The Omicron variant of coronavirus comprised only 3% of all cases in the United States this past week.This variant is now the dominant strain of the virus.South Africa and several other nations have also revealed Omicron has quickly become the dominant variant of the virus in less than a month’s time.This rapid spread is concerning to say the least.
It is clear that Omicron spreads faster than Delta and other variants.However, the good news is that the early data indicates Omicron symptoms are not as severe as those of Delta and the original strain of the virus.Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know about Omicron.
Omicron is Worth Taking Seriously
Governments and businesses around the world are afraid of Omicron for good reason.This variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious and potentially deadly, especially when transmitted to those who have not been vaccinated.Though preliminary data from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer indicates their booster shots aren’t as effective against the Omicron variant as hoped, Moderna representatives revealed their booster is quite effective against the variant.
It is clear that the best protection against Omicron is full vaccination including a booster shot.Though President Biden and other world leaders are certainly stressed by the lightning-quick spread of Omicron, they do not believe it is cause for panic, especially if the percentage of vaccine-boosted individuals continues to climb.
Omicron Data is Slowly Trickling In
Aside from the slightly diminished severity yet heightened transmission rate when compared to Delta and other coronavirus strains, not much else is known about Omicron.The data about this new variant is expanded with each passing day yet it will take some time to gauge whether Omicron should spur lockdowns and forced vaccinations for entry into businesses, public spaces, and other buildings.The United States federal government has responded to the initial data by encouraging Americans to get tested for the variant prior to socializing with family during the holiday season.
Big Pharma’s Response
Through Moderna executives are adamant their booster shot is effective against Omicron, the limited data released by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer isn’t as reassuring.The heads of all three pharmaceutical giants have indicated they are prepared to reformulate their vaccines to better mitigate the impact of the Omicron variant of the virus.Furthermore, the United Nations’ World Health Organization has stated the Omicron variant’s risk to the worldwide populace is “very high” based on analysis of early data.
Moderna’s initial booster data derived from lab testing indicates the half-dose boost jab heightens neutralizing antibodies by nearly 40x.A Moderna booster of a full dose is that much stronger, spiking antibody levels by an impressive 83x.However, it must be noted the full-dose booster of Moderna has more severe side effects than those provided by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.If Omicron continues to spread throughout the United States and the rest of the world, it is possible that Moderna’s full-dose shot will be used as a booster instead of the half-dose booster.
Coordinate Home Care Through AmeriBest Home Care Today
Philadelphia senior citizens and residents of other age cohorts will be happy to learn the city has achieved a comparably high vaccination rate for healthcare industry workers. Government officials at the federal level highlight Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate for its elevated vaccination rate. The high rate of vaccination among the city’s medical industry personnel is especially important now that the highly contagious Omicron variantof the virus is rearing its ugly head.
About Philadelphia’s Vaccination Mandate
The city of Philadelphia issued a coronavirus vaccine mandate as the summer drew to a close. The mandate has lead to nearly every single hospital employee in the greater Philadelphia area being fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Furthermore, the city’s health department reports more than 95% of the city’s nursing home employees are fully vaccinated against the virus. This statistic is especially striking when juxtaposed with the comparably low 75% vaccination rate of nursing home employees throughout the rest of the country.
However, it must be noted the definition of “fully vaccinated” has the potential to change as time progresses. It is quite possible only those who receive a booster shot will be considered fully vaccinated by the time winter comes to an end. At the moment, more than 75% of all Philadelphia residents are fully vaccinated, meaning they have at least two vaccine shots. Though this percentage is lower than that of those who work in local hospitals and nursing homes, it is still an encouraging sign.
Why Philadelphia’s Vaccine Mandate is so Important
Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest rates of hospitalization stemming from coronavirus infections. The state’s intensive-care units are struggling to provide care for individuals who require intubation and other forms of assistance. Sadly, nearly 400 individuals were hospitalized in early December in Philadelphia alone. Phila.com’s city data shows the city’s hospitalization trend is moving in the wrong direction as a mere 200 were hospitalized within the city’s limits prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Philadelphia’s high vaccination rate is the elevated employee retention rate. The vast majority of local Philadelphia hospitals and nursing homes retained nearly the entirety of their staff despite the vaccine mandate. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association reports that of the city’s 47 nursing homes, an average of seven individuals departed their posts as a result of the vaccine mandate.
It is clear that Philadelphians are willing to put their self-interest and political differences aside for the greater good. However, it is slightly disturbing to learn that merely 40% of the hospitals in the United States have vaccine requirements. This low nationwide percentage is a large part of the reason why transmission rates are climbing with no signs of slowing down as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc throughout Philadelphia and beyond.
