Caring for patients at home

Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers of COVID-19 patients

  • Perform hand hygiene frequently.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
    • Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean all high touch' surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables every day with a household cleaning wipe or spray.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly, especially when soiled with blood, stool or body fluids.
  • Monitor the patient's symptoms. If they are getting more sick, call their provider for recommendations and note that have confirmed COVID-19.
  • The patient should wear a facemask when around other people. If they are unable to wear a facemask (due to trouble breathing) you, as the caregiver, should be wearing 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 disposable facemasks and gloves after using them, do not reuse. When removing this equipment:
    1. Remove and dispose of gloves.
    2. Immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    3. Remove and dispose of the facemask.
    4. Immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding.
  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible.
  • If possible, household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom as well.
  • Help the patient with basic needs such as getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs. It is best to have someone else deliver these to the house.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need in the house.
  • If their symptoms become severe, do not hesitate to call for a same-day Virtual Visit with a member of the patient's primary care team or our Walk-In Care Clinic team.

Online Resources:

Please review these resources to help keep your home clean and protect others:

Providing skilled care to COVID-19 patients

Caring for COVID-19 Patients While Keeping Families Connected

A Vermont couple's experience with an early case of COVID-19

Read more