As the numbers of Kenyans with coronavirus rise, it may not be possible to get your patient to be treated in hospital. Also, you might not have the funds to take your family member who has Coronavirus to hospital in the first place. The Kenyan government had launched the protocols for home-based isolation and care which you can use to take care of your patient at home.
According to Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman, data in our country shows that 78% of infected persons admitted to our hospitals are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Such patients can be key factors in the spread of the virus, but they don’t necessarily need to be isolated in a hospital. By discharging these patients and laying out home-based care guidelines for them, there will be more room for those with severe symptoms that need the necessary hospital care.
A guidance booklet has been released by the Kenyan government to explain in detail the directives for home care of coronavirus patients.
Here’s are some things you need to know.
- Confirm the stability of the patient for home care
The patient should be stable enough to receive care at home, and there should be appropriate caregivers are available at home. There should be a separate bedroom where the patient can recover without sharing immediate space with others. There should also be resources for access to food and other necessities are available. The patient and other household members should have access to appropriate, recommended personal protective equipment and lastly, there should be NO household members who may be at increased risk of complications.
- Suitability of the house for home-based guidance
- Well-ventilated single room.
- Limit the movement of the patient in the house and minimize shared space. Ensure that shared spaces are well ventilated.
- Household members should stay in a different room or, if that is not possible, maintain a distance of at least 1 m from the sick person
- Assign one person who is in good health and has no underlying chronic or immune-compromising conditions to assist the person.
- Visitors should not be allowed until the patient has completely recovered and has no signs and symptoms.
- Caregivers Guidelines
- Perform hand hygiene after any type of contact with patients or their immediate environment, before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet and whenever hands look dirty.
- Use disposable paper towels to dry hands after washing them.
- Caregivers should wear a tightly fitted N95 mask that covers their mouth and nose when in the same room as the patient. Masks should not be touched or handled during use. Discard the mask immediately after use and perform hand hygiene.
- Avoid direct contact with body fluids, particularly oral or respiratory secretions, and stool. Use disposable gloves and a mask when providing oral or respiratory care and when handling stool, urine and other waste.
- Perform hand hygiene before and after removing gloves and the mask. Do not reuse masks or gloves.
- Use dedicated linen and eating utensils for the patient; these items should be cleaned with soap and hot water after use and may be reused instead of being discarded.
- Cleaning the patient’s items
- Clean and disinfect daily surfaces that are frequently touched in the room where the patient is being cared for using regular household soap or detergent.
- Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once daily. Regular household soap or detergent. Regular household disinfectants containing chlorine bleach should be applied.
- Clean the patient’s clothes, bed linen, bath and hand towels using regular laundry soap and water with common household detergent, and dry thoroughly. Place contaminated linen into a laundry bag.
- Do not shake soiled laundry and avoid contaminated materials coming into contact with skin and clothes.
- Heavy-duty gloves and protective clothing (e.g. plastic aprons) should be used when cleaning surfaces or handling clothing or linen soiled with body fluids. Depending on the context, either heavy-duty or single-use gloves can be used. After use, heavy-duty gloves should be cleaned with soap and water and decontaminated with a 0.5% chlorine bleach solution. Perform hand hygiene before and after removing gloves.
- Disposal of protective equipment
- Gloves, masks and other waste generated during at-home patient care should be placed into a waste bin with a lid in the patient’s room before being disposed of as infectious waste.
- Community Health Volunteers should be tasked with the distribution of bin liners and the collection of infectious waste and disposal done at the nearest health facility.
- Avoid other types of exposure to contaminated items from the patient’s immediate environment. Do not share toothbrushes, cigarettes, eating utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths or bed linen.
- Health Care Workers should perform a risk assessment to select the appropriate personal protective equipment and follow the recommendations for droplet and contact precautions.
Management of contact persons (including caregivers and Health Care Worker’s) who have been exposed to individuals with suspected COVID-19 disease are considered contacts and should be advised to monitor their health for 14 days from the last possible day of contact depending on the level of risk.
A contact is a person who has had any of the following exposures:
- A healthcare-associated exposure, including providing direct care for patients with COVID-19 disease, working with Health Care Workers infected with the virus, visiting patients or those residing in the same environment as a patient with COVID-19 disease;
- Exposure through working together in close proximity to a patient with COVID-19 disease.
- Exposure through travelling with a patient who has COVID-19 disease in any means of transport.
- Exposure through living in the same household as a patient with COVID-19 disease within 14 days after the onset of symptoms in the patient.
- The healthcare provider should give instructions to contacts in advance about when and where to seek care if they become ill, what is the most appropriate mode of transportation to use, when and where to enter the designated healthcare facility, and which IPC precautions should be followed.
Here are more tips on how to take care of someone with COVID-19