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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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Corresponding Author: Theresa A. Allison, MD, PhD, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, UCSF, 3333 California St, San Francisco, CA 94121 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: August 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3937
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Drs Allison and Harrison reported receiving grants from the National Institute on Aging during the preparation of this article. No other disclosures were reported.
Disclaimer: The opinions reflected in this commentary are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of the San Francisco VA Health Care System or the University of California.
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