Data indicates that people aged 60 and over are most at risk from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). For example, it was reported recently that 20% of the US deaths from Coronavirus occurred in those people aged 80 and above. Homecare Caregivers play a crucial role in the lives of many of those people who are most at risk. These seniors rely on Homecare Caregivers to help them by bringing groceries, feeding them, bathing them, helping them remain in compliance with their medication and therapy treatment plans and very importantly social interaction. Many of them simply can’t get by without you and your team.
Making Care Delivery Safer for the Client and the Caregiver
However, the very process of delivering care and support to the elderly can be dangerous to both seniors and Homecare Caregivers with each facing the risk of infection. New diagnostics tools may greatly reduce this risk to both of them in the near future.
Two types of tests will greatly help protect both Clients and Caregivers when used in combination.
- The first of these tests is from Abbott Labs, which has announced the release of their point of care test for Coronavirus. This test will greatly increase the diagnosis of Coronavirus and allow identification of those with active virus.
- The second test is a serological test to identify those people who have antibodies to the novel Coronavirus. This test does not target those with the active virus, but instead it identifies those who have had the virus and recovered. This would include those who were very sick and got better as well as those with mild symptoms – some of whom may not have known they ever had the virus.
The test to identify those with antibody based immunity allows identification of Caregivers to work with the senior community and others to provide Homecare services with little or no risk to themselves or their clients.
Work Still to be Done
Some open questions remain for this to be a reality, including:
- How to scale up testing?
- How to gather samples and assure accuracy?
- Is there a minimum level of antibodies needed for immunity?
- Is the immunity complete and lasting?
Meanwhile Stay the Course
While there is light at the end of the tunnel for your Homecare Caregivers, make sure that while waiting for the widespread use of these tests, you and your team are doing everything you can to comply with current Federal and State safety recommendations and remember that those most at risk among us are also highly reliant on the care your team provides to them.
Sources: Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post, 3/31/20, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/31/coronavirus-serology-blood-tests/