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Home health nurses seeing shortages of protective gear

Federal officials say hospitals across the country are reporting shortages of protective equipment for nurses, but what about home health nurses?

One Southwest Florida woman said she’s really struggling to protect herself while also protecting the seniors she cares for.

Cynthia Williams’ entire career has been dedicated to helping others. She was a paramedic, EMT, trauma and ICU nurse.

“Obviously I’ll put myself on the frontline, you know, to help my patients. That’s what we do.”

She’s still helping others, now as a home health nurse.

“We deal with a lot of elderly patients, so they do not have the knowledge to do the telehealth,” she said. “A lot of times we go in blind, I hate to say that sometimes we do not know exactly what’s going on with the patient.”

She said as long as she is healthy, she’ll never stop helping others, but she fears that’s a possibility if protective gear is no longer available.

Williams said several of her fellow home nurses and staff have already quit.

“Probably soon I’ll have to start reusing my masks, which I don’t like to do,” she said. “If a patient coughs on me, I just say a prayer.”

She sees how the community is coming together to help health care workers in the hospitals and wants people to remember those who go directly into homes to take care of people.

“If anybody can help us, that would be a wonderful thing so that we don’t have to go scrambling.”

Williams sent one of her patients to get tested for COVID-19. She said the test luckily came back negative.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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