For patients experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms or those who might be asymptotic, home isolation is often advised over hospitalization. This takes a huge burden off the public and private health care infrastructures and allows them to provide necessary care to critically unwell patients.
However, home isolation does not merely mean restricting oneself to the household but it comes with a series of protocols that are essential for the health and safety of both the patient and his/her family members.
It is also pertinent to note here that people over the age of 65 and people of any age with underlying medical conditions need special medical care as they are at a higher risk of developing serious symptoms.
General care guidelines during home isolation
It is essential to keep a strict check on the patient’s diet, medication, and other important supplements as advised by the doctor. A person suffering from COVID should consume lots of liquids to stay hydrated and must be well-rested, as rest helps to strengthen the immune system.
Home isolation SOPs
Since COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease, this means the patients must limit their contact with other people living in the same household.
If it’s possible, the COVID positive person should be kept in a separate, properly ventilated room with a separate bathroom.
However, if this is not possible, the patient and all other people within the household must wear a mask at all times and maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from each other. The windows and doors should be kept open as long as possible to keep the house well-ventilated through-out the day.
SOPs for the caregiver during home isolation
If possible, only one person should attend to the patient. In addition to all other protocols mentioned earlier, the attendant must especially follow a strict hand hygiene regime by washing his/her hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after attending to the patient and/or after touching high touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, and electricity switches) in the patient’s immediate environment.
If possible, the caregiver should wear a washable apron when attending to the patient. The apron should be washed after regular intervals.
The caregiver should also monitor the health of the patient by taking his/her temperature regularly and by keeping a lookout for respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath. Immediate medical attention should be sought in case the patient begins to develop severe symptoms.
When should home isolation end?
COVID-19 patients are typically advised to remain in isolation for at least 10 – 14 days after the onset of the illness. However, if the symptoms do not subside even after the 14-day period, home isolation should be continued until a medical professional advises otherwise.
For more information on how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, follow International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) COVID Free Pakistan campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.