In the region businesses that provide home health care say business has been down. The pandemic has been challenging for many as people who provide care for people and patients in homes found that many clients did not want health care professionals or caregivers in their homes. It was a result of people being worried about COVID-19. But as elective surgeries begin to be scheduled, and people become more comfortable they are welcoming care at home services.

With surgeries such as knee, or hip replacements temporarily cancelled the need for in home physical therapy dropped drastically. Yet the demand for nurses who could provide wound care and other services in the home increased slightly. The President of Valley Home Health Care Ken Carano, Jr. said, "Our business has been steady, but as far as post operative care it dropped to zero. It was a huge decrease since most surgical procedures were put on hold. We are getting ready for an influx now that people are starting to do surgeries at facilities in our area. Some people are still waiting a little longer to schedule elective procedures. Even though a lot of places are still seeing decreases in numbers we are preparing for an increase. Going for two months without any elective or orthopedic surgeries, we are anticipating that there will be a back log at some point so we are ramping up, always looking to bring on more people and prepare."

Valley Home Health Care provides skilled care, RN's, Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists, Home Health Aides, Hospice and Palliative care in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and 13 other counties in Ohio.

Carano added, "I feel very blessed with our workers. They are absolute heroes from the nursing staff to the aides, they all have stepped up and worked hard. They have taken a lot of precautions to make sure themselves and the patients are all healthy and taken care of well. We have had no issues and they have done it with a smile."

WFMJ news asked about the difficulty getting PPE.Carano emphasized, "Our suppliers have been doing anything we cn to get masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and more. Thermometers that used to cost us $20 not cost up to $70 and we have to wait six or seven weeks. It is becoming a full time job for many people in our office to continue to have adequate supplies for our staff. Everyone of our employees go through a disinfecting procedure in the car. Personal protective gear is changed in between stops at a facility or from patient to patient at homes. We understand times are scary but if you have any type of skilled need, if you feel you are at risk going to the doctor, you can talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner and have them seek out our services, or a company like us. We can save you from travel needed to do anything like IV therapies, to injections, dressings, physical therapy, occupational therapy. We can do this in your home to prevent you from having to travel in event you feel you are at risk going out into the public. As things ease up wearing a mask in public is one of the best ways to help your neighbor, along with good respiratory hygiene, keeping your hands clean and not touching your face. We all need to think about our neighbors."

At Comfort Keepers which provides aides who assist with tasks that are not medical such as companionship, cooking, laundry and bathing the need for assistance dropped by up to 25 percent, with around one out of four clients afraid to let someone into their homes.

President David Mirkin said, "There were some clients who did not want anyone in thier homes, and there were some workers who did not want to work for fear of COVID-19. One business in Mahoning county had to close it's doors. It was a smaller business. We have been in business for 20 years. Business is just starting to get back towards normalcy. I think now people are starring to feel a little more comfortable even though there are still quite a few clients who are not comfortable, others I think they now understand that we are taking all precautions necessary. We have done very well. We have not had any problems with the coronavirus in our staff and our patients so I think people are feeling a little more confident and they want to get back to doing what they did before. Most of our clients need our services so they can stay in their homes. Our acute clients, the ones who won't get out of bed unless we help them, or won't shower unless we help them, or they will go without food unless we assist them, they have never stopped services, unless they had a family member out of work who could take over that chore."

Mirkin added, "We are probably going to go into homes, and find it wasn't as clean as before, the laundry has not been done and so on. I think some clients have gone as long as they can without servcies, and are at a point where they need to get back to where they were before. We could use some more employees and will be hiring. For anyone afraid I would say it's important to get to a medical appointment. Please don't miss out on the care you need or a ride to a doctor's visit. Comfort Keepers also operates Comfort Caravan."