Health,  Life

COVID-19 Safety Tips for Family Members of Nursing Home Residents

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been terrifying and for some people in particular. The immunocompromised and senior citizens are at the greatest risk of contracting coronavirus and succumbing to it.

What complicates this matter even further is that many older folks are in nursing homes. This places many high-risk citizens in a confined space that often lacks the necessary equipment and staffing to effectively combat coronavirus.

Because of this, COVID-19 in nursing homes has become a rampant issue. If you have a loved one staying in an assisted living situation, then this may cause you to be concerned for their safety.

Considering the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, your options for protecting your elderly family members in nursing homes are limited. Fortunately, you have a few and we’ll outline them below.

Video Chat Often

A good starting point is to video chat with your loved one often.

Some nursing homes are permitting limited visitation, but you’re better off avoiding it altogether.

Even if you’ve been safe yourself, you can never be sure that you haven’t picked up coronavirus and you don’t want to unknowingly spread it to a nursing home. This also protects you in case other residents at the facility your loved one is staying at are sick.

That said, you still need to stay in touch and this is why you should video chat. This allows you to speak with your family member face-to-face and see how they are doing like you would with an in-person visit.

While video chat is limited, it’s the best you can do right now. Try to chat with them as often as possible, daily if it’s reasonable.

When you’re speaking with them, pay close attention to how they look and behave. Also, inspect their environment and make sure that it’s clean and maintained. If you notice anything questionable, ask your senior family member if everything is okay.

Encourage Safe Behavior

When you’re interacting with your senior family member, you should also frequently encourage safe behavior.

They may not have the best access to the internet or effective safety tips. In particular, they may not know the strategies that can greatly reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus.

For example, they’ve likely heard about maintaining their distance and wearing a mask. But do they know why these measures matter and do they actively uphold them in their facility? Chances are, they don’t and this greatly endangers them.

Take the time to explain why masks and social distancing are critical.

Masks block most particles expelled when talking, coughing, or sneezing and this is the most common way for coronavirus to spread. Close proximity increases this risk, making social distancing an effective solution.

You should also talk about the risks posed by indifferent health workers. If staff members aren’t wearing gloves and/or frequently washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining their distance, and using other safety equipment regularly, then this is a major cause for concern.  For more tips click here.

Check Safety Preparations

Next, you should check on their facility’s safety preparations.

A significant issue with many nursing homes is a deficiency in adequate precautions against infectious diseases. Paired with the current pandemic, this makes them especially dangerous.

You want to be sure that your family member is in a facility that has the appropriate measures in place. This includes both effective preventative strategies and having enough safety equipment and staff members to serve the whole facility.

Many nursing homes have increased their supply of protective equipment in response to coronavirus. Check-in with your family member and see how the staff is approaching virus safety. If you’re planning to visit your loved one, it’s a good idea to get same day rapid COVID testing before you go. This way, you don’t accidentally bring the virus into the nursing facility if you are infected but asymptomatic.

Consider Housing Them

As a final resort, you can consider housing them yourself.

There’s a high likelihood that the facility they’re staying at is placing them at risk. Finding another assisted living facility that does take safety seriously and is accepting new residents will be almost impossible.

The most obvious solution here is to house them yourself. However, this would require you to be their caregiver (or hire one) and have the means to accommodate them.

Caring for an elderly person who needs daily assistance is a major responsibility. You may not be up to the task and it can strain your relationship with your loved one.

On the other hand, you may rise to the occasion to keep your senior family member safe. There’s no better way to keep them safe than by housing them in an environment you can control, oversee, and defend.

Closing Thoughts

If you have an elderly family member in assisted living, you’ll need to pay extra attention to them during coronavirus. Nursing home residents are highly likely to contract and spread coronavirus due to poor safety precautions and inadequate resources.

With this in mind, you’ll need to help them from a distance. You can do this by video chatting often, encouraging safe behavior, checking their facility’s safety precautions, or housing them yourself if circumstances are unacceptable.

As scary as COVID-19 is, you can help your older family members get through it with some extra effort. Help them preserve their lives by watching out for their health and stepping in if it is needed!

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