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Caregiving During COVID-19

By: Laura Mantine, MD

During periods of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, family members and close friends continue to provide daily care for their loved ones. These caregivers provide the initial response and defense for individuals who are often battling chronic medical illnesses. Like many first responders, caregivers often experience stress due to heavy workloads, fatigue, and anxiety. There are important steps that caregivers can take to help manage and cope with this ongoing pressure.

Important Steps for Caregivers to Take

Caregivers should develop habits and strategies to maintain their own physical health and emotional well-being. A caregiver can reduce transmission of a virus by diligent personal and patient hygiene. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day has been shown to reduce viral spread. It is also important to wash your hands during food preparation, toileting, and blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. To be at your best, be sure to eat healthy, balanced meals, maintain a regular sleep routine, and find chances to exercise whenever possible. There is also a constant barrage of pandemic-focused news that can be overwhelming, so try to limit your intake to a certain time or times each day, and do not mistake social media opinion for fact. Remember to take care of yourself, as your loved one’s well-being relies on your ability to maintain your own.

Caregiver Burnout

Over any amount of time, caregiving can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Caregiver burnout can happen in any caregiver-patient relationship, but the risk is heightened in times of increased stress like the COVID-19 pandemic. When suffering from burnout, a caregiver may experience hopelessness, overwhelming anxiety, sleep problems, or difficulty coping with everyday tasks. Although caregiving is a major responsibility, it shouldn’t completely overtake an individual’s life. Make time for yourself and take breaks when possible. Use these spare moments to listen to your favorite music, read, or work on a hobby. Also, stay connected to friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t mean total isolation so reach out to friends and family regularly for casual chats and wellness checks. Consider spending time together virtually, whether by watching a movie over a video chat session or playing games together online. If you live with loved ones, find ways to help and support each other.

During these uncertain times, caregivers remain a valuable constant for their loved ones. Please stay physically and mentally healthy as you perform your crucial role.

References

“Family Caregiving During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Scott R BeachRichard SchulzHeidi DonovanAnn-Marie Rosland. Gerontologist. 2021 Jul 13;61(5):650-660.

“Ensuring Adequate Palliative and Hospice Care During COVID-19 Surges.” Jean Abbott, MD, MHDaniel Johnson, MDMatthew Wynia, MD, MPH. JAMA. 2020;324(14):1393-1394.

COVID-19 and Guilt

By: Michael Larrimore, Director of Bereavement and Chaplain Services

“Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.”

-Coco Chanel

Feelings of Anger and Guilt

Anger can be a common emotion we experience when we have lost someone close to us. We seek someone to blame or someone to hold responsible, someone who could have altered fate to erase what happened, and sometimes our target is the person looking back at us in the mirror. Guilt is a form of anger turned inward, and it can be one of the most challenging emotions to overcome. We look back on the time proceeding our loss, searching for something we missed, what we could have done differently, or ways we could have convinced our loved one to seek out a different course of action. Sometimes we look back and wish we had said something that we kept inside or kept something inside we regret saying

The Impact of COVID-19 on Guilt

Guilt is complex, and since the beginning of the COVD-19 pandemic it is more pervasive than ever. We might feel guilty because we were unable to visit a loved one during their final days, even if this was a result of precautions or restrictions outside the realm of our control. We might feel guilty for not taking the threat as seriously as we should have, ignoring or forgetting to take the appropriate precautions. Maybe we feel guilty we survived the virus when so many others, including people we knew or loved, succumbed to this terrible disease. This last form is often referred to as “survivor’s guilt,” and it can be very common among people who live through difficult or traumatic events. We are often ill-equipped to deal with any loss, but no one was prepared for something as widespread as COVID-19.

Managing Feelings of Guilt

If you, like so many others, are struggling with guilt related to the pandemic, it can be difficult to find a way to shake how you are feeling. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are trying to deal with your guilt feelings:

  • Is your guilt genuine or self-inflicted? Our guilt may be genuine if through action or inaction someone came to harm or was affected in a negative way. For many people guilt is self-inflicted, where we are seeking to have some measure of control over a situation that may be outside our control and blaming ourselves is easier than accepting there was nothing that could be done. Many events of the pandemic were outside of our control and acknowledging that can be a good way to start healing.
  • It can be important to forgive someone who has wronged us so we can move past it, and we must find a way to have compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and make amends if appropriate. Even if the person we feel we wronged is no longer with us, there are ways to seek forgiveness. We can find support through our personal faith, through loved ones associated with the person who is gone, or even by writing a letter expressing our regrets to the deceased.
  • It can be easy to get lost in the negative, but it is necessary to take time to look at the positive things we did or tried to do. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to spend as much time as we wanted with the person, focus on the efforts you made to stay connected to them. Instead of wishing you could have done more to care for them, focus on all the things you did to help them. When you start to slip back into negative thoughts, try to reframe your thinking to positive memories and encouraging self-messages.