AmeriBest Home Care Philadelphia is a Call Away
AmeriBest’s home care team is here to help you and your loved ones live with dignity. If you or a family member need or want home care assistance and you live in the greater Philadelphia area, reach out to us for more information about our service. You can contact our home care team by phone at 1-800-HOMECARE. You can also contact us by email at email@example.com or online through our convenient contact form.
It’s crazy to think, but COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic the world has suffered, and it most likely won’t be the last.
If you check back in history, you’ll notice that pandemics just happen every few decades or so. And, there’s no stopping them. At least for now.
So, the best we can do is prepare in advance, physically and mentally, and be ready for anything.
Here Are 5 Ways Seniors and Caregivers Can Prepare for a Pandemic in the Future
1. Make a list of essentials
It’s hard to think properly in the moment. When Covid-19 first hit, people went running out to the stores, buying everything in sight. This caused major chaos, as well as shortages of even non-essential items.
Avoid the panicked over-buying, and stick to a list. While you have the time to calmly think, now is when you should make a list of all the items you would want to buy if another pandemic hit.
2. Keep an emergency bag handy
You never know how badly a pandemic is going to strike, and how isolated you may end up. So, it’s good to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Knowing that you’re prepped and ready for even the worst possibilities is a huge stress reducer.
You can buy pre-made emergency kits. Or, you can put one together based on what you, personally, may need. Consider items like: gauze, band aids, pain relievers, heat packs, tissues, fully charged power banks, solar powered flashlights, rope, water, etc.
3. Stock up on non-perishables and freezer-food
Another item that will make you feel much calmer knowing that you already have is food.
Take some time now before another pandemic comes along to stock up on non-perishables and freezer-food. Nowadays, there are plenty of options out there, so you can really choose what you would actually enjoy eating (and not just old-school camping food).
Some foods you may enjoy are: BPA-free canned salmon, tuna fish pouches, boxed milk, nut or rice milk, coffee, spices, crackers, frozen fruits and veggies.
4. Include some self-care products
It’s important to remember that items for our mental and emotional states are just as essential as items for our physical health. While you’re stocking up on grocery items, throw in a few things for your mental health as well. Things like: face masks, puzzles, adult coloring books, or even a novel or two.
5. Look for sales
Buying all these extra supplies at once can really add up in expenses. And, if you’re looking at your list of things to buy and thinking you need to buy them all at once, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed.
The good news is that since you’re doing this in advance, you have time.
You don’t need to go out of your way to do extra shopping. Simply buy doubles (or triples) of things you’re already purchasing. And, look for sales! For instance, if you’re already buying toothpaste one week, buy an extra tube or two to add to your stockpile. If you are already in an electronics store fixing your computer, grab an extra power bank for your emergency kit.
Prepping should reduce stress not add to it.
If you need our help, AmeriBest Home Care will always be happy to help you prepare for any necessary situation regarding our care for you. Call the number: 215-925-3313 so that we can be useful to you!
While the world is on a temporary pause, the seasons wait for no one. Don’t let the summer slip by without enjoying your favorite summer activities.
We’ve gathered some of the most common activities for seniors and listed the health risks, safety precautions, and alternatives for each.
In deciding which activities to do and how, the key is to analyze how each might affect you or your senior, personally. There is no one size fits all when it comes to safety and health, and so it’s important to use cautionary judgment.
Health risk: Eating in your own backyard holds very little risk. However, inviting other families to join, raises the threat level to medium.
Safety precautions: Limit the number of families you invite to just one. And, choose wisely. A family whose members are essential workers will be more likely to carry the virus than a family whose members haven’t left their home in a month.
Alternative: Video calls are always a safer option than in-person activities. Every family can party from their own backyard, together. Or, make it a neighborly event and party from across the fence.
Health risk: Whether it’s a party for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or retirement- parties are a high-risk activity right now.
Safety precautions: If you absolutely must attend a party (although it is highly recommended not to), be sure to wear a face mask, gloves, and keep your distance from the other party-goers. Try not to touch anything unnecessarily, and bring some hand sanitizer just in case.
Alternative: A car parade! If you’re planning to attend a party, the better option is to drive by the party and stay in your car. You can wave or hold up a sign, and the hosts will be just as happy with your attendance as if you had actually come inside. If you’re the one hosting, stand six feet back from the street, and wave to your friends and family as they slowly drive by. You’ll be surprised how creative people can get from within their cars.
