Health Workforce Safety
Information about risks to the health and well-being of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and strategies to protect both the health workforce.
(06/30/20) Health Workers Filed More Than 4,000 Complaints About Protective Gear. Some Still Died
An investigation from The Guardian has found many complaints about lack of personal protective equipment sent by health care workers have been cleared, even as some of the workers have died.
(06/29/20) Caregivers on the Front Lines in Nursing Homes Risk Health, Safety During Pandemic
An article covering the difficulties many long-term care facilities are experiencing protecting their workers and patients amidst the COVID-19 crisis. High turnover, low pay, little or no paid sick leave or health insurance, and lack of adequate personal protective equipment have put many workers in long-term care facilities at risk.
(06/27/20) ‘I Still Have Nightmares Every Night’ — Health Workers Struggle With PTSD Symptoms as Coronavirus Takes Toll
This article covers the impact on mental health many health care workers are experiencing as a result of working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide have been linked to health professionals addressing the pandemic, and finding ways to get help for workers is a challenge.
(06/23/20) US Nurses at For-profit Hospital Chain to Strike Over Cuts and PPE Shortages
Nurses working for a for-profit hospital system with locations in multiple states are striking, citing violations of mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios due to understaffing and a lack of personal protective equipment for workers. These nurses are also complaining of pay cuts and violations of their contracts.
(06/19/20) Health Care Workers Protect Us. It’s Time to Protect Them.
An article from the Harvard Business Review discussing the importance of protecting health care workers while they treat patients infected with COVID-19. The authors offer suggestions for how organizations can better protect and empower their health workforce, including focusing on reducing workplace injuries, promoting staff safety, and creating a process for accountability for safety.
(06/19/20) Account for Gender/Sex to Make Personal Protective Equipment Safer for Women
An article advocating for development of personal protective equipment to better protect women from COVID-19 infection. Differences in physical characteristics of the sexes can contribute to decreased protection for women in health care settings, with most equipment and guidelines being developed for men.
(06/17/20) Gaps in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law for Health Care Workers
This issue brief covers legislation from the federal government in April created to provide temporary short-term paid sick leave to more than 85 million workers. Many exemptions are included in the law, and conservative estimates place nearly one quarter of health care workers ineligible to receive emergency paid sick leave, even as they face high risk of exposure.
(06/11/20) Nursing Homes Run Short of COVID-19 Protective Gear as Federal Response Falters
An article from NPR covering the difficulties nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care industry is experiencing acquiring personal protective equipment for their health workforce. While help was promised, deliveries were delayed and inadequate to protect the workforce.
(06/09/20) Protecting Midwives and Mothers During the Pandemic
An article covering the issues midwives are experiencing in the United States and around the world in performing their duties safely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues acquiring personal protective equipment are increasingly putting both midwives and their patients at risk of infection.
(06/08/20) COVID-19 Has Highlighted the Risks Home Health Workers Face — Here’s What Can Be Done To Help
An article covering many of the risks home health workers face during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of which stem from even before the pandemic. Low pay and insufficient hours or seasonal employment both increase risk of infection for the workers and their patients and lead to issues maintaining a home health workforce.
(06/07/20) ‘I Have Never Felt So Helpless’: Front-Line Workers Confront Loss
An article discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far on the mental health of those treating patients. Burnout, PTSD, and “moral injury” are listed as major symptoms of mental health issues faced by doctors, nurses, and first responders addressing this crisis.
(06/06/20) Exclusive: Nearly 600 US Health Workers Died of COVID-19 – and the Toll Is Rising
The Guardian and Kaiser Health News have launched a project to count, verify, and memorialize each health care worker that dies as a result of COVID-19 infection. This count has thus far been substantially higher than numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(06/04/20) Beyond PPE: Protecting Health Care Workers To Prevent a Behavioral Health Disaster
A blog post covering the risks of a behavioral health disaster to those health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of access to treatment for these health care workers and lack of training in the use of preventative treatment methods risks exacerbating the negative impacts.
(06/01/20) Resident Physicians Should Have a Say in Their Working Conditions
An opinion piece discussing the issues around working conditions for resident physicians, especially given the current COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties health care workers are finding in advocating for better conditions while clinics are experiencing financial crises.
(06/01/20) A Powerful ‘Look-Back’ for COVID-19 Antibodies in Health Care Workers
The UConn School of Medicine is leading a study to measure health care workers at UConn Health for their exposure to COVID-19. The study includes drawing blood samples from clinicians, dental care providers, front office staff, support staff, and residents and medical students to measure their antibodies.
(05/29/20) ‘It’s Getting Worse.’ Nursing Home Workers Confront Risks in Facilities Devastated by Coronavirus
An article covering the more personal lives and perspectives of the nursing home, home health, and long-term care workforce amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Low pay and lack of protective equipment continue to be issues for workers throughout the long-term care industry.
(05/28/20) Essential but Undervalued: Millions of Health Care Workers Aren’t Getting the Pay or Respect They Deserve in the COVID-19 Pandemic
An article focused on the health care workers filling support, direct care, and health care service work, which play essential roles in health care but are experiencing the most difficulties maintaining pay, staying safe, and maintaining their hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers make up the majority of the health workforce and ensure successful operation of the health care system.
(05/28/20) COVID-19 Has Killed Close To 300 U.S. Health Care Workers, New Data From CDC Shows
An article from NPR covers new data showing that COVID-19 is the cause of death of nearly 300 health care workers. Lack of testing of health care personnel and shortages of personal protective equipment appear to be exacerbating the risk of infection and death from COVID-19 among health care workers.
(05/26/20) COVID-19 Cases Among Health Care Workers Top 62,000, CDC Reports
The CDC has reported at least 62,000 cases of COVID-19 among health care workers, out of more than 1.3 million confirmed cases in the United States. At least 291 health care workers have died as a result of COVID-19 infection.
(05/20/20) How Health Care Workers Can Take Care of Themselves
An article from the Harvard Business Review discussing how emotional intelligence can be used to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care providers and offering some suggestions for improving health outcomes for these providers.
(05/18/20) How Coronavirus Could Forever Change Home Health Care, Leaving Vulnerable Older Adults Without Care and Overburdening Caregivers
An article by Maghuri Reddy, instructor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and researchers at the University of Toronto describing the impact of COVID-19 on the home health care industry, including the risks to home health workforce and the restriction of available funding for home health care services.
(05/16/20) ‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers
An article describing the rise in mental health issues for health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the options available to these professionals help prevent burnout and mental health crises.
(05/15/20) COVID-19 Worsening Mental Health of 59% of Healthcare Industry Workers: KPMG Survey
A survey from KPMG of workers in the health care industry found evidence of worsening mental health relating to the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the general workforce. The survey also found that health care workers feel their engagement in teamwork, quality of work, and productivity have improved.
(05/14/20) The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Black Health Care Workers in the US
This article, featured in the Harvard Business Review, discusses the implications of race of health care providers and their risk of infection from COVID-19. Many black health care workers choose to work in urban areas with patients who are black, Latinx, low income and uninsured, which also currently experience the highest rates of infection of COVID-19.
(05/05/20) Epidemiology of and Risk Factors for Coronavirus Infection in Health Care Workers
This epidemiological review article, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, examines the burden of COVID-19 on the health care workforce, as well as the risk factors related to infection. Use of personal protective equipment and infection control training were found to be most effective at preventing infection.