Risk Recognition Policies for the Long-Term Care Workforce During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Multi-Country Study

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Abstract:

Context:  The precarious work arrangements experienced by many long-term care workers have led to the creation of a “shared” workforce across residential, home, and community aging care sectors. This shared workforce was identified as a contributor to the spread of COVID-19 early in the pandemic.

Objective: This analysis sought to review policy measures targeting the long-term care workforce across seven high income jurisdictions during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus was on financial supports introduced to recognize long-term care workers for the increased risks they faced, including both (1) health risks posed by direct care provision during the pandemic and (2) economic risks associated with restrictions to multi-site work.

Method: Environmental scan of publicly available policy documents and government news releases published between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, across seven high income jurisdictions.

Findings: While there was limited use of financial measures in the United States to compensate long-term care workers for the increased health risks they faced, these measures were widely used across Canada, as well as in Wales, Scotland, and Australia. Moreover, there was a corresponding use of financial measures to protect workers from income loss in parts of Canada, Australia and the UK.

Limitations: Our analysis did not include additional policy measures such as sick pay or recruitment incentives. We also relied primarily on publicly available policy documentation. In some cases, documents had been archived or revised, making it difficult to ascertain and clarify original information and amendments.

Implications: While these financial measures are temporary, they brought to light long-standing issues related to the supply of and support for workers providing care to older adults in long-term care homes. 

Speakers:

Amy Hsu, PhD (Moderator): Bruyère Research Institute 

Sara Allin, PhD (Moderator): Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto 

Maude Laberge, PhD (Panellist): Université Laval 

Shereen Hussein, PhD (Panellist): London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 

Maya Murmann, MSc (Panellist): Bruyère Research Institute 

Anna C. Reed, MSW (Panellist): Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto

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