Dec 22, 2020
Rosalind Marshall-Jones is an innovative speaker with more than 15 years of experience in the caregiving industry. She is a seasoned health care provider, who runs Jacksonville’s Best Caregivers, an organization that provides short and long-term health care. In this episode, Roz discusses the impact #covid19 has had on home healthcare from anxiety, depression to feelings of isolation.
Hi, I am Roz Jones, I'm the CEO and owner of Jacksonville's Best
Caregivers, and we are located in the Sunshine State of
Jacksonville, Florida. My company, we are a nonmedical home
healthcare business, and we provide four levels of service to your
loved one: sitter, homemaker, companion, home health aid, and
certified nursing assistant. Our mantra is, "If you can't do it
all, you give us a call."
Today I just want to talk to you all a little bit about caregiving during #COVID19, what has changed, is anything still the same? As many of us know, it's not the nursing homes that many of our loved ones may be in or may eventually be in, were not built for isolation. So with them being isolated in the nursing home, it's caused many problems. It's caused depression. It's caused anxiety, as well as death. Some people have died from loneliness.
So how do we reverse this? How do we make sure that this does not continue on? We have to make sure that either you have to make sure you stay in contact either by phone, or by writing letters, or sending cookies. I'm going to give you a good example, the client that I'm taking care of today, her great nieces and nephews and friends during #COVID19, the children drew pictures, someone baked cookies for her, someone sent her a really nice bottle of scotch. Yes. So they have sent her all kinds of wonderful things to keep her going, and they have called, and that is so important. The isolation, even though it stops the physical contact, you still can contact through letter writing and these other things. So that's part of the way #COVID19 has impacted the nursing homes.
Now, so far as doctor's visits, that's another impact, because many of the people living in facilities have doctors come in. Well, now they're doing the telemedicine to where they're doing it over the phone. So the lady that I'm taking care of, we have had to talk to the doctors by phone, and we have actually had to do the actual assessment of her body for the doctor, or for the nurse, or whoever, because either they're not able to get in because they didn't take the #COVID19 test, or they won't come in because of the high risk to the population here in the different facilities. So that's another way #COVID19 has impacted.
Also too, #COVID19 has impacted when it comes to advanced directives. Many people did not, during #COVID19, they didn't have their advanced directive. So when it was time to make decisions to move people, they didn't have that information already taken care of, so they didn't know how [the patient] wanted to be treated, do I want a DNR? Do I want to be incubated? These were decisions that were not discussed nor prepared for prior to #COVID19.
So now, since #COVID19, you have to sit down and have this conversation. I know people don't want to talk about death and all of this, but it's a conversation that has to be had. There's no way to get around it, none of us can get around it. So make it easy for your family. Have everything in order, your advanced directive, your will, your trust, so that this stuff does not go to probate. Let's not make the courts rich. Let's leave a legacy for your family by getting your life insurance, make sure it's up to date, make sure all of this stuff is taken care of because now #COVID19 is pushing us… is forcing us, to have this conversation that we didn't want to have before.
One of my clients, she was supposed to have hip surgery, and for many of any type of major surgeries or minor surgeries, they pushed it back. The reason why they pushed it back was because the hospitals needed either the ventilators or the PPE to take care of people with #COVID19. So that was a priority. So if your surgery was not life-threatening, you had to postpone it. But now since you postpone it, you have to do different things for pre-op, during the surgery, and post-op that you didn't have to do before #COVID19.
Also too, during the #COVID19 crisis, we asked people and I beg, "Please, ma'am, please, sir, go and get tested." Not only for your peace of mind, but then to keep the people that you are around, your loved ones, to keep them safe. Not only get the #COVID19 test, but get the antibody test to see if you have had come in contact with someone in the past, or if you currently have it, because the antibodies will tell you instantly whether or not you have been in contact.
So those are just some of the ways that #COVID19 has impacted caregiving. And another way it's impacted too, is that going to the grocery store is different. We have to go during non-high peak hours to the grocery store, or they can't go at all and I have to go out and do the shopping, or we have to use Instacart or some of these other shopping companies to bring the food in. Then in some of the facilities, they have cut out dining completely, and they deliver the food to the resident because of #COVID19.
Now some of the facilities here in Florida, and I'm not sure about everywhere else, but here in Florida, they are just getting to stage one to where they are allowing them to come back out and have some type of interaction with one another. But for months, for six months, many of us have had to take care of the person inside of the facility, or, I'm blessed with my client, she has a car. So we go out and do what we call field trips or excursions. We ride around the city or we may take a trip. Many of you may be familiar with St. Augustine, so we ride through St. Augustine. We may go somewhere else, but getting out once a week, those are the things that you have to remember when you have a loved one in a facility, and not even at a facility, at your house because of the isolation, get them out of the house. That is so important.
