COVID-19 Updates

for JFS Care at Home Clients and Client Families

Our top priority continues to be the health and welfare of our clients, families and care partners. During this extremely challenging time, we will continue to share information and recommendations on how to mitigate infection exposure among our clients and care partners.

On this page you will find frequent updates on how JFS Care at Home is managing the COVID-19 virus. Our care partners are considered essential personnel by the State of Connecticut. We will continue to provide care to our clients without any interruption in service. We are staying up to date with the latest news on both local and federal levels to ensure that we are ready for any changes in protocol. Please bookmark and refer to this page for updates and information.

May 6, 2020

JFS Care at Home Clients and Families,

What has changed with COVID-19 over the past week?

The CDC has added six new symptoms to the list for COVID-19. But they did not add the unusual symptoms doctors and nurses on the front lines are observing in older adults.

Why weren’t these symptoms included in the update?

So far, these findings are anecdotal – meaning there is no hard science to back it up. These unusual symptoms have been observed and reported by doctors and nurses, but they require further, formal investigation to be confirmed as consistent in a large group of older adults. But that doesn’t make the information less important. This virus is so new and unfamiliar, it’s worth it to take in all the information you can.

What are these unusual symptoms?

In a recent article for Kaiser Health News, Judith Graham writes, “If early signs of COVID-19 are missed, seniors may deteriorate before getting needed care.”

What are the early signs in seniors?

You are probably well aware of the big three symptoms: a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. But older adults may not have any of these recognizable symptoms at all. As with many conditions (particularly infections), older adults don’t have the typical signs and symptoms.
Graham reports, “seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.”

Why do older adults have different symptoms?

We know for sure is that seniors’ bodies just respond differently illness and infection. This may be due to underlying conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc.) or it could just be part of the normal age-related changes with see in older adults.

Here’s an example Graham gives in her article:
“Dr. Quratulain Syed, an Atlanta geriatrician, describes a man in his 80s whom she treated in mid-March. Over a period of days, this patient, who had heart disease, diabetes and moderate cognitive impairment, stopped walking and became incontinent and profoundly lethargic. But he didn’t have a fever or a cough. His only respiratory symptom: sneezing off and on.”

What can you do?

As with all things COVID-related, knowledge is power. So, your family should keep these unusual symptoms in mind. If one of our agency’s care partners comes into the home your family shares with the family member receiving care, let the care partner know of any unusual symptoms you may observe.

For more information click on the image below to see a PDF guide with Helpful Family Resources for Dealing with COVID-19.

Be well, be safe and please don’t hesitate to call us with any concerns or questions at (860) 233-4470 or by email to PKiely@jfshartford.org.

April 30, 2020

Dear valued client:

As these challenging days continue, we reflect on the impact on us all.

With the well-being of our clients, families and caregivers at the heart of our practice, JFS Care at Home continues to serve older adults and their families through the Jewish tradition of caring and compassion. We are staying up to date with the latest news on both local and federal levels to ensure that we are ready for any changes in COVID19 protocol. And we are here for you.

Our services during this pandemic extend past the reach of typical home care agencies.

Here’s some areas we can help:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Errands such as going to the pharmacy
  • Arrange, if available, personal protection items such as masks or gloves
  • Referrals to existing community services; for example if you are having difficulty obtaining food.

Many are experiencing the emotional toll of this pandemic and are quarantined at home.

If you are feeling, anxious, isolated, depressed or in need of support, Jewish Family Services can help! JFS Care at Home can facilitate a referral for counseling services.

For your information, the CDC has revised the COVID-19 symptoms. Follow this link for more information, and for the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.

Please contact Ann Leabman at (860) 906-7084 or by email at aleabman@jfshartford.org for information and assistance.

LET’S KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING ON HOW WE CAN ALL PARTNER TOGETHER

April 6, 2020

The latest links for you, your family and your community

The CDC’s latest recommendations on use of cloth face masks

COVID-19 food safety tips

Size of the Virus Matters – So Does Soap!

Effective ways to prevent contagion

from Steven C Fox, D.O., COVID-19 Medical Advisory Council,Home Care Association of America

The COVID-19 virus is almost unimaginably small. If you compared it to the size of a single human skin cell, COVID-19 would be the size of a jellybean on top of second base. The cell would be the size of a major league baseball stadium!

What this means is that no face mask, even the surgical N95 type, offers complete protection. The protection that facemasks do provide is by catching the aerosol droplets from an infected patient. Their benefit is reduced by reusing them and they’re likely to be useless if the person doesn’t practice appropriate personal hygiene such as frequent and correct handwashing.

Handwashing and social distancing are the two most effective ways to prevent you from getting and spreading the infection. Handwashing with plain old soap and water actually destroys the chemical structure of the virus. The outside coating of the virus is sticky and oily—the soap breaks this layer apart. Then the water rushes through the breaks to the layer below which mixes with the water and essentially breaks apart the entire shell, killing the virus.

