Home care for a loved one with COVID-19

Even with the national lockdown in place, the COVID-19 virus will still find opportunity to spread, and it may well become necessary for you to care for someone who may have COVID-19. We have put together the following guidelines for those members who may have to provide home care for someone who is self-quarantined due to potential or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

LIMIT CONTACT

  • Only one healthy person should provide care.
  • Do not share personal items such as towels, toothbrushes, cutlery or electronic devices with the ill person.
  • Have the ill person use separate bathroom, if possible. If not possible, the ill person should put the toilet lid down before flushing.

PROTECT YOURSELF

  • If possible, people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should not care for someone with COVID-19. These people include elderly persons, those with chronic medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes, etc.) or compromised immune systems.
  • If you need to be within 2 metres of the ill person, wear a face mask, disposable gloves and eye protection.
  • Wear disposable gloves when touching the ill person, their environment and soiled items or surfaces.
  • Do not re-use face masks or gloves.
  • Wash your hands with soap often, for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with the ill person and after removing gloves, face masks and eye protection.
  • Dry your hands with disposable paper towels. If not available, use a reusable towel and replace it when it becomes wet.
  • You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

KEEP YOUR ENVIRONMENT CLEAN

  • Place used face masks, gloves and other contaminated items in a lined container, secure the contents and dispose of them with other household waste.
  • Place possibly contaminated laundry into a container with a plastic liner and do not shake.
  • Clothing and linens belonging to the ill person can be washed with other laundry. Wash with regular laundry soap and hot water (60-90°C), and dry well.
  • At least once daily, clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch often, such as toilet flush handles and seats, laundry containers, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes.
  • High-touch electronic devices (keyboards, touch screens, etc.) may be disinfected with 70% alcohol (for example, alcohol prep wipes) at least daily.

MONITOR YOURSELF FOR SYMPTOMS

  • If you have always used the recommended precautions, then monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days following your last contact with the ill person.
  • If you have had direct contact with body fluids of the ill person (for example, you were coughed or sneezed on when you weren’t wearing a face mask), contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself as quickly as possible and contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.

 

This information has been adapted from the World Health Organisation (WHO) article ‘Home care for patients with COVID-19 presenting with mild symptoms and management of their contacts’.

For more handy information, you can download the following resources from the WHO website: