Home Care Aide Safety Concerns and Job Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published in: NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 20–29 (2021). doi: 10.1177/1048291120987845

Posted on RAND.org on October 19, 2022

by Julia Bandini, Julia Rollison, Katie Feistel, Laura Whitaker, Armenda Bialas, Jason Michel Etchegaray

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Home care aides are on the frontlines providing care to vulnerable individuals in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic yet are often excluded from policies to protect health care workers. The goal of this study was to examine experiences of agency-employed home care aides during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify ways to mitigate concerns. We used an innovative journaling approach with thirty-seven aides as well as in-depth interviews with fifteen aides and leadership representatives from nine home health agencies in New York and Michigan. Workers described a range of concerns around workplace safety including uncertainty around whether a client had COVID-19, inadequate access to personal protective equipment and safe transportation, as well as fundamental changes to interactions with clients. Agencies also faced challenges acquiring personal protective equipment for their aides. This research points to needed resources to support home care aides and home health agencies both during a public health crisis and in the future.

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