During National Home Care Month, in November, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) recognizes thirty exceptional individuals as part of our Home Care Heroes campaign.
Each Hero was nominated by a home care or hospice agency in many regions of New York State. HCA has created an individualized profile link telling each person’s story with a picture. Please see links to all 30 individuals here: http://nationalhomecaremonth.com/home-care-heroes.
“During the COVID-19 health emergency, thousands of home care and hospice aides, nurses and therapists marshaled their unique skills and capacity for caring to help patients amid new fears, anxieties and intensified needs,” said HCA President Al Cardillo. “Their contributions to the pandemic response are nothing short of miraculous, in large part because their great work has exemplified what home care always accomplishes, during ordinary times, to address countless individual needs and urgencies.”
He added: “Our Home Care Heroes looked past personal dangers to care for patients recovering at home from COVID-19. They’ve mentored one another as professionals, and raced to secure PPE. They’ve shined as problem solvers, preparing new policies and procedures for infection control in response to fast-evolving information. They’ve volunteered to help their communities, acted quickly in the face of new dangers, and found ways to advocate for patients in critical need of safety or medical equipment.”
“There is no better time than National Home Care Month, in November, to honor their service and heroism,” he added.
What is Home Care
Approximately 800,000 New Yorkers receive home care and hospice annually. These services — provided by state and federally licensed or certified agencies — help the elderly and persons with disabilities live safely and independently, often as an alternative to nursing home care. Home care also helps people recover from hospitalization or manage an illness at home to prevent a hospitalization for a range of chronic conditions.
In addition to serving the chronic and acutely ill, home care also provides primary and preventive care for new moms and infants, children, and public health services like immunizations, at-home COVID-19 testing, telehealth care, and more. Altogether home care’s role helps avoid unnecessary health care costs while providing care in the setting a patient most prefers.
Each circumstance is patient-specific, directed by a physician-ordered plan of care that may include home health aide or personal care aide assistive services, professional therapies or rehabilitative services, nursing care, and/or social work.
Home Care in the Pandemic
Home care services and access to care have been fundamentally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. HCA survey data shows that, at the start of the public health emergency, well over 14,000 patients in New York State were classified by their service providers as requiring Level 1 priority care in accordance with state emergency preparedness requirements. This means their needs are so severe that the patient couldn’t have any interruption, rescheduling or deviation from their care plan. Many of these patients are technology-dependent (i.e., rely on ventilators) or have conditions that match the levels of care otherwise provided to nursing home patients.
Overlapping these preexisting clinical and acuity needs, home care agencies have faced severe shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Thousands of patients across New York State have tested positive for COVID-19, requiring quarantine or specialized care championed by home care agency infection-control experts. New and intense precautions have been likewise necessary in the overall care of the home care population whose needs and medical vulnerability put them at high risk.
Simultaneously, home care has seen an increase in referrals from hospitals and other settings that rely on home care in ordinary times —and especially so during an emergency — to accept patients and help provide surge capacity relief to maximize acutely strained hospital capacity or to generally support systemic discharge planning or care transition needs. Indeed, a recent HCA survey found that 65% of home care agencies in New York State have seen an increase in referrals to home care from hospitals and other settings.
“Through these trials and unimaginable pressures, our Home Care Heroes have shined,” Cardillo added. “Their countless individual deeds — their acts of courage, skill, innovation, and resourcefulness — have collectively made a world of difference for thousands of patients facing major health challenges and support needs that are substantially complicated by COVID-19.”
To learn more, visit www.nationalhomecaremonth.com.
HCA is a statewide health organization comprised of nearly 400 member providers and organizations delivering home and community-based care to several hundred thousand New Yorkers annually. HCA works to support providers in the delivery of high quality, cost-effective home and community-based care for the state’s citizens. HCA providers include hospitals, nursing homes, free-standing agencies and health systems which operate Certified Home Health Agencies, Licensed Home Care Services Agencies, Managed Long Term Care Plans, Hospices, Long Term Home Health Care Programs, waiver programs, and an array of allied, supportive services entities.
Roger L. Noyes (518) 275-6961 cell