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Nursing shortage impacting at-home care: “The hardest thing for me is having to lose my independence”

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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YANKTON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The ongoing nursing shortage is creating a trickle-down effect, impacting those in need of at-home care.

Garry Jons has been paralyzed for 22 years due to a car accident that left him as a partial quadriplegic, and he needs assistance in order to live on his own. Typically a couple of different nurses would rotate and help him do things such as get dressed, shower, and get in and out of bed. A couple of months ago, one of those nurses got injured and he hasn’t been able to find someone else to fill in.

“In the last couple weeks, since she got injured, I’ve spent four nights in bed. The rest I’ve been in the chair the whole time,” Jons said.

This has created a lot of problems for him, including not being able to change clothes as well as developing sores on his body.

”That much time in the chair, it won’t take much for it to open up again. Hopefully, try to avoid going into the hospital for it. That’s my biggest worry is the pressure sores,” Jons said.

The organization Jons uses to find nurses has been struggling to fill positions.

“They’ve had applications come in but nobody follows through with them. They’ll call them for interviews and they won’t call back,” he added.

Jons doesn’t want to have to move out of his apartment or give up his cat, Kitt, who means a lot to him.

“Anybody knows that has a pet, you get really attached and I wouldn’t want to have to give him up. The hardest thing for me is having to lose my independence,” said Jons.

Jons also wants to remind people that this shortage has affected others across the state and if there was someone who could help even for one shift it would make a significant difference.

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