Protecting Home Health Care Workers: A Challenge to Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning

Source: Sherry Baron, Kathleen McPhaul, Sally Phillips, Robyn Gershon, and Jane Lipscomb, American Journal of Public Health, Vol 99, No. S2, October 2009

From the abstract:
The home health care sector is a critical element in a pandemic influenza emergency response. Roughly 85% of the 1.5 million workers delivering in-home care to 7.6 million clients are low-wage paraprofessionals, mostly women, and disproportionately members of racial and ethnic minorities.

Home health care workers’ ability and willingness to respond during a pandemic depends on appropriate communication, training, and adequate protections, including influenza vaccination and respiratory protection. Preparedness planning should also include support for child care and transportation and help home health care workers protect their income and access to health care.

We summarize findings from a national stakeholder meeting, which highlighted the need to integrate home health care employers, workers, community advocates, and labor unions into the planning process.

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