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Covid-19: Health Care Workers Over 60 and/or Immunocompromised

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Specializes in acute care, ICU, surgery, vasc.surgery,trauma. Has 37 years experience.

Just throwing this out there for comments/opinions. Should health care workers over 60 and/or immunocompromised be working on the front lines, knowing they will be exposed?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

I work with a small handful of these folks, and they have been given several options: they can take PTO (not eligible to use short term disability for removing self from work), they can take time off without pay if they don't have PTO saved up, or they can continue working. This may be easier in my perioperative arena since we've cancelled almost all elective surgeries (continuing with those that have the potential to cause pain and suffering such as surgical oncology, fracture management, etc) than it would be on an inpatient unit.

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

17 minutes ago, AutumnLeaves said:

Just throwing this out there for comments/opinions. Should health care workers over 60 and/or immunocompromised be working on the front lines, knowing they will be exposed?

I’m not over 60, but I am immunocompromised.

Short answer: I don’t have a choice.

Long answer: Almost everywhere in our hospital is affected now. I think almost everyone is on the front lines. I need to work as we need the money to live; we have bills to pay that don’t go away when a pandemic hits. I’m hardly in the minority. It’s not as easy as (1.) I’ll quit or (2.) I’ll take time off, or (3.) I’ll transfer to another unit or (4.) I’ll forgo some costs at home etc. We already live pretty frugally.

I take every precaution while I work (that I can). I stay at home when .. I’m home. I’m not sure what else can be done?

AutumnLeaves, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in acute care, ICU, surgery, vasc.surgery,trauma. Has 37 years experience.

Yes.Front lines wasn't a good term, we are ALL on the front lines in health care. My question was more about comments/opinions about whether those people should be working or staying home. I realize that most of us have no choice.

Edited by AutumnLeaves
addition

I am working full time and considering adding that seventh day a week with another employer because my rent on the first is that much more than it was a year ago, due to the yearly increase. The landlord did not roll back rents. My new internet, cable, phone bill just went up at the same time. I am shutting off internet, cable, and the phone. That is an insane amount they want for so little. The only problem I have with that decision is that I really have a need for the internet, but I don't know that there are any options. Not one of my creditors has contacted me with news that they are forgiving or delaying payments due. I notice that food has not decreased in price. Utilities went up quite some time ago. Gas at the pump is not free. My car is now old enough to start breaking down and I need it to get work or the doctor. I am even getting bills for that supposed great health care called Medicare. I thought Medicare paid for stuff, yeah, but what about the 20% you say. For that matter, the Medicare premium just went up. So why is my compromised immune system stressed? Not hard to take a guess. And that was before any pandemic. I am glad that people are so concerned for me that they tell me not to work. Yes. You betcha'.

AutumnLeaves, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in acute care, ICU, surgery, vasc.surgery,trauma. Has 37 years experience.

Exactly! My non-nurse friends/family don't understand why I wouldn't quit,but they don't support me financially. I had 4 nurse/MD coworkers tell me on Friday that I shouldn't be there.I have been in health care my whole adult life and have never seen anything like this.

I'm a little over 60, healthy and not immunocompromised. I've been at this now for 41 years in critical care. I've worked with several old army nurses who worked into their 70's and one even to 82. I've worked with two nurses who were captured by the Saudis in the Gulf War and many who were called up with the Guard. I've worked with Viet Nam medics/LPN's who scooped up the broken bodies off the battlefield. Who do you want on the front lines of a battle, someone who knows how to put their head down and keep going or young inexperienced nurses who quit halfway through orientation because they feel 'bullied' or don't get lunch some days? I'll keep going till I can't anymore.