‘Urgent matter’: Homebound patients waiting on care, shortage of aides across New York state


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A critical shortage of home health aides across New York is forcing those at home who need care to wait.

The Home Care Association of New York says there is an “urgent matter,” and it’s causing hospital beds to fill up.

“The demand for nurses, home health home aides, therapists, and others has really gone up,” says Al Cardillo, President and CEO, Home Care Association of New York State.

Cardillo says for the past year, home health care has faced many challenges. The pandemic has led to roadblocks across the state when it comes to getting homebound people care. 

“The ability to train was greatly compromised,” he says.

He says the hands-on training required for new aides during the pandemic had to be limited. Also, home aide’s children out of school, quarantine due to exposure at work, and ill family members all contributed to shorter time worked and getting recruits. 

“The need is only going to increase,” says Cardillo.

Gerald Sullivan Junior of Brockport has had three major strokes since he was 19. His right side is mostly paralyzed. Two years ago, he had a serious fall. 

“I was found on the floor after like 3 or 4 days. I almost, you know… Passed away,” says Sullivan from his bed.

He’s been waiting six months for care approval, but his insurance cannot find anyone.

“It’s just been … It’s just been terrible,” he says.

Cardillo says without home aides, patients have to stay in hospitals longer, or go back. Beds as we’ve seen fill up during the pandemic. 

“So this is really very critical in the state,” he says adding, “Home care has really become a major, pivotal part of the health care system.”

Cardillo did say that he’s urging lawmakers in Albany to move on a plan called ‘Home Care First’ to get patients the care they need. Here is a statement on that included for this article:

“The pandemic brought the issue of home care ‘first’ into major focus when I observed the trend of patients referred from hospitals to inpatient rehab and long-term care, which was a high-risk environment for the patients and isolating from family and vital personal contacts.  I wrote to the Administration and to the Health Department and urged that these referrals be prioritized to home care wherever possible, instead of to facilities, and to provide the procedures and supports necessary to make that happen.  Ultimately, the HCA Board and I brought this concept to the Legislature’s COVID oversight hearings last summer and found the beginnings of receptivity that we hope can lead to a Home Care First reality in NYS.   The newly passed state budget contains $1.6 billion in federal aid for home and community-based services, and the President is proposing new levels of investment in these services.  The time is now to channel these investments accordingly to support this home health system that is a pivotal component to the operation of the entire health care system and to the care of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each and every day.”

Al Cardillo, President and CEO, Home Care Association of New York State

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