The homecare services industry is now choosing how they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many are forced to follow suit. While continuing to follow updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local authorities, the Home Care Association of America, and other agencies and resources, some are still left with a dilemma of how to shift their caregiving services to meet the current environment.
Amid the crisis, we at New Wave Home Care believe a caregiving agency that navigates the current situation with more compassion, common sense, and an awareness of the care connection will be best positioned for the future. For us at NHWC, the keys to managing this crisis are preparation and intensive connection with all the responsible parties (client, families, caregivers, and even the other caregiving agencies). All these while we continue to provide safe, high-quality care the elderly deserves. Here are three crucial actions that we are taking to ensure our caregiving services are in best shape possible to withstand what’s ahead.
Connecting with Clients and Families.
A crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic is a time when we all can show up as a true partner and exhibit our organization’s values to our clients. It’s all in how we communicate.
- Daily client welfare check – As early as the first week of March, our core admin team at NWHC has been spending extra hours to be in constant communication with clients and family members. We put ourselves in the shoes of our client, and ask: What would I want to know right now? What would I want to hear from NWHC right now?
- Help manage information to manage anxiety – We laid out possibilities to our clients in the next coming weeks. Changed travel plans, isolation, fear over limited resources and information overload could cause unchecked anxiety and feelings of isolation. We find that checking on our clients and their family members day and night helps them outlast increasing negative thoughts about this uncertain time, knowing that we are with them along the way and that they’re not alone.
- Going above and beyond during this trying time – NWHC has been doing shopping for our clients. Even our CEO/founder is doing it personally. Every team member is committed to going the extra mile to help seniors obtain necessary household supplies like groceries, medications, and other essential goods they need on a daily basis.
Connecting with Caregivers.
In the in-home caregiving industry, our caregivers are our unsung heroes, our front liners during an unprecedented crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Their support for the elderly in managing everyday tasks, such as bathing, medication reminders, preparing meals, and grocery shopping, help reassure families that their elderly loved ones are doing emotionally and physically well in their home. By constantly connecting with our caregivers, we are taking extra measures to ensure that our stricter protocols during this crisis are adhered to and that we are able respond to any emergency when needed.
- Emergency preparedness and protocols – As a standard practice, we have an emergency preparedness plan in place that we will continue to follow or update accordingly as this situation evolves. All caregivers follow established protocols regarding personal hygiene and staying home when sick. This practice is not new to our staff.
- Stress test – Our emergency preparedness questionnaire enables our caregivers to understand the vulnerabilities and help clients make plans accordingly to help prevent exposure and transmission of the virus. This includes making necessary changes to travels and appointments- whether they be social or medical; declining visitors if possible, grocery shopping online and opting for delivery.
- Masks, gloves, sanitizers, and PPEs – Our clients are at risk given they belong to the older adult group or those with underlying health concerns. NWHC is cautious about our caregivers’ need to protect our clients from illnesses- be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. These measures are not new to us. Despite the limited and decreasing supply of masks, gloves, sanitizers, and PPEs, fortunately, we were able to order these supplies ahead of time since we started planning. Now, we are confident that we can adequately supply and equip our caregivers with the right amount of protection according to recommendations by the CDC and health departments.
- Daily caregiver welfare check – Just as we connect daily with our clients, our core team ensures that we spend time calling our caregivers to prepare them for the day and simply keeping their morale high. We often stay connected. Receiving support and care from our admin team has a positive impact on helping our caregivers cope with challenges. Just letting them know that they are part of a supportive organization can bring a sense of comfort and stability. We also talk through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings to help caregivers find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.
Connecting with other Caregiving Agencies.
At an uncertain time like this, we believe that it’s the time to turn toward each other, even your business competitors. Now is the time we support and help each other out, set aside competition and foster cooperation and collaboration to help the community.
New Wave Home Care has reached out to fellow caregiving agencies to brainstorm and share best practices. We formed a local resource community to help the elders and family members. Our groups have done mostly shopping for the seniors. We believe that it is essential to have other perspectives at a time like this. We are all on the same boat and together we can help find a way to reignite the industry.
During this crisis, NWHC’s goal is to be constantly connected with our clients, caregivers, and other caregiving agencies and helpful resources. We treat this crisis like the breaking news story that it is and ask ourselves each day what our clients and caregivers need to know that day and the next day and the one after that and what we can do for them. There’s really no over-communicating in a crisis. Now more than ever, we at NWHC would want to connect on a deeper level and make sure that everyone feels valued and content with the care they receive.