We see the headlines and pictures: doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, EMTs -- gowned and masked -- fighting the battle against an unseen coronavirus that has sickened and killed thousands of people around the world. We all appreciate their dedication.

Who we may not see are the in-home caregivers who help keep our seniors and developmentally disabled family members safe and cared for. They are heroes who serve every day, often unrecognized.

In-home caregivers travel to family homes and ensure that meals are prepared; dishes are washed, trash removed, household chores are completed, and that the living situation is safe. They provide personal care to their clients such as bathing, grooming and dressing. Often, they are with those under their care early in the morning or late at night. They monitor the vulnerable, ever alert to a cough, a fever, or a change in behavior that might indicate further investigation.

At all times, caregivers are an important link to the larger healthcare delivery system. They help bridge the gap between the community and the clinic by bringing hands-on care to the doorsteps of people who may be homebound, and they also communicate what they observe to the professionals who need timely information.

This letter is to remind community members about the significant help in-home caregivers provide in the bigger healthcare picture -- all the time -- but especially now, during the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you, caregivers, for the service you give. We recognize how essential a team member you are as we work together to keep vulnerable citizens strong, safe and healthy.

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