LI families raise concerns ahead of COVID-19 vaccine requirement for home health care workers
The state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for home health care workers takes effect Thursday, causing concerns for some Long Island families.
Evelyn Clottin, 84, suffers from early dementia and severe arthritis. She receives around-the-clock care at her home in Smithtown. Her daughters are worried about whether all of her aides will be there when the requirement takes effect.
“Having that situation potentially, where she has an aide staff of five or six people, if they disappear, it’s just me and my sister,” says Clottin’s daughter Michelle Meyer.
Meyer says somebody needs to help her mother use the bathroom, take a shower and assist with other general life needs.
New York State Home Care Association President Al Cardillo says a possible staffing shortage caused by workers not getting vaccinated could have a devastating effect on patients.
“Many of them cannot go a day without care,” Cardillo says. “So, it’s not like something you can manage by saying, ‘We’ll cut everybody back a few hours here and there and we’ll stretch our workforce and make it happen.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice of Suffolk CEO Linda Taylor says under 10 of their 200 employees still need to get vaccinated. She says five people are definitely not going to remain employed because of their choice not to get vaccinated.
Meyer says if an aide doesn’t come Thursday, the family will have to show up.
“In the event that there cannot be an aide, my sister and I have to kind of drop our lives and our situations and get to mom to help her,” Meyer says.