April 20, 2020
The rapid spread of COVID-19 quickly put pressure on nursing homes across the country to make sure they kept clients safe. For caregivers with At Home Nursing in California, it was no issue. They were ready to go above and beyond.
“We help our clients live a better life at home. We put caregivers in the home with our clients so that they get their meals, get their clothing on, get their laundry done, address any medical concerns and make sure they have companionship. Used to be that we would help them run errands, get them out and make sure they had social activities, making sure they were connecting with family and their community in a meaningful way. That has changed a lot.
“It’s a huge responsibility because our caregivers are the only ones coming to the home. So that means that’s the only way our clients can get the virus. I knew that if we can keep our caregivers safe it would be really easy to keep our clients safe. We talked to our caregivers and told them they need to stay home when they are not at work. ‘We are counting on you to follow these rules. You can’t visit your friends. You can’t visit your parents. You have to be at home, go to work and come back.’ And we have really had no problems with that.
“At first was a lot of fear from my clients. It was ‘Lauren, what are you doing? Do you have enough hand sanitizer? Is this person safe to come to my house?’ Once we calmed the fears, they felt grateful and appreciative and lucky. Others were resistant to staying home saying things like, ‘I want to have lunch at the place I go every Wednesday!’ They had to be convinced by their caregiver and family that this is very real, they are very high risk and they have to stay home.
“My daily duty is to find supplies. We actually practiced for this. In 2018 the county of San Diego had a big pandemic practice that we participated in. We had ordered supplies based on that pandemic practice. We are not at a shortage right now, but our routine supplies that we use all the time were down to our last two boxes of gloves and face masks. But my employees still needed them, just as they have needed them for the past 10 years.
“I also think a major change will be that everybody involved in healthcare will never let this happen again. First time it happens, nobody could have expected it. But there is no excuse not to be prepared the second time. I think we’ll have better supply chains, better government involvement and stockpiling, so that you have a local supply when you need it.
“I love what I do, and I work with the kindest most dedicated people in the world. They could make a lot more money doing a lot of other things. They do this because they are caring people. I haven’t had anybody not willing to continue their cases, not willing to provide care for their clients. They are homecare heroes.”
Lauren Reynolds, At Home Nursing Care-San Diego/Los Angeles/Orange County, CA
April 20, 2020
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