MemoryCare and COVID-19

GUIDANCE FOR MEMORYCARE PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Updated March 24, 2020

Important: We are now able to provide virtual visits if you are unable to or prefer not to come into the office; we want to ensure our services are available to you as needed.  Details of the visit will be planned with your Care Manager. Please reach out to us at 828-771-2219 if you would like to coordinate a visit in this manner. Remember to avoid close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for 20 seconds. Be well and stay well!

Click here for Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for Dementia Caregivers from the Alzheimer’s Association.

We understand that you may have concerns about COVID-19 and we expect cases in our region in the near future. Updated recommendations from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), current actions by other states, and the most up-to-date scientific information available about COVID-19. Many of the recommendations are focused on protecting people at high risk of severe illness:

  •  adults over 65 years of age, or
  • people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or
  • people with weakened immune systems

This evolving situation is being monitored intensely at the highest levels. We are monitoring reports from the NC Division of Public Health to remain up to date.

  •  Clinical operations will continue but we will avoid organizing events/gatherings with more than 100 people until advised it is safe by public health officials. We will follow recommendations from the public health department regarding regular cleaning of clinic areas and monitoring staff health.
  • We will be available via phone during normal office hours to provide clinical and caregiver support. We recognize that any viral illness can result in increased confusion, functional and behavioral issues in our patients and encourage caregivers to call their care team for guidance as needed
  • If a patient or caregiver has fever AND cough or difficulty breathing, they should not come to our office. We will reschedule any appointments and provide phone support for dementia related symptoms.

What to do and when to seek medical evaluation and advice (Buncombe County Health Department):

  •  If you or your loved one have fever AND cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or an urgent care if you do not have a healthcare provider.
  • Do NOT show up at your healthcare provider’s office or the urgent c are without calling first.
  • Do NOT go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve the most critically ill.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and tell them your symptoms.
  • If you do not have a healthcare provider and cannot afford to be seen at an urgent care, call 828-250-5109 to speak with a Communicable Disease (CD) nurse at BCHHS. Leave a message and a CD nurse will return your call as quickly as possible.

Buncombe County Public Health urges all residents to follow these recommendations:

  • Stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 infection.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:

  • People 65 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • People who have weakened immune systems

Please rely on accurate sources of information from the CDC and State / Local Public Health  Officials to help guide your individual preparedness and response efforts. Buncombe County Government’s  COVID-19 webpage will provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for COVID-19 in Buncombe County.

We know that an evolving situation such as this can lead to concern. While our guidance and advice is subject to change as we learn more, we will continue to monitor with the health and safety of our patients, caregivers, and staff as our highest priority.

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