COVID-19 Precautions taken by CSA Eldercare
in order to protect employees and clients
While we cannot guarantee that you or your family will not be exposed to COVID-19, we sure can do a lot to mitigate the risk.
To start with, we typically set you up with the same aide(s) who are ‘your’ aides for the duration of the time you need us. We do not send aides from house to house with many families per day or week. Typically aides work with one and sometimes two families. More on that below.
We have a cohort of aides who are sitting home, isolating, and ready to safely go into the homes of new families. These aides will commit to living all aspects of their lives, whether at work or home in a safe manner. They live alone or in family situations where the risk is minimal of being exposed by family members.
Many of our workers are older and fearful themselves of becoming ill. When they take on a new family these days, they will go into households that are behaving as cautiously as they are and will decline a case if they feel it is risky.
These aides who are home and isolating generally need full time (40 or more) hours to be committed to not working for anyone else.
We have other aides who will work for two families, when we are confident both families provide safe environments with low risk for passing anything between families. We will always share information with you in terms of whether our aides are with other clients and how we assess the safety of their non-work environment.
When we first learned of the potential issue with coronavirus back in February, we immediately made changes to the way we do business. By the start of March, we had reviewed each client's situation and adjusted the staffing where possible. For example, we have decreased the number of aides where we can to reduce the number of people our clients and caregivers encounter.
For existing clients, wherever possible, we have removed caregivers that work a second job in a health care facility, as their chance of exposure to Covid-19 may be higher.
Eventually, should those employees report that they have had the virus and testing shows they have recovered, they may be reintegrated onto our team. However, this will not happen until it has been determined, by consensus of the scientific/medical community, that it is safe to vulnerable clients for us to do so.
As an employer, we have asked questions of our employees that would normally be considered an intrusion into their privacy. Fortunately, everyone understands this is what we need to do to be safe.
We speak to them about who is living in their household, what their family members do for jobs, school, work, social activities, and how they do their grocery shopping.
• Are their kids out playing with the neighbors’ kids?
• Are they attending smaller prayer meetings?
• Do their spouses work in health care facilities?
• Are they Uber drivers?
• Do they work in a big box store or grocery store?
We try to understand those who might be at risk of higher exposure. We share this information with any client so that you can make decisions about your risk level as well.
We have a large group of long term employees, we are familiar with their family situations in general, and this gives us more detail in order to assess risk.
We have reviewed with and continuously counsel our employees to be extremely cautious on how they move about in the community when not at work.
• We ask them to stay away from group activities, including church, for the foreseeable future.
• We ask that they shop wearing masks and that they and their families adhere to social distancing guidelines.
• We have provided those who did not have them with cloth masks. We have also made sure that everyone has blue surgical masks and/or cloth masks that they can wear in your home if desired.
• We are starting to distribute KN95 masks for personal use. This way, when they shop for their families they can do so safely, as a KN95 will afford better protection than a cloth mask.
We have reviewed training and counselled employees to practice an increased level of hand hygiene.
• Our aides are washing their hands often with hot soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds and encouraging clients to develop the same habits.
• Our aides use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
• Our aides continue to develope the good practice of not touching their face.
We have counseled and continue to counsel our employees to THINK hard about where areas of contamination could come from and address those areas, whether they are at home, at work, or out in the community.
• They will pump gas with a glove.
• When out in public they will be careful about touching door handles, using ATMs, handling cash.
• They will to go to stores, banks, etc. at a quieter times.
• When they must shop, we have encouraged them to keep carts between them and others, and to ask others to maintain social distancing.
• Employees are to stay home from work if they or any others they live with are experiencing any symptoms of sickness, such as runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever, etc. They are not required to have a doctor's note to be out of work and will be paid sick time as required by law. We will support our employees in any way we can; at this moment we are not a profit driven business.
For the Families We Serve
Some families are not as concerned as others. We do have aides, primarily the younger people, who are not so personally nervous and who are more comfortable to go into homes where people may take a more relaxed approach.
For those families who are determined to isolate themselves until a viable treatment protocol and/or vaccine are developed...
• We will discourage friends/families/clients from purchasing/bringing anything into a home that cannot be sanitized before coming through the door.
• We will sanitize anything coming into the home such as groceries in impermeable packaging, boxes shipped via FEDEX, Amazon, mail, etc.
• We will utilize food delivery services such as Peapod or Instacart where possible.
