Home health aide services facing stark drop in work due to coronavirus outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing plenty of concerns for families who rely on the services of home health aides.
Susan Maffe says she is dealing with several new challenges all at once. Her 86-year-old mother Joan fell inside her Commack home a month ago, went to the hospital, was diagnosed with stage four cancer and then went into a rehab facility -- all while the coronavirus was spreading.
"Once they started banning visitors at the facility, we decided it was a lot more important for my mother to be home," says Maffe.
Maffe chose a home health care aide to both assist her mother and limit her mother's person-to-person contact.
But Jennifer Benjamin, owner of Family First Home Companions, says not everyone is thinking like Maffe.
"We've had probably about 30% of our clients call us to say we're going to be putting things on hold and canceling services," says Benjamin.
Benjamin says it's happening across the home health care industry. She wants to reassure people that it's still safe to have home health care.
It is the policy of First Home Companions and other organizations that if a home health care worker is sick, they call out and do not come into your home. Benjamin says they are also monitoring and implementing infection control procedures.
"Canceling the outside support they rely on actually puts (patients) more at risk than this virus," Benjamins says. "And they should continue to have the support they need."
Maffe says her concerns have been lessened thanks to those working with her mother.
"I would be more concerned about my mother having an accident and having to bring her back to a health care facility," she says.
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