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VNSW, VNSW@Home Heroes Recognized during National Home Care Month

November, 5th 2020 in Press Releases

Home Care Heroes from VNS Westchester (VNSW) and its affiliate agency, VNSW@Home, are being recognized for their exceptional commitment to patient care during National Home Care Month in November. The Home Care Association of New York State (HCA), through its statewide Home Care Heroes campaign, is highlighting the exceptional work of nurses, home health aides, therapists, and operational staff who have stood out in the COVID-19 pandemic.

VNSW’s Wound & Ostomy Care Nurse, Laura Maldonado, was specifically recognized for stepping up on a variety of fronts from the earliest days of the pandemic. She was among the first of VNSW’s Clinical Staff to volunteer to visit COVID-19 positive patients at home, especially high-risk patients with complex wounds. Going about her work with calm assurance, Laura quickly emerged as a role model and mentor for other members of the home care team. She demonstrated exemplary leadership in helping to develop procedures related to patient care in the pandemic, and volunteered to conduct N-95 facemask fit testing to prevent the spread of infection among colleagues and patients. You can read her full profile on HCA’s website by clicking here.

Two Home Health Aides from VNSW@Home (formerly Westchester Care at Home), Latoya Connolly and Angel Yohoulamanga, were recognized for going above and beyond, especially during the beginning of the pandemic when much was still unknown about COVID-19. They immediately jumped to the front of the line to undergo hours of extensive training on infection control and proper donning and doffing of PPE to care for COVID-19 positive clients. They showed tremendous courage and dedication during a time of crisis. Read their full profiles here.

According to Timothy Leddy, President/CEO of the Westchester Visiting Nurse Services Group, Inc., the parent company of VNSW and VNSW@Home, “Laura, Latoya and Angel are shining examples of the caliber of our entire home care staff. Throughout this crisis, they continue to deliver the level of comfort, care and compassion for which our agencies are known. I am extremely proud of our remarkable team.”

“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 has always accomplished, during ordinary times, to address countless individual needs and urgencies. 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. Statewide 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 (PPEs). 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.




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