• We have personal shoppers available on an hourly basis who will go into stores, shop with you using facetime or by phone as they move about the store so you can shop in ‘real time’ the deliver the groceries to your door.
• While in homes we will step up our already high level of cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces.
• We strongly suggest that relatives minimize visits with their family members for the time being.
• We will help with setting up virtual visits. Virtual visits are possible via cell phone, tablet, or computer. We can try FB Messenger, Facetime, WhatsApp, or other applications and see what works best. And of course there is always the phone!
• We are asking that house keepers and other non-essential in home services be cancelled for now, and we will help clean.
• We will ask to cancel non-essential appointments such as hair dressers and nail salons. We understand some of these things contribute to a sense of well-being and normalcy, but it is important that you weight the benefits versus possible costs.
• If a visitor MUST come... We will direct them immediately to wash their hands thoroughly with hot soapy water.
• We will discourage hugs or touching.
• When visitors leave, we will sanitize behind them.
• We have a limited number of KN95 masks which we will provide for doctors visits and other necessary trips out of the home.
• Please note that we are seeing some doctor's offices will not allow the protective masks and insist that people use one of their blue surgical masks. That is something you should address with your doctor before you go.
For Clients with Dementia
We will attempt to limit access to news or other sources of current events.
• We have already seen a considerable spike in anxiety-driven behaviors from people who are able to take in the information but are unable to process it appropriately.
• We have also seen an increase in assaults on our employees; we know this is driven by anxiety, and we must minimize it for everyone’s safety.
We ask that relatives seriously consider what you discuss with family members who are isolated and suffering dementia, and whether some information is appropriate to share right now.
• It may be that you or your family member knows someone who is sick. Please consider how important it is for them to know that right now.
• Feel free to use us - either myself or the aides – to help decide whether it is a good idea to share news or concerns.
Wearing masks can be tough around people with moderate to advanced dementia. We address that on a case by case basis.
Many of our employees are skittish despite their dedication to their jobs. Many of our most highly valued caregivers are over 50, and some are well past retirement age. They are at high risk themselves.
If they feel a household is risky for them, they may decline to continue to care for you or your family member. This does not mean we cannot help you; it just means sending a different aide.
While we are spending an inordinate amount of time providing support to our aides so that they are not too anxiety-ridden to go to work, we strongly support them in making whatever decisions they feel they need to make to keep themselves and their families safe.
How Family Members Can Help
to protect your loved ones and caregivers
✔ Stock up on (not hoard!) gloves, Lysol, soaps and detergents, masks if possible and other supplies. We are doing our best to get what we can but we cannot promise to keep people supplied therefore we do not want you to depend on us for these items.
✔ Contact us immediately should you or your family member (the person we are retained to care for) become sick with what is suspected to be COVID-19.
✔ Help us to discourage friends, family members, and clients from purchasing or bringing anything into a home that cannot be sanitized before coming through the door.
✔ Please minimize visits from family members and friends for the time being.
✔ For visitors who MUST come, immediately wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water when entering the home. Maintain as much distance as possible, and please no hugs or touching.
The outcomes and future scenarios are impossible to predict. We have some clients who are 100% dependent on us, as hard as it is to hear, and literally cannot live without skilled assistance.
If we suffer a high rate of our caregivers getting sick or if you or your family member gets sick, it may be that you will need to help with the care of your family member.
We recognize this is a very serious situation, after all, if you could care for someone who had a high level of need you would be saving the money and doing it yourselves. If we are making meals and providing companionship to your family member we may have to ask you to step in while we send your aide to a family who is a critical need.
We hope this scenario never comes to pass, but everyone must try to be prepared for all eventualities.
More recently, we have put together a team of people specifically to care for people who are sick or tested positive for COVID-19. The cost for these aides is higher, primarily because we are paying them significantly more and also due to the cost of PPE.
The list above are some of the COVID-19 precautions we have implemented, discussed and trained on. It is not everything, and things change every day.
We have a wonderful, dedicated, compassionate, caring group of employees who will do everything they can to keep you and your family members safe and healthy.
There will be some bumps along the way. Please be patient. Please have an occasional nice word for the caregivers who continue to support our families in circumstances that were often trying before this public health issue became a reality.
We will get through this together – we just need to recognize that we all need to do the best we can in an unprecedented time.
Please call the office if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Formerly known as Carol Seager Associates
68 Hubbardston Rd. ● Princeton, MA 01541 ● (508) 755-7133
© 2020 CSA Eldercare - All Rights Reserved.