The definition of American hero is being recast in real-time. Amava salutes doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, EMTs and anyone putting themselves at risk to help others at this challenging time.
Amava Member and physician Dr. Mary Seymour graciously shared some thoughts about questions that people who are professional or family caregivers may be having during these difficult days. None are to be taken in place of medical advice. They are the practical basics from a professional with experience caring for others.
What is the number one you think people should know if they are in the position of caring for someone in the high-risk category or someone who already has COVID-19?
If you are caring for someone in a high-risk category or who already has COVID-19, wash your hands frequently, especially after being out of the house.
What are the specific steps that caregivers can take to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 and/or spreading it to the vulnerable people they care for?
The caregiver should minimize contact with the ill person and both should wear a mask when they are in the same room. (There are many other necessary activities but this is the most important).
If a caregiver gets sick, is there any kind of safety net in place, or back up plan, for the people they care for?
Most caregivers are employed by an organization or an agency and those entities provide the backup plan. In other settings, like a privately hired caregivers or a family member, the answer is unclear, but when in doubt contact local resources.
In general the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has an excellent website on COVID-19 written for the general public as well as a separate section for healthcare professionals.
Dr. Mary Austin-Seymour trained as a radiation oncologist and practiced medicine for 35 years. She has two grown children, one a primary care internist. Mary is a new grandmother and a hiking, traveling, reading, theater and opera enthusiast.
Amava is not a medical provider. If you or a loved one are having symptoms or you have specific medical questions please contact your doctor or emergency facilities in your community.