Saturday, April 25, 2020

How to Keep a COVID-19 Patient Out of the Hospital

And, that's the goal. If you have to go to the hospital, your chances diminish considerably.

Hospitals, in normal times, are good places for the seriously ill to be. In crisis times, like now, they may be the WORST place to be.

The staff is fatigued, uncomfortable, stretched beyond their limits. Unless you're on the verge of death - RIGHT NOW - you are not going to get the attention that you could, at home, by family. You won't be resting - the noise, lights, lack of creature comforts - all combine to keep you awake. And, worried and stressed.

Not good for your health.

So, the goal for most ill people is to stay out of the hospital, if possible.

To do that takes planning and work - a lot of work on the part of the home nurse (the family/friend).

  • Take temperature regularly, and chart it
    • Use cool wet cloths/alcohol rubs to bring fevers down if they hit a critical level
    • NO aspirin or other NSAIDS.
  • Keep patient clean - sponge baths, if not able to get out of bed. Change sheets and PJs regularly. Check skin for sores/rashes. Help them brush teeth, clean mouth with water/mouthwash.
  • Monitor food and water intake, particularly the water. Bring in pitchers of ice water (more appealing to drink). Try herbal teas, hot or cold. Check skin to see if patient is getting dehydrated (pinch it - if skin doesn't rebound quickly, it may be a problem).
  • Keep in touch with doctor by videocalls. It helps to see the patient. If PA or other professional is available, don't insist on seeing the doctor - they are fully competent to make assessments regarding the patient. They will pass on concerns, if necessary.
  • Get the following:
    • Thermometer - accuracy is important.
    • Oximeter - those are the ones that clamp onto your fingertip and measure the oxygen level in your blood. They are widely available without a prescription. Click here to see why you need one.
      • IF the patient has nail polish or fake nails - take it OFF. This will distort the reading.
    • BP cuff - if the patient has high blood pressure, you should have a system.
    • Nitrile gloves, mask, covers for your clothing. The person taking care of the patient should use all of these.
    • The usual disinfectants/sanitizers. Clean everything the patient touches thoroughly. You're no good if you get sick, too.
I wouldn't be surprised to find that those with spouses survive this better than single people. Having someone who will dedicate their time and effort to keeping you alive is that important.


Andy Texan said...

This fear regimen you outline is defeatist. The hospitals are mostly empty even the charity & public facilities. I was at one last week. No waiting. The precautions taken are over the top. Forget your oximeters. Geez.

Linda Fox said...

Actually, this is meant for ALL times. C-19 doesn't worry me as much as medical incompetence, hospital-induced infections, and over-medication.

glasslass said...

Well when this has all settled down I'll buy both the oximeter and a thermometer as both are non existent in our town. I've been looking for the last 6 weeks but I finally found an old shake down mercury kind in the back of a drawer. Haven't taken my temp in years. But when I can finally buy one it's going to feel like shutting the barn door after the horse is long gone.