The above suggestions are just a few ways to start down the path to forgiving yourself and getting past your feelings of guilt. If you or someone you know is struggling with issues related to COVD-19 or any other difficult life event, there is help and support available in your community. You can call our agency anytime and our family support staff will help get you to the help you need. You can also reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 800-950-6264 or if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Free Rides to Get Vaccinated

In an effort to encourage Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, President Biden announced a new partnership with Uber and Lyft. The ride-sharing companies will provide free rides to vaccination sites for anyone in the United States from May 24 through July 4. This agreement was made to help work toward meeting the President’s target of 70% of American adults getting at least one vaccine dose by July 4.

“We’re going to be able to take a serious step toward return to normalcy by Independence Day...And there’s a lot of work to do though to get there. But I believe we can get there.”
- President Biden

How to Redeem Your Ride

A new feature is set to launch in the Uber and Lyft apps within the next two weeks. It will allow you to simply select a vaccination site near you, follow the directions to redeem your ride, and then get a ride to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge. 

While Uber has not yet provided specific details on how the rides will work in the app, Lyft has said a ‘ride code’ will be available through the app and their website.

So be sure to check back in the Uber and Lyft apps to redeem your free ride to a vaccination site!

By: Patricia Hudak, RN and Chelsea Cassidy, LCSW Dr. George J. Mehfoud, MD is a Primary Care Physician with Commonwealth Primary Care in Richmond, VA.  Dr. Mehfoud is an Internal Medicine Specialist with over 32 years of experience in the medical field.  He graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1989.  He believes knowledge is power and takes his time to educate the hospice team on best practices on quality of care on numerous topics.  Recently, he in-serviced hospice clinicians on the impact of COVID-19 in long term care facilities. The geriatric population and residents of long-term care facilities were the hardest impacted and most vulnerable to COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.  In the beginning, lack of PPE, COVID testing, staff ratio, staff education, proper protocols, financial support, inadequate spacing (shared rooms/bathrooms or dining areas), worker fatigue and fear were all key factors in these facilities being at risk of infection and transmission.  Certified Nursing Assistant (CNAs) have been true pandemic heroes for their dedication on the front lines and financial sacrifice.  Many CNAs work multiple jobs to provide for their families and were forced to choose one job at a specific community for safety and transmission reasons. Our state went through a period of lockdown to lower the curve of positive COVID-19 cases and needed time to develop and have access to adequate testing, PPE and educate as well as train on protocols for safety and providing care. Once testing was readily available, facilities were then able to test residents and staff on a regular basis to have a more proactive approach to contain the spread.  Many of these facilities remain closed to the public.   Measures to prevent infection such as restricting visitors, wearing masks, symptom screening and adequate testing of both residents and healthcare personal continues to have a lasting effect on our elderly.   The result of these protective measures has led to social isolation which has caused residents to experience depression and anxiety, increase in dementia by 50% (according to the CDC), promotes Failure To Thrive (FTT) and hastens premature death. Hospice historically has been centered around maximizing an individual’s quality of life.  Although this pandemic has created challenges for all healthcare providers, we as a hospice team have looked holistically at providing care in person and through a virtual lens for patients, families, and the communities we serve.  With the establishment of Medicare waivers for telehealth services our team can continue to provide the maximize support available.  Dr. Mehfoud outlined specific ways we can care for our patients during the pandemic: In the caring words of Abode Healthcare CEO, Mike McMaude, he has reminded our company that at our primary purpose is taking care of patients and taking care of each other.  When we do this – we can certainly come out of this pandemic hand in hand.By: Patricia Hudak, RN and Chelsea Cassidy, LCSW