Handwashing 101

First wet your hands, hot or cold, it doesn’t matter. Thoroughly rub soap over your hands including your thumbs, between your fingers and fingertips. Rub all areas of your hands including the back of your hands for at least 30 seconds (sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice). Dry thoroughly preferably with disposable towels. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer but don’t wipe it off. Let it air dry.

As to how often you should wash your hands, if you think about it, you should do it. At a minimum, before and after you’ve touched any surface, particularly metal surfaces outside the house. At home, before and after using the washroom, preparing food or assisting a family member with some personal care.

All of this extra handwashing can dry out the skin on your hands. So, as well as washing regularly, make sure to moisturize your hands as well.

Self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is another important step everyone should take as we shelter in place. This is particularly important in those households where someone is considered an essential worker who will have more community exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines self-monitoring as follows:

Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperature twice a day. They should remain alert for a cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficult breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

A fever (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more) is seen in almost 90% of COVID-19 infected individuals. Even with a fever, it is important to determine whether the symptoms are due to the common cold, the flu, allergies or COVID-19 infection.

If you have a stuffy/ runny nose and are sneezing you likely don’t have COVID-19. In addition you have itchy or burning eyes it’s most likely a seasonal allergy. COVID-19 and the flu both come on suddenly. They both can start with fever, dry cough, muscle aches and some fatigue. Having a headache and sore throat are more likely symptoms of the flu.

If you are still unsure if it’s the flu or COVID-19, you should isolate yourself in your home immediately. This means staying in a room by yourself. If possible, not sharing a bathroom and staying away from other family members. You should wear a face mask to prevent spreading aerosol droplets to others. In addition to handwashing, sanitizing and cleaning surfaces is essential.

Testing for Coronavirus: If and When

While testing can confirm exposure and possible infection with COVID-19, a positive test result will not markedly change the care or treatment you receive. Medical care and treatment and even the place of the treatment is based upon the severity of the symptoms the person is experiencing.

A recommendation or a requirement for the immediate testing should be based upon the local availability of testing, healthcare provider, State and local public health guidelines.

Local Health Department Lists Available

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has compiled a list of local health departments to help people with questions or concerns related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Testing Priorities Announced

The CDC has compiled these guidelines for classifying who receives COVID testing and the New York Times is compiling this interactive guide to which states have shelter-in-place orders.

What to do if a family member or friend who receives home care from JFS Care at Home says they feel ill
As stated above, it’s important to pinpoint the symptoms of COVID-19. The family member should first take their temperature. If your family member is running a fever and has a dry cough, muscle aches and fatigue, call their doctor, inform his or her care partner and call our office as soon as possible. We can be reached by calling 860-233-4470 or by email at PKiely@jfshartford.org.

March 26, 2020

JFS Care at Home communicates with our care partners several times a day. All Care at Home care partners and staff follow these guidelines established by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to ensure our clients’ safety.

These are the action steps we have executed and will continue to employ:

  • Our care partners and office staff participate in ongoing Coronavirus training modules and updates.
  • We have provided our care partners with COVID-19 specific precautions and protocols to follow through this critical time.
  • We provide our care partners with non-latex gloves and hand sanitizer as needed.
  • Our care partners now carry an official letter stating that they are essential workers. This allows them to continue serving our clients in their homes, should they be questioned by authorities.

Here is a link to Connecticut resources for COVID-19.

Here is a link with the CDC’s recommendations.

Here is comprehensive information from the Coronavirus Task Force.

JFS Care at Home will continue to provide you with updates on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Take good care and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you through this difficult time. We can be reached 24/7 at 860-233-4470 or by email to PKiely@jfshartford.org.

March 13, 2020

Dear Valued Care at Home Clients and Families,

Providing exemplary care to our clients, and support to their families, is always our first priority.

We continue to monitor the coronavirus closely, both at the federal level and in Connecticut.

All Care at Home staff follow these guidelines established by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to ensure our clients’ safety and the safety of our care partners.

Our focus is on providing our clients with the best possible care while minimizing their risk.

To that end, your JFS Care at Home care partners are taking the following measures:

  • Care partners have been instructed their own health by taking their temperature daily. Care partners are instructed to contact our office immediately if they have elevated temperatures or other concerning symptoms. Our care partners are not to work unless they are well.
  • Care partners are instructed to wash hands for at least 20 seconds when entering a client’s home and before and after any care, and to avoid touching their face, mouth or eyes.
  • Care partners will report any changes in their clients’ well-being immediately to the JFS Care at Home office.
  • Care partners are advised to clean surfaces frequently in their client’s homes.
  • To limit exposure, care partners will be mindful of any personal or other items that they bring into their clients’ homes.

Our clients’ well-being continues to be our priority during these challenging times. We will continue to share updated information as it is available. We also ask that our clients visit coronavirus.gov and Connecticut’s coronavirus portal for updates. Finally, please notify us if you (or someone you live with) is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

We are here for our clients and client families 24 hours a day. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We can be reached by calling 860-233-4470 or sending an email to PKiely@jfshartford.org.