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  • Writer's pictureKaren McPhail, RN, MSN

Time to Form a Covid Plan for Care!

In an effort to be proactive during a time of local downward Covid trends, it is time to consider and begin to develop a Covid Care plan in preparation for a potential fall and winter spike. Eldementals, LLC always has emergency planning in place for our clients as a standard practice, but a more specific approach may be prudent based on longer standing public health challenges.

Why is it important to do a Covid Plan for care?

Planning is always the key to success! In the words of Yogi Berra - “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” During this local Covid-19 slight downward trend in some areas we should be mindful and take advantage of opportunities to plan and be better prepared when we can. Right now -

  • We know more about the virus.

  • We know more about the potential challenges.

  • We have more resources and time to put preventative measures in place.

  • We know that we may have a potential resurgence in Fall and Winter

  • We are still awaiting a vaccine which may take time.

Along the way we need to have a change of mindset and new goals in place!

What IS the NEW Normal?

Being mindful, considerate, and making some minor lifestyle changes will lead to better quality of life and safety!

During daily life we need to now always consider the essentials:

  • Masking

  • Hand washing

  • Disinfecting high touch areas

  • Off hours for outings

  • Telehealth access

  • Physical distancing

  • Health screening

  • Asking important questions - ill, temp, travel, exposure, risk factors

This all leads to forming a Covid Plan for Care! While doing this the

following areas need to be addressed and considered along the way:

1. First, think about what is most important to you in the event that you become seriously ill. Think about what you would like to be done and what you would prefer not to be done in terms of care and treatment. In an effort to keep decisions from becoming taxing and overwhelming, it is best to focus on your overall goals first and then form specifics as they apply. Comfort, care environment, independence, aging in place, family support, treatment, and quality of life need be focused on. Contact us to obtain a Covid Planning Worksheet.

2. Take a Holistic Approach when planning!

Take into account your well being across many areas - physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, mental health, comfort, financial

3. Reevaluate and make informed choices in terms of all aspects

especially decision makers! Chose an individual who can be your health care decision maker if you become too ill to care for yourself. This person is called a medical power of attorney, health care proxy, or health care agent and will need access to your medical health information and be able to speak with health care providers. Pick an individual with ideally a back up so that decision making is timely and effective if needed. This individual will be acting on your expressed wishes so again details are important. Choose someone who understands your needs and wishes and someone you can trust to act on your wishes effectively. This person needs to be willing to make decisions for you based on your beliefs and wishes, not theirs.

The health care agent should be able to effectively and clearly communicate with authority figures such as care managers, discharge planners, care communities, and physicians. Being a person who is comfortable with decisive actions is an important trait in a health care agent, as medical decisions often need to be made timely.

Transparency of information is then key after choosing a health care agent - it is important to let others know your plans so that appropriate parties understand your expressed wishes and any specifics. Transparency of information also often prevents potential family conflict. You can involve an RN care manager in this process if several family members are potentially involved or if any party requires guidance.

4. Talk about care planning with your designated health care agent. Consult an RN Care Manager who can often assist with this aspect as a clinical expert. Understanding your current health situation, any chronic conditions, family dynamics, lifestyle, culture, religion, your past experiences, hobbies, socialization and activities, and your intellectual interests helps individuals to make effective decisions that are consistent with your expressed goals and wishes. Tell your health care agent who you would want them to contact should you become ill. End of life and funeral planning aspects should also be discussed over time and planned for.

5. Ensure that you have a Home Medical Record binder. I advise client to have a small ziplock bag with 4 disposable masks, gloves, and a small hand sanitizer or sanitizer wipes with this binder in case of emergency. This binder should include a list of your past and current health conditions and diagnosis, allergies, past surgeries, medications with dosage and frequency, and physicians with contact info and any associated clinical support staff involved in your care (homecare, PT, OT, etc). Although the electronic clinical record is in place in most medical centers there are VERY often errors and omissions. In addition, emergency personnel need to be aware of all aspect timely if needing to intervene. Keep copies of your insurance cards, ID, and power of attorneys along with your medical record in a binder. It is important to have all health care information and power of attorneys in a binder, that is easy to locate. Ensure that your health care agent(s), care manager, and physican(s) have copies of all current documents. Email is a great way to do this, so these people can easily save your plan. A care manager can assist with these aspects if needed.

6. Make an appointment to talk with an Elder care attorney and an RN care manager to form a cohesive plan. Having a good team in place is important. It is important to see an Elder care attorney to ensure that all legal aspects are in place. A Care Manager can serve as a clinical resource and advocate long term and help to support and guide you and your health care agent. Elder care attorneys and Care Managers will come to you or complete consults virtually. Long term care insurance will cover most care management services. You can also obtain input from your physician(s) along the way, during regular appointments and discuss aspects as they apply to your current health and any chronic conditions. Medicare pays for appointments to manage chronic conditions and for discussing advance care plans if you are 65 or older. These kinds of appointments can be done currently via telemedicine if needed for safety. Ask your doctor and care manager if a POLST, which is more specific than an advance directive, is also right for you. A POLST does not replace an advanced directive; these documents work together in some cases.

7. Again ensure that you have transparency of information with family and appropriate parties as this will support clarity and decrease any potential for confusion and conflict.

8. Planning is the key to success. Ensure in planning that you have an emergency plan in place for groceries, medication delivery, tele health visits, in-climate weather, etc. Always have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment on hand for use as needed. Consider converting to live in home care if realistic to minimize the number of individuals coming and going if at home. Consider a smaller personal care home if requiring additional care. Personal care homes can be a great way to get personalized, high quality, cost effective care and minimize risk and exposure. An RN Care Manager can assist with all these aspects.

9. If you are in a care community inquire about community plans, staffing, and supplies!

  • Take an active role in your care!

  • Know your medications, treatment and care plan

  • Be knowledgeable and stay informed!

10. And for all it is important to prepare to be safe no matter where you are! In doing so always seek out reputable, factual sources for information !!! Contact us today if you need assistance as we are here to help!

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