Editor’s note: This commentary is by Richard Davis, of Guilford, who has been active in health care reform for 30 years. Semi-retired after a 40-year nursing career, he volunteers at the Brattleboro Walk In Clinic counseling people on insurance options. 

Everyone treating Covid-19 patients is risking their lives. Doctors, nurses, respiratory, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, lab techs, social workers and a host of other professionals are on the front lines of an unprecedented health care battle and they are making do with dwindling resources. It’s as close to a worst case scenario as there can be.

There is also another group of health care workers that never get enough recognition or pay because they are the invisible foundation or our institutional health care systems. They are the housekeepers, maintenance personnel and food service workers who make sure that the patient care environment is safe, supportive and clean for the sick as well as for the other health care workers who make a lot more money than they do.

During my years of hospital nursing I was always in awe of the self-sacrificing work of the people who were called upon to clean up patient rooms after a discharge or a death. If floors were covered in vomit, blood or any other kind of foul human waste it was the housekeeping people who were summoned to make things clean and ready. continue reading