History of American Heart Month

It’s February – American Heart Month – a time when the nation spotlights heart disease, the number one killer of Americans. President Lyndon B. Johnson, among the millions of people in the country who have had a heart attack, issued the first proclamation in 1964. Throughout the month, the American Heart Association’s “Heart to Heart: Why Losing One Woman Is Too Many” campaign will raise awareness about how one in three women are diagnosed with heart disease annually. The first Friday of American Heart Month, Feb. 5, is also National Wear Red Day as part of the AHA’s Go Red for Women initiative. This campaign recognizes that the risk factors of this silent killer can be vastly different in women than in men. Knowing and understanding your risk factors, whether male or female can literally save your life.  We encourage you to talk to a health professional about risk factors and prevention. Traditional risk factors common to both women and men: Risk Factors Specific to Women: Since COVID-19 pandemic struck our world, people have been engaging in less than healthy activities while in lockdown. These activities may include overindulgence in food and beverage, isolating, lack of routine, and less than average movement can and do increase a person’s risk factors. The heart is an organ that acts like a muscle. The more you work a muscle the stronger and more supportive that muscle becomes even to the surrounding tissue. Everything in our bodies needs oxygen to function properly. COVID-19 has now become an added risk factor- for males and females. Atrial Fibrillation is a known heart related effect of COVID-19 in some patients as well as long term respiratory problems. Pictured above is Anna Laughlin.  Anna is married to Dr. Jeff Laughlin, Pediatric Dentist (Virginia Family Dentistry) and they have three children, Charlie (15), Garnes (11) and Helena (8) and they live in Richmond, Virginia.  Anna is an educator and founder of Mission Equip, a non-profit organization focusing on the professional development of teachers and doctors in their Teacher to Teacher and Doctor to Doctor program. Anna was unfortunately diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2020 when our country was first digesting the news of coronavirus and the sudden impact it was having on our lives.  Anna recalls developing her first symptom on March 21, 2020 of chest pain.  She had run five miles that day and was unsure if the chest pain was related to her physical activity.  Her symptoms continued and five days later she was tested for COVID-19.  Nine days later her primary care doctor and the Virginia Health Department contacted her by phone to notify her that she was positive for COVID-19. During this time, she had mild to moderate symptoms that continued to improve 10 days following the diagnosis. However, on the 11th day, she experienced a steep decline. She had ongoing chest pain, breathing difficulty, and was fearful to go to sleep at night not knowing what could come next.  She felt the need to go to the emergency room several times though she was advised to only go to the hospital if she could not finish verbalizing a sentence.  She had feelings of fear and frustration throughout the process. Anna voiced she felt “beyond alone” throughout this process. She was often asked “how did you get COVID?”  Her guess was as good as anyone’s and this type of question lead her to feelings of guilt and embarrassment.  She was one of the first to be diagnosed in Richmond even though she followed all the regulations to protect herself and her family. Our polarized political climate in 2020 increased her feelings of despair.  There was misinformation given from a wide variety of sources causing our nation to have strong divisive opinions on COVID-19 and how to respond.  Our whole world has been in isolation which limits our support system in the ways we can be cared for.  One of the lessons she and her family have learned throughout this experience is how to respond to those suffering – she states the best response to someone experiencing a hardship is to say  “I am so sorry you are going through this.”  This statement gives acknowledgment, empathy, and validation of the person’s experience.  Her children are now implementing this into their conversations which will enhance their ability to connect and support others.  The best gift we can offer those in a crisis is no judgment. Anna was one of the first people seen at VCU hospital cardiac and pulmonary clinic to be considered a “long hauler” which is now medically termed “long COVID”. Her COVID-19 symptoms lingered well into the summer and the most concerning physical symptom has been heart palpitations.  At first, she was unsure what was happening and labeled the symptom as anxiety, however she noticed that after experiencing the heart palpitation she would have a cough.  She had times that she could barely walk upstairs without being fatigued and sometimes even collapsed. Anna spent time researching medical journals to best guide her.  One of the hardest realizations she has had to come to terms with is that each day is like a grab bag full of COVID-19 symptoms – you never know what symptoms you will get. In September, Anna’s condition deteriorated, and her A-Fib episodes were increased from every two weeks to every 2-3 days. She reports that the most severe episode led to her to falling on the stairs and passing out in front of her young children. After consulting a Cardiologist at VCU Health she was admitted to the hospital for testing and what is considering ‘drug loading’.  She was unable to tolerate the medications, was discharged home, and was scheduled for a heart ablation procedure several weeks following. She is now three weeks post procedure and showing gradual signs of improvement of A-Fib.  The goal is for her A-Fib to be managed so she can focus on her ongoing healing and return to a healthy lifestyle to include participating in Yoga Therapy. Healing Your Heart This month is a reminder to evaluate your own heart health, and those we love.  Look at how we can make better choices to reduce and improve the risk factors that are within our control.  Practice relying on our health professionals, being honest if you are experiencing unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, indigestion, arm pain, and confusion.  These could be symptoms you may have not responded to in the past, however, please use these warnings signs to take care of you – and your heart. COVID-19 has not only impacted our lives – it has also deeply affected our bodies.  