Home health nurses see patient numbers double during COVID-19 pandemic


BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Nurses are on the front lines of the COVID-pandemic, but some of those nurses are battling the virus, without ever stepping foot in the hospital.

Home health care nurses work with patients who cannot leave their homes for medical care.
Some are in a lot of pain, while others do not have the transportation.

Ashley Toller is the Director at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital Home Health.

“Anything that is taxing for them to get out of their home. Whether they use a cane or a walker, generalized weakness, anything that is a taxing effort for that patient,” Toller explained.

So, they bring the medical care to them. But those nurses enter homes every single day, never knowing what they are walking into.

“Because, they can be asymptomatic, and have the Covid virus, and our nurses get it,” Toller said.

Toller said most of their patients are considered at risk for having complications with virus, which is why their job is crucial during this time.

“But, now during social distancing guidelines, it’s more essential now than ever before to keep patients home and safe in their own environment,” Toller said.

Some patients who need medical care are now staying home to keep away from the virus. So, BARH home health nurses are now going to homes for procedures that are usually done at the hospital or clinic. Their amount of patients they serve each day doubled since COVID-19 hit our area.

“We average about 160 patients,” Toller said.

Toller said they increased their guidelines for personal protective equipment and they take extra safety precautions, to keep the nurses and their patients safe.

“We go above and beyond to make sure they are safe and receiving the medical treatment they need in their home,” Toller explained.

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