Providing Care to a COVID-19 Patient at Home

If someone among your family has encountered the virus, and he is stable to be isolated at home. Then, you should follow the recommendations below while providing care to a COVID-19 patient at home.

Some key points first

  1. These suggestions are recommended by WHO and CDC, and are for patients with mild symptoms only.
  2. Keep in touch with your medical health provider and follow the instructions during home isolation.
  3. Seek medical care immediately or call 1166 if the symptoms worsen or if
    • The patient feels shortness of breathing
    • Has bluish lips
    • Feels heaviness or pain in the chest
    • Has some chronic illness

How to manage Home Isolation

  • The patient must stay at home during the 14-day isolation period. He should not go out except for seeking medical advice.
  • If possible, isolate him in a single well-ventilated bedroom with an open door and windows, and with a separate bathroom (if available)
  • By separating the shared space, limit the patient’s movement inside the house.
  • Keep the windows of the house open and make sure that the shared spaces are well-ventilated. (bathroom, kitchen, etc)
  • The household members must maintain a safe distance (at least six feet) from the patient.
  • Prohibit visitors.
  • Take care of the patient’s pets and separate them from the patient.

 

Instructions for Care Provider

  • Only one person with good health conditions among all family members should take the responsibility of providing care.
  • The healthcare provider MUST follow all the instructions recommended by WHO.
  • S/he must observe his health conditions and look for symptoms closely during and after caretaking.
  • Wear a disposable or cloth face mask and gloves. Immediately remove them after having close contact with the contaminated objects. Throw them in a lined container.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap water right after disposing them of.
  • Avoid touching your face, wash your hands often, or use alcohol-based sanitizers.
  • Do not share personal items like clothes, dishes, bed linen, cell phone, etc. with the sick person. 

Help in Basic Needs

  • Check if the patient has enough medical supplies. 
  • Ensure that the patient takes a lot of rest and drinks fluids.
  • Help them in following instructions given by their doctor. 

 

While Doing Laundry

  • You can wash a COVID patient’s clothes and bed linens along with other clothes provided the patient’s clothes are not soiled.
  • Wear surgical or rubber gloves, wear a mask and a plastic apron.
  • Wash the clothes with warm water (30c-60c) and usual detergent in a washing machine.
  • Dry the clothes properly in a dryer or by spreading in sunlight.
  • Do not shake the clothes while handling them.
  • Dispose of the gloves in a lined trash can with a lid.
  • Wash the washing area, laundry baskets, and other utensils thoroughly with soap water or cleaning agents.

While Doing the Dishes

  • Again, as instructed above, wear gloves and an apron.
  • Separate the dishes (glass, cup, plate, etc) for the patient and provide meals in separate dishes. DO NOT SHARE MEALS.
  • Wash the dishes separately as well, with soapy water.
  • Dispose of the gloves in a lined trash can.

Disinfect the Frequently Touched Surfaces

  • Clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces (doorknobs, switchboards, etc.) regularly with home cleaning agents. (Read the label and instructions carefully before using them)

Ending Home Isolation

  • Either symptomatic or asymptomatic, in both cases follow your medical healthcare provider’s instructions for ending the home isolation.
  • Usually one can end isolation after ten days if s/he does not have fever for more than 72 hours and does not have any other symptoms.
  • Disinfect the home thoroughly after ending the isolation.

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