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Home Health Care Agency Seeing Staff Shortage Issues Despite Losing just a Few Employees to State Vaccine Mandate

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Nascentia Health
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Nascentia Health seeing increase in demand for home health services right as vaccine mandate and shortage of home aides hits. Agency is hiring, offering vaccines to staff, while trying to meet member demands.

Central New York’s largest home health care agency is facing challenges with its service after the recent vaccination mandate for all of its workers – despite small employee losses. WAER Health Reporter Chris Bolt finds multiple causes are making things difficult.

Nascentia Health has staff ranging from nurses to physical therapists to home aides that go into people’s home and provide care that’s necessary for them to stay healthy. Chief Clinical Officer Andrea Lazarek-LaQuay says the state order requiring all health workers to be vaccinated had just a small impact on their staff.

“We do have a small number of staff that have been suspended but we’re hoping they consider their health, the health of our patients, and be able to return to us.” 

Nascentia reports only having four workers who chose not to get vaccinated … and thus were suspended. After 30 days those suspensions will become terminations. But Lazarek-LaQuay finds eve that small loss, coupled with pandemic staff problems, is representing a challenge.

“We really took a big hit to our home health aide population.  You know, our patients are so dependent on the care they receive to be able to stay home and live independently.  Nurses and therapists, we were fortunate, but the pandemic caused several of our home health aides to choose not to come back.”

She adds COVID certainly increased demand on their health services.

“With all of the capacity issues at the hospital, it was extremely important to get patients out of the hospital so that they could care for the more critical ones that were coming in.  So that demand was certainly an increase (for home care).  And as our population continues to age, there’s going to be an ongoing demand.  That’s why it’s a difficult time to lose even one health care worker,” said Lazarek-LaQuay.

Nascentia provided vaccinations to patients in the community, and their staff also had ample access to their choice of the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson vaccines from the company. Lazarek-LaQuay says however, the mandate, along with other challenges, threatens their ability to provide care in people’s homes.

Nascentia is hiring for home health aides, nurses and other positions. Information here.