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Homecare services suffer during COVID-19 pandemic
SAINT JOHN -- There is increasing concern that some of the most vulnerable people in Maritime communities will fall through the cracks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Jantzen uses a wheelchair for mobility. Like thousands of other Maritimers, he relies on daily homecare service. However, that service has increasingly become less dependable.
“I'm having cancellations happen and I'm not able to go about my day,” says Jantzen.
“Friday night is when I learned that I would have no homecare in the morning Saturday, or the afternoon. Or the morning on Sunday, or the afternoon.”
Like so many other services for the vulnerable, the problem is the pandemic.
“There's a lot happening that is limiting how many workers there are,” says Jantzen.
“Daycares are closed, schools are closed, people are sick themselves or are in isolation, so they literally can't work.”
Jantzen says there are wait lists for these services, even during normal circumstances.
"So some of these issues that I'm having now are the same ones that I've had before, but they're just a lot worse,” says Jantzen.
The shortage of workers is a chronic issue in the homecare industry from coast to coast. However, that issue has become further complicated in the days of COVID-19.
Jean Porter has been in the homecare business for more than three decades. She says the pandemic is making it difficult to find workers who are willing to enter the homes of others.
Porter says homecare agencies have to be extra careful when visiting homes, as not all families are following isolation rules.
“They're coming to see mom, they've gone south and they've come in to see mom. They should not be doing that,” says Porter.
“What they don't realize is that we may not be able to serve mom, because we're not putting our caregiver in jeopardy.”