The end of COVID-era policies and their impact on our volunteers

July 24, 2023
Healthcare workers and volunteers in personal protective equipment

Housecall Providers team members wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during a house call.

The impact of COVID-era policies

For a lot of people, the COVID-19 emergency ended months ago. Most of us came out of lockdown and resumed something akin to normal life – or ‘the new normal’ – anyhow. But for many of our patients, the pandemic’s effects persisted. After all, we work primarily with populations that are often elderly and living with disability and/or complex medical conditions. This is the demographic that suffered first and most significantly during the worst parts of the emergency. So, it makes sense that they’d be the last to go back to pre-pandemic life.

Of course, this had a profound impact on our volunteers. For much of the last three years, they could not visit our patients at all. That social isolation was a terrible consequence of the COVID-19-era will surprise no one, but nowhere was it felt as acutely than with the seriously ill. Even when our volunteers began to make visits again last year, they had to do so while maintaining a six-ft distance and fully outfitted in a cumbersome array of personal protective equipment (PPE), that included masks, face shields and gloves. 

To say that this created a distancing-factor between our volunteers and patients is an understatement. Imagine trying to convey warmth to someone when they cannot see your smile, or even get a full sense what you look like. Imagine trying to maintain a conversation with a person who has hearing loss from six feet away, and through a mask and face shield. Still, our volunteers played through the physical discomfort and interpersonal awkwardness because they recognized the importance of providing human contact to people who had been isolated for far too long. Just as important, they understood the need of doing so safely.

Moving forward

All of this is what makes it so exciting to announce that our volunteers are now able to choose whether to wear PPE. They can show their smiles, sit close enough to hear their patients speak, and even hold a hand when needed. This is a profound moment, worthy of being acknowledged. We are finally doing more than just surviving a pandemic. We can truly connect again.

I want to thank the Housecall Providers volunteers for all that you have done to help us get here. I’m thrilled to finally be able to allow you all to offer your full presence to our patients. I know better than anyone what a powerful gift that can be.

To those of you reading who might be interested in volunteering, please know that we need you now more than ever. There has literally NEVER been a better time. If you are interested, please contact us at or call me at 971-202-5515. For more information on Oregon’s current COVID-19 safety guidance and requirements, click here to visit the Oregon Health Authority’s website.

Todd Lawrence, Volunteer Coordinator


Our newsletter is sent out three times a year to our patients and Housecall Providers supporters to let them know what we’ve been up to.

You have Successfully Subscribed!