Home health care workers are the forgotten heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of home health care workers are bravely risking their own health by aiding the most vulnerable people in society, especially the elderly.
Many families are just finding out just how important these workers are. The ravages of COVID-19 drove families to rescue their elderly relatives and bring them home from virus-infected nursing homes, and home health care workers are empowering them to make it possible. Plus, millions of hospital patients are now opting to recover from medical procedures at home rather than at the hospital, often requiring intensive professional help with their care.
The home health care worker has perhaps never been more important, yet they have to buy their own protective equipment, and they do not even get included in the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports. At Brown & Barron, we’re buying Maryland home health care workers a crab cake dinner as our way of saying thanks. If you know one who deserves to be recognized, click here.
Here are five things you need to know about home health care workers...
What is a home health worker?
Home health workers are licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, licensed nursing assistants, certified nursing assistants, therapists, home care aides, personal care aides, and other health care professionals who provide various medical and daily-living services at the homes of their clients. They deliver care to the most vulnerable people in society, such as the elderly, chronically ill, disabled, bedridden, or cognitively impaired (e.g., those with Alzheimer’s disease).
How many people work as home health care workers?
There are an estimated 3.3 million home healthcare workers in the United States, serving 12 million vulnerable people.
Why do people choose home health care workers over long-term care facilities, like nursing homes?
According to a survey by the Home Care Association of America, 90% of Americans 65 and older want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Most people want to live out their golden years in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, surrounded by friends and family. Also, far too many nursing homes are driven by profit over resident safety, giving families an even greater incentive to avoid nursing homes for as long as possible. To do so, they need support and help with daily activities, especially as they decline inability. In the United States, our family support system gets smaller and farther away as we age, which creates the need for professionals who help us live in our homes safely.
How has the coronavirus impacted home health care workers?
For starters, home health care workers risk their lives because they are essential workers who must come into close contact with the people they serve, making them continually at-risk of acquiring COVID-19. Like health care workers across the country, they have had a hard time acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, when supplies dwindled and prices skyrocketed. Unlike other health care professions, home health care workers often have to pay for their own PPE out of pocket.
Where can I find a home health care worker?
Home Health Compare is a great place to start when researching home health care agencies in the United States, offering detailed information on services, as well as patient ratings.
Our attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC focus on representing nursing home residents who have been neglected or abused. We know first-hand how these facilities function, and just how vulnerable residents are to injuries. If you believe you or a family member has suffered as a result of nursing home negligence, we invite you to contact our team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options.