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Home Visiting

Last updated: January 23, 2023

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is an illness caused by a virus that is spread from person to person.  Infection can occur by coming into close contact (6’ or less for a cumulative 15 minutes with a person who has COVID-19 two days prior to symptom onset or for asymptomatic people two days before test specimen collection).  A person can become infected from respiratory droplets and particles when an infected person in close proximity coughs, sneezes, or talks. A person can also become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his/her mouth, nose, or eyes. 

The best way to prevent illness is to get vaccinated with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine and to avoid being exposed to this virus. Follow your agency’s workplace recommendations for preventing the spread of respiratory diseases in order to reduce your risk of exposure COVID-19.

Prior to Home Visit Appointment Arrival 

When scheduling appointments, ask the clients or caregivers the following questions in order to protect home visiting health care providers (HCP) from potential exposure to COVID-19. Ask the client or caregiver to call the HCP if they develop respiratory symptoms. 

Ask the client if they have, or anyone in their household has, any of the following symptoms.

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fever of 100.4°F
  • Chills or shaking chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose

Ask the client if they, or anyone in their household has, had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 10 days.

If the client answers YES to either of these questions, recommendations are: 

  1. Reschedule the home visit.  

If the client reports that they only have symptoms, recommendations are: 

  1. The client or household contact to call their primary care provider to discuss what to do next. If the client cannot make the call, ask if you may contact the provider on their behalf.
  2. If the client or household contact is seriously ill, call EMS making sure the 911 operator is aware of the individual’s exposure and health history.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Wear When Conducting a Home Visit

  • Disposable surgical mask
  • Gloves

Upon Home Visit Appointment Arrival

  • All staff and patients are required to wear a mask during the entire home visit.
  • Upon arrival for the visit, if the client or household member is ill, you should reschedule the home visit.  Do not enter the home.   
  • Standing  outside of the home, at least 6’ from the ill person, assess the situation by asking the questions above and following the recommendations.  
  • Take steps to ensure all persons with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) adhere to respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene throughout the duration of the visit.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.

Prevention Recommendations for Home Health Care 

The best way to prevent illness is to receive a COVID vaccine and minimize possible exposure to the virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

Additional Information: 

CDC Resources

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