Then also too, another thing that we've had to do is Amazon has been huge here in a lot of the facilities. They deliver here at least four or five times a day because they work with Whole Foods, so they bring the food, they deliver undergarments, they deliver the bed pads, medicine, pill boxes, all these types of things that we took for granted that we used to go to the store for, now we've had to alter our shopping because we cannot go out like we used to in the public.
Even me as a caregiver, I have had to alter a lot of my life. I, too, only go to the stores here in Jacksonville. They allow essential personnel to come in on Thursday mornings and Friday mornings before anybody else to do shopping, which is nice. So that means that we don't come in contact with the general public that much, other than the employees at the store.
I used to take my uniforms to the dry cleaners. I don't do that anymore because I don't know who may or may not have #COVID19 that's cleaning the clothes, so I do everything myself. When I go home, it's a different process. I Lysol my shoes before I come in. I change my clothes in the garage, and I'll wash them separate from everybody else in the house. So #COVID19 has taken a significant impact, not only on the people receiving care, but also on essential employees.
I bathe with a different soap. I don't bathe with Dove or Dial. I bought a special surgical soap that I use to make sure that I'm clean. These are the precautions that I take since #COVID19. Then on a weekly basis, I go and get a #COVID19 test. Every week, I have a standing appointment to where I go and get a #COVID19 test.
The new normals are, I'm going to give you an example, at the end of our shifts, before I leave out, we have to wipe down the doors with Clorox wipes. All the high touch areas. We make sure that we have it clean, the refrigerator door, the microwave, the toilet seat handle, the guard rails that they pull up with. All of that is things that of course we would clean, but now we clean it more often to reduce the opportunity for #COVID19. So it's a new norm. Are we going to go back to the way we were? No, no, I don't think so. I really doubt it.
One of the first things when #COVID19 first came out, the concern was because of my age if I go to the hospital with #COVID19, will they treat me or would they let me die? That was heart clenching for me to hear one of the clients say that. It wasn't even a client, it was just one of the residents, excuse me, walking in the hallway and having a conversation, "Will they treat me or will they let me die because of my age?"
So that was the mentality for a lot of them until it started coming out that they're treating the elderly as well as the young, and everybody was being treated the same. But initially when it came out, that was scary. They were saying that we weren't going to treat the elderly and they were going to let them die. That was real scary. Even with the veterans, a lot of them, again, isolation. So we're sending them back through another trauma, it's almost like another war.
My parents, my dad is a Vietnam vet. It's been very hard on them because they are so isolated as well. So we haven't even been able to visit my parents. Now, my client here, she's very lucky. We get to go and see her daughter and her granddaughter, but some people aren't that lucky where they get to actually go and see their loved one.
But we still take the precautions when we go out and visit. We have the mask. We have the hand sanitizer, we do all of that, but it's important to her. She always says, "I want to see my babies. These are my babies. That's my only grandchild." So we make sure that we take her on a field trip to go see her children, because they're so isolated and they can't get out like they want, they're not coping well. A lot of them have lost weight. A lot of them don't eat. They don't have an appetite. That's when depression sets in. So some of them have had really gone to a deep depression. Now here it is six months later, they're starting to get out, and it's almost like a flower being blossoming that they're able to get out.
Just like this weekend, I will make sure that we get out at least two or three times in the next couple of days to make sure that they see each other. That's part of it is to make sure that we try to get back to some, normal way of visiting and some normal way of being able to see family and friends. So those are the things that they don't have. Because when they were able to visit during #COVID19, they had to visit on the other side of a screen or look outside their window to visit with their loved ones. That was horrible. That was horrible. Or they had to do a drive by.
With my client, her daughter has done drive-bys, and we've sat outside and spoken from a distance, but that's all we could do. That's all we could do. We are a country of human touch and touch is so important in thriving, and healing, and living. When you lose that touch, they lose a lot of their identity and who they are. So we try our best to make sure that if they can't do a hug and a kiss that at least they can see them, at least from a distance.
But now, they're going to allow some hugging and things like that. So hopefully it's going to be a turnaround for a lot of them. This isolation has been horrible. This has been horrible. I can't wait for them to be able to get back out and mingle with their community. These facilities were built for them to be able to still thrive in a community that's similar to what they had when they're at home. And we shut that off for six months. It was like taking six months of their life away.
My optimism for 2020, I think we are going to be able to start having more interaction but we have flu season coming up. That's the scary part. So still we have to take those precautions, even in flu season, just remember that. This is not over, so we have two things that's going to butt heads. We have #COVID19 and we have the flu season.
Take the same precautions. And get your documentation in order. That's my biggest thing. Please, ma'am, please, sir, sit down with your family members and get your documentation in order, and don't let it go to probate.
My name is Roz Jones, and I am aware that I am rare.
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