Home healthcare workers in Northeast Ohio modify care during pandemic

Posted at 10:18 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 18:33:29-04

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The coronavirus has affected the way home health care workers treat their patients. These workers may be the first to see signs of the virus in their patients.

Becky McCrone spends her days traveling from one house to another in Northeast Ohio taking care of people.

"More than ever we are going to keep them out of the hospital and out of their doctor's offices," she said about the change in procedure for her patients.

She's been a home healthcare nurse for a decade.

"I have to know a little bit about a lot because I treat patients head to toe in the home," she said about her work. "Everyone is always very appreciative when they get home care."

On the day she met with News 5, McCrone met with Barb Rousch.

"I don't know what I would have done without her," she said about the care McCrone has given her. Rousch has a leg wound that needs care but she is worried about going to the hospital for help.

"One doctor told me once, when I was at Hillcrest, he said I'm going to get you out of here," she said. "You can get sick in here."

Because McCrone sees patients regularly, she can monitor them for COVID-19 symptoms.

"How are you feeling? Have you checked your temperature? Have you been around anyone? Has anyone who has come to see you been traveling?"

And now McCrone keeps all the information in one place instead of going in and out of hospitals. Tap Cloud is a program on her mobile phone that lets McCrone track symptoms and set telehealth appointments via FaceTime.

Rousch had her first one recently.

"So you know if they think something is going on you can see it on their face," she said.

The new app and the increase in telehealth appointments is all going toward one goal.

"We're going to keep them out of the hospital and, hopefully, out of their doctor's offices," McCrone said. "We're exploring the uncharted territory of telehealth just like they are."

Rousch said the appointments are good for her because the hospital is not an option.

"I wouldn't go. I would do it myself," she said.

McCrone said the virtual appointments and symptom tracking is good for home healthcare workers, too.

"I have asthma. I have little children at home," she said. "I would feel bad if I would take it from patient to another patient or from the hospital to a patient."

Right now, McCrone and her co-workers are not wearing personal protective gear like N95 masks. But, she said her company has PPE if they need to use it.