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In-home care agency helps keep seniors, disabled safe

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Brandon Houser of Confer Home Health, left, removes the food tray for Charles Robins of Old Lycoming Township Thursday. Brandon and Confer Home Health take care of most of the needs of patients such as Charles including shopping, meal preparation, house keeping, running errands, finances, exercise and medications.

In-home care agencies have continued their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping disabled and elderly people out of nursing homes.

Confer Home Health Service, at 327 S Howard St., South Williamsport, primarily serves individuals in Lycoming and Clinton counties with grocery shopping, personal care and anything to maintain their home, said Lorraine Conger, owner.

“They all need assistance in order to stay in their homes, so we’ve been working the entire time,” she said.

As a state-mandated service, the health service never had any doubts of closing.

Workers at the agency help some of their patients with every aspect of their day, like helping get out of bed, cleaning themselves, meal preparation, and going to bed.

“There would be no way some of these people could remain in their home,” she said.

To keep COVID-19 from entering their patients’ homes, workers have been wearing masks, gloves, as well as limiting their interactions at laundromats, pharmacies, grocery stores and others.

“Some of my people have been concerned because they have small children at home and families, but everybody has had the thoughtfulness that they have to continue to do the service they provide for others,” said Confer.

This includes entering some facilities which have been placed on quarantine due to a suspected COVID-19 infection.

“I’ve been trying to get some bonuses, and additional compensation set up. Obviously my employees have been extremely helpful with some of the places we go into,” she said.

While the state has sent Confer several surveys with various questions regarding her agency’s needs, but each time there are no new supplies to be sent her way, she said.

“You ask if they can get them and their responses are: ‘We’ve been told to ask, but not how to get them,'” she said.

But Confer said she has had a “guardian angel,” in Nancy Pawlak, of Williamsport, did hear their need and made more than 200 masks for Confer Home Health Service.

“She has been a godsend to us,” she said.

The new policies and personal protective equipment used by the agency will continue through May 8 and longer as the situation warrants it, she said.

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