Roughly 23% of home care workers surveyed in March said they had received a COVID-19 vaccination. That compares to 60% of their patients, according to the “State of Home Care Report” by staffing firm Medflyt.

Medflyt co-founder Levi Pavlovsky discussed the findings in a webinar Tuesday with Al Cardillo, president of the Home Care Association of New York. Cardillo explained that a variety of barriers have made it difficult for home care staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Those barriers include limited vaccination sites and scheduling conflicts with staff.

Al Cardillo, President, Home Care Association of NY

“Very often you can’t just get a substitute worker; that might not be appropriate for the patient,” Cardillo said.

A number of other significant findings came to light from the report, as well. About 40% of respondents said they didn’t know where to get a vaccination and 20% said they had been infected with COVID-19 — about double that of the overall population. About 30% said they had not received proper instructions regarding personal protective equipment (PPE). Medflyt surveyed roughly 6.500 home care workers — both in the home health and home care segments — between March 3 and 10 for its report. 

PPE improvements

Cordilla admitted that a lack of PPE was a problem early in the pandemic, but he thinks that issue has improved for many home care providers and workers. “Earlier, home care and hospice were not eligible. If you didn’t meet eligibility requirements, you couldn’t ask for PPE. It took about two months to overcome that,” Cardillo said.

The survey offers other glimmers of hope as the home care industry and the nation emerges from the pandemic. At a time when the supply of home care workers is outpacing demand, nearly 90% of workers surveyed said they planned to stay on the job for two to five years.

Hope for White House proposal

Cardillo also expressed optimism about President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which includes a proposed $400 billion for the care economy

“This is compelling. We think the heroic work of [home care workers] has been on greater public display. Even here in New York, we’ve gone through some very exhaustive discussions about how federal money could be programmed to help workers in enhanced pay or elevate the wage and benefit scales of the workers,” Cardillo said.