I Am Not a Home Health Aide
May 23, 2020
Immunity, not Antibodies
June 3, 2020

Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Oxford English Dictionary

Spittle  Search Results 0

Merriam Webster 

spittle SALIVA SPIT.


Spittle Late 15th century alteration of dialect spattle, by association with spit.

Cambridge Dictonary.com

Spittle liquid produced in the mouth to keep the mouth wet and to help to prepare food to be digested.


Spittle a clear liquid secreted into the mouth by the salivary glands and mucous glands of the mouth; moistens the mouth and starts the digestion of starches

Your dictionary.com

Spittle saliva; spit; the frothy secretion of larval spittlebugs.


Origin of spittle 1470–80; blend of Middle English spit, see spit1 and spetil, Old English spǣtl, variant of spātl saliva




This picture is worth 1000 words, but I will need to add some words to tell you the where and the when. I will need words to describe the three whos in the room where it happened, and the responses of other three whos in charge. I will also use words to say how I felt and what action I took. I am going to tell you who, what, when, where; and then you tell me why.

I did not pick up the dental floss pick seen in this photo. It is exactly as I found it on the coffee table in front of the sofa, the home health aide’s bed, in the home of a 95-year-old homebound woman. I didn’t even entertain the option of putting on gloves to pick it up. You see, when this happened is now, during the novel coronavirus pandemic, a time when spittle should be considered highly dangerous.

I protected myself by not picking up this dental floss pick that any sentient person would assume had been in the mouth of the person who left it on the coffee table. I would not assume it was clean. Nothing is clean now. I don’t know for sure, but I think it was left by the night home health aide who works for CenterLight Health Care. They operate both a New York State Certified Home Health Care Agency and a New York State Licensed Home Health Care Agency, presently ranked four stars by the government oversight regulators. The night home health aide had gone home and the day home health aide had been doing normal assistance for the 95-year-old homebound woman. I don't think that the day home health aide had been flossing her teeth, but she was one of three of us exposed to certainly invisible bacteria and hopefully not virus contained in the spittle.

In addition to the three of us who were exposed to the dental floss pick, there are three unexposed people who are in charge of care in the home. There is a guardian who is an attorney. She is in charge of approving the home care agency and paying them. The guardian is where the buck stops to achieve the best possible state of health for the homebound 95 year-old woman. There is a geriatric care manager who is a social worker. She might be involved in selecting home care agencies. She certainly should be eyes and ears for quality of care even if the home health aides are not her employees, because if not that, then what is she actually managing? The third in-charge person is the clinical director of CenterLight Health Care; he is a nurse. None of these people are directly supervising home health aides in the home daily or even with regularity. In fact, home health aides are unsupervised workers. Nobody in charge knows what they do during their shifts unless someone else tells those whos who are in charge.

I took an action and sent this photo and an email to the three whos in charge. None of them answered. Why do you think that is?

Thyme N. Haff

Our era of sirens 2020 May 29


Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Email sent Tue 5/26/2020 8:42 AM

This one of those dental floss devices on Ms P’s coffee table.

I have been doing this long enough to head off the investigation/inquiry that ends with, “It fell out of the aide’s bag. She says it’s clean.” No sale.


The way people do one thing is the way they do all things. I will get to light housework after describing the corrective action plan for this breech of infection control. This object which has just been in someone’s mouth has been left in vulnerable person’s home. I would predict it was left by the home health aide who left in the morning, therefore potentially exposing two people to spittle. Would any of you pick it up to throw it in the trash with bare hands on the assumption that it is unused? No. Should Shanti be expected to pick it up assuming it belongs to the night aide? No.

The corrective action plan that John puts into place will be followed by a message to all us something like: “Leaving a personal grooming object which has the appearance of being in the mouth of one of our employees is below the standards that we expect of our home care workers. All of the home care workers we have in the home of Ms P have been interviewed and reoriented to our policy. This will not happen again.”

Many LHHCAs are delivering gloves and masks and disinfectant wipes. Is CenterLight doing this as well? If not who is monitoring inventory (yes these things can walk out) and arranging delivery?

I have addressed housekeeping and cleanliness in general below this photo

Response to Email sent Tue 5/26/2020 8:42 AM