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​COVID-19 Guidance for Domiciliary Care

In response to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Aging (PDA) has developed the following recommendations for the Domiciliary Care (Dom Care) Program:

Area Agency on Aging (AAA)

The AAA shall review or develop an emergency back-up plan with each Dom Care provider in the event the Dom Care provider contracts the COVID-19 virus and is hospitalized or too ill to perform the responsibilities required of a Dom Care provider. The emergency back-up plan shall include, at a minimum:
  • Designating an adult(s) who is employed by the provider or volunteers to provide services to the Dom Care residents in the provider’s absence.
  • Identifying alternative living arrangements for the Dom Care residents if the designated adult(s) who has been designated to assume Dom Care responsibilities is unavailable or ill themselves, such as:
        • Contacting the Dom Care resident’s designate to see if the resident is able to temporarily reside with them or other family members and is able to self-quarantine for 14 days in their home.
        • Looking for another Dom Care home within your Plan Service Area (PSA) or neighboring PSA that may have an available individual bedroom where the Dom Care resident could self-quarantine for 14 days.
        • Contacting local personal care homes or assisted living residences to see if they have available space and would be willing to accept the Dom Care resident.
  • If a Dom Care provider contracts the COVID-19 virus and is hospitalized, or remains home but is too ill to care for the Dom Care residents, the AAA shall:
      • Assure implementation of the Dom Care provider’s emergency backup plan.
      • Assure the provider and residents who have been exposed and remain in the home self-quarantine in the home.
      • Remain in frequent telephone contact with the designated adult in charge and the Dom Care residents to assure Dom Care resident needs are being met.
      • Contact with Dom Care providers and residents by the AAA shall be by telephone or other electronic means. Document these contacts in SAMS.

Dom Care Provider

  • Follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Dom Care providers and residents are to refrain from non-essential travel.
  • Restrict all visitors. This does not include home health services, AAA staff, or protective services workers, if applicable.
  • Implement the recommendations from the Department of Health around social distancing, proper handwashing, wiping down surfaces frequently in the home, covering your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your face.
  • Monitor residents for signs and symptoms of illness. The Department of Health's guidance around signs and symptoms of COVID-19 provides a list of symptoms.
  • If a Dom Care provider exhibits signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the Dom Care provider shall contact their health care provider for medical advice, as well as notify the AAA.
  • If a Dom Care resident exhibits signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the Dom Care provider shall assist the Dom Care resident, if necessary, to contact their health care provider for medical advice, as well as notify the AAA.
  • If either a Dom Care provider or resident is diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect they are infected with the COVID-19 virus, steps shall be taken to help prevent the disease from spreading to others in the home. Please see the Department of Health’s Guidance specifically addressing the steps to take to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Reference the CDC’s guidance on caring for someone at home.

At a minimum, this includes such steps as:
  • Self-Isolating. Since COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet), have the symptomatic or infected individual stay in one room, away from the other residents and the provider, if possible.
  • Having the symptomatic or infected individual use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoiding sharing personal household items.
  • Having the symptomatic infected individual and other residents wear a facemask, even a homemade one, when they are around others in the home.
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Frequently cleaning all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, cell phones and doorknobs.
  • Washing laundry thoroughly.
If a Dom Care resident is hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus and is later able to be discharged, the Dom Care provider shall allow the resident to return to the home. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a dedicated page for COVID-19 that provides regular updates, including translated materials and resources for American Sign Language which can be found in the Additional Resources section of this page.