Our bodies may be experiencing many forms of grief all at the same time.  Loss of jobs, income, people, lifestyle, homes, freedom, independence, and travel are just to name a few.  This can make the grieving process complicated and messy.  When grieving, people often refer to having a “broken heart” or feeling “heartbroken”.  Grief is a feeling and mourning is the action of grief.  These feelings can be intense at times and have significant impacts on our bodies – particularly, our hearts. For example, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat and/or heart attacks can be associated with the stress of grief on the cardiovascular system.  This condition is more clinically referred to as Takotsubo Syndrome (Psychology Today).  It is important for a person in the grieving process to be mindful of their body and assess how they are feeling, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Your body may feel torn apart and it needs extra attention and care.   When the body is under stress, it is more vulnerable to physical problems or chronic conditions could be exacerbated due to the emotional trauma you are experiencing.  During the grieving process, it would be good practice to notify your primary care physician of your recent loss.  Your physician may recommend scheduling an appointment to offer support and further asses your health.  When a patient under hospice services has a significant loss in their lives, the hospice team offers to increase their visits, makes a referral to the bereavement coordinator, and notifies the medical director.  This extra layer of communication and support is to help the patient have safe and healthy outlets to express their grief and monitor their health.  The medical director understands the impact of grief and that it can have a significant impact on the patient’s health. (Center for Loss and Life Transition) Now that we have discussed the history and significance of heart health, as well as, the impacts grief can have on our body, let’s review good and nurturing tips on how to care for our heart: We want to sincerely thank Anna for her open discussion and vulnerability walking us through her COVID experience.  Our hope and prayers are to watch her make a full recovery.By: Patricia Hudak, RN and Chelsea Cassidy, LCSW The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived and is being distributed throughout the country to every state.  The first phase included healthcare professionals and residents of long-term care facilities.  We are aware that within our healthcare community and even outside, the question for many of us, specifically the minority population, remains “Can I trust those in authority that the vaccine is safe-particularly from long term effects and not getting sick?” The healthcare community as well as the nation remains divided on this question. We are looking to our leaders for guidance and education to make the best personal informed decision. In today’s climate there are many more aspects that we are aware of that need to be considered when making this decision.  For instance, how does race and cultural differences impact this decision?  As a company, we are committed to continually look at our perspectives and policies on equality for our employees and the people we serve. In efforts to better educate and inform ourselves, we had the privilege to interview one of our AT Home Care Chaplains, Reverend Justin House, regarding his decision-making process for receiving the vaccine. Reverend House has been a Chaplain with AT Home Care Hospice since December 2019.  He has joined the healthcare community at a challenging time, considering the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the United States just four months after he joined our team.  He has three children and is also the Senior Pastor for Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chesterfield, VA. Initially, Reverend House viewed the COVID-19 vaccine similarly to his decision to not receive the flu vaccine.  They are both viruses, right?  You receive some active dead virus for the flu virus to build antibodies to fight the flu.  Reverend House looked collectively for the common ground to make an informed decision.  He reports he took comfort in hearing from professionals and the CDC website that reports “none of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.” This statement and reassurance from professionals helped to decrease his fear of getting ill due to the vaccination.  He shared with us that like many others, he hoped that COVID-19 would “just go away” and eliminate his need to make a decision.  Unfortunately, time has shown that even our best human efforts to fight COVID-19 with mask wearing, remaining 6 feet apart, and social distancing is not enough to stop the spread.  Reverend House has adapted well to the mask wearing mandate and takes his style to the next level in wearing a comfortable and appropriate mask for each occasion. Reverend House shared that he recognized the need to look for the collective effort of information and implementation of our leaders for their example of following best practices, learning from our history and looking towards today which can move him and minorities to change now and for the future. When asked, “what would you say to someone that is fearful about receiving the vaccine?” Reverend House responded he wants to offer hope, he stated “we need to acknowledge the past but find ways to move forward and make a change today.” He is looking forward to taking a courageous step to build confidence that could lead to systemic change.  He recognizes there are unknowns, real fears and concerns however, in his process he can clearly see there are more pros than cons. He stated, “someone has to start it” and he is glad he can play a part for the next step in unity. We want to sincerely thank Reverend House for his vulnerability and transparency for sharing his reasons for getting the vaccine.  This is a great example of how the healthcare community is taking steps to unite for the greater good.By: Elizabeth Townsend, RN People are social beings. With COVID-19 introducing social distancing guidelines and restrictions on visitations, social isolation and loneliness are increasing. A report referenced by JAMA discussed the need for solutions for social isolation and loneliness in older adults. There is significant documentation that social isolation and loneliness are related to a higher rate of major mental and physical illnesses, including: According to the National Institute on Aging, people who participate in worthwhile activities with others tend to live longer and have a sense of purpose.

