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Several Iowa Home Care Clients Without Care Due to Staffing Shortage

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AMES, Iowa -- As the need for home care grows, the state’s largest private home care service says it’s having trouble keeping up with the demand.

Ames resident Shelley Jaspering is a quadriplegic who relies on home care throughout the week to help with her daily needs. Jaspering recently learned she will no longer receive care come the end of the month.

“I’d lose my job. I’d lose my house. There is just a lot that could happen if someone doesn't come and get me out of bed in the morning,” Jaspering says.

The 39–year–old has received home care through Iowa Home Care for the last year. Her previous care provider dropped her coverage citing a lack of staffing. Iowa Home Care says that’s also the reason they are dropping Jaspering’s care.

Charles Ganske, Iowa Home Care’s director of marketing, says 1% of the company's 1,400 clients are being discharged due to a shortage of nurses.

Ganske says, “Having the perfect amount of staff, perfectly located so that all 750 of those visits can be performed at the right time in a small window of time, at the right locale and have everyone’s availability match, is very complex.”

Iowa Home Care could not give a specific number in regard to how many nurses it is short, but says the number is less than 10%. The home care service is working with its clients to help find an alternative solution. However, Jaspering says there are few to no services that are able to help with quadriplegics in Story County.

Jaspering has yet to find a replacement service and has filed for a Medicaid extension to help pay for independent services.

“Will I keep having to apply for more care? It’s ridiculous because I'm always going to be a quad that requires care, so why don't we just find a solutions that's more appropriate," she says.

But Jaspering still fears her Medicaid extension will run out, leaving her to pay thousands of dollars for care out of pocket, and possibly forcing her to live in a nursing home. In the meantime, she is working with Iowa Disability Rights to helps others in similar situations.

Iowa Home Care says it's actively working to recruit more caregivers and hope to be back at full staff soon.