Home Health Care Workers Are Taking Care of America's Most Vulnerable – and They're Doing It Without PPE
April 8, 2020
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to flood hospitals in the U.S., governments, businesses, and communities have rallied to provide overburdened emergency care staff with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). But for the more than 3.2 million home health care workers who care for more than 8.3 million people in the U.S., access to PPE remains relatively scarce. “I buy [the masks] myself,” said Stephanie Williams, a 58-year-old home health care worker in Philadelphia, where more than 1,850 people have been infected and at least 13 people have died from coronavirus. “I have to use the same masks for my clients.
I’m paying out-of-pocket and I just can’t afford it, especially on an everyday basis,” she added. More than 7,000 people nationwide have died from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins. The majority of the people infected and who have died are 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This demographic makes up 22.7% of the U.S. population and is most likely to need home health care, according to the Census Bureau.