There should be a designated caregiver for someone who is infected with COVID-19.
A caregiver should not be over the age of 60 years or have an underlying health condition like heart or lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV or TB. Pregnant women should avoid all contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
What your loved one requires
Your loved one needs to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. They must not leave home during this period for any reason unless they need medical attention. The 14-day period begins on the day the symptoms developed or from the date of the positive test. They must remain in quarantine for the full period even if they feel better. If your home is too small for self-quarantining, it is essential that masks and gloves are worn at all times.
Ensure they have the following in order to be comfortable and to prevent the spread of infection:
• A room or area away from other family members
• Their own bedding and towels
• Their own crockery and cutlery
• Face masks and gloves to be worn by both carer and loved one who is sick whenever they make contact or are in the same vicinity
• Some way to contact the caregiver if anything is urgently required
• If possible, a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, the bathroom must be properly cleaned after use. Ideally, your loved one should clean the space after use, but if he or she is too sick, the caregiver must wear gloves and a mask when cleaning.
Health and safety guidelines for caregivers
• Follow the doctor’s care and medication recommendations for your loved one
• Limit as much direct contact as you can
• Keep at least a 1,5m distance when you are in the same room
• Wear a mask and gloves whenever you’re in contact with your loved one
• If your child is infected, one parent should stay with the child and another caregiver should provide secondary support care
• Wash your hands with soap and water and then disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based (70%) hand sanitiser before entering the room and again as you leave
• Provide healthy, nutritious meals and plenty of fluids
• Wear a mask when providing meals, and wash or sanitise your hands after touching anything that your loved one has touched
• Put on gloves before removing crockery and cutlery and wash in hot, soapy water or place in a dishwasher
• Wash your loved one’s clothing and bedding separately in a washing machine on the hottest cycle with regular detergent
• Monitor your loved one’s symptoms. If they become confused or very fatigued, have shortness of breath and/or blue lips, notify your primary healthcare provider immediately
• Monitor yourself for symptoms of the disease and immediately self-isolate if you suspect that you have COVID-19
Taking care of a sick loved one can be stressful. Take care of your own health by eating regular, healthy meals. Maintain a routine for your day and ensure that you get exercise and adequate sleep. Give yourself some personal time every day to refresh both physically and mentally.
We are here to support you
If you need any assistance, support, counselling, or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact the Fedhealth Crisis Support Centre on 0860 111 646. We can direct you to the necessary support and healthcare providers should you require them.
Resources: www.sacoronavirus.co.za; www.who.int; www.mayoclinic.org; www.unicef.org; www.heathline.com; www.canada.ca; www.rcog.org.uk