NEW YORK — We continue to see nurses on the front lines at hospitals but now we’re hearing from two who go into homes every day to care for COVID-19 patients.
“I have to say that every day that a patient comes home for home-care I do a high-five, I’m just so happy they are stable enough to come home.”
Those are the words of 58-year old Ruth Caballero, a nurse with Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She’s been caring for patients discharged from the hospital, and in their homes for 20-years. These days, she’s been helping patients recover from the coronavirus and it starts before she walks through their doors.
“I have on all the PPE, the gown, hair mask, face masks, gloves, foot covers. The patients are very debilitated, weak, family not aware how weak they are prior to coming home. My job is medical care and teaching to get them stronger.”
The Harlem mother of three says she does worry about spreading the virus to her own family but she takes every precaution when she gets home.
“I do have a fear of bringing COVID-19 home to my family,” said 43-year old Gregory Fargas, who’s also a home-care nurse with Visiting Nurse Service of New York. He has fears too, but says the job is the job.
“I am a nurse and that’s my role and that’s my calling.”
The Brooklyn father of two has been seeing about four COVID-19 patients a day at their homes.
“A lot of patients we have been receiving from the hospital they have not been fully recovered. A lot of them have fevers and are fatigued.”
Most of the at-home-patients are chronically ill, frail, elderly, disabled or too sick or weak to leaves their homes, especially the ones recovering from COVID-19 and that’s where these home-health care heroes come in day after day.
“Even though they are still positive they are exceptional because they survived this illness so far,” said Caballero
“The rewarding thing about it is you get to see the patient from beginning to end, recover from the illness,” added Fargas.
These home-care nurses put their own health on the line every day to care for patients but say they will continue to do it. It’s the spirt of what they do and the spirit of New York.