is trained in managing transitions of care as patients’ needs change. We work with hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and community-based primary care providers to ensure care is coordinated so patients don’t need to return to the hospital.

Home health care is critical to helping seniors live safely in their homes, and with the proper precautions, it remains a safe option to help you return to health and independence.

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Hebrew SeniorLife is known for delivering the highest quality health care to older adults, and our in-home care services are no exception. Whether it's nursing care or rehabilitative therapies, we work closely with you to set personal goals for care.

Brenda Sweeney

About Brenda Sweeney

Director of Quality, HSL Home Health

Brenda Sweeney is Director of Quality for Hebrew SeniorLife’s Home Health. She completed her bachelor of science in nursing from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Prior to working for Hebrew SeniorLife, Brenda worked at Steward Home Care in different...

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