Bluegrass Care Navigators Offers Guidance For Visiting Aging Loved Ones During HolidaysNavigator News
As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, Bluegrass Care Navigators suggests Kentuckians exercise caution when considering visits to loved ones of advanced age or those facing serious and terminal illnesses, to help us protect Kentucky’s elderly, their families and caregivers, and healthcare workers providing care in the home.
“The holidays are such a tender time for families who may be facing the reality that this could be a last opportunity to make memories with their loved one,” said Liz Fowler, CEO. “However, we ask families to consider all risks involved and resist the desire for large family gatherings this holiday season. We have some tips of how families can spend time together yet keep their loved ones safe.”
“Of course, we want to spend special, close and extended time with a loved one nearing the end of their life,” said Lindsay Kampfer, Counseling Resource Officer for Bluegrass Care Navigators. “However, we do not want to see families facing additional stress and emotional burden after such a sacred time. We want families to consider the impact if a primary caregiver becomes exposed to COVID-19 and is no longer able to care for their loved one, or if the aging family member contracts the virus and becomes ill.”
Additionally, families should consider the increased risk to healthcare workers who come into the family home to provide care.
“Our collective efforts exercising caution and avoiding visits, whenever possible, will protect both the patients and families in our care, as well as our healthcare workers who provide invaluable in-home care,” said Clinical Operations Officer Cassie Mitchell. “Everyone in the household can help us reduce the risk of infection.”
Bluegrass Care Navigators recommends that families consider the following when planning for the holiday season:
- Review guidelines for holiday activities from the CDC and the state of Kentucky.
- Hold virtual gatherings in lieu of in-person visits
- For family members who need to visit their loved ones because end of life may be nearing:
o If you have any of the symptoms of COVID 19, do not visit but instead isolate and get tested.
o Those traveling from out-of-state should quarantine before travel and after arrival according to state guidelines.
o Instead of hosting your typical large family meal with multiple households, families should visit their loved ones’ home in one household unit at a time; siblings and relatives from multiple households should not visit the home at the same time.
o All visitors to the home should wear a mask covering the mouth and nose at all times, wash hands upon entry and exit and frequently throughout the visit, avoid touching the face, avoid extended-length visits and maintain a distance of at least six feet from the patient and their primary caregivers. Caregivers should clean and sanitize in between visits.
o Avoid having outside visitors to the home at the same time as a home visit from healthcare providers.
o Your loved one or their primary caregiver should inform home-based healthcare workers of any additional contacts in the home during the holiday season, and whether appropriate mask use and social distancing was followed.
Families who have questions about hospice care during the pandemic, or who may be eligible for the physical, personal, emotional and spiritual support offered through hospice care can call 855.492.0812 to discuss how Bluegrass Care Navigators can help.