The most important thing we can all continue to do is to minimize our risk of exposure to COVID-19.
It’s easy to become complacent, particularly now that months have gone by and we are all perhaps becoming settled into a new routine of social distancing. Evaluate any non-essential medical appointments to determine whether or not you feel it necessary to keep them, but do have a plan for what you’ll do if you do become sick – with COVID-19 symptoms or otherwise.
Staying at home does not mean you cannot take steps to take care of yourself and the people for whom you provide care.
Look into whether or not your primary care physician or other health care providers are offering telemedicine. This is particularly important for those with chronic health conditions. If you’re starting to run low on medication and haven’t done so already, ask your doctor for a prescription for a few months worth so you have what you need as this time of social distancing continues.
VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is offering virtual Ask the Nurse clinics to meet with residents in the agency’s territory virtually for usual in-person one-on-one coaching. Our team of registered nurses are available to review medications, discuss health goals and help you prepare for any upcoming medical appointment.
Make sure you are staying in touch with friends and family through today’s technological offerings such as video chat using a smartphone or computer. Engage in a hobby at home to keep your mind sharp and your hands active during this phase.
Also ensure you have an emergency contact in the event that you become ill, and if you serve as someone’s emergency contact, have a back-up plan in place in case you begin to show symptoms and cannot provide your usual level of care to your loved one.
Have enough food and essential items on hand for ideally two weeks at a time and continue to engage in proper hand washing and cleaning practices.
It may be tempting to spend time with grandchildren or other family members in person now that the first wave of COVID-19 is slowing in Connecticut, but the elderly must remember they remain in a high-risk category. Try to schedule any family visits to be held outside, and engage in social distancing while wearing a mask as much as possible.
Have a plan
Discuss with your loved ones in advance the steps you will take if you do develop symptoms such as cough, fever or trouble breathing. If symptoms are not severe, you will likely be told to stay at home to recover. A test at a local drive-thru testing location may be prescribed by your physician to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.
If you are told to go to the hospital, make sure to ask what steps you should take upon arrival and what to expect. Do not go to the hospital or emergency room without talking to your physician first as many hospitals are reaching capacity and, if your diagnosis has not been confirmed, you could be risking exposure to COVID-19 unnecessarily.
This is a challenging and often overwhelming time for many, but it will pass. It’s important to stay focused on your health and well-being and ask for help when its needed.