Health risk: Eating out at a restaurant is a medium to high risk. Dining at an indoor restaurant is a huge risk as it puts you in close proximity to other guests, with little air circulation. Dining at an outdoor restaurant is slightly less risky. However, the activity still puts you in contact with a server and possibly other staff.
Safety precautions: Bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down the menu before perusing. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating.
Alternatives: Set the table nicely, dim the lights, add a bit of background music, and order takeout. The food will be just as delicious, but with less of a risk.
Stroll in the park
Health risk: Walking in a park or nature reserve is a low to medium risk. There will always be others walking around nearby, which puts you in danger. However, being in a large open space lowers the risk.
Safety precautions: Wear a mask, and avoid going on busy days like national holidays. If someone is nearing you, step off to the side with your head turned away, and wait. When the individual has passed and is six feet away, continue on your stroll.
Alternative: If you’re going to the park for exercise, an alternative activity is walking around your yard. Set a timer, and walk the perimeter of your front and back yard for as long as you want. It’s not as exciting, but it will get the job done. Plus, you might even find some small flowers or quiet birds in your yard that you never even noticed before.
Stuck at home these days, many of us are finding ourselves having to take on new roles that we would otherwise pay someone else to fill. And this can be a little scary to do without positive guidance.
If you’ve suddenly found yourself having to act as a family caregiver, here are 6 tips and tricks of the trade.
Write things down.
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s important to stay organized. It’s all too easy to forget someone else’s schedule, so make things simple for yourself and write things down.
If you prefer typing that’s cool too.
Just having a mapped-out list of what needs to be done and when can easily knock down the stress levels a few notches.
Automate as much as possible.
Another easy way to keep track of everything is to set up daily reminders. There are a ton of apps out there that can help with medication scheduling, appointment tracking, as well as just general to-do list entries.
These apps will not only help remind you of what needs to be done, but also give you the extra push to get up and get going.
Don’t be afraid to ask for outside help.
One of the biggest mistakes new caregivers make is thinking that they have to take care of everything themselves.
But the truth is, there are plenty of people able and willing to help. If you’re getting overwhelmed, stressed, or just want some guidance- don’t be afraid to ask for outside help.
Call up friends, family, or professional home care aides. And, don’t let yourself get to a mental breaking point before you do so.
Asking for help demonstrates responsibility and caring.
Schedule family time.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the work of caregiving, that you start to ignore the fun of it.
Caregiving is a remarkable task that lets you care, bond, and connect with your senior. If you’re not enjoying the work you do, you’re missing out on the core of caregiving.
To rekindle the spark, schedule some fun family time. This could be watching some TV together in the evening, building a project together in the afternoons, or even just bonding over some old photos in the basement. The main idea is to find something you both enjoy and set aside quality time for each other.
Watch your health.
You’ve probably heard this before, but you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.
Letting yourself get run down and weary is no way to treat yourself as a caregiver. If you want to give your senior the best care possible, then you have to be up for the challenge and in good spirits. And, in order to feel that way, you have to take care of your own health too.
This means, taking breaks when you need them, giving yourself some alone time to refresh, watching your diet and fitness, and being overall kind to yourself.
Which leads us to our last tip…
Speak to yourself with compassion.
If you missed something on your to-do list, or you just didn’t have time to get something done- don’t stress. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over something you’re only just getting the hang of. You wouldn’t do that to others, so don’t do that to yourself.
Instead, look at where you went wrong with a non-judgmental perspective. Understand what led you to make that mistake and learn from it. Then move on and give yourself some compassion.
Caregivers: Please be aware that beginning Sunday, March 22, 2020, all Septa routes will be operating on a Saturday schedule every day, until further notice. We urge you to go onto the Septa’s website, Septa.org, to determine what the schedules look like for you to reach your client’s destination on time. Please notify your Scheduling Coordinator if this will affect the on-time arrival to your scheduled shift. Thank you.
Transit service across the Delaware Valley are modifying their schedules due to the coronavirus outbreak. (as of 3/19/2020)
Septa will begin operating on a Saturday schedule starting Sunday, March 22. Schedules with Saturday service information are available at SEPTA.org
It’s really difficult to articulate the grief and anxiety we have all collectively felt over the past couple of months. From the ongoing pandemic, that seems to have no end in sight, to family, friends and neighbors losing their jobs. Lastly, the pattern of distrust in our public servants. I am sure I am not alone when thoughts percolate through my mind, while all these events transpire in real time, and frankly, it’s easy to be enraged and overly emotional. However, I am a firm believer in taking a moment for a deep breath, disengaging and listening to those that are suffering.
