COVID concerns: Working in healthcare & self-isolation rules

Posted by nadine89 @nadine89, Mar 25 12:39pm

Good afternoon! I am wondering if anyone out there can help with my questions. I am an EMT. I work full time and I live in CT and work in Fairfield county in the heat of it all. I have crohns and I started infusions of entyvio in January and I tale budesonide 9mg a day. I also have an undiagnosed heart condition. A cardiac mri was ordered just before the outbreak. I have had been treating and transporting patients with covid 19. My concerns are my exposure and immune system. I have spoke with my specialists nurse who said not to be concerned however I do not feel most understand the job and the high amount of exposure to the covid that I have. I do have access to n95 gloves, googles and gowns for now at work. Anyone have thoughts guidance anything??? Thank you for your time in reading this.

@nadine89 – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I understand why you are worried. You are exposed to people sick with the virus. You are very much at risk-in my opinion. Your immune system is suppressed. I think you have to consult someone else about what you should do- I think the specialist nurse gave you wrong information. What about the physician treating you? No matter what you have to use all protective equipment recommended – at once. Please get back to us! You have to take care of yourself first.

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Nadine – I think you need a better answer. Please ask for a consult directly with the doctor or an immunologist or infectious disease doc. I don't think enough is known yet about the virus, suppressed immune systems and repeated exposure to accept a casual response. My daughter, also with immune issues, is an ER nurse, currently in isolation with presumed Covid-19. Her pulmonologist is placing her on "no contact" with patients or other possibly infected people until there are more answers.
Sue

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Hi @nadine89, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'd like to bring @dfenderso @kristennursepatient and @georgette12 into this conversation as they too work in health care or home care. @suerc cares for children of emergency workers who continue to report to work. It must be a particularly worrying time to be both provider and immuno-compromised patient.

What conversations have you had with your employers? Can accommodations be made?

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Absolutely agree with second opinion or third if needed. I am not sure why they would have told you that you are fine to work with people sick with this virus. 😡 You need to protect yourself and talk with your employer about what your options are. Strict adherence to PPE and hand washing may not be enough when they are saying that some may not have full symptoms but are still contagious. Right now you should be in a protective bubble. You do not need this virus! Speak to someone else and get what you need to protect yourself. Stay safe!

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Nadine, I need to say that folks with any of the health conditions you have should not be working in the capacity in which you work with infected or even asymptomatic people. I work in home health care services with direct contact with a variety of clients. All employees and every client is screened each day before each shift. If anybody has at least 2 symptoms, they are put in touch with a nurse who does a further screening. We are not allowed to work with anyone who has certain symptoms. And, employees can no longer travel to different towns in the area because different towns may or may not be infected . Our doctors offices and hospitals here in Colorado have stringent guidelines, although I have seen staff who have underlying conditions still continue to work in direct contact with others. They tell me they need the money and can't afford to stay home. I can understand that feeling .

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Also, Nadine, I agree with the suggestion that you speak with your employer regarding using your skills in another capacity. You have talent that can be utilized in many other ways, by other employers even, without being in direct contact under EMT circumstances. I am so outraged that employers are asking many of us to risk our health and the other people we come in contact with when we're not working. You have a lot to contribute, but not your life.

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Thank you everyone for your support. My gastro physician is my least helpful. Even when I was concerned about the flu he brushed my off. I do have a cardiologist who is amazing and aware of all my current health problems and concerns. Unfortunately he saw some concerning things on my halter monitor but nothing definitive. The terminology he used was cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction. This concerns me even more as I am to rest and take it easily which is difficult as fire is no longer responding with EMS to help. The added stress mentally and physically is not helping. My cardiologist will put me out on leave but it would be unpaid. I've spoke with supervisors who state that using proper PPE and hand washing should be okay. One stated that due to my age which is 30 that its not a concern which upsets me because I am not a healthy 30. Im sure most of you have come across how your young so you should be healthy. So many physician's viewed me this. My current GI is my 4th and the one who finally diagnosed crohns and while his lack of concern upsets me starting over would be difficult. Right now in my area we are on the incline and things are getting worse. I am going to take it day by day and will do what I have to to protect myself. I just wish HealthCare took better care of employees. Banks are allowing high risk people to stay home paid. Thank you for your time and thoughts. Hope your daughter does well. Everyone try to stay healthy.

