HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Nursing home and assisted living residents are among those who are the most at risk to COVID-19.

That’s one reason why in-home health care professionals say their business is booming.

“When I first started off in this industry 15 years ago, there was not a very good awareness of the home care industry. People were somewhat familiar with medical home health care, but they weren’t familiar with home care.” 

Eric Hicks, president, Right at Home

Then, the pandemic struck, causing a lot of people to rethink how their loved ones were being cared for in assisted living facilities.

Anna Chandler is one of them.

“There hasn’t been an outbreak with the residents, but there have been a few cases with the healthcare workers, so another reason that I’m bringing her back is she’ll be exposed to less people.” 

Anna Chandler, who says she is switching her mother-in-law to in-home care

It’s a trend Chandler says she’s noticed with others as well:

“I do know of several neighbors who have gone this route with home caregivers. Their main reasoning for it was, so that the family could still be involved.” 

Anna Chandler, who says she is switching her mother-in-law to in-home care

Right at Home President Eric Hicks says they’ve definitely seen an increase in people wanting these services.

“When the pandemic first hit this area towards the end of March, we took a decline in business for a couple weeks and then after that business really took off…We regained what we had lost within a month and since then business has continued to grow at about an 11 percent pace.” 

Eric Hicks, president, Right at Home

He attributes this business boom to a few things:

“There were a lot of restrictions with assisted living…  When you look at the demographics, we have an aging population, and people would prefer to be at home… Also, you’re seeing a big growth in telemedicine.” 

Eric Hicks, president, Right at Home

Another factor Hicks mentions is the rising cost of healthcare—something Chandler echoes as well.

“The expense at the assisted living facility is just outrageous. It goes up about $500 dollars every year.” 

Anna Chandler, who says she is switching her mother-in-law to in-home care

Even as more and more people get vaccinated for the coronavirus, Hicks says he believes demand for in-home care will only continue to increase.

“I think there will be continued growth in this industry in part because we as a society cannot afford or sustain the healthcare costs of institutionalized people.” 

Eric Hicks, president, Right at Home

While the in-home care route may seem safer and more cost-effective to some, Hicks warns West Virginia is a non-license state for in-home care, meaning there is no special designation needed to do this work.

So, always be sure to closely look into a business before hiring them to care for your loved ones.

For more information on Right at Home, visit their website here.