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Restarting care visits at home - any thoughts?

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
I stopped carers visiting my mum - who has advanced alzheimers - at the start of lockdown, last visit was 20th March. I was thinking I would restart care visits after 12 weeks (about now), but I'm a little concerned about carers bringing the virus to mum and I know if she got it then that's the end.

What do other people think? Is there any guidance from government or the Alzheimer society?

The alternative is to self-isolate until there is a vaccine, which could be a year or more away (if at all). Personally I am coping but I am a little concerned that I might beging to buckle after a cold, dark winter of not going out much.

Primary concern is that carers often seem lackadaisical about hygiene in the past - although that might have changed in the last 3 months & they may have proper PPE & be trained in using it.

Also worried that one of the main route of the virus into care homes was carers moving between care homes, working in multiple sites and acting as carriers of the virus. Nothing would be riskier (in my opinion) than a carer moving from customer to customer, with the associated increase in risk of catching and then spreading the virus. I must admit I am worried & would like some guidance - and reassuring words - from scientists & government & Alzheimer society.

I think the answer would be weekly tests for carers and a proper functioning of a 'track, trace & isolate' system. Also high quality PPE, plentifully supplied and trained in how to use it. Even then I may be unwilling to take the risk.

I suppose it is all about how much risk one is willing to accept. I have had nurses come to the house in PPE to treat mum and accepted that risk. Having carers come on a regular basis may be an increased risk I will not to take....unless the level of virus in the community is very low. Or until I start to go crazy!!!

All advice welcome. Thanks in advance.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,780
Nottinghamshire
It can’t be easy for you @diddyman . I know the rate of infection in the community is going down and one would hope that carers would be super careful about hygiene. From what I understand they are all supposed to be using PPE now. Why don’t you ring up a care agency and ask what carers are expected to do on a visit to prevent infection and see if it helps you decide?
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
I am expecting an email from the agency I was using in March to ask what I intend to do - they have been in touch several times which was nice of them. But I know I have to make a decision soon....or I can ignore it & carry on doing what I am doing in the hope that there will be a vaccine available this year.

I was just wondering what other people are doing in the same situation. Are people just carrying on as they did before Covid-19 appeared? Or are people being more careful and self-isolating for the long term.

Part of me is saying that I should just carry on as before with carers coming but another part is saying, why take the risk when I don't have to. Problem is that the latter option may not be sensible in the long term...12 weeks is a bit different to 12 months (or more).
 

Woo2

Registered User
Apr 30, 2019
2,688
South East
We have been isolating completely and had cancelled carer , but I would like to restart it soon, dr feels that mum is as strong as an ox and would likely shrug off virus but I wanted to shield her but I think there is a balance to be struck as I can’t stay in with her too much longer as I am finding it hard to entertain the idea of leaving the house and she needs to see a different face and more interaction. You can only do what feels right I think for both of you , you are just as important .
 

Alex54

Registered User
Oct 15, 2018
322
Newtown, Wales
I can't give you any advice, other than how the threat of Covid-19 affected us. We reduced the number of care calls down to a minimum. The carers that do come do use the PPE equipment, but some find it extremely difficult and I am not that sure that it reduces the risk of catching the virus. I worry when the agency change which carers come into the house, and I also worry about the agency taking on new staff and clients.
I guess my main worry is that when you use carers the ability to control events is taking out of your hands and you have to have total trust in the agency.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,437
South coast
We have continued having carers in just the same during the lock-down, even though OH has multiple neurological problems and the virus would probably finish him off.

The agency we use is very good. They have organised the carers and clients into "cells" so that two or three carers are covering a small number of clients between them to reduce the risk of cross-infection. The carers themselves are very good. All have PPE and use them properly. Face shields are used instead of masks, but I think it is better anyway as they are properly cleaned between clients and OH (who is very deaf) finds it easier to work out what they are saying. The face shields go on before they enter the house and the first thing they do is go straight into the cloakroom and give their hands a good wash, then the gloves and plastic pinnies go on and they are ready to go.

Perhaps I am lucky, but I have no complaints. It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of the virus getting in and I feel the risk of them bringing in the virus is low.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,740
cornwall
I stopped carers visiting my mum - who has advanced alzheimers - at the start of lockdown, last visit was 20th March. I was thinking I would restart care visits after 12 weeks (about now), but I'm a little concerned about carers bringing the virus to mum and I know if she got it then that's the end.

What do other people think? Is there any guidance from government or the Alzheimer society?

The alternative is to self-isolate until there is a vaccine, which could be a year or more away (if at all). Personally I am coping but I am a little concerned that I might beging to buckle after a cold, dark winter of not going out much.

Primary concern is that carers often seem lackadaisical about hygiene in the past - although that might have changed in the last 3 months & they may have proper PPE & be trained in using it.

Also worried that one of the main route of the virus into care homes was carers moving between care homes, working in multiple sites and acting as carriers of the virus. Nothing would be riskier (in my opinion) than a carer moving from customer to customer, with the associated increase in risk of catching and then spreading the virus. I must admit I am worried & would like some guidance - and reassuring words - from scientists & government & Alzheimer society.

I think the answer would be weekly tests for carers and a proper functioning of a 'track, trace & isolate' system. Also high quality PPE, plentifully supplied and trained in how to use it. Even then I may be unwilling to take the risk.

