We are in uncharted territory with the spread of COVID-19. We haven’t faced a pandemic in our living memory, which is what makes the current situation all the more alarming.
It has become clear that
- the virus spreads far more insidiously than we expect, and
- among the cases that are severe, and lead to fatalities, families have no time to say goodbye or plan for anything once a loved one becomes serious
MIRANET received the following advice from a current paramedic, on dealing with the local impact of COVID-19.
Community members will be essential as caregivers for those infected that remain at home. Hospitals are quickly reaching capacity in Ontario.
A basic understanding of infection control will help prepare our neighbours as they become caregivers.
Dr. Lawrence Loh, Interim Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health indicated that masks and eye protection are required for any home caregivers. These can be made by using double layer T-shirts. Bleach is the best cleaner: 1 part Bleach, 9 parts water in small quantities. Diluted bleach has a shelf life of a few days.
As patients become seriously sick, they will rapidly need to be intubated and ventilated. Visitors are not allowed in the hospital.
Staff will be to busy to connect those seriously ill patients with their family members for the final conversations regarding care plans and saying goodbye.
Advance care planning – the difficult conversations – need to happen now. SpeakupOntario.ca is a great website for families and health care providers that will help with these conversations.
We hope you find the above useful. We urge everyone to stay home, practice hand-washing, and physical distancing. Stay safe everyone. We will get through this!