Home health care workers, always important as part of a sick or disabled individual’s care team, face new challenges as the new coronavirus spreads rapidly. These workers carry an enormous amount of responsibility for not engaging in behaviors that affect the vulnerable populations they work with. In some cases, this can mean having to turn down more lucrative work in environments such as nursing homes, some of which have been struggling with infections.
Challenges for Home Health Care Workers
Because home health care can be a low-wage job with few benefits, it may be one of several jobs that workers have. In addition to the dangers of picking up viruses in the community, many people also work for companies that do not have a sick leave policy. This means it can leave home health care workers facing a choice between caring for ill patients while they are sick themselves or not getting a paycheck. Unlike in many other professions, they cannot work from home; their charges need them there in person.
The New Coronavirus and Vulnerable Groups
While the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, produces only mild symptoms in most people who get it, severe cases can lead to respiratory problems and death. People older than 60 or people who have conditions that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are particularly vulnerable. This means that home health care aides must draw on all their training regarding infection control. These caregivers are a critical part of pandemic prevention.
At a time like this, it can also be more important than ever that people are able to contact home health care agencies 24/7, whether they have questions about a loved one’s ongoing home health care during a coronavirus outbreak or if they need new home health care support themselves. An answering service with a trained staff who understand the industry and who can provide callers with knowledgeable, compassionate responses is important for ensuring that clients and potential clients feel safe with the home health care agency they have chosen.