As New York City continues to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, tens of thousands of patients relying on in-home medical care have had to depend on services from nursing agencies, the New York Times reported.
More than 5,000 nurses and aides from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York were dispatched throughout the city during and after the storm, visiting and aiding patients in need.
While many home aides often earn around minimum wage, many of them braved the storm and the damage it caused to save the lives of people dependant on home care.
“I saw six patients yesterday,” Suzanne Gilleran, a 47-year-old nurse trainer for Partners in Care, an affiliate of VNSNY, told the New York Times. Gilleran does not normally make home visits, according to the Times, but the storm has activated all the registered nurses with agencies across the city into field duty.
With public transportation either suspended or delayed, commutes for the nurses can last up to three hours, and with power out in many patients’ homes, Gilleran and other nurses have had to climb anywhere from 4 flights of stairs to 14 flights.
Given the traumatic events of the past week, a need is also growing for mental health care, according to the Times. However, as the recovery drags, nurses and home aides won’t slow down and continue to serve patients in need.