IHI logo - stories of the COVID Crisis

“We don’t know who may be compromised and who may be compromising the health and wellness of others.”

By Christa Starkey

United States

My name is Christa Starkey. I am the mother and caregiver of a medically complex toddler and her five healthy siblings.

We live in a rural area in Texas and we are a homeschooling family. Our daughter requires 24-hour medical care and supervision, but getting private duty nursing coverage at home is difficult where we live.

COVID-19 had a big impact on us when one of the nurses who comes to our home had to self-quarantine for 21 days because of possible exposure to the virus. This left my husband and I filling in the gaps, providing 96 hours of direct medical care out of the authorized 168 hours a week.

COVID-19 also hurt our finances. Already on a single income, the stay-at-home order and lack of nursing assistance made working outside the home impossible at times.

Due to recent health complications, our family has been practicing social distancing for well over a year. The pandemic is a great reminder of why we started this practice.

Right now, my biggest fear is that COVID-19 will continue to be an immediate danger to our daughter. We have maintained hope throughout this pandemic by minimizing exposure risks and increasing our intentional focus on our family.

I am an advocate for Texans with Developmental Disabilities. As a result of my participation in the 2020 Class of Partners in Policymaking, I am now collaborating with non-profits and grassroots efforts to advocate for caregivers and those we care for. Through my experiences, I have learned of the many sacrifices caregivers make for their loved ones.

In this unprecedented time, it is vital to support all the people on who are providing care, whether in the home or the community. If I could ask everyone to do one thing to help tackle this crisis, I would ask that we would be mindful and considerate of one another. After all, we don’t know who may be compromised and who may be compromising the health and wellness of others.

Share your story from the COVID-19 Crisis.