Many children with medical complexity or disabilities receive nursing or aide services in the home. But is it safe to continue using nurses and aides during the COVID-19 pandemic? There is no right answer to this question. It all depends on your child’s needs, how active COVID-19 is in your area, and your nurse or aide.
The first thing you need to consider is the importance of the nurse or aide services. If your child requires 24-hour hands-on care, or needs an awake skilled nurse at all times, you have a much higher need for services than a child who only gets respite for a few hours a week. A nurse or aide who allows you to get appropriate sleep, take care of your other children, or work is likely critically important for your family. Of course, every situation is different, and only you can judge how much you need the nurse or aide.
Once you have determined how much you actually need your nurse or aide, we’ve created a flowchart to help you make the decision whether to cancel a given nurse or aide. It’s difficult to capture all scenarios in one flowchart, but we’ve tried to ask the most important questions to help you make your decisions. We’ve sorted various scenarios into lower and higher risks. Obviously, the higher the risk, the greater the likelihood you should cancel. Some of the things we haven’t captured that you might want to think about include if your nurse/aide is using public transportation, if he/she has a partner who is working in a risky job, or if you are able to identify the risks of other homes your nurse/aide works in.
We would encourage you to evaluate each caregiver separately, as each provider may have different risks. We also encourage you to check with your agency or program in your state to get their recommendations based specifically on your county, area, or state. Some states and areas have very low (or no) cases of COVID-19 at this time, while others have thousands of cases.
Note that if you do cancel your nurse or aide, you should expect about an 8-week interruption, based on current information.
We hope this chart helps you make your decisions.