Extreme Vulnerability of Home Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Call to Action | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Invited Commentary
August 4, 2020

Extreme Vulnerability of Home Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Call to Action

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Geriatrics, Palliative and Extended Care Service Line, San Francisco VA Health Care System, San Francisco, California
  • 3Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(11):1459-1460. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3937

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been identified in more than 14 000 US nursing homes and other long-term care settings.1 More than 316 000 residents and staff members have contracted COVID-19, and they account for 57 000 of more than 140 000 deaths in the US.1,2 Despite our recognition of the higher mortality rates among older adults and higher overall rates of disease among nursing home staff,3 we still know little about the risks and experiences of workers who provide help and care to older adults who live at home. Home health aides, personal care aides, and home attendants (hereafter referred to as home care workers4) are members of a vulnerable population within health care delivery. Underpaid and overwhelmingly women of color, they shoulder the responsibility for hands-on assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, and housekeeping for vulnerable older adults in the home.5 Home care workers are essential to the health of more than 7 million older adults who require care in the home.6,7

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    1 Comment for this article
    Occupational Health
    Pedro Reis, OH Physician | SAN.T.BTP, Blois, France. Portuguese Representative at UEMS-OH
    A very interesting evaluation that fells short about the basic issue: failure of containing the spread of the pandemic due to the lack of an adequate occupational health program that covers all of HCW, be either in hospital /clinical settings or in more modest environments of no less importance, such as senior residences.