If your Agency is visiting patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19, use the following guidelines for home health visits, including appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use, physical assessment of the patient and patient/caregiver teaching.
1. Use Standard & Respiratory Precautions when making visits.
Proper Application of PPE. Apply PPE BEFORE entering the home. Remove BEFORE leaving the home. Do not reuse PPE ESPECIALLY for known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
Gloves. Apply gloves before entering the patient's house. Use clean, non-sterile gloves. Remove gloves promptly after use and discard before touching non-contaminated items or environmental surfaces, and before providing care to another patient. Apply hand sanitizer immediately after removing gloves.
Gown or gown substitute. Apply gown or gown substitute before entering the patient's house. Do not wear the same gown for the care of more than one patient. Remove the gown before leaving the patient home.
Masks or mask substitute. Wear a face mask or substitute. Apply before entering the home. Remove before leaving the home.
Face and Eye Protection. Use goggles with facemasks, or face shield alone to protect the mouth, nose and eyes. Personal eyeglasses and contact lenses are not considered adequate eye pr
otection. Apply before entering the home. Remove before leaving the home.
2. Assess & Monitor Patient for COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms
Common COVID-19 signs and symptoms:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- repeated shaking with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- new loss of taste or smell
Serious signs and symptoms requiring immediate medical care
- trouble breathing
- persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- new confusion or inability to arouse
- bluish lips or face
4. Immediately report new and/or worsening signs and symptoms to the patient's physician.
5. Teach patient/caregiver/family the COVID-19 preventive care.
Separate from other people and pets in the home. The patient should stay confined to a room or area where they are in no contact with anyone in the home. If possible, the patient should have her/his own bathroom.
Protect if around others. If the patient needs to be around others, s/he should wear a face-mask, scarf or bandana . If the patient is around others s/he should wear a face-mask and gloves. Since medical grade face-masks are reserved for healthcare workers and first responders the patient can improvise by using a scarf or bandana.
Stay 6 feet away. Remind the patient to stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
Don't share. Instruct the patient to not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Report any change in symptoms. Educate the patient to report new occurrences especially trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion bluish lips or face.
Stay hydrated. If not contraindicated by the physician, drink 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Cover mouth and nose with a tissue; throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
Wash hands thoroughly for hands for 20 seconds after throwing away used tissues. Instruct the patient to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially important after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday. Instruct the patient to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in the patient's room and bathroom. Family or caregiver should not clean the patient's bedroom and bathroom. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
Stay home except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
Click for more information on covid-19 home health.
Symptoms of Coronavirus. (2020, March 20). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Standard Precautions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.health.state.mn.us/facilities/patientsafety/infectioncontrol/pre/standard.html
Use Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow Spread. (2020, April 13). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html