Like many of you, I was sickened by the public execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It’s all of our duties to do better and be empathetic. To listen to our fellow man and hear their concerns. Our public servants have a tough job, one that requires trust from the community. When that trust is fractured by a bad police officer, and others don’t care to listen, crazy things happen. That trust needs to be built from the bottom again. Change happens from the ground up. Drawing awareness and speaking loudly is critical, but then the tough work starts. Holding our public servants accountable, electing officials that will make concrete policy changes and giving the people (you!) a seat at the table.
Which is why, now more than ever, I am so proud of our mission. I really believe that in its core, we contribute in serving our communities, empowering our clients, our caregivers, providing them with concrete skills and laying the groundwork in their career paths. I am proud of our skills lab that we are rolling out, assisting our caregivers in becoming CPR certified, encouraging our employees to attain higher education. Taking the lead in educating our caregivers on how overtime is structured, what health insurance means, why a 401k is so important. For our clients, I am especially proud of the resources we help allocate, the independence we help them achieve and the risks we help mitigate with their health.
Finally, our direct caregiver workforce, our PCAs, CNAs, nurses and therapists. The amount of work, sacrifice and resolve in your everyday lives is truly a noble and sometimes thankless job. Thank you!
Everyone has their motivations but ultimately, having security, providing for our families and being a good citizen is something we all strive to achieve. Someone much smarter than me named Maya Angelou once said, “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it”. Those words are so powerful and optimistic. I remain optimistic that good change lies ahead, as long as we all have the courage display it.
Dear AmeriBest Caregivers,
As most of you know, the Governor has instructed all non-essential businesses to stay closed for the time being. AmeriBest is, however, an essential business and provides a service that now more than ever is so crucial to the health and well-being of our vulnerable patients.
While we realize what you do is so essential, we must continue to stay vigilant and follow best practices. Wearing personal protective equipment, washing your hands for 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, not touching your face and coughing into a tissue are just a handful of precautions we can all take to limit the spread of COVID-19. Our goal is to always best serve our patients and keep them safe and comfortable in the comfort of their community and homes.
Also, please never hesitate to call our offices at 215-925-3313 to obtain an essential worker letter so you can go to work and provide care to patients. We have attached a letter for you to use should you be questioned about going to and from your patient’s home. You should always also have your ID on you to limit disruption. If you do not have an ID, please email or call our HR Department so we can mail or email an ID to you. If we do not have a photo, we will reach out to you for a picture to match to your ID identification you submitted on file and will then send you and ID.
In a time of such great anxiety and uncertainty, you have continued to be amazing and supportive to our mission in providing high-quality personal care services. I am not alone when I say how grateful for the work you are doing in our communities. Thank you now and thank you always!
Dear AmeriBest Caregivers,
Like everyone else, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely and understand the concerns and anxiety built around this new challenge to all of us. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all the people who have already been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, state and federal government who are on the front lines, working to contain this coronavirus. Please know that we are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the clock and have precautions in place to ensure that our patients and caregivers are in a safe environment.
Firstly, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has activated the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline.
That Helpline could be reached by calling 1-800-722-7112, and is a free resource, available 24/7 to anyone in the greater Philadelphia area. Here is what it could help you with:
Symptoms and risk factors for the coronavirus & what to do if you think you have been exposed
Recommendations for social distancing
Also, we ask that all employees cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases and the spreading the COVID-19 virus. Here is what AmeriBest is currently doing:
Social Distancing – stay a “social distance” of 6 feet or more away from other people.
Increased office cleaning – we are working with building management to conduct thorough cleaning of our offices. Including but not limited to: wiping down keyboards, door handles, desk surfaces and installing hand sanitizer stations throughout the whole building.
Limit large gatherings – until further notice, we will cancel large meetings, lunches, trainings and other gatherings at the workplace. AmeriBest office is temporarily closed until further notice and the corporate staff is mobile.
Wash your hands! – wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
Use common sense – cover your mouth with tissues when you sneeze or cough, and discard used tissues in the trash. Use hand sanitizer, cleaning sprays and wipes constantly. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Stay home if you are sick or show symptoms of exposure.
Monitor developments – Monitor local & state departments and the CDC for additional developments.
Visit our website for more information.
We hope that these measures give you confidence that we are taking the necessary precautions in this evolving situation. We remain committed to providing you and your clients with quality service that you can depend on.
With that goal in mind, I implore that you wash your hands frequently and that you avoid patient contact if you are feeling under the weather.
For additional information about COVID-19, please read the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, your local health department website or visit our website at www.ameribesthomecare.com.
On behalf of everyone at AmeriBest Home Care, thank you for your hard work and dedication to helping your clients remain safe, healthy and independent in the comfort of their own homes.