Assessing seniors for isolation and loneliness

COVID-19 has made it difficult for seniors to participate in: Home health clinicians assess patients for social isolation and loneliness. Asking patients about their social needs is important to identify who needs assistance, easing isolation and loneliness. The home health agency provides tools or guidelines with questions for the clinicians to ask. Examples of questions to ask:
  1. Do you feel you have no friends or loved ones?
  2. Are you lonely?
  3. How are you staying active?

5 ways to relieve isolation and loneliness

After assessing and finding that your patient is suffering from social isolation, consult with their caregivers and healthcare team —specifically the agency’s social worker—to find ways to relieve their isolation. Daily Caregiving suggests some ways to help:
  1. Encourage a sense of purpose. Suggest activities such as knitting blankets and caps for newborns at a local hospital, making masks for healthcare workers or family members, or writing letters to their grandchildren to encourage them. Allow the patient to have a responsibility, such as taking care of a plant or dog. This would be giving them a meaningful purpose.
  2. Encourage interaction. Encourage interaction with others via phone, computer, or if in person, socially distant, wearing a mask.
  3. Encourage physical activity. Take Into account the patient’s physical ability. They can do gentle exercises such as walking, stair-climbing, yoga, or group exercises via computer. If they cannot get out of bed or are not able to walk, find appropriate activities. Consult with the physical therapy team who can provide resources for exercises for those with limitations.
  4. Assess the food they are eating. Encourage fiber-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Consult with community services such as food banks, churches, or meal delivery services.
  5. Show them they are loved. Find ways to show that they are loved and needed. Listen to what they have to say. Encourage family members, if they are in the home also, to hug the patient and talk and listen to them.

Social workers can help seniors with social isolation and loneliness

Social workers can ensure that patients have access to available resources. Local churches may have “shut-in” outreach for those unable to leave their homes. They may provide phone calls, run errands, provide food baskets, and communicate by mail with the seniors. Local library programs have online programs and can arrange to have books available for the patient to check out. The social worker can also refer the patient to transportation programs that take seniors to doctor appointments.

Encourage virtual connections for seniors

Advancing States created a resource to help reduce social isolation and loneliness.
  1. If the patient can use a smartphone, show them how to google Earth National Park Tours so they can “visit” the parks and talk about what they saw with others via telephone or with you when you visit.
  2. Patients can meditate through Journey Meditation.
  3. Put the patient in contact with Well Connected by Covia, who will help them participate in virtual classes, conversations, and activities by phone and computer.
There are helplines for mental and emotional support, which include:
  1. Friendship Line by Institute on Aging- 1(800)971-0016
  2. Happy– a free app that provides emotional support 24/7
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline- 1(800)950-6264
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline- 1(800)662-4357
Happy National Assisted Living Week! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our daily lives, assisted living facilities continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their residents and employees. While keeping your loved ones safe might mean you cannot connect in person, here are some ways to support facility residents and employees from a safe distance. Whether it’s a photo of your playful dog, writing a letter sharing an uplifting story, or sending a bouquet of flowers for the front desk to display, it may be just the boost of happiness someone in an assisted living facility needs during this time. As we celebrate National Assisted Living Week, we encourage you to reach out to both residents and staff members with acts of kindness, reminding them of your support and love during these times.By: Portia Wofford Physicians, scientists, and researchers are still learning about COVID-19 and its effects on the body. As they study the impact coronavirus has on different illnesses and disease processes, diabetes is getting attention. The CDC notes that having Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing infections, they should take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Complications from diabetes related to COVID-19

