Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the first step for caregivers who are looking after loved ones in the age of coronavirus.
The CDC advises:
- Contacting health care providers to obtain extra necessary medications and stocking up on over-the-counter drugs.
- Monitoring needed medical supplies related to a loved one's condition or treatments (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) and common supplies such as tissues and cough syrup.
- Purchasing enough nonperishable food items so you are prepared to stay home for some time.
- Those with a loved one in a care facility should monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is a coronavirus outbreak.
There are other preparation steps, too, that caregivers can take.
"This is a good time for families to take stock and revisit contingency plans and to identify family and friends to help with such activities as grocery shopping, [and] stockpiling essential items,” says Jennifer Wolff a professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The virus is going to expose and exacerbate the fragile systems that are in place that primarily rely on family and other unpaid caregivers."
Those who take care of loved ones in their home or are regular care providers to family members and friends outside the home have real concerns about exposing this vulnerable group to the virus.