Submitted / The Outlook

Beyond Home Health employees are still caring for those in need in their homes but they’re making sure to take extra safety steps during the coronavirus outbreak.

Beyond Home Health has the delicate balance of protecting their elderly clients from exposure but the company provides reliable companions to assist with daily living. Owner Kelly Adams said employees are continuing to see patients in their homes but taking extra precautions and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

“We have quite a few clients who rely on us for their day-to-day needs, whether its meals, groceries, picking up prescriptions,” Adams said. “The good thing about having a caregiver is that it keeps these clients from having to go out. We can do all of that for them.”

A non-medical caregiving category Beyond Home Health currently serves all of Tallapoosa County and parts of surrounding counties with staff collectively spending about 800 to 1,000 hours each week offering support to the elderly and disabled through homemaking, personal care and companionship.

The software platform Beyond Home Health uses allows caregivers and family members to track clients’ day-to-day updates. It also keeps staff members in check by requiring them to answer questions about their health when they clock in for a shift.

“It asks them if they have any symptoms before they go into their shift and when they leave,” Adams said. “It also tracks if the client is exhibiting any symptoms, so we are able to stay on top of that.”

Any caregiver who doesn’t feel well for any reason is being asked to not work right now for the health and safety of clients.

“We have relaxed all of our rules for call-offs,” Adams said. “Even if they’re just not comfortable coming in, we want them to stay home.”

The majority of administrative staff is working remotely as well.

“We are reminding caregivers to wash their hands frequently and wipe the surfaces within clients’ homes as often as possible,” Adams said. “And we’ve asked our clients to try to isolate to protect themselves.”

While this tends to be difficult for some when their only social interaction is leaving their homes, Adams said her staff is trying to educate individuals on what social isolation really means.

“It can be hard and we worry about the isolation part when it comes to our seniors,” Adams said.

One way Adams and her team are combating this issue is through the use of their software platform that allows staff and families of clients a direct window into their daily updates.

“We’re not able to be in the homes all the time, so with this platform, we can respond quickly if something happens,” Adams said. “The family room part of the platform lets family members keep tabs on what’s going on. It helps with the continuity of care.”

Some companion cases have put services on hold to be cautious but Adams said caregivers are continuing to take on new cases. They’re just not doing any in-person assessments. When the family member of a new client reaches out, Beyond Home Health typically goes into the home for a full evaluation but right now everything is being done virtually or over the phone.

“We’re trying to limit exposure as much as possible,” Adams said. 

For family members who are acting as caregivers on their own, Adams said she has created a podcast for them to utilize.

“Some people don’t use our services but this gives families a resource,” Adams said. “We have seen some that needed a second option in case they get sick or need a backup. It’s always a good plan to have someone else to call.”

For more information or to listen to the podcast, visit beyondhomecareal.com.

Amy Passaretti is the editor of Lake Martin Living and Elmore County Living.