Currently, there isn’t enough research or evidence to prove that diabetics are at an increased risk for COVID-19. However, if your diabetes isn’t well-controlled, you could have worse complications if you contract coronavirus. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), when diabetics don’t manage their diabetes and blood sugars, they are at risk for diabetes- related complications. Additionally, other conditions —such as heart or lung disease — and diabetes worsens the chance of you getting sick from COVID-19 because your body’s immune system is compromised. A recent study showed patients with COVID-19 and diabetes who had high blood sugars were more likely to have longer hospital stays. If you do get COVID-19, the virus could put you at higher risk for sepsis  and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Sepsis is a complication of COVID-19, which causes widespread inflammation throughout your body and can shut down organs. DKA happens when high levels of acid (ketones) are in your blood. In addition to diabetes-related complications, diabetics also have a risk of developing other complications of COVID-19, such as pneumonia, organ failure, and kidney injury.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Coronavirus

According to the CDC, people at any age with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on the CDC, the ADA warns that people with Type 1 or gestational diabetes might also be at an increased risk. The ADA states it’s important for any person with either type of diabetes to manage their diabetes. Those who already have diabetes-related health problems are likely to have worse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 than diabetics who are otherwise healthy.

Tips to avoid infection

  1. Stay home as much as possible
  2. Monitor your blood sugar regularly. Maintaining optimal blood glucose, as determined by your healthcare team, is important in preventing severe complications to COVID-19.
  3. Wash your hands
  4. Avoid sick people
  5. Wear a mask
  6. Check-in with your doctors, via telehealth. Most providers schedule telehealth visits—rather than in-person visits. Ask your provider if he or she offers this service.
  7. Exercise. Try exercising at home. Walk around your neighborhood, but be sure to social distance. Right now, there are exercises and workout plans online where you can follow along.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hand with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you as well.
  9. Wear a mask and social distance. CDC recommends at least 6 feet apart.
  10. Eat a healthy diet:
If your glucose readings change because of changes in your diet and activity level, speak with your healthcare team before making any adjustments to your insulin or other medications.

Your COVID-19 diabetes plan

Because of social distancing and shelter-in-place rules, it may be harder for you to get your supplies. Stock up on enough supplies to last you for a couple of weeks, in case you get quarantined: Keep your home health team updated on your plans, and if you notice any COVID-19 symptoms be sure to alert your home health nurse.

What to do if you get sick

Be sure you know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19: Notify your AT Home Care nurse , with your most recent blood glucose readings, if you have any of these symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe illness, and appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Portia Wofford is an award-winning nurse, writer, and digital marketer. After dedicating her nursing career to creating content and solutions for employers that affected patient outcomes, these days Portia empowers health related businesses to grow their communities through engaging content that connects and converts. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for her latest.To the Abode Healthcare Community, I hope this note finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each of us in different ways. As we navigate the current situation together, I want to provide an update on the steps we have taken to be there for our community, our employees, and our patients. All of us at Abode Healthcare are focused on providing the highest quality of care to our patients. I provided an update at the end of March outlining the changes we implemented to prioritize safe patient care in this new environment. Every decision we have made, and continue to make, has been based on the priority of the health and wellbeing of our patients and employees. I am deeply grateful for our employees who display incredible dedication by continuing to fulfill their commitment to our patients during this especially challenging time. These individuals, and everyone working on the frontlines of care, deserve to feel protected, confident, and taken care of. In recent weeks we have made informed decisions and taken actions that ultimately support and benefit our entire community: I am extremely proud of how everyone at Abode has reacted and handled the unique situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. It’s difficult to adequately express my appreciation for our community—patients, employees, and partners. I have been reminded, once again, what an incredible organization we have—one that is driven by a common purpose of caring for, and serving, vulnerable patients. Every member of our team has come together to do what’s right, and I thank you. We look forward to continuing to work together and supporting each other through this challenging time. Stay safe and healthy, Mike

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