Guidance for Household Members and Caregivers of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cared for at Home

Public Health Services - Communicable Disease Control

Guidance for Household Members and Caregivers of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cared for at Home.

Monitor and Assist the Patient

  • Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
  • Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.

Prevent Transmission

  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need from being in the home.
  • Limit contact of pets with the patient; household members should care for any pets in the home.  For more information, see COVID-19 and Animals.
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently.  Both the patient and the caregivers should wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • The patient should wear a facemask if he/she needs to be around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
  • Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
    • Throw out gloves after using them; do not reuse.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”).

Clean

  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
    • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
    • See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-your-home.html for more information
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
    • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
    • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.

Quarantine and Monitor Yourself

  • Quarantine yourself at home for at 14 days after your last unprotected contact with the patient (from the time he/she was hospitalized or started isolating at home). You can go out for necessary errands (food, medicines, essentials) or to exercise, but should maintain social distance (at least 6 feet separation) from others when out.
  • Check your temperature twice a day, and monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, etc.). Separate yourself from others if you develop symptoms, and contact your healthcare provide for testing if you have conditions that may lead to complications (e.g, diabetes, hypertension heart disease, asthma, weakened immune system) or if you are over age 60. If you are young and healthy, you do not need to be tested; it is likely you have the infection, and most young healthy people do not develop complications. See the instructions for home isolation if you develop symptoms.

Modified from CDC document: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

Updated 03.26.20