In-home health care workers short on supplies

In home caretakers working without masks due to shortage

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -As masks, gloves and other personal protection items are becoming harder to find, in-home healthcare works are pleading for these supplies to keep their clients safe.

“I love it actually. It gives me a chance to go into people’s homes and get to know people in the elderly community who need help,” said Brandi Cutler, an in-home caretaker for It’s a Wonderful Life.

As a caretaker, Cutler shops with her elderly client and helps her with other tasks. However, she said she has been helping without a mask, and she’s worried either one of them could get sick.

“My client has only two caregivers that come into her home,” she said.

With only a couple of caretakers, it doesn’t leave her client with many options. Cutler said her company recently bought a supply of masks that should get to her this week.

“They’re becoming important now. I’m so thankful he says they’re coming in this week,” she said.

Mark Schmidt, one of the owners of Home Care Assistance of Tucson, said they have masks since they have been stocking up for their employees by buying from local stores, regular vendors and anywhere they can find them.

“I wouldn’t say we have an overabundance, but we’re okay,” Schmidt said.

He said it’s important for the caregivers to have these supplies as workers are dealing with the vulnerable populations most impacted by COVID-19.

As shipments slowly trickle in, Cutler is nervous about who will continue to take care of the elderly who need it most if something were to happen.

“It makes me worry they won’t have what they need,” she said. “Will there be enough of us if we become sick?”

We could not reach Cutler’s company for comment today. As the fifth case of COVID-19 is confirmed in Pima County, health officials are continuing to urge social distancing.

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