Houses with coronavirus patients are among the riskiest areas for infections. For those living alone or in need of home care, health care workers and caregivers work tirelessly amid the potential risk of infection for themselves.
Infected senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses who cannot leave their homes and do not have immediate family members to help them are most in need. Those not known to be infected or asymptomatic remain a risk for their carers.
In the northeastern province of Rize, health care workers reach out to about 2,000 people confined to their homes and in need of care. Throughout the outbreak, 17,400 people have benefited from home care services and 75 crews in the province go door-to-door for patients. Dr. Mustafa Sakın, an official from the Directorate of Health in Rize, says the staff exhibit hard work despite the risk and provide a wide array of home care services, from medical examination to dental hygiene, while also delivering serums and care for wounded people. Sakın told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Monday that they were striving to keep people away from the risks associated with hospitalization.
For those seeking paid care, the caregiving sector has seen a rise in demand. Alongside legitimate businesses, an illegal collection is flourishing on social media where uncertified attendants place ads for “care of COVID-19 patients.” Some charge as much as TL 800 ($101) a day.
Coronavirus patients are allowed to keep a caregiver with them, either a family member or a professional. Some patients who do not want to risk their loved ones or families whose members are infected, turn to caregivers. Caregivers are required to spend time with the patient until he or she is discharged from the hospital.
Caregivers also offer services at home. A caregiver who placed an online ad says she helps patients with basic needs. “I have been doing this job for 15 years. I was infected with coronavirus but recovered. I am a professional. I am willing to take a risk,” she told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Monday.
Legitimate caregiving professionals charge higher rates for coronavirus patients than they do for others. Efe Aydoğan, who runs a caregiving company, said they do everything for patients, including changing diapers, monitoring the administration of drugs and helping them eat and drink. “They are only allowed to leave after the patient is recovered, and then they go into a 14-day self-isolation as a precaution. Most of our patients are elderly people,” Aydoğan says.
Demir Türkmen, a caregiver, says they are very cautious while attending coronavirus patients. “I always wear masks and gloves whenever I am with the patient and change them whenever I leave the room. After completing the care of each patient, I stay at home for two weeks and move onto the next patient if I don’t have any symptoms. I was tested once and it was negative. Thank God, I have never been infected,” he says.