Gas shortage is just one more obstacle home care nurses have been forced to navigate in 2021

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Despite the difficulty getting fuel, Duke Home Health workers have to do whatever it takes to continue serving their patients.

"This is one more requirement that our incredible field staff have taken on," said Cooper Linton, Duke Home Health Associate Vice President.

While many of us are trying to conserve fuel to avoid the gas pumps, home care nurses and aides still have to hit the road.

"Travel is an enormous component of our work. It is home-based care, so we have to go to somebody's home. On average we travel well over 2 million miles a year. So this gas shortage is a big deal to us," Linton said.

So far patient care hasn't been interrupted by the shortage. But it is causing extra headaches for nurses.

"That speaks to the resourcefulness of our field staff who if there's a gas station out there running-they'll find it," Linton said.

But if the shortage continues, they do have plans in place. Patient care will have to be prioritized based on needs-and after more than a year of the pandemic-Linton says the nurses are ready for anything.

"We've designed ourselves to be as nimble as we can be. That nimbleness is wrapped around a patient who at the end of the day is the only reason we're here," Linton said.

Now that the pipeline is up and running, Duke Home Health says it is hopeful things will go back to normal, and the company won't have to implement its emergency plan.
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