Instead of walking through the emergency room, these nurses are walking through your front door.
Home health care workers are serving an important role during the coronavirus pandemic and the demand is growing.
The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that over the next decade jobs for home health care workers will grow seven times faster than the average 5 percent.
“People want to be at home. People don’t want to be sick, but if you are sick you want to be at home. You want to be around your loved ones,” said Virginia Steelman, with BAYADA Home Health Care.
It’s a trend Steelman and other home health care workers are managing due to the stain brought on by COVID-19.
“Home care nurses are made for this, right? Like we are trained to be adaptable and flexible, as a home care nurse you never really know what you are walking into,” Steelman said.
Right now, it’s caring for more clients recovering from the coronavirus.
“There is certainly a different level of the unknown as you mentioned with COVID-19,” Steelman said.
Protective gear like masks, face shields and gowns are not an option for front line workers, they are a necessity.
“Making sure that we have the proper protective personal equipment for them, making sure that they are informed, making sure that they feel safe. Making sure that we also educate our clients so that our clients feel safe with the nurses coming in and out of their homes,” Steelman said.
Another challenge for home care nurses is trying to control who they come into contact with on the job.
“We have family members, their siblings, you know we have to get really creative with social distancing in a household and what if this family member is still working, interfacing with the public,” Steelman said.
Steelman says the response to the virus is constantly evolving, so in the meantime she expects more people to stay put.
“They are saying wait a minute let’s stay at home until we figure this out, until we learn more or until we feel safer going into those facilities,” Steelman said.