NNBA Featured Expert
Tips to Stay Safe as a Home Health Care Nurse in a Pandemic
Anthony Watson, RN
Home health care nurses encounter a lot when they go out to see patients in their homes. With this job, there are certain risks that a nurse takes on. With an ongoing pandemic, there are additional risks. Having contracted COVID-19, I have first- hand knowledge of this risk. Experiencing COVID-19 was as scary as it was painful and agonizing. Here are some ways that a home health care nurse can stay safe while seeing patients.
Follow CDC and Public Health Guidance for COVID-19
Due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s more important than ever to follow public health and CDC guidance when it comes to protecting against and preventing the spread of COVID-19. These guidelines include:
- Not working when sick with a fever or respiratory illness.
- Avoiding large gatherings and staying home except when performing essential services and tasks.
- Wear a mask or face covering when working with patients and interacting with people outside the home.
- Cleaning all high touch services like counters, toilets, keyboards, and doorknobs.
- Washing hands often for 20 seconds using soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
When working with patients:
- Avoid touching any surfaces that haven’t been sanitized and cleaned.
- Have the patient mask up and wash their hands before the visit starts or use hand sanitizer.
- Maintain six-feet of distance whenever possible.
Keep Your Shoes On
Removing shoes is a common request that people make when visitors come over. This is a safety issue for home care nurses because the floor may contain safety risks like nails, substances, and other concerns. To maintain personal safety while being sensitive to cultural or health concerns, wear shoe covers, or keep another pair of shoes that are worn only inside of the home in the nursing bag.
Be Prepared for Anything
Nurses who work in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or assisted living facility have a certain amount of control over their environment. Home health care nurses do not because they go into a person’s home. Keep a cell phone close at hand, be aware of the environment, and pack supplies that can handle the situation at hand. This includes specialty supplies like bed bug spray to prevent spreading anything from a patient’s home to others.
Listen to Your Gut
Nurses go to different places in their city and the local area. Some areas are unsafe so it’s important to listen to your intuition and not go into an unsafe situation. Assess the area before getting out of the car. Call your client to let them know you’re coming and ask how to get into the home or building safely. Make sure everything in the car is secured safely in the trunk if it’s not going to be used at the visit. Have an extra set of keys with you just in case of an emergency, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Home health care nursing is physically demanding work between carrying supplies and helping to move patients. Practice proper lifting techniques, don’t get into awkward positions and don’t overdo it to avoid back strain.
Home health care nurses who are concerned about safety and hygiene on the job should pack (EagleWatch Bedbug Eliminator) in their nursing bag. It kills bed bugs and keeps them from getting on your clothing and in your car. To learn more, visit our website today www.Amazon.com/eaglewatch