|With the arrival of the COVID-19 virus, a dramatic shift has occurred throughout the world that impacts every single one of us. We are not attempting to update you on the latest protocols for avoiding getting infected but rather how your team might look at your individual STC group to see where you need back-up, adjustment or change. The team may need to provide more assistance, less assistance or alter their approach. Remember that if your care recipient is elderly and has a serious condition, they are particularly vulnerable. Assign two members to check the websites for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities on a daily basis to keep everyone up-to-date.
The Share The Care book points out that once you have your team up and running there will come a day when something out of the ordinary is occurring and your group will need to hold a second meeting or at the very least have a team conference call to air feelings, thoughts and to make adjustments (see pages 277-285). This usually is the case when there has been a dramatic change in the patient’s condition but applies now to the changes occurring all around us due to the COVID-19 corona virus (see pages 277-285).
Prioritize and Be Proactive: Seek additional information or training to keep your loved one or friend as safe as possible by seeking input from an organization with expertise with their challenge. For example: The Alzheimer’s Foundation or the ALS Association or use our STC Resources page. Check with the patient’s doctor or other health professional regarding adjustments that will be needed.
Isolate yourself if you have symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, headache, sneezing, throwing up or diarrhea) Team members will need to provide back up.
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
Smaller Inner Team: Think about limiting the number of people who go into the home, and create a Larger Outer Team to provide support to the inner team by: food shopping, cooking, research, walking the dog, and driving others to do errands. The outer team can visit patient online or by phone. See information on Specialist Captains on pages 129-131 in the STC book.
Emergency Plan: Make sure it is up-to-date and that everyone has a copy and post on refrigerator door for EMS. Suggestions for what needs to be included can be found on the handout near the bottom of this page. “Create an Emergency Plan” on the STC website www.sharethecare.org (See CAREGIVERS SECTION for STC DOWNLOADS) . Please review “Suggestions for Organizing during the First Weeks” and “STC 7 Principles” handouts as well.
Refill Meds before they run out. Shop for items that are quickly disappearing from the shelves…toilet paper, paper towels, soap, basic food items. Keep your team informed of what they should pick up when they see it. Buy frozen fruit and veggies as fresh produce may not come be available. Don’t forget to plan how people will be reimbursed for expenses.
Stay Vigilant: If you are supporting someone who lives alone or has no family nearby, please be especially observant, especially if they have any form of dementia or to make sure they are not downplaying any symptoms for COVID-19. Keep in contact and provide family with updates and alert their physician with your concerns.
Brainstorm with your group: For sure there are other issues that will require new approaches or information. It would be a good time to review the STC book’s other chapters. Importantly, a brainstorming session would give everyone an opportunity team to voice concerns and jointly determine how to proceed and even uncover experience or expertise that may prove especially helpful. For example, perhaps you worked on a crew that helped your community following a hurricane, fire or tornado and came away with other valuable teamwork lessons. Review the full 7 STC Principles and support each other.
Please Share Your Solutions: If ever there was a time to share ideas that could benefit other STC groups…THIS IS IT! Please send ideas, new approaches to: MyGroup@sharethecare.org and include your contact info, group name, patient challenge, and location (state, country)
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR BEAUTIFUL WORK.
Stay calm, strong and healthy.
Sheila and our STC team