Caregiving in the Time of COVID-19

With the coronavirus (COVID19) rapidly spreading across the United States, home hospice nurses have unique challenges and responsibilities. They must protect themselves and their patients, while also educating family caregivers.  

We encourage our hospice partners to download and share our printable fact sheet with their clinical staff, as a resource for client households.

Click here to download, share, and print your fact sheet today!


Family Resource Information On COVID-19 

COVID-19 is not likely to cause serious complications in healthy children and younger adults, but presents a high risk of mortality for the immunocompromisedthe elderly and patients with cancer, COPD, diabetes and high blood pressure. 

The virus spreads primarily between people who are in close contact with one another, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and from contact with infected surfaces or objects. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to flu. Both cause dry cough and fever. However, COVID-19 is much more likely to causes breathing difficulties and less likely to cause aches and chills. COVID-19 symptoms tend to develop more gradually, and people can transmit the virus before showing symptoms.  

Exercise Basic Contact Precautions to Prevent Transmission

  1. Maintain six-foot separation as much as possible. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available. You and your loved one should wear a facemask (if available) when you are in the same room. 
  2. Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow. Turn on an air conditioner or open a window. 
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (isopropyl alcohol may be substituted). 
  4. Do not share household items, such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person who is sick. After the person uses these items, wash them thoroughly. 
  5. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. 

Additional Caregiver Guidelines: 

  • Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the person’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine. 
  • Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. 
  • First remove and throw away gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and throw away facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Wash laundry thoroughly. 
  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them. 
  • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands immediately after removing your gloves. 
  • Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after handling these items.