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What factors determine whether a COVID-19 patient can be cared for at home?

Patients with mild or moderate disease can be considered for home care if the home setting is suitable for the isolation and care of a COVID-19 patient, and if the patient is under the age of 60, does not smoke, is not obese, and does not have other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, immunosuppression. An assessment about home care for each patient should be based on the following factors:

COVID-19 Patient Care
  • Clinical evaluation of the patient.
  • Evaluation of the patient’s home setting according to infection prevention and control (IPC) criteria (e.g., ability to carry out hand and respiratory hygiene, environmental cleaning, adequate ventilation, limitations on movement around or from the house).
  • Presence of vulnerable people at higher risk of COVID-19 in the home.
  • Ability of a caregiver to provide care and closely monitor the evolution of the patient’s health, at least once per day, and to recognize signs and symptoms of any worsening of the health status.
  • Availability of trained health workers to support the patient and caregiver (home-based, phone, telemedicine, trained community workers or outreach teams).

If adequate isolation from others in the home and infection prevention control measures cannot be ensured, then isolation in designated community facilities or a health facility may need to be arranged, with consent from the patient and in agreement with the caregiver and household members.

It is important to note that in areas with other endemic infections that cause fever, such as influenza, malaria, dengue, etc., febrile patients should seek medical care, be tested and treated for those endemic infections per routine protocols, irrespective of the presence of respiratory signs and symptoms.

Home care does not replace healthcare by professionals. Those patients who receive homecare should be regularly monitored by health workers.