Care in the home for people with COVID-19: Advice for Caregivers
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Only one caregiver should take care of the sick person
The sick person should stay in an area of the home alone and not share spaces (bathroom, kitchen) within the home. If this is not possible, the sick individual should wear a mask within the home and stay at least 2 meters away from others.
Hand washing information
Wash your hands for 20 seconds and wash them frequently. Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you do not have water use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The sick person should limit contact with pets.
We are still learning about whether animals can spread COVID-19. If they can’t avoid contact, the sick person must wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching animals, and their food/supplies.
Do not share personal items with the sick person (i.e., toothbrushes, towels, washcloths, bed linen, unwashed dishes and utensils, drinks, cigarettes or electronic devices like phones and remote controls).
No visitors to the home
Visitors should not be allowed in the home until the sick person has completely recovered and has no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and their health care provider has confirmed that having visitors is safe.
Limit your time with the sick person. The sick person should wear a mask or facial covering when the caregiver is in their space. The caregiver should wear a mask or facial covering and disposable gloves when caring for or touching items used by the sick person.
Children under 2 should not wear masks.
Keep your environment clean
At least once a day, clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch often. Use a water and bleach mixture or an approved household disinfectants. Put used masks, gloves and other contaminated items in a disposable plastic bag after use.
Separate Bathrooms (if possible)
Ideally household members should use a different bathroom than the sick person. If this is not possible in your home, the bathroom should be cleaned after every use with bleach mixture or household disinfectant. The toilet should be flushed with the lid down. Have a garbage can with a lid and plastic liner.
Handle Laundry with Care
The sick person’s laundry should be kept in a plastic bag until it’s washed. Handle with disposable gloves if possible. Wash with regular laundry soap and hot water (60-90 degrees C), and dry well. Clothing, linens, and non-medical cloth masks belonging to the sick person can be washed with other laundry.
Check and write down the sick person’s temperature daily. Do this more often if they have a fever (e.g. sweating, chills), or if their symptoms are changing. Contact their health care provider right away if their symptoms get worse. If the sick person develops shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know the person has COVID-19.
Household members (not just the sick person) must self-isolate at home because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. If you, or anyone in your household, develops symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), self-isolate away from others in the household as quickly as possible and contact your local public health unit or health centre for further instructions.
If the sick person is breastfeeding, breastfeeding can continue but the sick person should always wear a mask or if not available, a nonmedical mask or facial covering (homemade cloth mask or bandana) and consider covering the baby with a blanket or towel while feeding.