I suppose it is all about how much risk one is willing to accept. I have had nurses come to the house in PPE to treat mum and accepted that risk. Having carers come on a regular basis may be an increased risk I will not to take....unless the level of virus in the community is very low. Or until I start to go crazy!!!

All advice welcome. Thanks in advance.
I have carried on with carers for dad.(apart from 7days when I had to be there full time as they left him. Thought he had Covid. He didn’t)
Although they go in multiple houses they do use PPE. I also supply gloves.
Dad is high risk but they are needed and to be honest I don’t think a vaccine is happening any time soon.So as long as they use PPE I will continue to have them as he needs the interaction and I need space .
 

Just me

Registered User
Nov 17, 2013
349
I was offered Carers in May to help with morning showering but when I was told they visit homes with the virus, I refused. My friend recently lost her niece to COVID-19 who had been housebound for several years and had only seen Carers since lockdown, and while I know the virus could have entered on food etc I was not prepared to take the risk.
Prior to the first visit the care company rang to go through COVID-19 questions. They told me they had PPE, face masks and plastic aprons but kept the same clothes on during visits. The carer I spoke to said if it was her she would cope without outside Carers if she could and not take the risk!
I’m doing far more than I did before but how long I can sustain it remains to be seen.
I suppose you need to balance how much you need Carers with the risk @diddyman and
 

Splashing About

Registered User
Oct 20, 2019
434
In many areas there are extremely few people with the virus. An area near me hasn’t had a case since 19/5/2020. So it’s very regional And even then very localised. I’d include that into your decision making. Despite what the press keep saying the virus is almost eradicated in some areas. (Not the North West however)
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
....dr feels that mum is as strong as an ox and would likely shrug off virus but I wanted to shield her ....
Woo2, I think you made a sensible decision to shield your mother. Especially during the peak months of infections. But there has to be an personal assessment on what to do going forward. I expect what people do depends on their circumstances. There is no right or wrong thing to do.

I expect families who have been shielding are now slightly conditioned into avoiding the virus at all costs. Getting back to normal is going to take time and probably require small changes. I found the first trip to Aldi shopping to be very tricky...almost traumatic. But now I have a routine for that I am less concerned.

PS I'm not sure if the comment by your doctor was medically correct. Perhaps they were trying to put your mind at ease but I'm not sure that 'being as strong as an ox' means someone is able to 'shrug off the virus'. Indeed Boris Johnson was described as 'strong as an ox' and he was severely affected by the virus...and he is 'relatively' young.
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
....The agency we use is very good. They have organised the carers and clients into "cells" so that two or three carers are covering a small number of clients between them to reduce the risk of cross-infection....
Canary, I like the idea of 'cells' to limit the number of clients a carer interacts with....in an ideal world it would be good to see such 'best practice'. But in the real world where carers get sick or need holidays I'm not sure how practical it would be. But at least it shows that your agency is aware of the risks of cross contamination between clients and have a 'plan'....even is it may not be workable.

I agree that the level of risk - chance of catching the virus - is 'probably' lower than it was just prior to lockdown. Indeed carers are better trained and 'hopefully' have enhanced PPE now. Plus 'hopefully' thay are being tested regulalrly. So it is probably safer than it was....but there is still some risk. I suppose it makes sense to avoid unnecesssary visits as much as possible.
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
I have carried on with carers for dad.(apart from 7days when I had to be there full time as they left him. Thought he had Covid. He didn’t)
Although they go in multiple houses they do use PPE. I also supply gloves.
Dad is high risk but they are needed and to be honest I don’t think a vaccine is happening any time soon.So as long as they use PPE I will continue to have them as he needs the interaction and I need space .
TNJJ, I agree with your approach. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

I can do what sane people would would not contemplate. I could 'probably' self-isolate for a year or more....but I don't know if I am over-reacting and need to relax a little bit more and accept that the risk is now relatively low and I can return to some sort of normality. Albeit with lots of hand washing.
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
....I’m doing far more than I did before but how long I can sustain it remains to be seen.
I suppose you need to balance how much you need Carers with the risk @diddyman and
JustMe, sounds like you are in the same boat as me. I can cope without carers but I don't know if that's a sesnsible thing to do long term. I am hoping there will be a vaccine available this year - but that is probably wishful thinking- I have to plan for the virus being in society for a year or more (it may never totally disappear).
 

diddyman

Registered User
Nov 27, 2017
16
In many areas there are extremely few people with the virus.
SplashingAbout, yes I agree. That's a very important thing to consider. If they do weekly testing of carers it would also increase confidence that the virus isn't being passed by them...or they are low risk.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,437
South coast
I like the idea of 'cells' to limit the number of clients a carer interacts with....in an ideal world it would be good to see such 'best practice'. But in the real world where carers get sick or need holidays I'm not sure how practical it would be.
Its been done like that specifically so that if one of the carers in the "cell" is off, then the other cares in the cell can cover without having to introduce another person from outside.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
509
Mid Lincs
I couldn't manage without carers we need 2 to roll (I'm the second carer) even tho' OH can walk with a frame from bed to chair he can't roll himself or get on to his feet by himself.
The carers all wear PPE and masks and the number is kept to a minimum.
Also there hasn't been any new cases in our area for over a week and no deaths since 30 May.