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@espoir

I am in the high risk category. My son is recovering from COVID-19 that he contracted at work and will be going back to work at the hospital soon. Should I ask him to move to a hotel until the infection rate comes down? My husband is adamant he should not come back home. I miss him and want to support him, but there is so much we do not know about this virus. News articles today tell of recovered patients who test negative then later test positive. Is it safe to have him come home?

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Hello @espoir, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I know it has to be extremely difficult for you wanting to support your son but also being in the high risk category which I'm sure is what is worrying your husband. There is another discussion similar to yours that you may want to with meet other members in similar situations and see if they have any suggestions to help.

> COVID concerns: Working in healthcare & self-isolation rules — https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ems/

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I am in the high risk category. My son is recovering from COVID-19 that he contracted at work and will be going back to work at the hospital soon. Should I ask him to move to a hotel until the infection rate comes down? My husband is adamant he should not come back home. I miss him and want to support him, but there is so much we do not know about this virus. News articles today tell of recovered patients who test negative then later test positive. Is it safe to have him come home?

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@espoir

I am in the high risk category. My son is recovering from COVID-19 that he contracted at work and will be going back to work at the hospital soon. Should I ask him to move to a hotel until the infection rate comes down? My husband is adamant he should not come back home. I miss him and want to support him, but there is so much we do not know about this virus. News articles today tell of recovered patients who test negative then later test positive. Is it safe to have him come home?

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@espoir, I'd like to add my welcome. As @johnbishop suggested, I moved your message to this existing discussion to hear from others who may be in similar circumstances and other healthcare workers like @nadine89 @georgette12 @kristennursepatient @astaingegerdm and @dfenderso

If you want my opinion, and it's only an opinion, I have to agree with your husband. Might I assume if you have an adult son, that both you and your husband are in the age category that is or borders on higher risk? You mention that you are high-risk. I suspect that your son wants your support, but also knows that he needs to think of your health. Moving to a hotel might be a good option if your home doesn't allow for complete separation from your son, for example separate living area, his own bathroom, no shared space.

Does your home allow for complete separate areas? What does your son think?

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My son does have some separate space – he spends most of his time in his basement room when he is home. There is a separate bathroom he can use, but we share the kitchen. He also needs to be able to wash his uniform and come and go through shared space. My son thinks we can manage to live together safely, but my husband says he doesn’t clean up after himself as he should… that he will forget and the consequences are too high to risk it.

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@espoir

My son does have some separate space – he spends most of his time in his basement room when he is home. There is a separate bathroom he can use, but we share the kitchen. He also needs to be able to wash his uniform and come and go through shared space. My son thinks we can manage to live together safely, but my husband says he doesn’t clean up after himself as he should… that he will forget and the consequences are too high to risk it.

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If your son works in health care and had COVID 19, I am not sure why he would even ask such a thing from you. I agree with your husband. Safer in separation. Your doctor would/should agree with the recommendation to live at separate residences while he recovers completely- no cough, no symptoms! and if he were to move back in, a place for him to change and disinfect his cellphone/ personal items and shoes prior to entering the home.

Liked by lioness

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@espoir.. I think your husband is correct in saying that for now your son should stay in a hotel. Just consider this, if he is not your son but a tenant, would you have let him stay? I know you want to be supportive, maybe you can help with the hotel a little? Hotels are mostly empty these days and if he tells them he's in health care, maybe they would give him a discount. Lots of businesses do that to show their appreciation. Take care. Let us know what your decision is.

Liked by lioness

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@espoir I agree with all these post don't risk your health have your son go to a hotel maybe you can help out with the bill if hotel doesn't give him a break .My friend was in this same position for she has a comprised condition hope you make the right decision for yourself and husband's

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This is a really tough decision. @espoir . I have to agree that there are temporary living options available when we really think out of the box. Since your son is in health care, perhaps he can ask his employer for suggestions. Health care employees are at a premium at the moment. If he works in a facility where there is an extra room he can stay in, that could be one idea. If his employer understands he lives with a high risk person, that employer could offer to pay for lodging elsewhere. Since I live with a high risk, completely isolated husband, I have had to force myself to be assertive with my employer in terms of my needs while working. It can be worked out.

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